Fresh Batch of Dead Monster Mall Community Outrage – Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
Ukiah Daily Journal

From Stephanie T. Hoppe

What exactly is in the proposed Measure A? For all we can tell, if it passes, it could authorize the slaughterhouse discussed some months ago, and no one in the county would have any say about it.

From Ron Lippert

Thanks for publishing all the various opinions on Measure A. I support No On A. Vote, have an opinion. We must come together and unite to create the future which we all will and do want.

From John Arteaga

I hope that a lot of folks planning to cast ballots in the upcoming election had the opportunity to hear the debate between the opposing sides of the Measure A issue, which was simulcast on KZYX, and also to listen to Barry Vogel’s Radio Curious program today on KZYX 91.5 fm, where he detailed a great many of the less savory facts about DDR’s proposed development.

My wife’s reaction to the debate was something like, “sounds like they’re coming to town to swindle the country bumpkins; do they think that we all just fell off the turnip truck yesterday?”

While today’s bleak jobs picture may prompt some to vote for jobs, any kind of jobs, if one takes a longer view, the passage of Measure A will surely be selling out our birthright and that of our children for a mess of pottage today. If we allow its 68 acres to pass from industrial to ‘mixed-use’ (i.e. what ever any developer wants to do with it, forever exempt from the normal planning and zoning constrains everyone else has to abide by) it will close off forever the possibility of good, well paid, productive, industrial jobs locating any kind of sizable plant in Ukiah Valley.

As the American dollar continues to weaken against the currencies of all those countries which produce goods to trade with other countries around the world, eventually this country will have to rebuild its manufacturing base, which was so rashly shut down and sent off to China or some such cheap labor destination, during the Bush-Clinton ‘free-trade’ era.

Think of how unique and irreplaceable the Masonite site is; strategically situated on a rail siding which may, sometime in the future, come back into operation, with copious water sources and easy access to the freeway, with a great many well-educated potential employees willing to work for far less than the wages demanded in the Bay Area or LA. If it takes 10 years for the right (hopefully fairly clean and green) manufacturing outfit to discover the site, it will be well worth the wait for the many middle-class jobs that will allow workers to actually buy houses, have families, etc.

Compare this to the snarled traffic nightmare, the catastrophic expenses to the county for the road infrastructure we will have to build (without DDR having to contribute a dime), and the loss of jobs in the rest of Ukiah, and the X number of low wage retail jobs that we would get in return really look like chump change; truly a swindling of the country bumpkins.

No on Measure A!

From Daphne Macneil

I pulled out my ballot this evening to vote, as 75 percent of county voters are now able to do. The ballot reads “Measure A – Shall the ordinance titled ‘An initiative to enact a General Plan and zoning code amendment, and mixed-use specific plan for the former site of the Masonite facility,’ be approved?” Having received no Sample Ballot, no Voter Information Booklet, I have decided to vote No on Measure A and strongly urge all the voters in Mendocino County to Vote No.

1. Measure A will grant special privileges to whomever owns the probably-toxic-with-dioxin 76 acres. Privileges to avoid local planning oversight and control. Privileges of exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act. No one should have those rights. The State of California has not even yet certified that the site is cleaned up from when DDR had the old Masonite buildings razed. Hello?

2. Measure A means those privileges would be in place forever for that property unless we went through this whole initiative process again, for those specific 76 acres. Zoning-by-allot is not in the best interest of the citizens of the county. We have paid professionals to do that for us, with our input and involvement.

3. Mendocino County’s economy needs production jobs. We need to make things that the rest of the world wants to buy. That’s what will bring significant money to our communities. Retail, at best, contributes 25 percent to a balanced economy. Measure A is not about shopping. Measure A gives away our protections for this specific piece of property. Are we going to end up voting on property after property after property after property? DDR: Use the process as we all have to do.

From Leon Springer

DDR, the sponsor of Measure A has spent well over $500,000 to write an initiative to benefit them and no one else. This initiative, if passed allows DDR to evade all environmental review and ignore the local planning process. Basically it’s a blank check to do what they want. With Measure A there will be no EIR for this property as normally required under the “California Environmental Quality Act.” Who will pay for the problems created by a development such as this? You and I, the taxpayers of Mendocino County!

Do you like the small town atmosphere of Ukiah and Mendocino County? This DDR initiative, if passed, will cause many small businesses to go under. Measure A will kill good jobs. Our roads will also deteriorate rapidly and we will be left with the bill to repair them. Money that could be better spent on parks, walking paths and bike paths and youth programs will be diverted to take care of our overused and over taxed police force.

Don’t believe the falsehoods that DDR has put out in their glossy mailers. They are out to trick you. No big box store, not even Costco has signed on with DDR. At this time, Costco has issued a “Press Release” stating that they do not endorse Measure A. Deception, that’s what DDR is all about. Let’s preserve Ukiah and Mendocino County. It’s our community character we’re talking about. I urge you to vote No on Measure A.

From Trudy Morgan

I am voting NO on Measure A for two reasons.

1.) If the industrially-zoned Masonite property is rezoned to commercial/retail we will lose the potential for living-wage jobs at this site. DDR bought the industrial-zoned property in 2005. They knew that the County General Plan designated this property and the surrounding properties most suitable for industry. Why does DDR feel entitled to come here from Ohio and get the zoning changed so that they can build a mall?

2.) The “700 jobs” that DDR is promising if Measure A passes and if they build their new mall on prime industrial land, are not going to save us in these economically-challenging times. But, good industrial jobs, like those we lost when Masonite closed, would help our economy. Most jobs in retail provide minimum wage ($8/hour) and few, if any, benefits. Not many people can actually support themselves by working at minimum wage. Retail work at minimum wage may supplement the income of another adult in the household who has a living-wage job. Single adults supporting families would need to work at least a couple of 40-hour-minimum-wage jobs to even consider supporting a small family.

We do not need more shopping opportunities in this county, instead we need good paying jobs. Please vote NO on Measure A.

From Charles N. Hudson
Redwood Valley

Could passage of Measure A result in a development freeze in Mendocino County?

Let’s take a look.

In 1979 a court found that Mendocino County’s general plan was not consistent with state law and imposed an injunction severely limiting development in the whole county until the general plan was brought into compliance. The injunction was in place for several years while the general plan was being amended.

State law requires that general plans be internally consistent. That means, among other things, that the uses depicted on the land use map must be consistent with the goals and policies contained in the text. The drafters of Measure A apparently were concerned that passage of Measure A might result in such internal inconsistencies because there are two paragraphs in Measure A addressing this possibility.

Measure A requires that Mendocino County amend its general plan to eliminate any inconsistencies that may result from passage of Measure A. The county would have to prepare a general plan amendment and an environmental impact report for the proposed amendment. Public hearings would have to be held by both the planning commission and the board of supervisors. All this would be done at county expense. And the amendments would apply to the entire inland portion of the county, not just the Masonite site. Judging by past amendments, and the county’s current budget problems, this would probably not happen quickly.

So how could a development freeze come about?

If there were to be a lawsuit filed during the period that the county’s general plan was not in compliance with state law, it is possible that a court could impose another injunction until the general plan was amended.

There’s no certainty that it would happen, but are you willing to take the risk? I think it would be better to vote No on Measure A, and let the landowner submit applications to the county through the normal application process, complete with an EIR prepared by an objective third party, identifying potential adverse environmental impacts and proposing appropriate mitigation measures.

Please vote No on Measure A.

From Star Decker
Fort Bragg

I was born in Willits and have lived most of my 60 years within Mendocino County. My family moved out of the county when I was growing up because my parents were always looking for that better job and a place with better opportunities. But we always returned and as an adult I stayed, inherited some land, raised my family, had various jobs and got by just fine. These past many years I have had the opportunity to travel some, “get out of Dodge” as the saying goes. Sometimes I grew bored with my small town life, I must admit, and I kept an eye open for a better place to live as I traveled. But I always came home and I’m glad that I did.

Our county is so unique in the diversity of personalities and talents of folks that live here, including those born here to those who have come to live here over the years and stayed because they found it to be such a special place. We love small towns, familiar faces, small local businesses, incredible arts & music, learning opportunities and beautiful wide, open spaces. There’s a feeling that if disaster strikes (and it has in past) that we will all stick together and survive on our combined ingenuity, skills and abundant local resources.

But I’m worried. I’ve done my research on Measure A in these last few months and talked to many people on both sides of the issue. What shocks me is: 1. The folks who do not understand what Measure A represents and do not want to be confused by facts and: 2. Same folks are ready to roll up their sleeves and fight for the possibility of having a huge shopping mall in our county. There are too many words to fit into this letter for me to list the reasons why this is a bad idea.

‘Yes’ voters please open your minds and look into the matter before you cast this very critical vote on a measure that, if passed, could set wheels in motion that could harm our county in the future. Don’t let this big, outside corporation bypass all of our environmental and planning procedures and seriously mess with our home land just for the sake of more shopping opportunities. They care not for us or our county but have spent a fortune on propaganda to convince us that they do.

Please don’t be fooled. Vote No on Measure A.

From Richard Johnson

I have reason to believe DDR’s Yes on Measure A campaign is telephoning voters who have signed their initiative qualifying it for the ballot. If so, it would be a violation of Section 18650 of the California Elections Code, Misuse of Petition Signatures.

“18650. No one shall knowingly or willfully permit the list of signatures on an initiative, referendum, or recall petition to be used for any purpose other than qualification of the initiative or referendum measure or recall question for the ballot, except as provided in Section 6253.5 of the Government Code. Violation of this section is a misdemeanor.”

Any petition signer who objects to having their name used to contact supporters of Measure A may lodge a complaint with the Mendocino County elections officer Sue Ranochek by calling 707-463-4370.

From Gene Parsons

A yes vote on Measure A does not guarantee Costco or any big box store will locate in Ukiah. Measure A was put on the ballot with lies, deception and slick, big money propaganda by a large corporation from outside California. This multi national corporation wants to change the zoning on the Masonite property in Ukiah. This way they can avoid going through our local planning protocol that anyone else in Mendocino County would have to go through, and should go through with a project of this scale. If they succeed, our local planning commission and board of supervisors will be virtually hog tied.

“Mendocino Crossings” would then be able to do what ever they please with the Masonite property regardless of how it might affect our county and communities, and without any local input or recourse.

There really is no guarantee of a shopping mall folks, only a vague and hypothetical proposal. “Mendocino Crossings” is a hollow promise by rich liars trying to exploit our already impoverished county. And if they succeed, then what’s next on big money’s agenda?

They are counting on low voter turn out. Don’t let them get away with it.

Vote No on A!
Thanks to Steve Scalmanini