Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The City Council meeting last night was chock full of surprises, more about that in a later post, not the least of which was the Council's NO vote on the Verizon cell tower.
We now know why there were so many closed session meetings about this project. It seems as if the lease agreement with Verizon had been signed by city staff before the City Council had given its approval. That procedural misstep paved the way for the council to reject the ratification of the lease agreement voting it down 4-1 with Councilmember Swearingen the only yes vote.
Those who opposed the tower and were in attendance at last night's meeting (15 residents waited patiently until late into the evening) were very happy and very grateful for the community's support and for the council's decision.
We will wait and see if the cell tower idea is reincarnated at some other location.
Matt Bielby, who spearheaded the opposition has written this "open letter"to the Pinole City Council.
Open Letter to the Pinole City Council:
Thank you for taking the issue of the Verizon cell tower in Pinole Valley Park as seriously as you did. Also, thank you for listening to your constituents and voting this cell tower down. I know it takes a lot of guts to stand up to a large corporation like that and tell them no. It was heartening to see that the system works; that, although so many things in this world are messed up, some things do work. In this case, the little person, the citizen, was able to voice their concern for a poorly planned and executed venture and the city council listened. I know it has changed my opinion of politics in general and has made me inspired to know that one person can make a difference.
The City of Pinole is poised to ratify the lease agreement with Verizon for an 80 foot monopole at Pinole Valley Park, at this Tuesday's City Council meeting.
The Council has been dancing around this issue for over a month. Interestingly, they recently held a special closed session council meeting, on a Monday night, simply to discuss this item behind closed doors. That certainly drew the attention and ire of those residents who have been campaigning against this tower. The Council has often stated that the City's resources cannot be wasted on unnecessary staff time. Yet the City added this meeting for one, closed-door session item. Seems a bit of a contradiction.
The city has a budget to review Tuesday and we will all know soon enough how the city's finances look.
Does the $24,000 revenue translate to new services? Will $24,000 go towards the services volunteers have been keeping upright for the last few years? Or will that $24,000 simply be lost in the abyss known as the General Fund for unspecified and unknown budget line items?
The City is bouncing back from the recession. However, it seems as if they are contemplating staffing cost increases of one type or another. The use of public funds should dictate that $24,000 of new revenue for a cell tower placed on public property should give the forgotten taxpayer a voice in its use. This new source of revenue wasn't a part of the previous budgets, therefore, it can be earmarked for whatever the council deems necessary. It will be interesting to see what this council designates these funds for.
Below is a letter from Matt Bielby, who represents the residents opposed to the erection of an 80 foot cell tower in their back yard.
No Cell Tower in Pinole Valley Park
The City of Pinole has plans which will allow Verizon to install an 80ft Cell Tower on public lands in Pinole Park. Pinole Park is recreationally zoned and this will be opening it up for commercial use. Local residents have voiced their concern for this poorly planned venture, but the City Council is poised to ratify the lease this Tuesday, June 18th.
This plan reeks of a weak City Council allowing its City Staff to dictate policy and open their doors to a major corporation. The city is only going to be making $24k a year, which does not cover even a quarter of the cost of a police officer or fire fighter, yet they’re willing to sacrifice one of the most beautiful areas of Pinole for it.
Pinole’s City Staff just want the extra revenue, and see this as a ‘bottom line’ issue. The City Council is meant to look out for its residents’ best interest, which they will not be doing by ratifying this lease. Our property values have just begun to turn around and the last thing we need is something to harm them.
Please join us at The Pinole City Council meeting on June 18th and let The City Council know you don’t want this Cell Tower in Pinole Valley Park.
Also, please contact:
Debbie Long (Mayor) 510 684 3080
Pete Murray 510 222 1910
Tim Banuelos 510 872 9646
Let them know this is a flawed plan and you don’t want this Cell Tower in Pinole Valley Park.
Pinole City Council Agendas:
Attached are 2 agendas. In the event that the Council does not complete the Budget Workshop review on June 18th, a Special Meeting has been noticed in order to continue the discussion the following evening. If the review is concluded on June 18th, the Mayor will cancel the Special meeting scheduled for the following evening.
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