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The LA City Council : Bats in the Belfrey

by ballona@venicebeach.com Saturday, Jun. 30, 2001 at 3:43 AM

LA City Council scared of Rude Ruth Galavanter, controlled by developers. When the council is corrupt the corrupt will lead.



Environmental Leaders Urge LA City Councilmembers to Oppose Galanter for Council President; "Galanter's Style Fueled Secession Movement"

JUNE 28, 2001, Los Angeles, CA... Environmental leaders who have been opposing the region's largest proposed development in the environmentally-sensitive Ballona Wetlands, have announced they are

urging both veteran and newcomer Los Angeles City Councilmembers to choose someone other than Ruth Galanter to chair their meetings. Galanter, elected by the old Council as President Pro-tem, has served as

Acting President of the Council since former President John Ferraro became ill and subsequently passed away earlier this year.

"Citizens of this region have witnessed how Councilmember Galanter has handled the duties of the Presidency of the City Council, and she has

failed the test hands down. She simply does not possess the grace the position of President implies," stated Robert Roy van de Hoek, Chair of

Sierra Club's Ballona Wetlands Task Force - a group that is made up constituents of Galanter's, as well as others from throughout the city -

all of whom are distressed with the reversal Galanter took when she began supporting the proposed traffic-generating Playa Vista development

that would harm the Ballona Wetlands.

Ruth Galanter, representing the 6th district, which includes Venice, Westchester, and parts of Mar Vista, originally was elected opposing such massive developments, but soon after she took office, she made a deal with developers that she claimed would be better for the environment. In fact, the deal Galanter made increased the development's size by adding 7,000 additional residential units and one

million more square feet of commercial space. The traffic gridlock that would occur if this project is completed is estimated by the city to

translate to a 28% increase in traffic on the 405 freeway, and clog residential neighborhoods for miles in the surrounding area.

"We would rather see any other Councilmember be President rather than Ms. Galanter. She has displayed a mean-spirited autocratic approach to

city government which has included the tendency to silence her opposition and punish her enemies," stated Bruce Robertson, whose

Ballona Valley Preservation League has been working with neighborhood groups to make sure they are aware of the traffic nightmare the proposed

Playa Vista development would visit upon their streets. "We need a leader in that position who can be open, forthright and cordial with the public, even when there is disagreement," continued Robertson.

Besides their concerns about the Ballona Wetlands, environmental

leaders in the Ballona struggle have been at City Hall often enough to witness Galanter's leading of the Council to approve other environmentally-flawed proposals not wanted by surrounding communities,

such as the allowance of the Sunshine Canyon dump. Citizens believe her flagrant dismissal of neighborhood concerns, along with the tone she has

set presiding over public hearings have been a part of what has fueled the secession movement.

"The most compelling argument against Galanter being the Council President is her obvious disdain for hearing from the public," explained

Marcia Hanscom, Executive Director of Wetlands Action Network. Hanscom says that in six years of working to protect the Ballona Wetlands, Councilmember Galanter has only agreed to meet with her once, and that

meeting was arranged by a well-known musician who had contributed to Galanter's campaign when she ran on an anti-Playa Vista plank. In contrast, newly installed City Councilmember Eric Garcetti agreed immediately to meet with van de Hoek, Hanscom and others in the coalition, Citizens United to Save ALL of Ballona, earlier this week to discuss a key Playa Vista vote that awarded 8.6 million in public

financing to developers on Tuesday.

"Galanter does not want to meet with the public, and she has displayed an embarrassing arrogance toward the public during hearings over which she has presided," stated Hanscom. "Her rude and disrespectful behavioris one of the prime factors that has fueled the secession movement.

Secessionists are simply people who in large part believe City Hall does not care about their concerns. Galanter has proved that to be true over

and over again."

Another key criticism environmentalists have is that Galanter has used her position as "Acting President" to pressure fellow Councilmembers to vote according to her wishes.

"We are concerned that Councilmember Galanter has unduly used her position to make certain she received key votes that would push forward

a project that is dangerous from a public health and safety standpoint and could cost the City millions of dollars in liability claims," stated Dr. David DeLange, President of the Coalition to Save the Marina.

Activists assert that Councilmembers have seemed fearful of going against Galanter, given the tremendous authority the President's position has in terms of calendaring agenda items and extending other

courtesies that often are critical in determining the success of a Councilmember's office.

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