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Archive for Monday, October 25, 1993

MAYOR, PARKWAY GROUP AT ODDS

October 25, 1993

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Mayor John Nalbandian refused an East Lawrence group's invitation to discuss the Eastern Parkway, calling its membership "accusatory and combative."

Mayor John Nalbandian wasn't comfortable with the idea of talking about the Eastern Parkway in Richard Kershenbaum's living room, so he didn't.

Nalbandian said he refused an invitation to Sunday's meeting of the Eastern Parkway working group -- a group Nalbandian had asked to be formed -- because its membership had been "accusatory and combative" during Tuesday's city commission meeting.

"I think there was a real effort on the part of a number of people to show good faith," Nalbandian said. "There was one person, in particular, that didn't, and that was enough for me."

That person, he said, is Kershenbaum, 704 N.Y., one of five members of the working group.

During Tuesday's commission meeting, Kershenbaum said the city had committed a federal crime by lying to Congress, perpetuated a "cargo cult" by spending thousands of dollars of taxpayer money without federal or state contributions, and given rise to a possible taxpayer revolt.

Nalbandian said Kershenbaum had a right to say such things during official public meetings, but informal gatherings were another matter.

"I think it's silly," Kershenbaum said this morning. "I don't carry a gun. This isn't Bosnia. We're not armed or anything."

Someday, Kershenbaum said, Nalbandian will have to make decisions affecting traffic and commercial development in the neighborhood.

"He needs to be ready to confront these issues, and I'm not sure that he is," Kershenbaum said.

During Tuesday's commission meeting, Nalbandian proposed putting off land purchases for the parkway until 1995 at the earliest, giving the city time to adopt an East Lawrence neighborhood plan. The commission unanimously approved the proposal.

"It's really unfortunate that the mayor has cut off discussion," said Jim Dewey, chair of the working group, in a statement. "If the parkway is going to be built, we need to agree on ways to protect the adjacent neighborhoods, and we need to begin now."

The proposed $14.7 million parkway is planned to stretch for 3.5 miles between the intersection of Seventh and New York streets to an intersection at Noria Road, at the northeast corner of the East Hills Business Park.

"Years of effort have gone into trying to bring various interests together on this," Dewey said. "It would be a shame to see all that go down the drain."

Nalbandian said he would like to meet informally with members of the neighborhood, but not Kershenbaum.

"Apparently this group thinks that I have some responsibility to sit around and take this verbal abuse," Nalbandian said.

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