Complaining of “petty politics,” Pacific Grove Planning Commissioner Bruce Obbink resigned Monday.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Jim Costello, Obbink expressed concern that the mayor had not offered up Obbink’s name for reappointment before his commission term expires in February.
Obbink, who served on the Planning Commission for three years, said the city may be facing a crisis in coming months over its boards and commissions.
Obbink lost elections in 2002 and 2004 for city council in PG.
January 23, 2006
Mr. Jim Costello, Mayor
City of Pacific Grove
300 Forest Ave
Pacific Grove, CA. 93950
Dear Mayor Costello:
Thank you for taking the time a week or so ago on the telephone to discuss my application for reappointment to the Pacific Grove Planning Commission. I must say I am somewhat perplexed over the fact you have not yet been advised as to who applicants are, how many there are, how you are going to handle the appointments and whether or not you are going to have public interviews. I have frequently gone to the City Managers office and the staff is forthright in telling me the names of individuals that have applied for a position on the Committees in which I have an interest.
What is bothering me most is your capitulation to petty politics that, according to you, is what is driving your decision not to offer my name up for reappointment. What happened to the evaluation of qualifications of an individual for the position? So members of the Council have “targeted” me. So what! So you have other political compromises to make and don’t want to waste a future compromise on this issue. So what! How about service to the residents of Pacific Grove by appointing qualified people? It is hard to understand that an individual of your standing in the community would ever let the cheapness of petty politics get in the way of good decisions.
he fact that a member of the Council did not like my report on the activities of the Special Subcommittee on Golf Fees seems to be a silly reason to not make an appointment decision especially since you have only three applicants for the two positions and the third applicant fails another one of your tests. That leaves only two applicants for two positions! The report in question was a joint report by the Chairman and me. The reason I gave the report is the Chairman could not be there. I recall distinctly asking you and the Council if you wanted to hear it and that it was going to take longer than 3 minutes. The Council said “yes”! Just because you are getting chewed on by some Council members for allowing the report should not make the report the subject of displeasure. It was a report from a Council appointed subcommittee. It was accurate in every sense of the word.
During my three year service to the community on the Planning Commission I served on the committee that successfully crafted the Secondary and Illegal Housing Ordinance, attended the Indian Nations conference on the implementation of the now operative state law governing archeological finds, completed the Dan Curtin seminar on land law and currently serve as the chair of the subcommittee on story poles and noticing. I am also a member of the archeological sub committee. It seems to me this record of involvement is a significant benefit to the City of Pacific Grove out weighing some petty political agenda of a Council person.
I have never found yielding to pettiness an effective way to deal with issues of importance.After considering carefully our telephone conversation I see no reason to leave my application on file, nor do I see any reason to continue to serve. Please accept this letter as my resignation from the Pacific Grove Planning Commission. Your suggestion that individuals could continue to serve until a replacement is found is inappropriate.
As I leave however, I think it is my duty as a citizen of Pacific Grove to outline a serious matter the city will be facing in the next few months besides your financial dilemma.
You mentioned to me that the political season is beginning to come about and you are finding it difficult to figure out all the agendas that are being contemplated.
Don’t worry about those political agendas and start paying attention to the volunteer groups that serve the community. The city needs 100 citizen volunteers to man the committee structure of this city unless you double up. To continue to treat volunteers with indifference and disrespect will dry up your pool of willing and competent people. You may get some volunteers to fill the holes, but if you are looking for dedication and competency at the same time, you may well be disappointed in the result if you continue to allow abrupt treatment of fellow citizens.
The Planning Commission is a good example. If you noticed in this weeks issue of the Home Town Bulletin there is a story outlining a major rift beginning to fester between the ARB and Planning Commission. These two committees are the ones in direct contact with resident home owners. Your appointees seem to be the ones that are causing the rift. You cannot afford to load either committee with political agenda people that tilt one way or another. All committees derserve sound open debate with answers coming out in the middle of the road. If tilted either way you will not be serving the citizens well.
I have left my golf committee appointment. I was there for 6 years and it is time for someone else to take over. Unfortunately all three public members have resigned, so the committee, while still operating with a quorum, is in the need of public members. The club house is just about finished and will be a beautiful addition to Pacific Grove. The Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Links is an important asset. I am immensely proud having served as Chairman of the Golf Course Advisory Committee during early ideas through to reality of a new club house. As time goes on even those who were adamently opposed to its building will come to love and respect a wonderfully designed facility and the pleasure it brings to the citizens of Pacific Grove and those who use it.
Bruce J. Obbink