The Tribune justifiably hurled “a fleet of airborne brickbats” at me for my regrettable remarks at the Oct. 21 San Luis Obispo City Council meeting, where my colleagues and I failed to move forward on overriding the Airport Land Use Commission to enable an important update of the city’s General Plan.
In the heat of debate, I expressed frustration with my fellow Councilmember Dan Carpenter. I inadvertently let slip a characterization of his behavior at an earlier closed session. That should not have happened: What happens in closed session stays in closed session. I was wrong, and I’m sorry.
I have apologized to Dan in writing, and I hope to meet with him in person soon to affirm ways we can work better together.
Now, more than ever, we need civility among our elected officials in order to work through complex, challenging problems that will directly affect all city residents in the years to come. It is my fervent hope that “the spat,” as The Tribune editorial put it, will not obscure several important points about the Land Use and Circulation Element updates to the General Plan. Among them:
The need for the City Council to override the Airport Land Use Commission. The public needs to know that the city tried very hard to reach a compromise with the airport commission on safety and noise standards. The city has adopted reasonable noise and safety zones that are consistent with those that are employed by cities and airports our size across California. This airport commission has obstinately refused to budge, preferring instead to rely on obsolete noise data that simply has no basis in reality.
The far-reaching and positive consequences of the general plan updates. The recommended updates hinge on the override vote. They provide a pathway to reduce sprawl, increase workforce housing, help address the homeless issue, shift to more environmentally friendly bike and pedestrian transportation and ensure that developers pay their fair share in making vitally needed infrastructure improvements. If we don’t approve the updates, we risk accelerated outward sprawl out Chorro Valley and out Edna Valley, becoming a city very different from the compact form that our residents prefer in every public hearing and community survey.
With so many issues of transcendent importance, we cannot afford to get bogged down in personal disputes. I am passionate about creating a better future for our city, and I pledge a renewed commitment to civility, courtesy, and comity in working with my council colleagues toward that goal.