Simi Valley Slow-Growth Group Gives City a Deadline

Times Staff Writer

Members of a Simi Valley slow-growth group say they will give the city 30 days to show it is sincere about easing traffic congestion before trying to take the issue to voters.

Representatives of the group told City Council members at a boisterous meeting Monday that they will continue efforts to place a traffic-control initiative on the November ballot. But they said they will delay a final decision until March 23, provided that the city uses the intervening weeks to hold public hearings on traffic problems.

The group, Fight Ill-Favored Growth and Horrible Traffic (FIGHT), is proposing an initiative that would require developers to pay for street improvements to correct traffic problems within a mile and a half of their projects before those projects could be occupied.

The initiative also would require the city to draft a traffic plan to spell out how it will keep traffic flowing at some major intersections.

Group members filed a draft of the initiative with the city Feb. 5 and have until May 27 to collect 3,800 signatures to qualify it for the ballot. Paul La Bonte, a spokesman for the group, said supporters will begin circulating petitions soon but will halt the drive if "the city could develop an equal or better" method of dealing with traffic congestion.

But La Bonte said the group is suspicious of a suggestion by City Councilman Glen McAdoo to address the problem through an amendment to the Simi Valley general plan.

"Horse apples, Mr. McAdoo," La Bonte said in remarks to the council Monday night. "We don't trust you."

La Bonte said his group is concerned that dealing with the issue through a general-plan amendment would allow the City Council to change the proposal after the deadline for signatures has passed. McAdoo said two weeks ago that a general-plan amendment would enable the city to conduct an environmental impact review and hold public hearings. The council was to discuss the idea at a meeting Monday but postponed consideration for one week.

McAdoo has said the group, which has about 25 members, consists of a "few aspiring political wackos" looking for an issue for the November elections.

After Monday's meeting, McAdoo said, "I'll stop the name-calling if you'll stop the name-calling. . . . Let's put that aside. Let's work together to spare this community divisiveness."

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