Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Believe It Or Not.

Here MAY be an important article from The Daily Breeze.

Developer ready to rework San Pedro housing project
By Donna Littlejohn, Staff Writer

With Bob Bisno out of the picture, developers of the proposed Ponte Vista housing project in San Pedro say they are ready to launch a new push to find community consensus on a revised plan.

The 1,950-home development has been in limbo since late last year when Bisno, the head of the development team, was asked to step down.

Ted Fentin of Credit Suisse, Bisno's largest investor, is taking the lead in a move to find a compromise the community will accept.

"(He) is committed to working with you in developing a revised plan," development spokeswoman Elise Swanson told members of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council on Monday night.

"There is a spirit of cooperation. We are moving forward with community outreach."

The project, likely in a revised form, is tentatively scheduled to go before the Los Angeles Planning Commission on April 9.

In a related action Monday, the neighborhood council approved a letter to the city's Planning Department criticizing the Ponte Vista process and the most recent plan still in place. Criticism centers around the project's density and traffic impacts on Western Avenue.

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn said she has met with Fentin and believes the developer is willing to take a second look at the housing plans.

"He told me that they're now willing to come back and work with the community," said Hahn, who addressed the neighborhood council this week. "He has agreed to focus groups as a way to hear more about what the community wants and to get more input."

Swanson said the meetings will be with "key stakeholders" in the community. The format of the sessions - which could be with individuals and groups on some occasions - is being worked out this week, she said.

Ponte Vista began with a proposal for 2,300 homes and was scaled back to 1,950 to be built on former Navy housing land along Western Avenue. City planners gave the plan a thumbs down, however, setting the stage for a showdown before the Planning Commission.

That now has been pushed back until April, giving developers an opportunity to revise the proposal.

"It's got to be a way scaled-down project," Hahn said in remarks to the neighborhood council. "I'd like to see something built there, but it has to be a project that will not devastate Western Avenue. I'm encouraged by what I've heard so far."

Swanson called the upcoming period one that will offer a "fresh, new approach."
"We're going out in a good-faith effort to re-engage the community to find a compromise," she said. "And we hope that the community will engage with us in a good-faith effort."

Not everyone is optimistic, however.

"This is not new management or a different outlook," said Pat Nave, a staunch opponent of Ponte Vista.

"He ( Ted Fentin) told me that they're now willing to come back and work with the community," said Hahn...

Now doesn't Ms. Hahn's quote suggest that Bob was never willing to work with the community?

"(He) is committed to working with you in developing a revised plan," development spokeswoman Elise Swanson told members of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council on Monday night.

I truly hope so Ms. Swanson. I guess this proved what so many of us knew that Bob was not really willing to work with the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council and it was not the fault of the Council that the two entities could not work together.

I guess hand picked focus groups that were used as the basis for the Advisory Boards may actually become a thing of the past.

Just who are "key stakeholders" in the community? I think residents of R.P.V. who have any view of the Ponte Vista site are "key stakeholders". I also feel I am a "key stakeholder", too.

Surely residents living along Fitness Drive fit the status as well as folks with kids attending Mary Star High School.

We must not forget several thousand San Pedrans being "key stakeholders".

If it seems not enough people are deemed to be "key stakeholders" by entities setting up focus groups and other forums, then we will certainly see which side of the toast is buttered on.

Caution when dealing with any new development team should be considered elemental in the future.

Bob took so much trust away from thoughts about developers, Mr. Fentin and many others are going to have a pretty tough time gaining my trust and the trust of many others.

Trust it is something that should be considered when you look at what is published at www.yourpontevista.com. If that site continues to produce posts that clearly are not trustworthy then why would anyone believe that the new development team can be trusted?

It is time for the writers of that site to stop advertising or mentioning what "will" be at Ponte Vista at San Pedro. It is time for figures based on a 1,950-unit project be removed from that site and to not appear again.

If Ted and Elise are to be trusted and listened to, then they should provide a forum at www.yourpontevista.com that reflects only the truth, and honesty and refrain from the fiction they continue to produce.

This may be the first real step that can tell all of us whether they are really providing a new approach that uses honesty, believability, and truthfulness or if they are just going to continue with the same old thing as in the past.

I continue to wish for some senior housing at the site and I hope to be as involved as possible in helping to create plans that benefit the entire community.

I am willing to give the new development team a chance, but now I have to keep the leash on because of so many past misdeeds, incorrect posts, and Bob.

They need to earn our respect and our trust because of what the Outreach Team has done up to now and what Bob did to all of us.

I am neither hopeful or hopeless with regards to this new outlook by Mr. Fentin and the Outreach Team, but cautious is what I will be and I suggest everyone else use caution as a primary concern.

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