|Beware the dog and pony show!|
Well folks, the first Montebello city council meeting of the new year has come and gone but it sure was a doozy!
The posted agenda for last night's meeting looked innocent enough. There was the usual legaleeze and cere-moan-ial language along with descriptions of all the stuff that was going to be discussed in "closed session." The meat and potatoes portion of the menu included agenda items about Prop A funds, a memorandum of understanding with city employees, the monthly investment report and the payment of bills.
No big deal, just the same ole same ole, nothing to see here folks, jes keep moving along . . .
Buried in the middle of the agenda under the laughable title "Item 19: Staff Communications on Items of Community Interest" was something called:
Economic Development Update - Larry Kosmont - Kosmont Companies.
Members of the Save the Montebello Hills Task Force smelled a skunk when they noticed how many "suits" started to flood into the council chambers to speak on the mysterious Item 19.
You see folks, this here "update" was actually a full blown, 30 page power point presentation featuring three projects:
1. The Montebello Hills Specific Plan (The lion's share of the presentation!)
2. The Monterey Park Market Place
3. The Costco Gas Station
If this was supposed to be an "item of community interest" then why didn't city hall do a decent job of notifying the community?????? How did the developer's supporters know this "update" was actually a chance for them to speak in support of the Montebello Hills housing project?
Tsk, tsk, shame on you Montebello city hall! In this fresh new year are y'all going back to the same ole dirty tricks?
To the credit of our new Mayor, Christina Cortez, several outraged members of the public were allowed to speak out about this apparent injustice even though they hadn't submittted a speaker's card ahead of time. The last public speaker of the night was Linda Strong, Chair of the Save the Montebello Hills Task Force. Her reference to the seemingly endless parade of Cook Hill boosters as a "dog and pony show" prompted a loud shout of agreement from the back of the room!
Even Montebello City Councilman Bill Molinari was appalled by the lack of candor in the description of Item 19. He wanted to know why the agenda didn't clearly list the three projects since so many folks in Montebello are keenly interested in these things.
Fortunately, the evening wasn't a total disaster. Providence intervened in the form of Dr. Clyde Thomas Williams.
First, Montebello resident, Yvonne Watson, shared her concerns about fracking in the Montebello hills and asked why images of the hills (taken straight out of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Montebello Hills Specific Plan) were used in a 2010 oil industry presentation on hydraulic fracturing called:
Dr.Williams is a retired oil and gas expert with an impressive "curriculum vitae" a mile long. Dr. Williams is a highly sought after public speaker and was part of a panel of experts during a recent South Coast Air Quality Management District workshop on the subject of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking.")
Dr. Williams is a very busy man but he agreed to speak to the Montebello City Council on how fracking affects Montebello.
You see folks, on December 18, 2012, California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) released a "discussion draft" of new fracking regulations and next week, the South Coast Air Quality Management District is holding another meeting to discuss new air quality regulations regarding fracking. Here is the info:
January 15, 2013
10:00 am PST
Conference Room GB
21865 Copley Drive, Diamond Bar
Dr. Williams spoke during the public comments portion of the Montebello city council meeting which came before the now infamous "Item 19," and his comments must have hit a nerve with Larry Kosmont because (miracle of miracles!) Kosmont mentioned the word "fracking" during his power point presentation!
It's too bad all the Cook Hill cheerleaders weren't paying attention during this part of the meeting.
I reckon they were all too busy memorizing their lines.
The Sierra Club's Save the Montebello Hills Task Force issued an email response to their supporters about what happened at the January 9, 2013 Montebello City Council meeting. Y'all can read a copy of this email at the Sierra Club - Angeles Chapter website.
*The KCET episode mentioned by Dr. Williams in his comments, The "F" Word: Unregulated Fracking at Oil Wells Raising Concerns, can be viewed at The Montebello Hills Blog post for Tuesday, March 27, 2012, Is PXP "fracking" our hills?