Sorthun has called the nine-member task force "simply a formality," alleging that interim standards governing fences, walls and hedges were as good as permanent.
That perspective runs contrary to the impressions of the rest of the task force, Soderstrom said.
"We're all putting in time here and dealing with a pretty tedious subject," he said. "And we're not doing this for pay and fun. To use this for your political purposes is just not appropriate."
Sorthun, who was at the meeting on Wednesday, could not be reached for comment.
She has accused the committee of leaning toward policies that infringe upon the rights of property owners. Task-force deliberations more often than not result in a 7-1 or 8-1 vote with Sorthun opposed, Soderstrom said.
"What gets to me and the rest of the committee is that we realize people have property rights and no one is trying to make this a cumbersome process," he said "My point to her Wednesday night is that we're not in the Wild West, where nobody really cares about what you put on your ranch and what kind of fencing you use…. We're in a built-out community."
The task force was formed early in 2006 to review interim standards on height limits and other specifications on fences, walls and landscaping.
The issue attracted wide public attention from homeowners who thought that a change in city codes would force them to modify existing fences on their properties.
Once it became clear that existing fences could remain in place as long as they posed no safety hazard, public interest waned, with few residents turning up for task-force meetings.
But there was a "marked presence" at Wednesday's meeting from homeowners in the Hillside District who were concerned about height limits within "unique neighborhoods," where new development and protecting scenic views can pose additional challenges to code policies, Steinkruger said.
The task force is scheduled to confront those types of issues, especially in light of hillside development standards that are already in place, she said.
"It's simply just a matter that we have a lot of stuff that has to be covered until we can get to that point," she said. "I think you're seeing a lot of good information there on the table and it's good to have more of the public bringing their situations to the attention of the task force."
The task force is scheduled to come back to the City Council with recommendations regarding the ordinance.
CHRIS WIEBE covers City Hall and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at chris.wiebelatimes.com.