By David Barron
Our councilmember Felipe Fuentes, sent a letter of support to provide taxpayer funding for a private developer who is proposing to build an unwanted 48 unit apartment complex in Sunland Tujunga. Mr Fuentes did not bother to confer with the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, even though he knew the community has always been opposed to the Samoa Project and desired a park instead, as promised by former council member Wendy Greuel.
Zoning laws tell you what you can and can’t build. Urban Planning is supposed to keep the public interest in mind regarding land use regulations. State governments have the power to zone for the improvement of health and safety. Local government is supposed to allow each community to have control of their neighborhood. That’s why we elect our council members to represent us in all government matters in order to insure our good quality of life, which includes protecting our land use and zoning laws. That’s why we have residential, industrial, manufacturing and commercial zones which create order in our city and in our daily lives.
Though the Samoa project was voted upon by elected officials, against the community’s will, I think the way they went about it was unethical. Also our Sacramento legislators voted in additional law’s to bypass certain zoning laws, our constitution and have been trying to weaken CEQA. Most often our elected officials tell us what we are getting instead of asking us what we want. Perhaps one way to oppose this project is claim that Assembly members and developer’s violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states: “That no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty without due process of the law.” It appears this project does not conform to the Master Plan. It does not meet the spirit and intent of original zoning laws. And such laws as Senate Bill 1818 should be repealed, because they only benefit developers who use taxpayer dollars for their financial benefit and the benefit of the supporting elected officials and not the neighborhood.
Currently we’re now dealing with other similar events such as the water crises, sediment removal from our local dams and a proposal to build solar farms in our residential neighborhoods between homes which involved then Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes regarding AB 1990, Solar for All. However, these proposed solar farms would financially benefit only the owners of those farms, professional investors…and not the ratepayers.
Back in 1924, we had a six year drought which forced officials to plan ahead by developing the Major Water Project, which have apparently has been mismanaged by political forces. Los Angeles County Department of Public Works wants to remove sediment from our local dams, using the least of amount of money, that would endanger local residents in the foothills instead of placing the sediment further away.
Hopefully, Mayor Garcetti and the newly elected board members of all ninty-five Neighborhood Council’s will continue to grow and outreach to their community and pay close attention to these issues and vote in their community’s best interest that will cut government spending and taxes.
Editor’s note: Mr. Barron is a Civil Servant, local community activist and a Commentator for the NVR.