According to City Council member Ron Stearn, public safety and high dollar lawsuits directed towards Tuolumne County are the reasons the Local Transportation Committee recommended the closure of downhill traffic on Old Priest Grade Road recently.
Stearn and two other members have been criticized by County Supervisor Mark Thornton and others for the decision because of an apparent insensitivity to South County residents.
All three panelists reside in the Sonora area, prompting the complaints. Stearn says the move has nothing to do with prejudice, just fiscal responsibility towards the county.
The committee holds another public meeting on the matter in January.