Press Release: Memo Released by Circulate San Diego Highlights Legal Concerns with City of San Diego’s Community Planning Groups Structure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 4, 2019

Contact: Colin Parent

(858) 442-7374

cparent@circulatesd.org

Press Release: Memo Released by Circulate San Diego Highlights Legal Concerns with City of San Diego’s Community Planning Groups Structure

Today Circulate San Diego released a memorandum detailing legal concerns with the structure of the City of San Diego’s community planning groups. The memo is available at http://www.circulatesd.org/cpglegalmemo.

These legal concerns must be addressed as the City considers reforms to community planning groups  which were called for by a City Audit, a San Diego County Grand Jury report, and from Circulate San Diego.

Community planning groups provide a vital channel for the public to provide input about transportation and land use policy. As Circulate San Diego demonstrated from our 2018 report “Democracy in Planning,” elections and governance of community planning groups do not meet the standards we ordinarily expect for fairness and access to governmental decisionmaking.

Today’s memorandum is addressed to City Attorney Mara Elliot, and specifies legal concerns regarding how current community planning group structure complies with the San Diego City Charter and the California Political Reform Act.

The City Charter requires that advisory committees created by the City Council may only include members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. If the current  practice of CPG elections is to continue, an amendment to the City Charter may be required. In addition, the City has not followed Fair Political Practices Commission advice to demonstrate that community planning groups are exempt from the Political Reform Act. If the City cannot meet this burden, or it chooses not to undertake that effort, then the Political Reform Act requires community planning group members to file statements of economic interest.

“The Mayor and City Council should make needed reforms to San Diego’s community planning process, and they should do so in a way that is in accordance with both state and municipal law,” said Colin Parent, Executive Director and General Counsel for Circulate San Diego.

Parent co-authored the memorandum with Matthew Stucky, who is also an attorney and a member of the North Park Planning Committee.

About Circulate San Diego

Circulate San Diego is a regional non-profit organization dedicated to advancing mobility and making the region a better place to move, work, learn, and play. Our work focuses on creating great mobility choices, more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, and land uses that promote sustainable growth. For more information, go to www.circulatesd.org.

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