Sunday, September 02, 2007

Why There Might be so Many Ponte Vista Supporters

I have been mulling over why there are so many folks supporting Bob's plans for Ponte Vista.

It's new.
There is absolutely nothing in the area that remotely compares to what is already found in the area.
It's grand. It is larger and more upscale that every other low-rise development in the south bay.
It's unique. Illustrations and propaganda make it seem like it will be the best development in the area.
It offers something for seniors.
It is different than anything and everything else.
Many folks want change, and perhaps this type of radical change is something they may want.

I must admit that when I first heard about the development in 2005, I found myself to be somewhat excited about something new and different on the old Navy property. I listened to what the developer had to say and also to rumors about the project.

My wife Terri, was thinking about applying for a position at the site.

I think people like new ideas and things. It is probably natural to look quickly at concepts and issues and make a preliminary idea about what someone thinks about things.

There are true benefits to many seniors who wish to move into a Senior Housing section, but some of those benefits can be found elsewhere, too.

OUR community hasn't really seen any new development on any large scale recently, so it is natural to feel that a new large project might be welcome.

Unfortunately for many of us, reality sinks into the spotlight and even the best marketing and salesmanship can't overcome a project that is simply too large for the area, and may not be wanted or needed.

I have written quite a bit about my wish for some kind of Senior Housing, even though with R1, that type of housing can't happen.

Seniors who have paid off their existing homes and have lived in them since before 1978 would have a great tax advantage if there were housing for seniors, or any other type of housing built at Ponte Vista, that has selling prices lower than what they can sell their existing homes for.

If a senior sells their "Prop 13" or "Prop 60 or 90" home and purchase housing for a price lower than the selling price of their existing house, they can move their property tax benefits one time. Financially, there is no wonder why Bob is pushing so hard for a Senior Housing section.

I can certainly imagine that if Bob had not put into his development's plans, a section specifically for seniors, his plans would have been laughed right out of San Pedro. Bob is counting very heavily on the senior housing component and the seniors to support him.

Without Senior Housing, Bob has no development. We must remember that Bob purchased the property thinking he could get the zoning changes, and he is gambling on that.

There are probably supporters who believe that Bob will go back on his word to have his new 1,950-unit plan, open access to the public. It seems that many non-seniors wanted the unique private enclave mini-community and may still seek the exclusivity that a gated community brings.

We haven't been able to find out if there was a fall off of support or a gaining of support when Bob changed his plans, but I imagine there are still so many folks who wish for this new type of community, that the numbers may not have changed much.

When something is new, flashy, different, and marketed like Ponte Vista is being marketed, there are a considerable number of individuals who do not wish to know the real facts about the project. There are still too many gullible people out there and too many of them have stumbled into Bob's trap.

There are two axioms I think apply to Ponte Vista at San Pedro;

"If is sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

"Advertising is getting people to buy things they don't really want."

We have seen that advertising and marketing for Ponte Vista has brought thousands of folks towards supporting something that is years away from actually being built. Not only has Bisno Development effectively used advertising and marketing to sway many of the members of OUR community, they have done so knowing that there is still no human on the planet that knows what actually will be built on the 61.53-acre site. Now that takes some real skills to market imagination over facts.

When facts are marketed over imagination, we find ever growing numbers of members of OUR community who believe Ponte Vista at San Pedro and Bob's current plans are NOT in the best interest of OUR community.

I can't blame folks for wanting something new. I compare this somewhat to when we look for a new car. Much of the time we get what appeals to our vision, heart, and wants, instead of what may be the best vehicle to meet our needs and be affordable.

I feel if and when many supporters take a step back and think about how Bob's plans would really affect their lives, many supporters may see Ponte Vista as more of a problem than a solution.

It is fun to want, it can be trouble to have.


Just4fin said...

Ah, the old caveat, "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."

Or as Ray Patricio said, "Some people's dreams, will become other people's nightmares."

Words of wisdom, let it be, let it be. Let it still be R-1.

Jim said...

I don't think that many people support Bob's plans for Ponte Vista, I haven't spoken to a single person in town who supports it. The people I talk to are from all walks of life, attorneys, business owners, dockworkers, construction workers, students, bartenders, truck drivers, the list goes on and on. Lots of different people with one thing in common, they all live in our community. And none of them are for Ponte Vista. In fact, most of their comments about Bob or his project are not suitable for print in this blog.

Bob is very creative when it comes to counting supporters. Anyone who inquires about Ponte Vista is considered a supporter. We all know about the paid petition gathers who are lying through their teeth to get unsuspecting people to sign. I even ended up on their supporter's list(I think it was from signing in at one of the first community meetings at the Ports of Call Restaurant).

It's no secret that Bisno's supporters at the CAC meetings were all treated to dinner before the meetings. Many of them knew very little about Ponte Vista. Many more are in it for financial gain. I'm sure some were promised things they will never get.

I beleive most of Bob's "big name" supporters are all in it for the money. His petitions should be thrown out because his PPG's lied to get them.

Most people I know, young and old alike, could never live in a place like Ponte Vista. I certainly couldn't. I guess it's true that some seniors want to downsize to smaller homes, I just don't know any of them. For the price of a Bisno condo, you can get a fixer upper in a part of town that no one would ever have a problem living in. Brand new is not everything. We like our backyards, we like our garages, and we like our privacy


M Richards said...

Thank you Jim, so much.

You are absolutely correct in your observations that most people we all talk to don't claim to support Bob's current plans.

When we are out gathering signatures on R1 petitions there is almost one supporter for every 100 folks who sign the petition. When we encounter a supporter, we usually say "thank you" for listening to us and they pass along.

You are also correct that many individuals, mostly seniors, will get a financial advantage in buying a place at Ponte Vista IF there are senior units. HOWEVER, those same folks can get that same advantage just about anywhere and there are lots of Senior Housing units going unsold in "far away" Torrance!

The old line that folks who profess B.s (Bisno support) claim that they would have to move to Hemet or Riverside to find housing for seniors, is simply not true.

If folks really don't want to have yards to mow, how about they look at Centre Street Lofts? Not only are there no yards to mow, there is a two-year window where new owners won't be charged HOA fees and dues.

I still have to cling to the idea that there are some folks who climbed up the Bisno gangplank due to the newness and differences that Ponte Vista is illustrated as possibly having. I am not suggesting that anything like what Bob envisions will ever get built in northwest San Pedro, but I do think there are people wishing for something so unlike anything else anywhere near OUR community, that they will fall for anything.

Now that the ship is under way, it seems to have hit the iceberg that is OUR community and OUR wishes. I have seen some lifeboats in the water, but I hope to see many more as time goes by.

It appears now that "Captain Bob" never really looked at the course he wanted to take and that OUR community knows what is best for it and how WE can chart our own course.

The "Navigators" that are his varius boards and followers didn't seem to realize that, even though they thought they know the waters of OUR community, they really don't, especially for a development as big as this "Titanic".

P.S. Jim,

Your comments look like a perfect letter to the editor!

Anonymous said...

he has so many "supporters" because the petition gatherers never leave you alone. i've been asked to sign over a dozen times.but the mayor and city council are for high density projects and he just may still get most of what he's squealing for.