More Letters to the Editor UDJ
No Property Rights
Clear Democratic Opposition
From DAVID SMITH-FERRI
For months now, proponents of Measure A, most especially Jeff Adams of DDR, have been complaining about how poorly they’ve been treated by the County Board of Supervisors and by the planning process as a whole, which they suggest has been hostile, dilatory, and incompetent. Because of this, they say, they were forced to fall back on the only democratic process left to them: the initiative process.
I’ve heard this sad story told in the Ukiah City Council Chambers and in County BOS meetings. I’ve read it in this newspaper when proponents of Measure A have been quoted. I’ve heard it so often I’m afraid that voters may view it as true instead of seeing it as a political strategy intended to cast DDR as the good guy just trying to exercise its private property rights and move its progressive project along. In this fairy tale, local government staff and officials, of course, are the bad guys getting in the way of progress.
I want to remind everyone who cares about this ballot initiative of a few simple facts that seem to have been forgotten. First, when DDR purchased the land, it was zoned industrial (as it is now). Presumably, they knew this. They have never had a private property right to build a retail mall on the land nor does County government have to bow to their desire to change the zoning.
Second, as we all know, the current BOS is opposed to rezoning the former Masonite property precisely because John McCowen and Carre Brown replaced two supervisors who favored it. Let’s not forget that Mr. McCowen and Ms. Brown campaigned strongly against the rezoning. Their large electoral victories were not only democratic but a clear statement of opposition to the DDR project. It was not a hostile local government nor an incompetent planning process that forced DDR to bring in a guerrilla team of signature gatherers to put Measure A on the ballot. It was desperation. And all the whining to the contrary can’t change it.
Monster Mall Unnecessary
From JANNA OSTOYA
Measure A is unnecessary, because Ukiah has over 100 acres of available land already zoned for large retail. Covering industrial land with retail shopping is wasteful, shortsighted, and contributes to sprawl. Your No vote on Measure A tells developers to build large retail projects on land zoned for it. Please protect local planning and local control by voting No on Measure A.
Again! Not About Costco!
From Deborah Edelman
I am writing to urge readers to vote No on Measure A. Measure A is not about jobs or Costco or even whether rezoning that site would be a good idea. Measure A is about allowing the developer to bypass the usual planning processes and public inputs that normally go into a large development project. Measure A would give DDR enormous power to do what it wants with the Masonite property with no obligation to work within the needs or limits of the community. That means that if environmental, traffic or air quality problems arise, they will have no legal requirement to fix or pay for them and the county will be stuck with the bill. Rezoned and freed from pesky local rules, the property will become much more valuable and DDR may simply sell it off to another developer. Measure A takes away too much of our ability to exert local control over development on that property. Vote No on A.
Thanks again to the Scalmanini man