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Silberstein booted from planning commission

Some of Ralph Silberstein’s loudest supporters couldn’t save him from being dumped from his city planning commission post on Tuesday night.

Grass Valley City Council members unanimously voted to oust Silberstein from the commission. City leaders described the decision as backing a fellow council member’s option to put her own person in place.

“In this case, I’m going to support (Councilwoman Jan Arbuckle),” said Councilman Chauncey Poston, referring to Arbuckle’s recommendation to boot Silberstein. “I respect what Jan is trying to accomplish.”



Arbuckle, who along with fellow council members gets to appoint one planning commissioner, didn’t detail why she wanted Silberstein removed from the commission.

“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. But now is the time to make “my own appointment,” she said.




Earlier this week, Silberstein said Arbuckle told him he was “too critical of city staff” and he didn’t communicate well with her on commission issues.

Arbuckle’s limited public explanation didn’t sit well with Silberstein’s supporters.

“He’s too critical of city staff,” said Grass Valley resident Terry Lamphier. “I’ve heard that before about me.”

Lamphier served on the planning commission before he was dismissed by the council in 2005 and replaced with Silberstein.

The decision to replace Silberstein represents a skewing of the commission toward developers’ interests, Lamphier said. Silberstein was better known for being a conservationist than a supporter of development and business interests.

“It’s a shame this body can’t handle the asking of intelligent questions,” said Mike Pasner of Penn Valley, a supporter of Silberstein.

It may seem unusual, but ousting a commissioner is not uncommon, Councilman Chauncey Poston and Mayor Mark Johnson said. Both said they had been booted from commission posts during their political careers.

To Silberstein, Tuesday’s decision wasn’t surprising.

“I think it went as I would have expected,” said Silberstein of the vote. “I didn’t expect to have as many friends offer as many kind words.”

Arbuckle didn’t say when she’d offer a recommendation for Silberstein’s replacement.

The planning commission’s next meeting is set for 7 p.m., Oct. 16, at City Hall, 125 East Main St.

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To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gregm@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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