Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tom Field's Letter to the Editor and Contribution

The following is a post contribution from Tom. It was written and posted on this blog prior to its appearance in the April 7, 2007 edition of More San Pedro. It differs only slightly from the letter viewed in the magazine.

The entire R-1 now and forever concept is flawed, out-dated and doomed to failure. Despite all the arguments by proponents, it just doesn't work. Mark's conversations with "Joe" illustrate how uneducated the community is as a whole on this issue. I won't waste time reiterating the points he made. I DO want to add my 2¢ worth, that Mark is absolutely correct.

Further along those lines. It has been a (supposed) positive "talking point" about R Neighborhoods Are 1 being a TRUE grassroots organization. This is more misinformation. The actual group is minuscule. Criticism has been leveled at Bisno over the make up of his focus groups. But at least he had them. Any one of his focus groups is larger than the R Neighborhoods Are 1 Committee. Do any of you reading this blog know of anyone on the committee? I think not. Just more propaganda.

Additionally, in petition gathering, using volunteers from a small group spouting propaganda and playing on your fears, there is a distinct disadvantage. When you have your personal opinions integrally involved, concepts/facts have a ways of morphing or not being mentioned at all. Get that signature at any cost, because your "way of life" is being threatened. Professional pollsters do not have this handicap. Read the script provided; if you get the signature, great. If not, you get paid anyway. The idea that somehow volunteers are "pure" is just plain bogus. Mormons anyone? Or how about Christian Scientists? or anyone else who shows up at your door. They are all volunteers. Are they "pure" and impartial? I think not.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 is not just a useless organization, it is an impediment to any progress. I don't care how many signatures they get. In addition the article by Doug in More which attacks Bisno AND Janice Hahn, which is makes no sense at all. After such an attack, why would anyone be in any mood to compromise?

They remind me of (and I risk dating myself here) the old radio commercials I used to hear as a kid. The product was Maypo. Some of you will know what this is, for the rest, sorry, that is what Google is for. But Marky Maypo would be in each spot demanding his Maypo. "I WANT MY MAYPO!!" Throwing tantrums, refusing to eat, etc., until his parents caved and he got his Maypo. Well folks, this isn't breakfast cereal and it isn't the 1950s any more. There is no way that R-1 is a viable solution for the South Bay. I know there are a lot of people who want San Pedro to remain the sleepy little Portuguese fishing village it was. But it can't. The clock keeps moving and the fishermen are gone. We are now a bedroom community, with the opportunity to create a local job market and employment.

We have to either become part of the solution and give our input for what is going to be built there, or "creeping development" will encroach on each and every last vacant lot. What we will end up with is a hodgepodge that will plague us for decades. Ask Gail Goldberg. She knows what it took to turn parts of San Diego around after this kind of un-planned building down there.

The stance R Neighborhoods Are 1 has taken makes it impossible for Bisno to budge, even if he wanted to. For example, if he decided to go for 1,000 units total with 750 being senior housing and the rest mortgage-subsidized patio-home housing, he couldn't do it because it would require a zone change to a specific plan. Verboten, according to R Neighborhoods Are 1. Even if he said "uncle" and agreed to put only 750 senior units, the same would apply. This inflexibility, mis-informing the public, and creating a general panic will lead to an ever-increasing acrimonious battle. R Neighborhoods Are 1 is just throwing gasoline on the fire. Their stance is turning neighbor against neighbor.

You think there is a problem now? What if Bisno decides that he doesn't need to do this? That it isn't worth the fight? So he subdivides the property and sells it to 6 or 7 different developers. Now you've got the work and problems we've been going through for the last year multiplied by 6 or 7. This would be an unmitigated disaster.

Janice Hahn created a CAC to get input to create a specific plan. We should be working to give them ideas of what we want. Instead, most of the CAC is of the R-1 mindset. At the end of the day, if they do not come up with something, it will go to the City Planning Department and they will do whatever they feel is best in their own professional opinions, sans our ideas. At that point it will be water under the bridge and too late to protest, or cry about it, or throw a tantrum and demand our Maypo.

Editor's notes:

Tom and I do not agree about the number of units that should be built at Ponte Vista. I want to publish views from folks who do not necessarily agree with me because this blog should be used as a discussion and debate tool for everyone, I feel.

When some folks became more informed about the formation of R Neighborhoods Are 1, I still did not know what stance the group would take. Even though we all know that "R" and "1" are used in the group's name, I had hoped the group would look for compromise as it shot out of the gate. I wrote to Tom about possibly joining the group and we both thought if the group was more compromise oriented as this time, perhaps we both could help the group.

When I had to write back to Tom that the group currently supports keeping the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site, R1, I had to apologize to Tom because the group is not currently set up to really look for compromise, something both Tom and I are looking for.

I too, believe that Bob Bisno can now stick in his heels, but I think that it his fault that the new group was created. He was warned about the group coming into existence well before it did and he was encouraged to alter his number of units. Bob did not budge from his "ceiling" number, so R Neighborhoods Are 1 is now digging in firmly with the "floor" number of units.

I don't have to agree at all with Tom's views about the folks who formed the new group or how many members the steering committee now has. I will admit that the total number of steering committee members is fewer than the combined Boards and Committees sponsored by Bob Bisno, but the group is growing at each and every meeting.

As for "focus groups" Bisno claims to have used to create his current plans, there was an article written in October, 2005 which claims that Bob Bisno would use "10-12 community senior leaders"... I can assure everyone that there are more than 10-12 members of the R Neighborhoods Are 1 steering committee.

In Tom's previous post, he considers 1,700 living units at Ponte Vista to be agreeable to him. Everyone is entitled to suggest what he or she thinks is appropriate for the number of units at Ponte Vista should be and why that total fits for him or her.

Thank you Tom for this post contribution. Please take a seat while folks comment to this post and don't feel too bad, lots of folks attack me from all sides of the Ponte Vista debate and my head has not exploded....yet.


mellonhead said...

1700 units is 13 Seaport sized buildings. Given the layout of the area it's as absurd as 2300. R-1 zoning is the most realistic.

Anonymous said...

"Ask Gail Goldberg. She knows what it took to turn parts of San Diego around after this kind of un-planned building down there."

no thanks. a recent trip to downtown san diego to visit a friend resulted in driving around an hour looking for parking.

and for that matter, what's wrong with criticizing janice? she wants pedro to turn into another Long Beach. this is a quote here, speaking about long beach "it looks good to me."

well, what ms. hahn doesn't realize is that parking in Long Beach is ridiculous. I invite you to spend a few weeks in Long Beach, or downtown San Diego, to see what it's like.

Anonymous said...

I agree with mellonhead and 6:47.

tom said...

First of all, my post says nothing about numbers of units. That was a previous post of my ideas and has nothing to do with my opinion of the R Neighborhods Are 1 committee.

But I guess I'm talking to a bunch of people with the same simplistic mindset as that committee.

The message is COMPROMISE!! Not more digging in to entrenched, intractible positions.

Commanding the sun to rise in the west, will not make it so. The same holds true for demanding R-1. There is no rational, reasonable basis for it. It eliminates all chance of compromise by this developer, or any other. By holding firm to R-1 now and forever, this committee is digging ALL our graves.

It is a pity you can't see it.

Anonymous said...

What is the current zoning tom?

tom said...

ahh, anonymous 8:29pm -

another one of you R-1 now and forever folks. no change, no compromise, no progress. just repeat the same mantra over and over. I guess you din't get my analogy to Marky Maypo. what a pity. but unfortunately yours is the type of mentality that everyone else in this town has to deal with. if people thought like you, women and blacks wouldn't be able to vote, we'd still have Prohibition, heck we'd probably still be reading in textbooks that the earth was flat.

things change. the world moves on. get used to it.

Anonymous said...

And some things move toward the worse direction, Tom. How about pollution and global warming? That is a direct result of "things changing" and "the world moving on". Anything other than R1 is moving in the wrong direction. Prevention Tom. That's what we need. You want to pollute this town with Ponte Vista and I want to control and prevent the pollution.