Last night’s City Council meeting was great! We packed the Council Chambers, were patient and respectful, and saw that returned in the patience and respectfulness from the councilmembers. It seems that the City Council is really getting the message now.
KPIX Channel 5 was there and had a story on the 11 o’clock news.
The rally beforehand was colorful with many spirited speakers:
As 7pm approached, we went inside. The room was packed with many signs and handheld green pieces of paper reading “STOP WESPAC”:
Extra chairs had been put out in the lobby of the third floor; those were filled and it was standing-room-only (notice the people standing in the background of the picture above).
In a nice surprise, many high school students came. About 15 of them had artwork they had done – 9 of whom had done their artwork in the shape of letters to spell “PITTSBURG”.
A few of the artworks stood out:
There were 26 speakers in all. Perhaps later we’ll post pictures of all of them.
PDC member and former Planning Commissioner Frank Gordon laid out the four options for the WesPac project, as he sees it:
- The City approves the project, and a lawsuit is almost automatic. The project would be delayed for 4 or 5 years while in court.
- The City decides on the “No Project” alternative; in other words, they reject the WesPac project.
- The City rejects the EIR as inadequate, and the project is delayed for a year and a half or so while the new revision of the EIR is prepared which answers all of the questions and concerns in the Attorney General’s letter. Of course, it is unlikely that the resulting EIR would be satisfactory to Pittsburg residents, so we’ll just be back in a very similar situation.
- WesPac withdraws their application.
The last is probably the best, with the fewest legal risks, and with everyone saving face, at least a little bit.
One of the last speakers was Willie Mims, who did not speak directly about the WesPac project, but said among other remarks that he “always sides with the people” and that, while he often criticizes the City Council for what they’re doing wrong, he hopes that they will do the right thing in 2014 with regard to WesPac.
After public comments, Pittsburg Mayor Sal Evola thanked both the audience and the councilmembers for their patience and respectfulness, said that he was listening – “While you were speaking, you may have noticed that my head was down. That’s because I was taking notes.” – and reiterated that he and City Manager Joe Sbranti have been holding meetings with groups of concerned residents and plan on having more.
Last night was powerful. Thank you to everyone who came to the City Council meeting, whether to speak or support. And thank you Pittsburg High students!