A citizens watchdog group has criticized a City Council plan to hire a North Hollywood public relations firm to represent the city in its fight to stop the completion of the Long Beach Freeway.
City Manager John Bernardi has been authorized by the council to contract with Glazer & Associates for up $1,000 a month to publicize the reasons for the city's opposition to a state Department of Transportation plan to run the last leg of the freeway through the middle of the city. The firm would conduct a campaign aimed at the media, community leaders and the public.
The idea, Bernardi said, is to "put out the message, up and down the state, that South Pasadena is not an obstructionist when it comes to the freeway . . . that South Pasadena has, on many occasions, offered different alternatives."
"Bernardi spends money like a drunken sailor," said Thomas Beisek, a member of South Pasadena Taxpayers Assn., which has frequently criticized city spending policies. Added Robert Cook, chairman of the group: "I don't see the need for all this money being spent for a questionable return." Both contend that the money might be more wisely invested in a war chest to fight the freeway plan in the courts, if it is approved by the Department of Transportation.