Letter to the Editor: No Trust For Los Gatos Town Staff

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More than 10 years ago when I was on the Los Gatos General Plan Review Committee, we were man-handled by an overbearing outside hired-gun to agree to giving more authority to our town staff.

The theory was to take away the small things from the Los Gatos Planning Commission and Los Gatos Town Council as to allow them to concentrate on bigger issues.

Our comment to this was, "No, we don't trust staff."

This past year is a classic example of why we thought that public purview of "small things" was important to hold onto in Los Gatos. I will review but a few over the past 12 months.

First, they did not apply the legal requirements for the Netflix project but did so for the North 40 project. 

This caused a public outcry and a citizens lawsuit. The town lost the suit, costing thousands of dollars in man hours.

This year, the town issued two use permits that I know of to cronies, allowing them to eliminate major retail locations and turn them into professional uses, which is illegal.  

Town staff waved a $60,000 fine to a politically connected builder, but charged
a resident the fine for an identical issue.

Our town manager outright lied to the Planning Commission and Council in regards to parking requirements for allowing an upstairs bar in the Los Gatos Cinema proposal carrying on a history of bending the truth at the staff level.

The gun shop issue certainly points out that "small things" can turn into big things and ethical decisions should be returned to the Planning Commission and Council.

Staff can not be trusted and we must return decision making to the community instead of professional bureaucrats who cater to builders, developers and the monied elite.

Anne Robinson February 01, 2013 at 04:49 PM
I agree!
Sandy Vaurs February 01, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Thanks to citizens like Larry Arzie for taking his time to be our watchdog. I wish more people here were good citizens and contributed like Larry does. Let George do it is the prevailing attitude. There are organizations here, like Los Gatos Community Alliance, which have been working hard to push back against over-development and cronyism. Put your Good Neighbor hat on and join others trying to keep Los Gatos a great place to live.
Mckenna Smith February 01, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Mr. Arzie is to be commended for having the courage to speak up! I agree too! Town Staff needs oversight.
JimGriffin February 01, 2013 at 08:56 PM
I suggest you hold a contest or competition to rate the best and worst of Los Gatos town government. I believe there is an organization that web hosts that at no charge. Simply identify each significant office or department in town government and let readers and citizens vote. (Please, don't forget to include Code Enforcement.) In 1963 at SJSC I helped gather input for the first Tower List rating professors, and I understand that's still going.
Larry Arzie February 01, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Thanks for the suggestion Jim. I would add that when identifying problems to use the Staff Persons name. They hate this. High up Staff is generally not a long term employee using their jobs as stepping stones to better jobs. When their names are published they show up in employer background searches. So if they don't want to be ratted out they will attempt to be less biased. Remember, it is our Town manager who runs the town and with the most power. So use his name if you feel he is being unethical or disloyal to the community he works for.
kay sieverding May 09, 2013 at 01:05 AM
I had a terrible experience with Wendie Schulenburg AKA Wendie Rooney, who is the Los Gatos Director of Community Development. She said under oath that she was a certified planner a member of the AICP but they said she was never a member never a certified planner. Wendie said this to benefit Kevin Bennett a convicted felon who was running Steamboat Springs Colorado. http://www.exploresteamboat.com/news/2009/sep/30/candidates_divided_financing_issue/
Larry Arzie January 04, 2014 at 02:58 PM
Kay Sieverding: Wendie Rooney did have P.R. problems to say the least. But if she misspoke as you say, then she probably padded her resume to get her job here, in regards to your certified planner and AICP charges. Since she no longer works here I would suggest you bring this up to our town attorney as she is still receiving checks from us every month that may need to be adjusted to a different scale .


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