SAN GABRIEL — Mayor John D. Tapp has resigned from the Citizens for Responsible Development, saying the organization has lost sight of its original goals.
"It has now become quite clear to me that the current CFRD leadership committee has gone beyond the agenda and campaign platform we shared before and during the election," Tapp wrote in his letter of resignation, dated Oct. 19.
Tapp began distancing himself from the group in August, when he declined to attend a meeting. The organization, which has a leadership committee of about 25 and a membership of between 300 and 400, helped sweep Tapp and two other slow-growth council candidates into office last April and spearheaded a successful campaign to put a 1-year lid on virtually all development in the city.
But since then, "there has been an improper focus on CFRD's efforts," Tapp said in an interview. "I hoped we would be focusing on our sign ordinance and working on our future in San Gabriel. But people seem preoccupied with what I consider minor building violations.
"They say that I'm the one who's deviated from the agenda, but I'm still working on slow-growth and issues that are so important.
But Frank Blaszcak, vice mayor and one of the three council members on the organization's who was swept into office, said it is Tapp, not the group, who has abandoned the group's plans.
"Citizens For Responsible Development has not strayed from its original goals one iota--the planned growth, open government, development of an architectural review board. I haven't seen one instance where Tapp has presented one CFRD goal for council consideration.
"Tapp's resignation from CFRD was more than appropriate, because he does not represent the honorable goals of the CFRD," Blaszcak said.
But Tapp said rather than concentrating on the issues that won the organization widespread public support, the organization's members now spend their time "staff-bashing" and focusing on the city's past problems instead of looking toward the future.
Feuding Since August
"I tried to discuss this with the CFRD, but I can't seem to get my point across. This (the resignation) is the only means of communication I have left to show the urgency of the situation," Tapp said.
Blaszcak and Tapp have been feuding since August. Tapp disapproved of the city's motion to pay $2,100 to obtain a car telephone for Blaszcak and accused the vice mayor of possessing "secret" keys to the city.
Blaszcak, who is the target of a recall campaign, has defended the telephone as a business necessity but has since returned it. He said City Administrator Robert Clute had given him a key to City Hall so he could pick up his mail after business hours.
Sabino Cici, the only current council member not affiliated with the organization, also said Tapp's departure was a positive move.
"His resignation is a good sign. I'd like to see everyone vote independently," he said. "I think that all the members should (disassociate) themselves from the CFRD and attempt to represent the 20,000 or 30,000 people in the city, not the 20 or 30 in the CFRD."