Well played, Greg Larson and Los Gatos Town Council, well played. But I have to call a spade a spade and label
The Council was merely placating those in opposition to the opening (and location) of a gun shop in Los Gatos, giving people a (false) sense of being heard. They of course had to hold the public meeting at some point to appear open and neutral. And how clever to include a preceding agenda item whereby a woman voiced her concerns about fluoride being a "key chemical in atomic bomb production" and nuclear waste byproduct. That additional fear element made the whole Templar Sports topic pale in comparison. Nice touch.
The meeting had all the dressings of democracy in action. But it wasn't. It was C.Y.A. Theater. Larson, in the hot seat, opened with a chronological account of events, summarizing that no town code had been broken and there's nothing anyone can do. Various council members followed, asking questions, giving the appearance of a thorough examination.
This is predominantly the same Council that denied American Apparel a retail spot, despite numerous empty buildings on No. Santa Cruz Ave., due to questionable image and slightly imperfect retail mix and denied opportunities for dogs to be off- leash in designated parks for fear a child's ankle gets nipped. If the Council had been more laissez-faire in its previous decisions, I would have bought the performance on Monday evening.
Adding to the staging was the significant influx of Templar supporters from all over the Bay Area, and beyond, brought in to give the impression that Los Gatos residents are strongly in favor of the gun shop. And these out-of-towners were allowed to speak, thus reflecting on public record a greater local support for the gun shop than perhaps is the case.
If Larson and Council were genuinely representing the residents of Los Gatos, they would have held this public meeting last August 2012 when it is on record that Templar Sports revealed to the town it would be selling firearms. The staff knew this would be a highly contentious issue, but chose to keep quiet. Once Templar invested in the building upgrades, secured permits and opened to the public, it would be very difficult for anyone to stop the train. And for extra leverage, the law firm representing Templar, Law Offices of Donald Kilmer, has kindly stepped forward waving the litigation flag.
If this had all been raised before the shop was opened, and if the majority of Los Gatos residents supported the gun shop, then so be it. Due process would have been served. But a timely public debate didn't happen. Now Templar is firmly entrenched, within 1.5 miles of all three elementary schools, middle school and high school, with plans to expand.
The whole affair has been handled extremely poorly and is going to end up being very costly for the town, regardless of how it gets resolved.