The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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Loui Loui: Official Version

July 7, 2001

Dear Editor,

Frank Gruber's column ("Louie Louie, He Gotta Go," July 6) regarding the council's action in not re-appointing Anthony Loui to the Planning Commission is way off the mark.

He's correct that the matter should have been handled more sensitively. (For the record, I voted to re-appoint Loui.) But, Mr. Gruber goes on to unfairly tar some councilmembers with speculation and innuendo.

Mr. Gruber makes a remarkable - and incorrect - assumption that he himself was not re-appointed to the Planning Commission a year ago because of who he had opposed (that includes me) in recent elections. Worse, he's comfortable with that because, as he puts it: "to the victors go the spoils."

That's baloney. We don't work that way, it wouldn't be right and it's not what happened.

I voted to replace Mr. Gruber because the Planning Commission was skewed in favor of developers and away from neighborhood concerns. Disagree with my reasoning if you like, but that¹s policy, not politics.

Incidently, were I really as petty as Mr. Gruber thinks I am, why would I have just voted to re-appoint Susan Cloke to the Recreation and Parks Commission? Ms. Cloke was my arch rival in two of the three most recent council elections. I supported her re-appointment based upon her
performance, not her politics.

Richard Bloom
City Councilman

July 6, 2001

Dear Editor

(Re: Tony Loui) Tony didn't get along with his colleagues? Having been one of those colleagues, I strongly disagree with that contention. I also strongly disagree with the City Council not re-appointing him. Please note that the correct characterization is that the Council did not re-appoint him, which is not the same as removing him from the Planning Commission.

Removal is a tactic used by SMRR opponents (then called the All Santa Monica Coalition) to get rid of excellent, knowledgeable Planning Commissioners (too good?) such as Derek Shearer (1980's), who later served as United States Ambassador to Finland.

Do the planning commissioners disagree with one another and disagree with Tony Loui? YES. Do the planning commissioners get along with one another, including getting along with Tony Loui? YES. Did Tony Loui get along with his fellow commissioners? YES. Are remarks sometimes heated and/or passionate? YES (although Tony Loui never made heated comments as far as I know). Is there a place on the Commission for dissent? YES. Was there dissension on the
Planning Commission while Tony Loui was on it? NO.

It would have been good to continue working with Commissioner Loui. But none of us is entitled to her/his seat and the City Council has no obligation to re-appoint. It may choose to.

(Re: Kelly Olsen) Interesting that decisions in which he did not participate and which he did not influence (the City Council appointment of a new Planning Commissioner) has opened a door for some to take potshots at the Chair of the Planning Commission.

The commissioners, by the way, get along with Kelly, and he with us. The residential community gets along with Kelly, and he with them. The business community probably does not, since they and he are looking at every project and issue from different perspectives.

It is, one supposes, thoroughly irritating that someone so connected to the residential community is now able to effect policies benefiting residents. As chair, Kelly has guided the Commission and staff into the current emphasis (long, long wished for and asked for by the community organizations) on code compliance.

He has, by opposing some items (text amendment brought by Smith Pipe), caused the result to be superior to what it would have been. He takes pains to see if, when the Commission is divided, there is a way to come to a consensus (we sometimes would rather take our strong positions and not do so, but his propensity to explore the possibilities is very right).

He led the Commission in developing necessary standards on ex parte communications. He may, where he has been in opposition, either appeal to the City Council, or speak to the Council (text amendment) to try to persuade to his position. His beliefs are held dearly - and that, it seems to me, is a virtue.

For now, and largely because of Kelly Olsen, Santa Monica has a Planning Commission which intends for conditions of approval to be adhered to; which is not having private meetings with developers outside the public eye; which does not grant an approval simply on the basis that it is not prohibited; and which considers every impact on the residents of the City.

My own hope is that Kelly Olsen will be elected to another term as Chair of the Planning Commission, in order to cement the path which has been carved.

Julie Lopez Dad
Planning Commissioner

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