The La Jolla Community Planning Association will hold a special meeting to suspend certain elements of its new bylaws as part of an agreement brokered by the City Council.
The special meeting of the Planning Association will take place Thursday, May 3 at 6 p.m., immediately preceeding the association’s regularly scheduled meeting. The council voted April 24 to allow the Planning Association to operate under their new bylaws but without the aspects that deviated from council policy, including provisions to recall elected trustees, granting voting rights to ex-oficio trustees representing other La Jolla groups such as the Bird Rock Community Council and La Jolla Shores Association, and a shorter, six-year term limit.
Since the members of the association voted to ratify their bylaws with those aspects included, they must now vote to suspend them. The vote comes after the Planning Association had previously voted against a settlement proposed by Jim Waring of the mayor’s office to return to their old bylaws, but with two key modifications relating to proxy voting and more accessible membership requirements. With the deviations from council policy set aside, the members of the Planning Association will be voting on a set of bylaws that are quite similar to the old set, association president Tim Golba said.
“If you slice or suspend the deviations, really the bylaws are effectively the same thing on the table now as if you add the two modifications to the old bylaws,” Golba said.
Planning Association trustee Rob Whittemore thinks there was a key difference between returning to the old bylaws with modifications and the new bylaws minus the deviations that will make the option put before the members on May 3 much more appealing.
“If we had followed what Mr. Waring insisted on, it would have been in violation of council policy,” Whittemore said. “We should be operating under the new bylaws according to council policy.”
The City Council asked all 42 community planning groups to submit new bylaws by April. When the city Planning Department had to revise the bylaw shell document to include provisions of the Brown Act relating to public meeting noticing, it asked the planning groups to hold off. But the City Council never officially moved the deadline.
“We get our official recognition from the council, not from the executive branch,” Whittemore said. “It’s far more important that we follow council policy.”
Should the association’s membership vote to suspend the deviations from the new bylaws, the group would have to return to City Council to get approval for them after the council is ready to hear arguments for deviations, possibly later this month, Golba said.
“The shell is now nearly available, and once it’s approved, it seems to me that all we need to do is add the Brown Act language, which even in La Jolla shouldn’t cause too much trouble,” Golba said. “If the council approves the shell on May 22, I don’t see why we can’t be down there on May 23.”
Golba said the entire affair could end up with La Jolla being the first planning group in the city to update its bylaws.
“The modifications to incorporate the Brown Act should be quick and easy,” he said. “It would be a nice feather in La Jolla’s cap to be the first planning group to move to new bylaws.”
Whittemore also expressed satisfaction with how the entire saga, which could have resulted in the Community Planning Association losing its city recognition as a planning group, played out.
“I’m absolutely delighted, and I think the result is more than satisfactory,” Whittemore said.
He said that when the Community Planning Association took the risk of decertification by refusing Waring’s settlement option of returning to old bylaws with modifications, it was a worthy gamble because Waring was asking the group to violate council policy.
“If you bow down to the commands of Mr. Waring, you compromise the integrity and independence of the planning group,” he said. “I would prefer temporary decertification to permanent subservience.”
In fact, decertification was not even much of a threat, Whittemore said.
“All we would have to do is fix the bylaws and resubmit them and become recertified,” he said.
The special meeting of the La Jolla Community Planning Association will take place May 3 at 6 p.m. at La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St. Please note that regularly scheduled meetings from now on will begin at 6 p.m., a half hour earlier than in the past.