I read with interest with the article “Town clears hurdle with ruling” by Matthew Cabe, February 23, 2018. I have also read the actual California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) decision issued by Judge Donald Alvarez. Apparently, the mayor and others at the Town have not. The mayor says, “I had complete confidence that the town staff and attorney had properly prepared the documents back in 2015,” which statement is utterly ridiculous in view the Judge’s express statement in his written decision that “The Court will not consider Petitioner’s (Liberty) arguments directed to whether the EIR [Environmental Impact Report] complied with CEQA.” The actual decision did not address the documents and their deficiencies, at all. The decision had nothing to do — zero — with the proper preparation of documents.
What the mayor and the town failed to tell the public is that the Town attorney argued that no EIR was ever required, a position I and others, stated to the Town prior to the council voting to prepare the EIR. So the real criticism is one of the Town engaging in a frivolous EIR, at the behest of legal counsel, who sought to gain from the exercise, costing us residents several hundred thousand dollars. Then when the document was challenged, the same legal counsel that benefitted (got paid) from the EIR, then told the Judge that no EIR was needed so the Town should win. Did the Town Attorney know this ahead of time? Were we, the citizens, set up? The attorneys got paid for the EIR and the defense of the lawsuit, that they surely knew would be filed. Was this a planned billing fest at the cost of the citizens? Inquiring minds want to know!
So I ask, who is costing the citizens lots of money? The only answer: The Town Council and Town Attorney! But a scarier question looms, can I trust an elected official who does not understand legal matters that affect the Town and its residents? We all should be concerned!
Diana Carloni, Apple Valley, CA