JFTB committee added to Seal Beach mayor’s appointment list

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District 4 councilman asked to be made Seal Beach representative

By Charles M. Kelly

Following a lengthy discussion, the Seal Beach City Council on Monday, Oct. 26 voted 5-0 to add an ad hoc committee for non-military affairs to the list of mayoral appointments. The committee, if it is ever formed, would address the concerns of Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Cypress and Garden Grove as they relate to non-military matters surrounding the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.

At the previous council meeting, District 4 Councilman Gary Miller asked to be appointed to the committee proposed Mayoral Ad Hoc Committee for the JFTB.

At the Oct. 26 meeting, eight College Park East residents also asked the council to appoint Miller to the committee.  They spoke during the public comment segment of the meeting because the subject, while on the agenda, was not part of a public hearing.  The issue appeared on the agenda under “council items.”

Several of the residents said that while the mayors of the other cities were elected at large, Seal Beach council members (including the mayor) were elected by district. The College Park East residents pointed out that their community was geographically closer to the base and was most effected by base activities, in particular the recently suspended composting project.

CPE resident Lorraine Lavaro said a mayor was elected for only one year and it would be difficult for someone to develop the needed expertise in that short period of time.

Patti Campbell, president of the College Park East Neighborhood Association, said the council should defer to Miller because he was the most informed on the issue.

However, three council members clearly disagreed. “The person who should be representing the overall vest interests of the city should be the mayor, whoever that might be,” said District 1 Councilman Charles Antos.

District 2 Councilman David Sloan said that if the meeting is for mayors, then the mayor should be there. However, Sloan also said if a councilman’s district was involved in an issue then the appropriate councilman should also be at the meeting.

Mayor Gordon Shanks said he did not know how Miller could have been more involved in the issue of the JFTB composting project. He agreed that Miller had more knowledge of the subject than he did. Shanks said he and Miller had worked well together.

At the same time, Shanks said he did not want to break Seal Beach down into little conclaves based on specific issues, with Miller being the city’s representative concerning the JFTB and Antos beig the city’s representative concerning the DWP property.

Miller pointed out that the difference was that the mayors of the other cities neighboring the base were elected at large by their entire communities. Late, Miller said the ad hoc committee should be made up of elected representatives.

Miller also said he believed that some city officials had knowledge of the JFTB composting project for more than a year before he knew of it. According to Miller, then JFTB commander Brig. Gen. James Combs told a prospective bidder on the project that trucks on Lampson wouldn’t be a problem. Miller asked why the trucks wouldn’t be a problem.

Miller also said that within 48 hours of his telling City Manager David Carmany that he did not want the city to consider spending money on a project to the detriment of College Park East residents, Carmany had staff working on cost assessments for the project.

Shanks said Miller was making accusations.

Miller said he sent Shanks the documentation.

Shanks said Miller was reading the documents.

Miller asked if Shanks had read the “real documents.” Then Miller said, “Anyway, I’ll skip over that for your benefit.”

Miller complained he was not “in the loop.” He also that he had doubts about Carmany.

Miller agreed he and Shanks worked well together.

Shanks said he would make every effort to keep Miller better informed.

Sloan said he was uncomfortable with having Miller serve as the only representative on the  ad hoc committee.

Miller said he never tried to take over the committee. However, he said he was certain that there would be trucks on Lampson if the mayor and the city manager were in charge of the project. He also said he believed the composting project will start up again.