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CPA gamble could end up costing La Jollans

We consider the decision made by La Jolla’s Community Planning Association to risk decertification as a planning group by operating under unapproved bylaws to be a foolish gamble - and the big losers could be the people of La Jolla.

The City Council will consider decertifying the association on Tuesday, April 24.

The mayor’s office recommended decertification after the CPA passed bylaws that contained departures from the council policy that governs planning groups and included language that made the bylaws effective immediately. The group was given one last chance to avoid the decertification hearing by reverting to its old bylaws until the city can have a new, Brown Act-compliant shell bylaw document ready for all 42 of the city’s planning groups on May 1.

The Planning Association chose not to exercise that option, and we cannot understand why.

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It’s true that the city has handled the bylaw situation poorly and that the deadline for new bylaws keeps moving. What else is new? We think that when the mayor’s office offered to allow the CPA to retain the most important aspects of the new bylaws - more accessible membership requirements and elections that were conducted under them in March - it was a concession made in recognition of the city’s clumsiness on the matter.

So it seems the Planning Association made this stand to send a message that they’re tired of being pushed around by City Hall. The problem is, they are relevant because of the certification given by City Hall.

That’s why we can’t understand why the CPA would engage in such direct defiance of the City Council. Many CPA members believe the association is joining up with City Attorney Michael Aguirre in his downtown rivalry with Council President Scott Peters. Aguirre has supported the new bylaws, but he has shown a knack for championing losing causes.

Local people say, “We don’t want SeaHaus to happen again.” How, then, is it a good idea to risk losing La Jolla’s only official local input with the planners downtown? If the Planning Association went away, the barn door would be left open and the developers would roam free.

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We can only hope that the City Council can create a settlement April 24 that serves the people of La Jolla, in spite of the mistakes made by our local planners.