There was a friendly atmosphere at the start of the City Council meeting where Upland Service men and women were honored. We add our heartfelt thanks. But then it turned ugly. Mayor Musser, upon hearing that there were 18 speakers who wanted to participate during Oral Communications, cut everyone's time down to 3 minutes per speaker. This really riled the audience. People had prepared their comments and were already frustrated that the Planning Commission meeting the next day was canceled. They had been promised that they would get answers at that meeting. So this just revved them up for a VERY loud and spirited meeting. Members of the audience cheered and booed and yelled out freely.
Water was the main theme of most of the speakers who wanted to comment on the General Plan. One resident asked, "How can you ask us to cut back and at the same time build for 8,000+ new residents and then say we have to now share?" She nailed it!!
To counter the claim that Rosemary Hoerning, staff member, touted at the last last city council meeting that is was a more efficient use of water to build multi-family housing as it is less water per person, another resident had done some research and called her out on it. The resident compared the water usage of a 72-unit apartment complex on 3 acres of land with housing on 3 acres of land in north Upland with only 2 units per acre. Guess what? The statistics showed that the single family homes won!! They used less water than the 72-unit apartment building on 3 acres. (Duh!) "Wells don't care about per capita usage - when it goes it's gone!"
Comments also touched on increased crime, over crowding and specifically overcrowding in school classrooms. Another brave citizen asked the council very pointed questions about the plan, confirming they didn't really know the full consequences of accepting the plan. She finished by saying that the Council would become irrelevant if they approved this plan driven by SANBAG and SCAG.
We cheered after a resident who had moved from Alhambra six years ago to Upland for the "gracious living", said she had done so because Alhambra had embraced the high density plan that the City was trying to implement here. She didn't want that lifestyle. She told of the terrible consequences. She asked them to reject the plan and save the city from this same fate. She nailed it too!
A non-resident got up and protested the 3 minute ruling and began with alerting the Council to item "F" on the agenda regarding "PACE" home energy efficiency loans - Property Assessed Clean Energy Programs - and joining the California Home Finance Authority and becoming an associated member in the Joint Exercise of Powers Authority. He strongly cautioned them NOT to pass it. The worst part of the program is that the loan is attached to the property and not the individual. People can lose their homes as the loans are payed back through an assessment added to their property taxes. The plan is funded through municipal bonds. THIS IS A HORRIBLE PLAN. UPLAND MUST SAY NO TO PACE FINANCING. Thanks friend for making us aware. We can now fight this!
One of the highlights of the meeting was when Mayor called for a break because this speaker would not stop at 3 minutes. He only had 3 paragraphs left but Mayor walked out. Things really heated up at that point. Many jeered and yelled to show their disgust for his actions. They wanted to hear the rest of the comments. Simultaneously we noticed in the wings that additional police officers had arrived and at least two were wearing tactical vests - these are not for patrolling - these vests are generally worn for more serious threats.
When the mayor finally got back, he threatened the audience that if they would not follow the rules, he would let the Police already in the meeting, handle the situation. The rest of the speakers got their turns. One good comment was that residents should follow the money on this new General Plan - look at the grants and pensions, etc. Several on the council thought the speaker didn't know what she was talking about, but we did. We know how this works - the city staff gets their pensions funded, developers get rich, and then they show their gratitude to the council and donate to their pet projects like "Healthy Upland" and even re-election campaigns. (Wink! Wink!)
Council Communications came next on the agenda and Councilwoman Timm started off by telling us that we can always come and talk to her about the Plan. Maybe she was just having a senior moment tonight but at the end of the last council meeting on May 11th she pleaded with residents who were concerned about high density and the General Plan that they needed to talk to staff to get their questions answered and not just talk to the Council. She denied she said "talk to staff" and said she was always willing to meet. Which is it Ms. Timm? Well, we know what it is, we have it on video!! (Click here to view the May 11th City Council meeting - Fast forward to 182:00 minutes.) She agreed there should be workshops with them on one side of the room and us on the other - she said that was real communication. (???) She also condescendingly said that she understood resident's concerns - that she had found a lot of "mistakes" in the plan too! Sorry Ms. Timm. We don't buy that the plan just needs some minor correcting based on a couple of typographical errors. We believe the entire thing is a mistake. Throw it out. We want to help re-write it.
Councilman Bozar spoke out on behalf of the resident's request for a town hall meeting with an informal format that would allow for back and forth comments. Mayor half-heartedly said yeah, we should have one.
Hear us City Council!
WE DON'T HAVE QUESTIONS THAT NEED ANSWERING!!
WE HAVE READ THE PLAN!!
WE WANT THE PLAN RE-WRITTEN!!
WE DON'T NEED YOUR INPUT.
WE KNOW WHAT YOU THINK. WE KNOW YOU DON'T WANT TO STOP IT.
WE DON'T NEED TO HEAR THE REASONS YOU ARE GOING TO RUBBER STAMP THIS PLAN!
REJECT THE PLAN FOR THE GOOD OF THE CITY, OUR CHILDREN, OUR GRANDCHILDREN!
REMEMBER, IF YOU DON'T YOU WILL BECOME IRRELEVANT!