Community Development has done plenty of communicating about the General Plan Update, thank you, which is why they now have to do a shit-ton more of it

This is the image that greeted web viewers more than an hour before the GPU meeting actually ended.

After months of attributing concerns about inadequate communication regarding the county’s General Plan Update to “special interest groups” spreading “misinformation,” Both Kirk Girard and his snarky senior planner Martha Spencer admitted today that they had failed to incorporate or even solicit input from key stakeholders.

The admissions were made near the start of a six-hour meeting that reportedly ended with a unanimous decision to defer discussion about pausing the GPU process or creating an advisory group that would keep the planning process focused on the will of the people, rather than the will of the Planning Commission.

Community Development Disservices staff were, however, instructed to solicit the input of local cities, Community Services Districts and tribes–something that 12 years into the process Girard’s staff never bothered to do.

A few observations along the way, if we may.

  • If you’re going to hold a meeting to defend against allegations of shoddy communication, your argument is not helped when the speakers for the overflow crowd in the courthouse lobby don’t work, the computer stream cuts out before the end of public comment, and the TV feed goes dead in the middle of boardmember deliberations. Just FYI.
  • When Arcata City Councilboy Shane Brinton stands up and calls those who care about our local economy an “unholy alliance” of “greedy people,” we’re reminded that he is, after all, 12 years old, which is why his was far and away the most arrogant and immature voice in the room. We expect he’ll cultivate a more nuanced grasp of economic issues once his mom cuts off his allowance.
  • Natalynn DeLapp, if you’re going to sit behind the podium, all of your whispering, texting and giggling like a drunken sorority girl end up on TV, and your reputation as irrelevant political eye-candy remains firmly intact. As much as we normally enjoy ogling your rack, even we were relieved when you left, probably to get your nails done.
  • Spoiler alert: Scott Greacen threatened litigation. With a straight face and everything. We’re shocked!!
  • For Community Development Disservices Director Kirk Girard, a quick clarification: Having to make changes to work your staff has already done is not a downside of soliciting additional community input. It’s not an unfortunate side-effect. It’s the fucking point. That’s just something to keep in mind going forward.

And because we hate all the grim, let’s go out with a laugh. You know how we love a laugh. This one’s easy: Just Google “Kirk Girard.” Please. For us. It’s the awesomest thing we’ve seen all day.

Hugs!

Community Development Disservices Department goes on the offensive

The Times-Standard today published a 650-word snark-fest by Martha Spencer, a senior Community Development Services planner who has worked on the county’s General Plan Update for the past eight or nine years.

Her message? Critics of the GPU process are “special interest groups” that don’t know what they’re talking about. In her view, the process hasn’t taken too long. It hasn’t cost too much. Oh and they’re gonna start issuing news releases!! Yay that. But there won’t be anymore pesky advisory groups, because the department has listened to this community’s crap for long enough already, thanks.

Well you’re welcome, Martha! And here’s a little something else. Since online comments to this My Word mysteriously disappeared, one Mirror reader asked us to add this message–if, you know, y’all can bear anymore of that irritating community input:

The level of acrimony expressed in this piece verges on disdain. If the intent were to bring people together by providing accurate or at least “official” information, you fail.

I agree that there has been misinformation but would note that much of it comes from the Community Development Services Department. Your Housing Element is and was a fraud, and probably an intentional one, so when you want to accuse others of spreading misinformation you might give some thought to what the pot said to the kettle and why, as a result, no one bothers to listen.

Too, it sounds like the big news being announced here is that you are now going to start issuing news releases. This announcement was made in such a way that assumed some level of interest by the general public, even though I’ve never heard one person suggest that what’s missing from the General Plan Update is a concerted public relations effort.

Rather, what’s missing is leadership, truthfulness, and a desire to act in the best interests of this community, rather than cover your asses and score political points. This letter corrects none of these defects.

Word.