Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008 | Toni Atkins’ endorsement of Todd Gloria is hardly a surprise. She need not elaborate on her reasons for supporting him. She could have stopped immediately after saying that he “is the best choice to continue,” because the Todd Gloria we have come to know is just Toni Atkins in a better suit.
Where Atkins gets the gall to imply that she (or Todd) “listens to and cares about the people who elect us” is beyond me. When 1,000 residents of Kensington signed a petition stating that they were opposed to the Kensington Terrace project, she chose to vote in favor of it. Todd Gloria had been in attendance at the monthly meetings of the Kensington Talmadge Planning Group leading up to that vote, and when concerned residents spoke about the project’s impact on our community, he would smirk and roll his eyes while joking with Atkins’ aide. After the City Council vote, during the League of Conservation Voters’ Candidate Forum on February 11, 2008, when asked a direct question about Kensington Terrace, Todd said if he had been on the City Council that he, too, would have voted in favor of it.
That, also, is not surprising. His donor forms are not only an honor roll of the Building Industry Association, including Kensington Terrace hired lobbyist Mitch Berner, and president of the BIA Sherm Harmer, but also the Old Guard members of the Kensington Talmadge Planning Group who voted to approve the project for their friend, developer Allard Jansen. They are gone from the local planning group now, ousted in the March elections by the residents of Kensington.
With donors like Centre City Development Corp. directors Kim Kilkenny and Atkins’ spouse Jennifer LeSar on his list, Todd would provide the same lack of oversight to the CCDC that Toni Atkins and company provide now.
He also enjoys the financial support of the chiefs of staff of both Jim Madaffer and Scott Peters, two council members not known for anything other than creating huge debt through sweetheart pension deals and for signing off on every development project that comes before them.
What we have gotten in District 3 from Toni Atkins is not much of anything, except a lot of talk about “process.” What we would get from Todd Gloria is more of the same. A nod from Toni Atkins to Todd Gloria is hardly a ringing endorsement to anyone who wants to see some real changes made in mid-city that would bring infrastructure upgrades, new transit options, a fix to the pension problem, restructured redevelopment agencies that ensure transparency and honest transactions, and fewer handouts to developers at the expense of residents and taxpayers.