Mayor seeks to decertify Community Planning Association

Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office has asked the City Council to consider decertifying the La Jolla Community Planning Association as a city-recognized planning group for operating under bylaws that have not been approved by the city.

Jim Waring, deputy chief of land use and economic development for San Diego, wrote a letter urging the Planning Association to vote to operate in accordance with the bylaws that were in existence before the association approved new bylaws in January. He said such a vote was the only way to avoid having its certification taken away by the city, a move that Waring wrote would be “an unprecedented action.”

The Planning Association will hold a special meeting prior to its regular meeting on Thursday, April 5, to consider a motion to avoid decertification. The special meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St.

The Community Planning Association adopted new bylaws, which are the rules that govern every aspect of the group’s conduct, at a special meeting on Jan. 18. There was concern that one aspect of the new bylaws did not conform with the City Council policy under which the planning association operates. The policy states that bylaws must be approved by the City Coucil, City Attorney’s office and the city Planning Director prior to adoption, but one of the last items in the new bylaws approved by the planning association on Jan. 18 stated that they were to become effective immediately.

Planning association trustees Mark Lyon, Phil Merten and Lynn Hayes walked out prior to the meeting’s conclusion in protest of that portion of the new bylaws, but they were approved by the Community Planning Association’s membership. City Attorney Michael Aguirre appeared at the Feb. 1 meeting of the Planning Association and said his office would approve the bylaws that were voted on Jan. 18, but Aguirre’s approval was only part of what was needed to make the bylaws official.

In his letter to Community Planning Association chair Tim Golba, Waring wrote: “The LJCPA was notified in the January 29 letter that, in accordance with Council Policy 600-24, bylaw changes adopted by a planning group are not in effect until they have been approved by the City. ... Since February 1, 2007, the LJCPA has been out of compliance by operating under bylaws which have not been reviewed or approved per Council Policy 600-24.”

A trustee election held March 1 may also be affected by the decision by the mayor’s office. Six new trustees were elected at a meeting held under the bylaws approved in January.

“This has called into question the validity of that election, which is now the subject of a formal complaint and challenge,” Waring wrote.

Waring said the city wants the Planning Association to revert to the old bylaws for the sake of uniformity. Golba wrote in an e-mail to Planning Association members that the City Council will attempt to adopt a uniform “shell” document for all city-recognized planning groups on May 1. At that time, planning groups will have the chance to argue for deviations to the shell.

In the meantime, Waring wrote that the La Jolla Community Planning Association could revert to its old bylaws while maintaining two changes that were featured parts of the new bylaws: the removal of proxy voting and the reduction of the meeting requirement for membership from three to one.

Golba has proposed a motion that would revert the Planning Association to the old bylaws with those two changes, but he has attached a contingency: the city of San Diego must recognize the results of the election held on March 1. Golba wrote in his e-mail to members that he had received approval from the mayor’s office for that concept already.

The La Jolla Community Planning Association’s regularly scheduled meeting will be held immediately following the special meeting at La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St.