YOLO SUN OPINION :
What does it mean when Woodland City Council is in utter denial about the community planning disaster of its Gateway 2 project? It means that the City is so politically weak and civically disoriented that really — anything still goes — in terms of future failures of project management and resulting legal predicaments.
Woodland Mayor Tom Stallard has often been heard to exclaim that he doesn’t like to make excuses.
As the City Council rescinded its approval of Paul Petrovich’s Gateway 2 project, however, Stallard’s comments launched into a bizarre legend of lame excuses for this project’s judicial annulment: Maligning the Third District Court of Appeal, Denying that the City was blameworthy for this community planning fiasco, Ignoring more than five years of staff time and resources meaningfully diverted to it (even if Petrovich was billed for related City expenses, City staff time and resources were expansively used for this very badly managed project, thus unavailable for well managed projects).
Petrovich submitted an obtusely crafted letter to the city council on the occasion of this project annulment, indicating that he has lost about eight years of effort and $2 million over this failed deal, while Stallard expressed his “personal regret at the [ ] unfortunate waste of such a significant amount of money [which] produced a lot of frustration.”
Gateway 2 Anew?
Commiserating with councilmember Sean Denny over Petrovich and the city suffering such a sound defeat and Denny’s view that the city should again “get the ball rolling” for another Gateway 2 project, Stallard responded that he shares Denny’s view and that: “We’d like to get it right next time. But, that isn’t to say that I’m blaming the city for this; it’s just one of those unfortunate things.”
Stallard went on to relate that: “Courts can do what courts will do. litigants are free to bring lawsuits and they do.”
“It’s very hard to predict the outcome of environmental lawsuits; it’s very difficult, and sometimes it’s a matter of which judges you get assigned,” opined Stallard, implying that some other distinguished and unanimous three-judge panel of the appeal court may have somehow vindicated the city in this case.
“[It’s a] matter of which judges you get assigned[;] I’m not blaming the city for this; it’s just one of those unfortunate things[;]” all together, starkly display a municipal attitude of blunt denial by the mayor, about the circumstances and consequences of this community planning calamity.
One may suppose that catering to local chamber-of-commerce atmosphere is one crass predication for Stallard’s inability to express any form or manner of municipal responsibility for the city’s variously unlawful actions related to the Gateway 2 project.
How is our community character exhibited by the city council’s flat refusal to publicly recognize its prior (judicially affirmed) relinquishment of civic interests and values by using a series of unlawful environmental processes? It rescinded this project amidst a dense cloud of denial, hiding its guilty head in the sand, while flinging frivolous objections and politically self-serving distortions in an effort to deflect its lonesome blame.
Petrovich’s Letter To City Council, Cozy Council Response
Petrovich’s letter to the city council is an undaunted, vitriolic rant against the legal process, made by a person clearly familiar with only what they want to know, spewing an enormous fountain of legal gibberish and preposterous distortions of this situation. He complains about the prevailing counsel (for California Clean Energy Committee) being on “a crusade under a misrepresentation of environmental correctness[;] he saw an activist judge at the Appellate Court level as an opportunity to impose his will on the project and the City through a misuse of the CEQA process.”
Petrovich also mounts a spectacular attack against one of the justices (Hogue) on the appeal court panel in this case, claiming raw nepotism surrounding their seat on the court.
Petrovich indicates that: “Looking forward, the one major point I want to make is the three issues the court ruled on are easily addressed in the General Plan update . . .” Judging from the reception by the city council of his relevant letter, a new Gateway 2 project is soon to be undertaken.
City officials are in such a condition of denial, seemingly no one is able to rebut this letter’s vast mountain of drivel. Combined with an intention to renew Gateway 2, there exists a profound potential for further developmental shenanigans to ensue.
Petrovich’s letter, his bombastic effort to deny his own and the city’s blame for the debacle of Gateway 2, while advancing his intention to proceed amidst the city council’s plainly favorable response, adds up to trouble, but more trouble than Petrovich or the city expect. His letter vividly demonstrates the need for continued judicial monitoring regarding compliance with CEQA and the opinion of the appeal court in this matter. Reliable sources suggest that this is precisely what should now occur, any future development projects resembling Gateway 2 must proceed only under court supervision.