In his column Bill Bauer describes Frank Gruber as “probably the most openly pro-development council candidate,” but this comment ignores the substance of Frank’s record both as a planning commissioner and as a local columnist for 11 years (“Leading the City Council race,” My Write, Oct. 22).
From the very start of the update process for the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) of the General Plan, back in 2004, Frank was the most persistent voice saying that the LUCE called for too much commercial office development and that this would lead to worse traffic.
I know this because as the LUCE was being adopted I frequently was the only person making this point when I testified before the Planning Commission and the City Council, and I knew that Frank’s columns on the LUCE were my principal support.
Meanwhile, as the LUCE headed towards adoption, anti-development groups in the city, like the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC), spent their time worrying about a few feet of height on the first floor of buildings, which of course had nothing to do with traffic. Frank was the one who, until the end, was arguing that there was too much office development in the plan, and that is what causes our big traffic problems with commuters.
The LUCE, weighted toward commercial development, went on to be approved in 7-0 votes by both the Planning Commission and the City Council (including yes votes from current council candidates Ted Winterer, Gleam Davis and Terry O’Day).
What is ironic is that in the candidate forums, it seems that now all of these candidates (including Mr. Winterer, who has the support of the SMCLC), have adopted Frank’s view that we need to cut down on commercial office development and build more housing — especially near the office projects, so instead of driving, employees can walk or bike to work.
I believe Frank did not get the support of the developers’ PAC because he carefully looks at the facts — balancing all the complexities of land use, economics, transportation and quality of life, and avoiding sound bites and slogans. Bottom line: Frank Gruber will support projects that enhance the community, and oppose or modify those that detract from it.