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In his Friday Guest View Point column, Jim Rickman said: “ It would be a real stretch for anyone to argue that the referendum, recall or initiative process in this community has been abused during the past 30 years.”
Many of us would vehemently disagree with this view. Some have been appalled that the 529 referendum delay cost LA County and Schools the full development of Trinity Site by delaying action until the collapse of the U.S. economy in 2008. Others have been dismayed that the process unnecessarily delayed the construction of the new County building, forcing county employees to work in transportable trailers and costing County taxpayers extra years of rental expenses.
We have also apparently lost the opportunity to attract visitors with a leisure pool addition to the “Blue Whale” because our councillors feared that making a decision would lead to yet another referendum wasting time, effort and money.
While I agree that a healthy respect for the electorate is required of our councillors, they ludicrously continue to fail to make real decisions partly due, in my opinion, to excessive fear of these processes. The examples above make it clear that this fear is not completely unwarranted.
The Charter revision provisions will make the referendum, recall and initiative processes only slightly more difficult. I will vote for them in the hope that the changes will make our councillors only slightly more willing to make necessary decisions that will stick on slightly more appropriate time scales.