More than 10 years ago when I was on the Los Gatos General Plan Review Committee, we were man-handled by an overbearing outside hired-gun to agree to giving more authority to our town staff.
The theory was to take away the small things from the Los Gatos Planning Commission and Los Gatos Town Council as to allow them to concentrate on bigger issues.
Our comment to this was, "No, we don't trust staff."
This past year is a classic example of why we thought that public purview of "small things" was important to hold onto in Los Gatos. I will review but a few over the past 12 months.
First, they did not apply the legal requirements for the Netflix project but did so for the North 40 project.
This caused a public outcry and a citizens lawsuit. The town lost the suit, costing thousands of dollars in man hours.
This year, the town issued two use permits that I know of to cronies, allowing them to eliminate major retail locations and turn them into professional uses, which is illegal.
Town staff waved a $60,000 fine to a politically connected builder, but charged
a resident the fine for an identical issue.
Our town manager outright lied to the Planning Commission and Council in regards to parking requirements for allowing an upstairs bar in the Los Gatos Cinema proposal carrying on a history of bending the truth at the staff level.
The gun shop issue certainly points out that "small things" can turn into big things and ethical decisions should be returned to the Planning Commission and Council.
Staff can not be trusted and we must return decision making to the community instead of professional bureaucrats who cater to builders, developers and the monied elite.