By Robert Haugh
The last time the controversial Hunter Storm Gateway Crossings issue was in front of the Council on May 21, Councilman Raj Chahal did not participate.
Here’s what he said before he walked out of the chambers: “As I voted on this item as Planning Commissioner, so I’ll be recusing myself from double voting on this one.” Here’s the YouTube video of his statement.
Here’s what we wrote about the meeting in May:
Raj Chahal abstained from voting on the project because he said that he previously voted on it as a Planning Commissioner. That’s an interesting reason, especially since the project is in his district.
Because of Chahal, the Council only had six votes and seemed deadlocked about how much retail should be in the project. The issue will be brought back on July 9.
Tonight, the issue is back and Chahal has changed his mind.
Here’s what he wrote to us:
“As you know from time to time city attorney office advises council about when to participate and when to abstain from various agenda items, in the case of Hunter Storm agenda item, the city attorney’s office initially advised me to recuse myself from participating at council level as I had already participated on this agenda item while I was planning commissioner. Later on the attorney’s office reversed their judgment and told me that hat I can participate on this agenda item. Keeping in view their advise I will be participating on this item on 9th.
Chahal is in a tricky situation. Last November, he was part of the Planning Commission. They voted unanimously for the project. That vote was a couple of weeks after Chahal got elected to the City Council.
Now, some people in his district are pressuring him to vote against the project he approved seven months ago.
He could be the swing vote on this project in more ways than one.