Last week, before city councilmembers adopted the Small and Neighborhood Business Ordinance, a law that makes it more difficult for big-box retailers to open stores in San Diego, several citizens, including city councilmember Sherri Lightner, expressed concerns that the public had not been given enough time to review the proposed ordinance.
At that meeting, Todd Gloria, the author of the ordinance, said that the public had five months to debate the issue and give their input. Gloria reassured his colleagues and the audience that his office informed residents and community-planning groups.
This week, at the November 10 meeting of the Land Use and Housing Committee, John Ziebarth, a member of San Diego's Technical Advisory Committee, appeared before the committee to rebuke Gloria, stating the public had weeks not months to review the big-box ordinance.
"The public vetting process has been circumvented. I spent over 2500 hours over the past eight years... Am I wasting my time in the public vetting process?" Asked the local architect.
"Three months was spent by the city attorney. Four months was spent by the [Independent Budget Analyst]," said Ziebarth. "The Community Planning Committee had one week. The planning commission had one week."
As for Gloria's claim that Ziebarth and the Technical Advisory Committee had reviewed the proposal, Ziebarth said that the committee was not issued any background information. He also said that no one from the City or from Gloria's office attended the advisory committee meetings.
"We called those [meetings]," Ziebarth told Gloria. "We specifically asked for information. It was not provided. No one supported this. If people are begging to be involved, why aren't we doing it?"
Neither councilmember Gloria nor his colleagues responded.