Skip to content

HB Tomorrow’s February 2017 Newsletter

February 3, 2017

Below is HB Tomorrow’s February Newsletter. Become a member and have these newsletters delivered to your inbox!

HB Tomorrow Newsletter
February 2017

Dear HB Tomorrow Members,

We are only a month and a half until spring and HB Tomorrow’s annual membership meeting, which will be held March 30 at 6:00 p.m. at the Central Library. Please send your questions for the Mayor and City Manager via email, Facebook, or website.

Here are some updates on items affecting our city.

Poseidon’s Fee-Waiver Request Denied by Coastal Commission
At its January 2017 meeting in San Luis Obispo, the Coastal Commission denied a waiver of the coastal-development permit application fee of $286,649 submitted by Poseidon Water.  The basis of the denial was the cost to the Commission in an enormous amount of staff hours required to review upcoming plans, as well as the fact that Poseidon hasn’t expressed any financial hardship.
Poseidon had withdrawn its permit application in 2013.  They submitted the permit application again in September 2015, but a new desalination amendment adopted on May 6, 2015 significantly changed the permitting landscape, and even by September, it was still in the draft stage and not law.  This new desal amendment gave the Regional Board primary authority to determine whether a project has the best available site, design, technology and mitigation measures possible. Therefore, the Commission staff could not require evidence of conformance with the desal amendment as a permit filing requirement and deemed the application incomplete.
Poseidon finally submitted their permit application even though the Commission staff has more suggestions, one of them regarding the need for more data on sub surface intakes.  Poseidon denied that particular suggestion.  The Coastal Commission is most likely to require a number of extra assessments before the final decision is made on the project.   
In other Poseidon news, its Huntington Beach project was reportedly named on a list of the new Trump administration’s priority projects.

Beach-Edinger Projects:

Sonic Drive-In project: The popular drive-up/drive-thru burger joint will be located at the corner of Beach Blvd and Ronald Drive. There is the restaurant and small retail space along with a drive-up window and 15 covered parking spaces under which people can park their cars and enjoy food brought directly to them. Currently in the Planning Dept. but moving along.
Beach Blvd. Chrysler Dealership Expansion:  Plans are to add 3,000 square feet to the existing 1,800 square foot showroom.  This project is currently in the Planning Dept.
Marriott Springhill Suites Hotel: This project is at the corner of Edinger Ave. and Parkside Lane. It involves building a 4-story hotel with 128 rooms on the site of the former Big O Tire shop.  This project is currently under construction.

Beach-Warner Project:
The movie theater is now closed and so is the Chili’s restaurant.The new project will include the construction of two new retail buildings at the corner of Warner Avenue and Beach Boulevard, new mixed-use buildings along both Warner and Beach and two new parking structures. The existing 15-story, 196,000 square-foot office building will remain, along with the retail/restaurant building along Warner Avenue, the restaurant on Beach; and the 6-story, 863 stall parking structure on Sycamore and Ash. All other existing buildings will be demolished and replaced with new development.

It seems the city continues to bet on retail, despite concerns that that sector is likely to see a downturn as competition from e-tail continues apace. HB Tomorrow intends to question city leadership at our March annual meeting:  what is our city’s historical, current, and projected retail mix, what do the city manager and council deem to be an ideal mix, and mix do our neighboring cities have?

Mobile Home Affordable-Housing Proposal:

The GSMOL Legislative Action Team is working with our Legislative Activist (Lobbyist) and a few Legislators to solidify the final wording of Bills related to affordable housing, enforcement of laws, funding for rehabilitation and park purchasing, and a Mobile Home Residents and Senior Protection Act of 2017. They must be in by the 17th of this month.  Of course amendments will be made once they reach the various Committees in the Assembly and Senate.

More info will be available after the February 17th.

HB Tomorrow is watching this issue.

Non-Toxic Huntington Beach Proposal:
HB Tomorrow’s Board continues to  urge the City Council to consider supporting a proposal to transition away from toxic pest control to safer and more water-conscious and cost-saving organic measures.

Just this month, a Fresno judge ruled that the state may require Monsanto to label its popular Roundup product as a possible carcinogen. Roundup is among a number of toxic chemicals Huntington Beach uses in our parks and public areas where children, adults, and pets are exposed.
Zoning Medical Marijuana Dispensaries:
The California Supreme Court granted review in January of a published opinion in Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of San Diego (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 103. The opinion holds that a zoning ordinance regulating the number and location of medical marijuana dispensaries was not a “project” subject to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.), and therefore the city was not required to conduct an environmental analysis prior to enacting the ordinance.
The state high court is expected to decide the following questions: (1) Is the enactment of a zoning ordinance categorically a “project” within the meaning of CEQA?  (2) Is the enactment of a zoning ordinance allowing the operation of medical marijuana cooperatives in certain areas the type of activity that may cause a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change to the environment?
The decision could affect how the city may limit the placement of dispensaries.

Homeless Problem:

Who is working with young homeless stressing education? Two local groups support homeless minors & those to age 24 willing to go to school or seek to support themselves in two age groups here in Huntington Beach. If they work with a person here, it may be necessary to house them in another city where weekly rents in sober living homes cost less, but they offer bus passes and other means to help the person until they are able to be placed in housing  and able to finish high school then support themselves after high school if they do not continue their education. Both seek volunteers and welcome referrals.

Robyne’s Nest (Facebook: robynesnesthb) is an all-volunteer organization without an office that works with students of the Huntington Beach Union High School District with the aim to keep them in school to graduation as many students face homelessness when they turn 18 and are not eligible for foster care or their parent/guardian no longer receives funds for their care. The student must keep passing grades and be drug free and willing to work toward graduation from high school. If they are still homeless, they might transition into the other program which is for 18-24 year olds.

Build Futures ( uses a structured program to
connect youths 18-24 to services and resources to obtain long term independence. It is a 501c3 with a good success rate. As with Robyne’s Nest, youths must stay on track avoiding drugs and overuse of alcohol.

Various & Sundry:
— California Policy Center published an interesting report showing the increases in compensation, even adjusting for inflation, for city, county, and state employees.

If you are interested in joining the Board of Directors of HB Tomorrow, please email

If there are any issues affecting Huntington Beach that you would like to see addressed, please send us an email at

Please take a moment to renew your membership here.

BANNING RANCH UPDATE: Coastal Commission’s revised findings to deny development permit

January 24, 2017

The agenda for the February 9 meeting of the Coastal Commission includes revised findings for the Commission’s September denial of the Banning Ranch project. Full text below.

HB Tomorrow has steadfastly opposed 19th St. Bridge from Costa Mesa to Brookhurst and supported a smaller project on Banning Ranch mindful of the environmental impacts, with traffic initiated in Newport Beach from this site not dumped into Huntington Beach. So far there have been no recent attempts to bring back 19th St. Bridge.


See the agenda here.

Beach-Edinger Corridor: Then and Now

January 17, 2017

City leaders might have seen the congestion and unaffordable-housing problems coming back in 2009. HB Tomorrow did. In a 2009 letter, HBT urged the Council that taking more fees from developers in lieu of insisting on compliance with affordable-housing requirements would undermine our goals of offering more affordable housing, and would in turn increase congestion — employees serving our retail sector would be forced to commute from out of the area, rather than “shop, play, and stay” in Huntington Beach.

If you’d like to help our mission in urging sound policy to our City Council, please consider supporting and joining HB Tomorrow today!


HB Tomorrow’s January 2017 Newsletter

January 10, 2017

Below is HB Tomorrow’s January Newsletter. Become a member and have these newsletters delivered to your inbox!

HB Tomorrow Newsletter
January 2017

Dear HB Tomorrow Members,

Happy New Year! While we await the impacts of the November elections, changes to setback and other building regulations in 2016 help ensure that development in Huntington Beach will be less dense. HB Tomorrow continues our efforts to make the City work within our communities’ expectations — that means the Council needs to follow the rules, and to seek our input before changing them.

Many other issues need our response. How will our City address affordable housing and the growing homeless problem? There are no easy answers but we are here to work together to make a difference.

To that end, each month the Board of HB Tomorrow will highlight a few items affecting our city.

Mobile Home Affordable-Housing Proposal:
Half the nation’s tenants spends more than 30% of their income on rent — the definition of unaffordable housing. Del Mar Estates’ HOA recently asked the Council to amend the City’s Affordable Housing Plan to allow Senior Mobile Home Parks to qualify for low-income housing. Some Del Mar residents’ monthly rents jumped from $695 in 2008 to $1050 in 2016 without a proportionate increase in fixed incomes. Allowing mobilehome parks to qualify as low-income would help the City reach its threshold. This would reduce the City’s need to build new low-income homes or apartments.

HB Tomorrow is watching this issue.

Non-Toxic Huntington Beach Proposal:
In December, HB Tomorrow’s Board urged the City Council to consider supporting a proposal to transition away from toxic pest control to more organic, water-conscious, and cost-saving organic measures. This proven alternative to exposing people and pets to harsh chemicals uses 30% less water, and is less expensive in the long run. Irvine is already employing these methods with success and no known issues.

Currently, Huntington Beach uses a number of toxic chemicals in our parks and public areas where children, adults, and pets are exposed. These include herbicides (e.g., Roundup Promax, Glyphsate 4 Plus, Oryzalin 4 Pro, etc.), insecticides (e.g., Criterior 75, Safari 20, etc.), rodenticides (e.g., Kaput D, Talpirid), and mulluscicides (Deadline T&O). Interactions among these chemicals are largely untested, as confirmed by the EPA, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Our children are most susceptible, and the most likely to come into frequent contact with these chemicals in our parks and playgrounds.

You can view HB Tomorrow’s letter to the City Council at our website here.

Homeless Problem:
As most of us know, the homeless problem is a pronounced one in Huntington Beach. Our City provides public facilities for the many tourists and beach-goers that visit, and these attract the homeless to our public places. To book the facilities at Lake Park, the City now requires residents to hire security after increased reports last year of drug-dealing homeless. But the problem is also severe in neighboring Costa Mesa; there, along the soundwalls of the 55 and 73 freeways, homeless encampments stretch for miles. The common areas at the Central Justice Center and County Building in Santa Ana are almost entirely populated by homeless. The new 200-bed year-round shelter set to open late 2017 in Anaheim, while much needed, will be a drop in the bucket.

The Orange County Commission to End Homelessness notes that only about half of the homeless population is homeless for more than a year, and that almost 40% cite job loss as the precipitating cause. This suggests a substantial share of homelessness happens at the margins, and can be addressed with improving the stock of housing and jobs at the county level. Unfortunately, even if homelessness is decreased, the remaining numbers still are likely to be drawn to Huntington Beach and its attractive public spaces and services.

[Also see this OC Register article: County’s first year-round homeless shelter to open late 2017 in Anaheim.]

If there are any issues affecting Huntington Beach that you would like to see addressed, please send us an email at

Meeting to Discuss Turning Temporary Parking Lot Near Shipley to Permanent Lot

January 6, 2017

Here is a notice of a meeting next week, Wednesday, January 11, that HB Tomorrow members might be interested in attending. This appears to be the lot used by Shipley Nature Center. If you are unable to attend and have questions or comments, please send them along to us at


HB Tomorrow for a Non-Toxic Huntington Beach

January 2, 2017
Non-Toxic Huntington Beach
Credit: Rob Dobi; OC Weekly

On December 16, 2016, HB Tomorrow formally urged the City Council to follow Irvine’s lead to make Huntington Beach the second city in Southern California to use non-toxic pesticides and herbicides in our public spaces. This proven alternative to exposing people and pets to harsh chemicals uses 30% less water, and is less expensive in the long run.

Currently, Huntington Beach uses a number of toxic chemicals in our parks and public areas where children, adults, and pets are exposed. These include herbicides (e.g., Roundup Promax, Glyphsate 4 Plus, Oryzalin 4 Pro, etc.), insecticides (e.g., Criterior 75, Safari 20, etc.), rodenticides (e.g., Kaput D, Talpirid), and mulluscicides (Deadline T&O). These chemicals are blown by winds and tracked into homes where they can be trapped in carpets for years.

When pesticides are used together simultaneously, they can interact with each other in unpredictable ways, changing or amplifying their effects. Think of this as the grapefruit juice effect: doctors often counsel patients not to drink grapefruit juice with certain medication because it may change how the body reacts to them. Pesticides work the same way, but very little research has been done in this area, so the interactions are largely untested, and thus unknown.

What is known about pesticides is that they are inherently unsafe. The EPA and the National Academy of Sciences concur that children take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that household and garden pesticide use can increase the risk of childhood leukemia as much as seven-fold.[1] Out of all 99 human studies done on lymphoma and pesticides, 75 find a link between the two.[2] The American Cancer Society published a study finding people exposed to the popular weedkiller Roundup were 2.7 times more likely to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.[3] Exposure to pesticides in our parks and public areas can lead to chronic toxicity and harm to children, adults, and pets.

While pesticides must be registered with and approved by the EPA, this is not a guarantee of safety. For example, of the 36 most commonly used lawncare pesticides registered before 1984, only one has been fully tested. Of these products, 14 are probable or possible carcinogens, 15 are linked to birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 24 with neurotoxicity, 22 with liver or kidney damage, and 34 are sensitizers or irritants. Obviously, lead paint, asbestos, and cigarettes were all at one time thought proven safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics says there is no safe level of pesticide exposure for children.

Huntington Beach residents are more susceptible to the dangers of pesticides due to climate and smaller average lot sizes. Since grass and plants grow all year, pesticides are applied year-round, increasing exposure compared to cooler climates. And lots are closer together than in other regions, with windows and ventilation closer to treated areas.

Harvard University has successfully used organic landscaping on its landscapes and hardscapes since 2008. Quail Hill in Irvine successfully adopted organic-landscaping practices in 2015 with no homeowner complaints and no increase in costs.[4]

We ask that you consider the issue and reach out to us if you’d like to support us or need more information.

[1] Lowengart, R., et al. 1987, Childhood Leukemia and Parent’s Occupational and Home Exposures, Journal of the National Cancer Institute 79:39.

[2] Osburn, S. 2001, Do Pesticides Cause Lymphoma? Lymphoma Foundation of America, Chevy Chase, MD.

[3] Hardell, L., et al. 1999 Mar., A Case-Control Study of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Exposure to Pesticides, J. of the Am. Cancer Soc. (85):6. p.1353.

[4] For questions about Quail Hill’s organic landscaping program, contact Linda Reyes with Villa Park Landscaping at

HB Council Candidate Forum Results

October 21, 2016

hbt-candidate-forumThanks for all who attended Huntington Beach Tomorrow’s candidate forum on October 5 at Goldenwest College, and to everyone who watched on Channel 3. The forum was a success and our city is fortunate to have nine diverse and thoughtful candidates vying for our votes to represent us on the council.

If you didn’t have a chance to catch the candidates, here is my own real-time synopsis of each candidate’s responses to the five questions posed:

1. High density — Residents are very concerned about the negative impacts of the many recent high density residential projects in the City. Concerns include poor design, lack of open space, inadequate setback from the street, increased traffic, insufficient onsite parking, fiscal impact on City services, and overall diminished quality of life for residents. How would you respond to these concerns?
  • Patrick Brenden: favors “responsible” development.
  • Joe Carchio: “quality of life is what matters to you people,” won’t approve beyond city regulationss.
  • Mariann Ettiorre: I do not support high density development.
  • Amory Hanson: opposed to private high-density but the city can build high-density buildings if it wants.
  • Jill Hardy: has the strongest record against high density on council. Majority council [e.g., Carchio] voted for the Edinger corridor despite public opinion. Motivated car dealerships to leave.
  • Edward Pinchiff: chairman of planning commission. Came on after corridor was approved. Supports community driven decision making. Council should follow public opinion. We are not LA, I agree with opposing high density. Development should model character of the city. Council doesn’t listen. I will listen.
  • Mark Rolfes: Council missed on this one: high density should never have been built. Needs to work with developers on other items. Projects should be put to voters for approval. Take factors into consideration at dev’s expense.
  • Lyn Semeta: I stand with community outcry against more development. Has been a planning commissioner for 2.5 years. Voted for amendments on setbacks, reducing units. Need a break on high-density development until after current buildings are done with construction and occupied, we can assess what’s needed then. Need more commercial, not residential, to add tax base: we need to be able to pay infrastructure, income.
  • Ron Sterud: a citizen who got involved because of sudden high density with no setbacks. Certain amount of blight, no problems with development, growth so long as meets current code. Don’t support changing code. Need to fit suburban beach culture.
(Outcome: unanimously against more high-density development in the near term, except Brenden and potentially Carchio)
2. Old Rogers Senior Center Site: how do we balance park space with development?
  • Sterud: city needs to keep its promise to keep it a park. Don’t go down road of selling off parks to balance our books.
  • Semeta: don’t sell off our parkland. Agree with Sterud: Don’t go down road of selling off park to balance books. Can renovate other space.
  • Rolfes: site was destined to become a park. Whatever the use is up to council/people. Need to fund parks; tight budgets usually look to public spaces. Have developers foot some of bill of city beautification.
  • Pinchiff: agree with community to keep as parkland. Preserve parks, beaches, wetlands. Endorsed by OC League of Conservation. We can afford our parks: we don’t have that bad a budget crunch, no emergency. Always a backlog of what we can do, but we’re in a decent position.
  • Hardy: I was first to support keeping it a park. Has been lone vote to preserve open space. Bartlett park, behind Newland House, decades of nondevelopment… changed fencing to make more inviting to community. Thankful to community groups who care for parks.
  • Hanson: needs to remain parkland. Don’t have necessary experience on parks. Should be decided by community service department.
  • Ettorre: keep parkland. Possible rent out the space for revenue. Talk to residents. Hot button: fiscal responsibility. Preserving parks should be priority.
  • Carchio: there are 76 parks in the city. Most in need of repair. I established private-public partnership, raise money for UAP (universally acceptable park). I raised the money through Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions Club. That park will be available end of Oct. start construction. Available to children, adults. If we curtail building, park fund will be depleted. Measure T from senior center never promised it would be returned as a park. Chevron owned. We acquired because they forgot to file paperwork, it’s ours. Should keep parkland, but need to know all facts.
  • Brenden: why did this sneak up on us? Park was deeded in 1911, converted in 1975 to sen ctr. Return to park? But what kind? Needs to be right kind, that we can afford, no neg impacts. People are concerned for funding, we have unfunded liability. Parks make life better, better parks make life even better. How to finance projects to keep open space. Central Park Conservancy? I like that. Bring in all parks to that. Bring in community to keep open space. Surplus city property? Why sell this if we have others?
(Outcome: unanimity except Carchio and Brenden, who focus more on need for financing/funding)
3. What role is there for HB in the future of Poseidon?
  • Ettorre: do not support Poseideon. Only accounts for 7 percent water supply.
  • Hanson: why is our water provided by a private co?
  • Hardy: always voted no on P. What would we do with more water? probably build more houses somewhere. Why a 50 year contract that gets more expensive? Cost of pipes also have to be paid by ratepayers. Instead, we should rely on replenishment. Emergency water? Poseidon is on the wrong side of the quake fault.
  • Pinchiff: financial contract a big problem, 50 years, rates tied to market rate. 50 years is a long time. Cost savings will all go to Poseidon.
  • Rolfes: “Nothing worse than being thirsty.” P not ready to be implemented, we still have conservation and groundwater. 130MM gallons a day, 80 percent of our supply. Need to exhaust other possibilities first.
  • Semeta: 50 year contract is a big problem, tech changes fast. Financial terms aren’t good. P is more for south county, but we’re bearing burden of streets being torn up for new pipes. Took tour of water district, our use is steady, we don’t need more. We do a great job of reclamation already.
  • Sterud: opposed. agree with Semeta. Question is: what is HB’s role assuming P is built? P would be built, in HB, put a meter on the supply. Utility tax would let us charge and profit from that. Coastal Commission will likely deny them from building though, which I hope.
  • Brenden: I support P and desal. Decided by city, not for us anymore. Between P and water district. District said they wanted lower rates up front. P said fine, need longer term. P bearing the risk. We import a lot of water from the delta. Earthquake after overfarming would risk our supply. P is only 7%, not replacing a significant portion of our supply.
  • Carchio: also support P and desal. Desal is inevitable. Water one day will be precious as gold. 2 city councils have studied this. We have first right of refusal on property if not built. We don’t need it. $176k year franchise tax fees. $1.9MM paid to general fund, $4MM to city for the land. 3000 jobs. over 50 years, saving rate payers $75MM.
(Outcome: unanimous oppose except Brenden, Carchio)
4. Short term rentals: should the city allow them, and if so, should they be subject to a licensing system and/or occupancy tax?
  • Pinchiff: want to hear more community input. I see both sides. leaning against it, but should be community driven.
  • Hardy: Sunset Beach allows it because of annex agreement. Struggle with the debate, need comm input. leaning against allowing. It’s not just the loud parties — even regular people behave differently on vacation.
  • Hanson: be careful how ordinance is drafted.
  • Ettorre: don’t favor telling people what to do with their house, but balance community needs. It can be done with a compromise as long as there aren’t 10 vacationers on a street.
  • Carchio: when buying homes, might not be aware there are rentals nearby. Dana Point is the model: see if it works: would have to get permit, post a bond, if violations, bond is forfeit and can’t have vacation rental again. Losing out on $$ now because we’re not taking advantage. If we have rentals we should make some rentals. Watch Dana Point.
  • Brenden: study of 18 sites for rentals: 678 unique listings for HB. Can’t say it will just stop if we don’t allow it. Use tight criteria, 48 minute owner response time, strict occupancy, no weddings, house rules posted.
  • Sterud: opposed. I own one in Big Bear. Property rights advocate. But everyone here bought under a law that disallows rentals of under 30 days. Also threaten our hospitality business, a substantial revenue. Bad for downtown residents (I am one). Quality of life issue.
  • Semeta: opposed. 1. protect hospitality. 2. quality of life. 3. hard to regulate, can’t capture the revenue/identify the rentals. Hotels police their own, single owners don’t have that.
  • Rolfes: tourist town. if we allow, should have occupancy tax, bonded, minimum stay (no one-nighters, maybe 3, 4 days, a week). Complaint enforcement system.
(Outcome: Sterud, Semeta opposed. Hardy, lean against. Others, open)
5. Sober living homes. How do we balance them with quality of life, and given state and federal restrictions, what if anything can the city do to limit them?
  • Hardy: quality of life, good neighbors. Frustrating topic at council. Agency doesn’t have control: state and federal laws limit us. State bills got dropped because of federal laws ADA, would have allowed to track the sites. Need to allow for local agencies to have input.
  • Hanson: dangerous, not needed. These people should be in hospitals.
  • Ettorre: affiliated with MADD, agrees alcoholism is a disease. Agree with Jill, up to the residents to report the issues. Until state/fed laws change not much we can do. Open to ideas.
  • Carchio: in 2008 when the problem first arose, they were prevalent in Newport, Costa Mmesa. I worked with Alan Mansoor. Costa Mesa filed with the state, but the state denied. NB took it up, sent back to state, denied again. State law will protect these homes. Bill right now would allow code enforcement to file initial complaint — now, if complaint is filed goes to board of health, state will allow local residents to do preliminary initial code enforcement. But when the lobby heard about this, filed a harassment lawsuit. Everywhere you turn, there are new ideas, but the lobby is very strong — doctors, bloodwork, etc — a lot of money is being made.
  • Brenden: state says you can’t require a permit. CM has been somewhat successful with ordinance that requires concentration of numbers within distance of each other. Requiring ramps / ADA compliance at the homes as a barrier to entry? Can report nuisances as a tool to curb abuses.
  • Sterud: I live within 400 yards of 4 such homes. Disappointed that there’s not much to be done. Follow CM on proximity rules. The concept is great, but the concentration, locations, are being abused.
  • Semeta: true that we’re limited, so we have to get creative. Poorly run homes are the problem. The victim is the patient, spending insurance dollars for no value. A rating system could be created to rate the homes; this is a tool the insurance companies could use to decide where to send dollars, leveraging the market to encourage responsible homes and weed out bad ones. City attorney looking at beefing up nuisance laws.
  • Rolfes: need oversight.
  • Pinchiff: need more local control, but need pressure at state and federal level. need to write letters to state and feds. not fair to put in the middle of neighborhoods.
(Outcome: not much to be done, Semeta, Brenden had best strategic ideas)
HB Tomorrow thanks all of the candidates for participating and sharing their views with the public.