By Geoff Page
Tonight’s meeting of the Peninsula Community Planning Board promises to be as good as any soap opera on TV. The PCPB is in the process of imploding for a variety of reasons but what has happened in recent weeks borders on the theater of the absurd.
Board chair Robert Goldyn and vice chair Scott Deschenes both tendered their resignations January 21 because they were fed up with a faction on the PCPB that has done nothing but disrupt and attack. Both board members, while wishing to be done with the board, graciously stated their resignations would be effective immediately after the after the yearly election on March 19. They explained:
“It is our intention to serve out the remainder of the current term while providing early notice of our resignation, allowing our positions to be available and remainder of our terms to be filled during the March general elections.”
They went on to explain:
“Our tenure of service to the PCPB has been troubled with continual turmoil, slander, animosity, personal attack, false accusation, formal complaint, and a civil rights action suit amongst and between two factions of boardmembers. It is not the responsibility of the Board officers to regulate and pacify contention and dispute amongst the boardmembers. We each have important personal and professional lives and no longer desire to exhaust our valuable time and effort mediating, resolving, and working through these conflicts, nor have our attempts been successful at bringing these hostile actions to termination.”
One would think that would be the end of that and Goldyn and Deschenes would be allowed to leave with dignity. But, it was not so for that faction of the board comprised of members Don Sevrens, “Lucky” Morrison, and Margaret Virissimo. They filed a new complaint against both men since the resignations and attempted to have them ousted before March 19. The reason for this was so the two seats could be filled as vacancies, which involves a very different process than a general election.
Board vacancies are filled by board member only votes and it is easy to see why they would prefer this to a general election, a much better opportunity to get more of their compadres on the PCPB. In a general election, they could not be as certain of the same outcome. In fact, the three have leveled an accusation that the two men will somehow subvert the March election. Considering that is coming from two of the three who were the subjects of election violations for the past two years, the accusation is laughable.
Unfortunately, it appears that some good incumbents may also not run for another term because of the turmoil.
The PCPB has a long history of election shenanigans and protests. It has been so bad that the elections have been monitored by the city and one year by the League of Women Voters. This one promises to live up to tradition. Because of a lawsuit challenging by-law language stating that board members and candidates could not formulate and promote slates of candidates, something Sevrens and Virissimo violated in two elections, that prohibition language has been struck. That language was not just in the PCPB by-laws, it was a requirement by the city of all the planning boards. This means things will be wide open for all kinds of electioneering.
So, if there’s nothing good on TV tonight and you’re looking for entertainment, come on down to the Point Loma library at 6:00 tonight and take a seat. Should be fun.
Here’s the official agenda: