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Planning Commission Applicants Take Note

Dr. Jim Gardner
Dr. Jim Gardner

Next Wednesday (Feb 5) is the deadline for submitting applications for the vacant Planning Commission (PC) position. If you haven’t already submitted yours, you’ll need to get it in to the City Clerk by 6 pm on that day. That gives you just a few days days to make a campaign contribution to Scott Voigts or Dwight Robinson. Checks and money orders accepted. Experience has shown that making campaign contributions to Voigts and/or Robinson has been highly correlated with being chosen. Apparently it also helps if you have no prior experience in doing anything vaguely related to planning, and if you are selected, it will be expected that you will refuse to do anything unless you are specifically instructed by the staff or the Council. Planning Commissioners should not expect to exercise any independent thought or action. And don’t worry about the time commitment. Between cancelled meetings and missed meetings, you’ll probably only need to attend about half the scheduled meetings.

BTW – preference will be given to applicants who bring their own rubber stamp (Councilman Robinson is cost conscious and is always looking for ways to save money, unless it comes to the City buying expensive iPads for the use of the Council and Commission members, or spending $14K per year so that Council members can more easily file their FPPC disclosures). The “pro business” Council expects every business proposal to be approved, regardless of the impact on the quality of life for the people who live in Lake Forest.

  • Gambling dens? Sure.

  • More homes even though we are already drowning in traffic? Yup.

  • Big ugly buildings that overpower a neighborhood and block views?   Sounds good.

  • More signs everywhere. Won’t that be lovely!

  • Putting a potentially dangerous CNF fueling station at the most strategic place in the City? Sounds good! What could go wrong?

There is a long application available from the Clerk’s office, but don’t worry – from their recent remarks, it’s clear that the Council members don’t really want to read too much. And they certainly don’t want to read about any prior experience with planning. What they really want to know is whether or not you will be their “extension” – their surrogate vote. This Council is not interested in expanding the role of citizens in the City. They like their own narrow focus and don’t want to be led astray by other ideas. They want Commissioners who will vote exactly the way they would vote. That way there is less confusion, and the Council certainly doesn’t want more confusion (Just a few meetings ago Councilwoman McCullough lamented her inability to understand what was going on).

Troglodytes are encouraged to apply, and especially sycophants. If you actually have planning background or experience and are concerned with the quality of life in your community, and able to balance the needs of businesses against the needs of the residents, you can also apply, but experience shows that your chances are very poor. Nonetheless, don’t let the Council’s previous behavior deter you from applying. Perhaps in the light of the PC’s terrible performance in 2013, and the resignation by two highly regarded and experienced Commissioners, the Council will realize how much harm they’ve done to the City and actually do the right thing. As doubtful as they may seem, it is possible.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tom Cagley January 31, 2014 at 11:53 AM
Darn, Jim, I was thinking about putting in my application, again, but I don't think I'm a Troglodyte and know I'm not a Sycophant, therefore it may be an exercise in futility! :)
Jim Gardner January 31, 2014 at 12:18 PM
Please read the last 2 sentences in the article - "Perhaps in the light of the PC’s terrible performance in 2013, and the resignation by two highly regarded and experienced Commissioners, the Council will realize how much harm they’ve done to the City and actually do the right thing. As doubtful as they may seem, it is possible." It is POSSIBLE! Unless good people apply, the Council can always have the excuse that they did the best with what they had in front of them. Now the blame can be fully put on the Council since they had many many better qualified candidates whom they overlooked for the group we now have.
Homer January 31, 2014 at 06:31 PM
History shows that less may be accomplished if there is at least one dissenter to employ as a scapegoat.
Matt Stern January 31, 2014 at 07:31 PM
"History shows that less may be accomplished if there is at least one dissenter to employ as a scapegoat." That's why it's hard to get good people to step up. Who would want to give up their time and jeopardize their reputation when they'll only wind up getting crushed, humiliated, and forced out? Or they may decide to "go along to get along," which how we wound up with the problems we have. The only way to get good people to step up is to get enough good people to support them. There needs to be enough grassroots support to help people stand up to the powers that be and show those powers that there are consequences for crushing them. No one wants to stand alone or if they feel no one is there to back them up. If we want change in Lake Forest, we need enough good people to demand that change and support those who are trying to make it.
Jim Gardner January 31, 2014 at 08:23 PM
Amen Matt.
Merijoe Axe January 31, 2014 at 08:34 PM
"Oh, LF, good" says the city manager reading from his favorite 2012 report card that some unknown body of paid off hacks put together claiming they asked a bunch of LF residents how they felt about certain things, but no one I know has ever been asked to give any answers to anyone about the city. ever.

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