Council slammed on ouster of Silberstein
People favoring a slow approach to development in Grass Valley criticized the City Council for ousting a planning commissioner known for his conservationist votes.
Commissioner Ralph Silberstein’s voting has favored preserving trees on building sites, open space in housing developments and more housing built to serve lower-income buyers.
“It’s a shame this body can’t handle the asking of intelligent questions,” Penn Valley resident Mike Pasner said late Tuesday as council members considered dismissing Silberstein.
Others, however, have criticized Silberstein’s communications style. Council members unanimously ousted him.
People on both sides of the issue will be closely watching Councilwoman Janet Arbuckle’s new appointment to replace Silberstein.
Remaining commissioners include chairwoman Eleanor Kenitzer, who works for the Idaho-Maryland Mine Corp., and Reynold Johnson, a major local developer operating Pacific Land Enterprises Inc.
City Council members described their decision as backing a fellow council member’s option to put her own person in place.
Arbuckle had appointed Silberstein when she took office in February, then asked that his dismissal be placed on this week’s agenda.
“In this case, I’m going to support (Arbuckle),” said Councilman Chauncey Poston. “I respect what Jan is trying to accomplish.”
Each council member gets to appoint one planning commissioner. Arbuckle didn’t detail why she wanted Silberstein removed.
“When I was first appointed in February, I felt it was in the best interest to leave Councilman Dean Williams’ appointee in place,” Arbuckle said. Now is the time to make “my own appointment,” she added.
Earlier this week, Silberstein said Arbuckle told him he was “too critical of city staff” and he didn’t communicate with her on commission issues.
“He’s too critical of city staff,” repeated Terry Lamphier, a resident who has criticized city development decisions. “I’ve heard that before about me.”
Lamphier served on the Planning Commission before he was dumped by the council in 2005 and replaced with Silberstein.
Ousting a commissioner is common, Poston and Mayor Mark Johnson said. Each had been booted from commission posts during their political careers, they added.
The Planning Commission’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Oct. 16 at City Hall, 125 East Main St.
To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4234.
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