You keep a-knockin’ but you can’t come in! No way! No on A!

The letters keep arriving at the Journal


Stop the Sprawl Right Here, Right Now

It seems that DDR has tipped their hand a bit and revealed some of their corporate vision for the city of Ukiah. At the recent town hall meeting in Willits, DDR senior development director Jeff Adams admitted that DDR intends to widen North State Street to five lanes, and add five additional traffic lights between Ford Street and Orr Springs Road, timed at 60 second intervals.

This is sounding more and more like the Santa Rosa-Rohnert Park-Windsor urban sprawl megalopolis. When I moved my family to Ukiah 20 years ago, it was to get away from five lane boulevards and high density traffic lights, with their resulting gridlock. This is not the vision that I have for Ukiah’s future! If you envision something better for Ukiah than uncontrollable urban sprawl, curb the corporate madness. Vote no on Measure A.

From Chas E. Moser

Make Masonite Meaningful To The People

In all the ads for approval of Measure A I have never seen anything about making jobs available for the people of Ukiah in a field that they would be proud to work in. We are big on verbal support of something we believe in but we are slight on physical support.

If they are going to develop that piece of land why not do it with an industry that would help the people of Ukiah and not just add more people to the mix, dumping into our water treatment plant and using what we consider a dwindling resource, water.

If construction is to be done, why do we have to depend on strangers to come in and do it? If development takes place why not use local people to do it?

Why not put our money where our mouth is and build something that produces products that do away with polluting fuel? Why not build a solar panel construction plant and train locals to build them? Why not build a fuel cell production unit to build engines for vehicles that the only by product is water vapor? Why not do something that Ukiah would be proud of instead of wondering where we will get the resources to support what is built?

I hope that whatever is built will not just bring tax money to Ukiah but something more tangible and meaningful to the people.

From William D. French, Jr.
San Francisco

Yes On CostCo, No On A

The people of Ukiah have made it clear, for at least a decade, that they want a Costco. Costco brings good paying jobs and offers great benefits.

Don’t be confused though. All of the other stores in the proposed shopping center (not a mall) offer low paying jobs and few benefits.

Here in San Francisco the Costco is on a small parcal of land. The store is built over a parking garage, lower it’s impact on the environment. This could easily be done in Ukiah.

And yes, there are plenty of places a store could be built if a parking garage was included.

Parking garages are a viable option in Ukiah. Stores could also be built with multiple stories. I recently went into a two story Target. I was surprised to see that there are escalators for shopping carts. What a great option for areas where there is not enough room to build traditional buildings!

Ukiah needs to grow up a bit and realize that it is not a small town. With well over 20,000 people in the valley Ukiah is a small city with small city needs. Building parking garages and multi-story retail buildings will meet future shopping needs. And by limiting chain retail stores to those that will not compete with local businesses the area economy will improve. Costco is one of these. Costco is not a grocery store. It is also not a discount store.

And Costco will keep people from having to use the gasoline necessary to travel to Santa Rosa. This will be good for people’s wallets and the environment.

Costco will be good for Ukiah. A giant shopping center that brings dead end, low paying jobs will be of great detriment to the local economy.

Voting no on Measure A will not stop Costco from coming to Ukiah. Voting no will guarantee that the Masonite land will be available for good paying manufacturing jobs. Voting no will also encourage Costco to go back to the City of Ukiah to find a location where they can build that will best serve the people of Ukiah.

Redwood Valley

We’ll be left with the bills – No on A!

After having read enough letters in support of Measure A, I’m finally urged to respond to some of the issue’s brought up.

Supporters argue our area needs jobs which I will agree with. I don’t agree that our area needs more $10-12/hr. paying jobs. Our average wage in Mendocino County according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2008 was almost $31,000/year which is almost $16/hour if you are working full time; $10-12/hr only ends up paying $20,000-$24,000/year. While $10-12/hr may be good for a high school or college kid, try raising a family on it. Too many in our community already do!

There are already plenty of $10-12/hr jobs in our county, many just don’t know where to look even though they drive by them every day. People come from over 1,000 miles away, risking their lives emigrating from another country and they don’t seem to have a hard time finding a job. I’m referring to our local vineyards and the primarily migrant Mexican workforce. How many of the people complaining about not finding a job has ever tried picking grapes? I work for a local vineyard and some of the faster pickers can make upwards of $20/hr. and they earn every penny of it. Or is it easier to peddle cheaply made Chinese goods, taking a break to eat junk food in a food court?

I’ve heard Jeff Adams repeat that DDR was “going to pay their way.” They sure are trying to pay their way into our community with their cancerous mall. I find it ironic that many people in our community who consider themselves fiscal conservatives, even basing local political campaigns on that, would support an unfunded corporate mandate. Sure DDR is willing to pay for the development of their conceptual concept, dependent on market conditions “Specific Plan” but what about their impact outside of Mendocino Tomorrow Land? Measure A reads in section 3.4 “Off-site improvements require the cooperation and approval of third parties, including Mendocino County and/or other public entities. The developer shall only be required to implement the off-site improvements if provided timely cooperation and approval from third parties. If timely approval is not obtained, the developer may deposit the fair share monetary cost, as determined via a nexus study prepared by the developer accordance with Government Code Sec. 66000, for such improvements with the public entity that has jurisdiction and the public entity shall be responsible for implementing the off-site improvements.” Who defines timely cooperation? What if the county (i.e. taxpayers) can’t afford it? How considerate that they tell us that we can issue bonds (read debt) to pay for our fair share. They get to build their conceptual mall and we are left with the bill for the real traffic mess? That sounds real fair.

Some people support Measure A because they want Costco or some other shopping experience they now only get by driving to Santa Rosa. First of all, there are other places for Costco and other box stores to go. Second of all, if you like the shopping choices in Sonoma County so much, maybe you should move there. So many people are so busy looking for a great deal on the new style of clothes, or next greatest electronic gadget – all made in third world countries – and then they wonder why the neighbor lost his job at the local manufacturing plant. It must be environmentalists, or government regulation, or someone else’s fault. It could never be that they were bargained out of a job by their fellow citizen.

Don’t be duped Mendocino County voters. While I too am tired of looking at the former site of Masonite sitting idle, we can aspire for better then a not so cheap shopping experience. Vote No on A.
Thanks to Steve Scalmanini