Opinion: City Council Shouldn’t Have Ignored Proper Process with Robertson Boulevard Weekend Closure Decision

Robertson Boulevard sign

On February 16, the West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously to close off Robertson Boulevard on weekends beginning sometime in April. They did so without any prior outreach to the business community and the abutting residential neighborhoods – no report on logistics from city staff, no review by city commissions, no fully executed budget proposal, no traffic diversion analysis and no thoughtful discussion about the viability or need for such an endeavor.

In essence, our elected policy makers looked at a blank piece of paper and said yes. Their excuse was that it was a pilot program, and if it doesn’t work they’ll stop it. But the trend to “pilot” everything does not exempt the City Council from doing the required due diligence prior to making a decision that can affect residents for any given time. Hasty immediate actions without serious consideration of the consequences should not be the preferred legislative approach by our City Council.

The best approach to good decision making is to hearfrom the public, assign city staff to prepare a report that outlines all the details, constraints, liabilities and total expenditures of public funds needed to execute a proposal.

When proposing adevelopment project, the Council requires developers to show drawings, initiate traffic studies, hash out design details at various commissions and hold meetings with stakeholders before the project comes before them for final approval. But here the Council negated that process and simply told staff to figure it out after approval. It’s a double standard.

City staff should have been asked by the City Council to do research and outreach in December or January in preparation for the February council meeting. By doing so, the Council would have had a clearer picture of what they were getting themselves – and us – into and would have thereby facilitated an informed decision.

Generally speaking, government runs slow, but for good reason. Initiatives that have the potential to affect the daily lives of citizens must be considered in a deliberate, thoughtful and un-rushed atmosphere and within the confines of public hearings.

Unfortunately, this is not what happened on February 16. What happened was that the West Hollywood City Council banded together in an attempt to secretly support one council member’s long-desired pet project and covertly approved the project. This is not good governing or good leadership.

Whether you think closing Robertson Boulevard is a good idea or not, is irrelevant. As residents, we should not accept allowing our elected officials to run amok and create policies or make decisions that are not well vetted, properly debated, deliberated or freely presented to the community in a transparent matter and in collaboration with stakeholders.

Lately, it seems that democracy is broken at the West Hollywood City Council….and that’s not good, no matter where you live.

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hifi5000
hifi5000
3 days ago

You have a couple of new councilmembers who are not well versed in the ways of governing.They probably thought this idea was a good one and went along with the rest of the city council.

Everyone thought this plan was simple and would make everyone happy including The Abbey.The city council just forgot about the right process,as laid out by Mr Rodriquez, to put this all together.

The city council should just admit their mistake and start the planning process before the city gets in too deep.

Last edited 3 days ago by hifi5000
Matti
Matti
13 days ago

I think it’s worth trying. It’s a pilot program. If the downsides outweigh the good after trying for a few months, make that known when time comes to decide on the pilot’s future.

Sheila Lightfoot
Sheila Lightfoot
14 days ago

Manny, my friend, you make very eloquent arguments. And, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Being true to your sentiments, I hope you agree they should apply to all issues affecting residents.   Let me quote your comment on an issue that could result in my eviction from West Hollywood for just living my life the way I’ve lived it here for more than 25 years – not just an inconvenience but banishment.   Manny: “More outreach? Not enough outreach? If you’re a [blank] and didn’t hear about this, someone better check your pulse.”  Does that sound like the well-reasoned arguments… Read more »

Manny
Manny
14 days ago

You’re referring to the smoking ban and “blank” is “smoker”. It’s better form that you put your comments in context instead of leaving it a mystery. Doing so would allow readers to better understand your point of view and participate in the discussion as it pertains to process.

Vigilent
Vigilent
14 days ago

The city council members prior to the arrival of our recently elected did not understand process. John Heilman and John Duran, both attorneys, apparently did not understand process described in the city code or it may have been inconvenient to them.

The current additions understand less and appear preoccupied with building their personal political following to support them on their way to a future destination. Conducting city business wisely for the benefit of the residents should be their only obligation for which they swore under oath to execute.

Tom
Tom
14 days ago

I thought this was a silly idea the day after I read about it and notice the sign directing drivers heading East on SMB to make a right South on Robertson to the public parking that they won’t be able to get to on\ weekends..

FJ1
FJ1
15 days ago

Right. On. Manny! The businesses didn’t want it (except..wait for it..The Abbey), the neighborhoods didn’t want it but it was shoved down our throats. These elected officials forget who put them in their seats. We can remove them just as easily.

Jeffery aubel
Jeffery aubel
15 days ago

Just hold them to it being a pilot program. Get the facts of how it actually works, and if it doesn’t then hold them to stopping it, if it does then it’s a good thing.

Leslie K
Leslie K
16 days ago

Perfectly said Manny. I haven’t heard anyone speak in support of this, which makes think there isn’t any apart from the Abbey and council.

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
15 days ago
Reply to  Leslie K

Totally agree. In addition, I have requested that the council comment on the potential issues of traffic flow southbound out of the Pavilions car park onto Robertson on Sunday’s, especially as San Vincente right lane has been narrowed by the forever ongoing park construction.

even the businesses don’t want it
even the businesses don’t want it
16 days ago

Thank you for this opinion piece. You are totally right.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
16 days ago

Totally agree.

Taste of Heaven
Taste of Heaven
16 days ago

Thank you for an excellent opinion piece that is more than an opinion, its refreshing! Two new city council persons already arrogant enough to dismiss public input. Where are those east side ladies who cried foul about process during the plummer park days?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
16 days ago

Thanks for the well reasoned commentary. No every good idea works out in the real world. This decision is a lot like how the scooter companies operated: just do it and ask permission later. The issue is that the City insists upon moving forward on Zoom meetings on items that will have major impacts on the community, knowing that it is difficult for the public to appear or even keep track of what is going on. The City Manager should be limiting the items on the agenda until we can get back to a properly functioning public hearing process.

William Seegmiller
William Seegmiller
11 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

The Council needs to get back to in person meetings asap

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