Last Monday's well attended City Council meeting of June 22 left the Upland City Council and Planning department with a very clear message - Upland residents are very unhappy with and DO NOT WANT the new General Plan. Whether the Council or Planning Department has received this message remains to be seen. We're not going to hold our breaths. And, luckily for Mayor Musser, he was Skyped in from an out-of-state location with a very poor connection. This technical hiccup allowed him to dodge any criticisms or comments that may have been headed his way.
The first speaker of the evening was a man named Charles from the San Antonio Water Company (one of Upland's water sources). He spoke in depth about how SAWCo's water allocation and shares worked. He also described the unique situation of shares held by the residents of San Antonio Heights, which allows them to draw over their allotment. The real interesting part was when he got down to the nitty-gritty of our water situation. He described how one Well was down 48ft and another Well dropped 55ft and how ground water was not "re-charging". Mayor Pro Tem, Glenn Bozar, asked if the situation could be considered "severe". Charles answered, "Yes".
After hearing about the water, the majority of residents that spoke in front of the Council either objected to the outsourcing of the Animal Shelter operations or to the new politically motivated General Plan. A couple speakers, did however, address the Marijuana petitions from the Cannabis Coalition and Council Members Filippi and Stone's supposed approval of Marijuana dispensaries in Upland. Both Council Members refuted the allegations.
Residents' objections to the General Plan ranged from its political Global Warming underpinnings, faulty water availability projections for new construction, high-density housing, and "Anti-Car" vision...all the way to the fact that the plan is not unique for Upland, but is being implemented nationally under the political guise of "Climate Change", "Smart Growth", and other political "Sustainability" movements. One resident proclaimed that the EIR and associated documents are faulty because they are based on a five-year old Urban Water Management Plan that was written in 2010 (one of California's wettest years). The resident asserted that a lot has changed since 2010 and with Upland residents required to cut back their water usage by 36% because of a major multi-year drought, we just can't keep building hundreds and hundreds of new condos and apartments.
In continuing their objections to the General Plan, City Manager Rod Butler garnered a lot of heat and criticism from residents (Read a quick post about that here) who rejected and were offended by his General Plan promoting "puff piece" in the Daily Bulletin (Read that here). One resident pulled quote after quote from his editorial and skillfully refuted them one by one. I think the City Council was a little surprised on how upset the residents were with him. Needless to say, Rod Butler has attended better City Council meetings.
While most residents just verbally objecting to the new General Plan, Diane Fedele addressed the Council on behalf of a 65 year-old organization known as the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated and presented the Mayor and City Council with a Resolution (Read it here) exposing Agenda 21 and its relation to Upland's new General Plan. The Resolution describes the destructive strategies of "Sustainable Development" and states the group's opposition to Agenda 21 and the Upland General Plan. "We reject its radical policies and reject any grant monies attached to it," stated Fedele.
So, did the City Council and the Planning Department hear the clear message coming from Upland residents? Judging from the cold and emotionless look on most of their faces and some of the defensive comments given during Council Communications, it seems unlikely.