Letters to the Editor

Out in the open

The current debate the Fresno County Board of Supervisors is having on the policy restricting lobbying merits a cautionary note [story Dec. 9]. Planning decisions are made as a quasi-judicial action. As such, those who are making the decision should decide using only what's in the public record. This record, just as with judicial decisions, should provide the decision makers, proponents and opponents complete information to support or oppose a project.

In the 1960s, when no policy existed, communications between developers and the board were often abused to the extent that the board needed little or no discussion at the public hearing to make its decision. To this day, the county is burdened by the decisions that were made, not on the facts in the public record, but by heavy lobbying.

The three former supervisors who testified know the importance of having such a policy and I appreciate their willingness to speak up in support of it. I urge the board to keep the policy and to strengthen it to require that communications regarding a project be on the record at all stages. This should allow everyone, including the public, full and on-going knowledge of all aspects of a project.

Harold Tokmakian

Emeritus professor,

City and regional planning,

California State University, Fresno

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