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Visitors to downtown hotels are a piddling few. Residents of downtown condos are a piddling few. But that won’t stop the establishment from diddling taxpayers for more downtown development — a travesty because outlying parks, libraries, beaches, and other assets are in such bad shape.

As interviews reveal, conservatives and liberals alike believe that San Diego’s grand design to build up downtown while neglecting other areas has failed dismally: cleaning up and restoring parks and beaches, for example, would bring tourists and also boost residents’ quality of life. The hospitality industry should try to recruit families, not convention attendees who will get more of what they want (vice) in Las Vegas.

Although the City is broke, the focus remains on downtown. Mark Fabiani, propagandist for the Chargers, hails “a new willingness of the City of San Diego to work with us” in finding a downtown location for a football stadium. There is a big push to put a combined library/school next to the ballpark, thus providing infrastructure to be tapped by the Padres, whose $300 million–plus subsidy was apparently insufficient, even though this year’s average attendance is running lower than the last year at Qualcomm Stadium (2003). Despite the dismal tourism outlook and plunge in transient occupancy tax (hotel tax) receipts, the establishment pushes for an expansion of the convention center, perhaps accompanied by a City-financed hotel to compete with other severely ailing, subsidized hotels. Businesses will be assessed to put money in a business improvement district in East Village.

“The parks are dreadful,” says Bruce Henderson, former councilmember, a conservative. “We should have enhanced Balboa Park to make it more attractive to San Diegans as well as tourists. We should long ago have put underground parking at the zoo.” Over the years, says Henderson, moneybags “from outside San Diego came to take advantage of the financing and subsidies offered by the City of San Diego in the name of redevelopment. A few very greedy business people saw a power vacuum. John Moores did to San Diego what he did to Peregrine shareholders.” (Moores, the Texan who once almost entirely controlled the Padres and raked in a bundle on East Village real estate, was chairman of Peregrine Systems and dumped almost $500 million of his stock during the period when the books were cooked.) “Instead of more livable, they made San Diego less livable.”

As to the Chargers, Henderson says there is no room for a stadium downtown “unless they want to hang it on a skyhook above the convention center or build a vertical stadium. They need 100 to 150 acres to build a new stadium and a vast panoply of other related facilities, but those days are gone.” The Chargers, who really want to move to Los Angeles, have been going through the motions in Chula Vista, Oceanside, and downtown because “they have to demonstrate to National Football League owners that they are making an effort to work with the community. The league wants to avoid a backlash in which Congress enacts punitive legislation to stop teams from moving to other cities.”

The push to build a downtown library/school “is a money grab by developers,” says Councilmember Carl DeMaio, another conservative. “The dirty secret” is that the school will need parking for 400 to 700 people and have 30 parking spots. “I pressed [administration officials] and was told that the students can park across the street in a private garage that John Moores owns.” The $80 million in redevelopment funds that Centre City Development Corporation proposes to put into the library “should be used for vital public services — underfunded services citywide.”

Liberals feel the same way. Says Steve Erie, professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego, “San Diego has a different way of doing development. We put all of our eggs in the downtown [Centre City Development Corporation] basket. Places like Los Angeles and San Francisco have spread the tax-increment public investment to the neighborhoods. We have also put too many eggs in the tourism basket; we have produced a welter of low-wage jobs without fringe benefits.”

He cites a classic example: San Diego took the old Naval Training Center and basically converted it to upscale housing. There was some historical preservation, but not much for the citizenry or visitors to enjoy. By contrast, San Francisco converted the Presidio into a park with 800 acres of open space, 145 acres of native plant communities, and 300 acres of forest. There are 870 structures at the Presidio, and 470 are historic — buildings from the days of yore. The facility attracts 5 million visitors a year. “San Francisco is much more devoted to public facilities,” says Erie. “Look at the transportation system. They really guard the public space and value it; we don’t.”

Continues Erie, “Our own crown jewels are at risk: parks, beaches. Balboa Park may be headed into privatization. There will be naming rights and neon signs everywhere.” Erie’s book, Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Growth Politics in San Diego, will come out next year.

“Downtown redevelopment has been at the expense of the neighborhoods, public spaces, and libraries,” says Mike Davis, a Golden Hill resident who is a professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside and coauthor of Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See. Redevelopment funds were originally for such purposes as affordable housing but were “hijacked” by downtown developers. San Diego “has the most backward redevelopment program in the whole state.” The overwhelming emphasis has been on “high-end residential” while other cities stress affordable housing. In San Diego, “The naked fact is that downtown has been a black hole of tax-increment financing, self-government by the downtown landowners and business interests with minimum concessions to the neighborhoods.” In Los Angeles and San Francisco, “There were big revolts against tax-increment financing and redevelopment; [those cities] had to pay some tribute to social needs.”

Says Norma Damashek, president of the League of Women Voters, “Balboa Park is for citizens but is a huge draw for tourists. We are letting that go. Mission Bay is a disaster, a pollution pit. We don’t take care of assets that bring tourists. The City never solved the storm-water drainage problem, and that has had a negative impact on the beaches. The money is going into the pockets of major moneymaking interests.”

Councilmember Donna Frye has fought for years to make Centre City Development Corporation pay back the money it owes the City rather than launch new downtown projects. She wants more money for neighborhoods. “I would argue that safe neighborhoods, safe parks, amenities are ways to promote tourism and also benefit the people who live here,” says Frye.

Sums up Davis, “San Diego has become an icon as the downtown that works — the most successful example of redevelopment on the coast. My opinion is that it is little short of disastrous.”

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Comments

Anon92107 July 8, 2009 @ 2:09 p.m.

God what a disaster.

Looks like there is only one option left to save San Diego:

ELECT DON BAUDER MAYOR OF SAN DIEGO

If the Reader constituency doesn't demand the immediate recall of Sanders and your immediate election to save San Diego Don there can be no hope for Gens X, Y, Z+

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Don Bauder July 8, 2009 @ 2:31 p.m.

Response to post #1: If nominated I shall not run and if elected I shall not serve. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 8, 2009 @ 8:01 p.m.

Councilmember Donna Frye has fought for years to make Centre City Development Corporation pay back the money it owes the City rather than launch new downtown projects.

We need to close down CCDC and SEDC -they are just black holes for taxpayer money.

You spoke to many people for this article, and they all said the samething, the lugheads in BigBusiness are railroading the taxpayers with the help or the Mayor and some on the clowncil.

SO sad, but is business as usual.

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Don Bauder July 8, 2009 @ 8:26 p.m.

Response to post #3: One of the earlier columns I wrote for the Reader -- in 2003 or maybe 2004 -- suggested CCDC be shut down. Some of us for years have been trying to get across the truth that the real estate development industry and downtown wheeler-dealers own the city council, and control San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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Brian_T_Peterson_DVM July 9, 2009 @ 6 a.m.

In writing of the downtown redevelopment black hole, you have to mention Grantville. Downtown cheerleaders aren’t satisfied with only their tax increment. Now, based on the Grantville settlement agreement, downtown is sucking in over $31 million of Grantville’s tax increment. The ultimate beneficiary is the County Administration Building. This is clearly illegal according to the Health & Safety Code. This is why the Grantville Action Group has filed suit to stop this money transfer and to block the settlement agreement. If you would like to see your tax increment stay in your project area, please support our lawsuit. Donate at www.GrantvilleActionGroup.com.

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Don Bauder July 9, 2009 @ 6:15 a.m.

Response to post #5: The Grantville situation is disgusting. Agreed. Best, Don Bauder

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Linda_J_Wilson July 9, 2009 @ 9:30 a.m.

Hey Don! Too bad you won't run for City Council. However, if you were on the council we would loose your reporting and that would be a cryin' shame. Although it sounds hopeless, this mess can be turned around. We all have an opportunity to be a catalyst for change in our next election by working for candidates that support neighborhood rights instead of organized money. Find the "Real Deal" candidates instead of the posers that do a 180 once they are elected. Work hard for these "Real Deal" candidates whether they are in your district not. Why? Because even if you are fortunate enough to have a good Councilmember representing you, like Donna Frye, they still need the support of the rest on the council to put a stop to this madness.

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Sargent_Hoffy July 9, 2009 @ 11:25 a.m.

The pendulum swinging in the direction of building up downtown needs to now swing more in the direction of improving our neighborhoods.

Continued emphasis on gearing up for a downtown population growth that our natural resources won't be able to sustain is very foolish.

I also urge everyone to become familiar with the Grantville redevelopment money transfer fiasco. Taking money from our neighborhoods--like Grantville--and shifting it downtown needs to stop now.

By supporting the Grantville Action Group you are helping bring much needed pressure on city government to stop this shenanigan. To also bring pressure for city policy to be more responsive to our neighborhoods and for decision making and policy to be more transparent.

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Don Bauder July 9, 2009 @ 12:35 p.m.

Response to post #7: You will notice that for years, Donna has been the only councilmember standing up for the neighborhoods, and for the people, against the downtown cabal. She was a lonely voice. Now DeMaio is also standing up. I have hopes for Lightner. Maybe Emerald will come around. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 9, 2009 @ 12:39 p.m.

Response to post #8: Yes, study Grantville. The downtown population growth won't take place for some time. Those high-rise condos won't fill up any time soon. Even the ones that have shifted over to rentals won't fill up quickly. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 July 9, 2009 @ 12:40 p.m.

Response to post #2: Not a good enough response by a long shot Don.

Obviously, as you have been documenting for decades, San Diego is beyond the "Decline" and well into the "Fall" phase because of the legacy of the U-T/Republican Establishment that haven't given a damn about San Diego families for far too long.

The #1 Fact of Life in San Diego is no one knows more about where all the "skeletons" are that must be buried ASAP than Don Bauder if Gens X, Y & Z+ are going to have any quality of life future at all to look forward too.

You have performed your investigative reporting duty with greatest distinction and zeal, now it's time for you to apply that zeal to actually solving the problems you have documented before it is too late to save San Diego from decades of U-T/GOP corruption and destruction.

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Don Bauder July 9, 2009 @ 4:46 p.m.

Response to post #11: I'm better at exposing problems than solving them. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 July 10, 2009 @ 3:49 a.m.

Response to post #12:

Unfortunately that means no one is capable of solving San Diego problems or the worst problems we are suffering the consequences of today would have been prevented.

Without Don Bauder's inspirational leadership we are screwed, especially because our failures keep proving we desperately need new leadership that people will pay attention to, motivating us to demand solutions.

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Don Bauder July 10, 2009 @ 6:59 a.m.

Response to post #13: Donna Frye has the intellect, courage, and communications skills to be mayor. The job was stolen from her by the courts. Next time, the theft might not be so easy. Best, Don Bauder

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JakeSD July 10, 2009 @ 8:54 a.m.

Definitely agree that CCDC and SEDC should be shut down. They have been acting outside the rules as "independent" agencies while corruption has thrived. The charges against Carolyn Smith AND Nancy Graham are really the tip of the iceberg.

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pellis July 10, 2009 @ 11:36 a.m.

Don,

I think you may have some important things to say, but I don't think this article says anything convincingly.

The first problem with this article, is that it's doesn't specify any needs that are not met or any neighborhood affected by the shifting of funds to downtown redevelopment. It's not until Comment #8 that someone specifies a concrete example. You also do not give any history of how, why, and when funds shifted from neighborhoods outside the downtown area into the CCDC.

In my opinion, another problem with the article is that a clear relationship between allocation of funds for downtown development and the degradation of parks in non-downtown neighborhoods. How has budgeting for maintenance of public areas directly been affected by reallocation to downtown development? What was the budget for public land maintenance before allocation of money to downtown redevelopment opposed to after? Were there any other notable budget considerations that may have caused a decrease in funding to public areas?

Furthermore, you use quotes from Norma Damashek to claim the poor upkeep of public areas has impacted tourism of the city without exploring what other influences could be causing a decrease in tourism to public areas. The poor economy is a very easy explanation for decrease in tourism, unless you can assert and prove with figures that San Diego's tourism industry has fallen more than other domestic tourism.

You quote Donna in saying, “I would argue that safe neighborhoods, safe parks, amenities are ways to promote tourism and also benefit the people who live here.” This should be the goal of continued redevelopment downtown and any diversion from that plan should be brought to the public's attention. I would be very interested in seeing a timeline of projects the CCDC has undergone and their impact to the downtown area over time. I feel like this information would be vital to the argument that the CCDC is overfunded.

One problem with the article is that you only mention briefly on topics that could be the subject of lengthy debates. For example, the topic of the convention center expansion has legitimate questions about funding, return on investment and need. Without exploring the topic completely, you state that the hospitality industry is pushing for the expansion rather than concentrating their business on the family demographic. You go as far as to suggest that they are failing because their demographic is busy going to Vegas to get what they want. Where is the evidence of this? What numbers do you have to show that? Perhaps the hospitality industry should be employing you as a consultant rather than begging for money from the city to stay alive in a time when the hospitality industry nationwide (perhaps even globally) is hurting. I don't think San Diego government is in a position to bail out the hospitality industry, but you can't blame them for trying.

(to be continued...)

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pellis July 10, 2009 @ 11:37 a.m.

(... continued)

As for the Naval Training Center claim, I assume you're talking about Liberty Station? If so, a good breakdown of the land use can be found here: http://www.sandiego.gov/ntc/redevelopment/dpsummary.shtml I encourage everyone to take a look at the allotment for the high end housing development with no public space. Furthermore, the Presidio feels like gigantic open public space, because it is 1480 acres (wikipedia) opposed to 361 (wikipedia) acres for Liberty Station.

I agree with Steve Erie that San Francisco does a better job creating and maintaining public facilities, but these things are easier to sustain in a highly urban area. You talk about the need for 400-700 people to park at the new library/school, but you don't address the need for schools to service the new downtown residents. Ideally many of the school's teachers and students would live downtown and take public transportation or walk to work/school. It's hard to envision school teachers living in the luxury highrises built in the greed-fueled boom from the housing bubble, but there are lower-income housing developments and supply and demand should bring the prices of the once-luxury units down to affordable levels.

All in all, I don't know if the CCDC is sucking too much money away from other San Diego neighborhoods. I could make a point that greed-caused overdevelopment is not exclusive to downtown neighborhoods. In the end, I strongly believe that the process of redeveloping and establishing an urban downtown area of San Diego is beneficial to all the residents of San Diego in the long run. If there is a problem with how things are being run or how money is being spent I would like to know, but I don't feel like this article presents much to convince me of that.

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Don Bauder July 10, 2009 @ 12:34 p.m.

Response to post #15: Agreed: Graham had to go and so did Smith. But the big picture is that redevelopment has been stolen for downtown purposes. Downtown is full of empty condos and hotels. No more of either are needed. SEDC has not done its job. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 10, 2009 @ 12:39 p.m.

Response to post #16: This was a newspaper column, not a PhD dissertation. There was not room to touch on even a fraction of the things you mention, although each of those was a good suggestion. The column attempted to sketch the big picture. The specificities you desire could be examined one by one in other columns and stories. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 10, 2009 @ 12:44 p.m.

Response to post #17: I have written numerous articles about CCDC and on Nancy Graham, its former head. You might get some of these from the Reader archives. Ditto for Liberty Station. Other Reader authors such as Matt Potter, Joe Deegan and Tom Larson have written comprehensive articles on some of the things you mention. Best, Don Bauder

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JakeSD July 10, 2009 @ 4:32 p.m.

Also, any downtown library or convention center expansions (with hotel!!) are just a waste. We have less than 50% hotel room occupancy downtown now and small satellite neighborhood libraries have been proven in almost every city to be more effective in terms of use (visitors per square foot) and value (use vs. cost) than large "downtown" libraries.

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Don Bauder July 10, 2009 @ 8:56 p.m.

Response to post #21: I would not be opposed to a central library in good economic times. These are miserable times. Strike one. I would be opposed to its being located in the area of a ballpark. Strike two. I would be opposed if the real intent is for the City to provide infrastructure to a real estate developer and ballclub owner who has already extracted millions from the City. Strike three. As to the convention center expansion, it is out of the question now. I don't think tourism will come back by the time it would come online. I am philosophically opposed to the City financing or even subsidizing a hotel. The hotel subsidies in San Diego, and elsewhere in the county, have already backfired. Best, Don Bauder

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Richard_Rider July 11, 2009 @ 8:08 a.m.

Excellent column, Don. The Establishment's fixation on all things downtown results in neglect for the rest of the city -- you know, where everybody actually LIVES.

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a2zresource July 11, 2009 @ 9:49 a.m.

"Redevelopment funds were originally for such purposes as affordable housing but were “hijacked” by downtown developers. San Diego 'has the most backward redevelopment program in the whole state.'"

This pretty much explains it all.

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Don Bauder July 11, 2009 @ noon

Response to post #23: The establishment wrongly thinks that all the money is downtown. They are already being proved wrong, but it hasn't sunk in yet. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 11, 2009 @ 12:04 p.m.

Response to post #24: Mike Davis summed it up perfectly. Best, Don Bauder

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auntsandiegospeaks July 12, 2009 @ 5:23 p.m.

I have written several blogs on the issue of disbanding CCDC, SEDC, CCAC,etc. for at least the past decade, out fine city has been decimated by the likes of Doug Manchester, McMillan, BOSA, Michael Kelly, JOHN MOORES. Mr. Moores somehow managed to wheel & deal unnoticed because focus on him was with the Padres as his background. He really expanded his personal fortune and now he & his wife are divvying up the real estate & much more in their divorce. Downtown is rife with building after building of empty condos. The condos carry a hefty price tag (still) and the HOA fees are ridiculous. City Council is unresponsive and representation is nothing but a long word. The only one I ever see walking downtown is Donna Frye. This is not a "build it and he will come" story. STOP THE MADNESS is what I have touted. Nobody listens.

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Don Bauder July 13, 2009 @ 7:04 a.m.

Response to post #27: You make many excellent points. Moores made a zillion on ballpark district real estate. He bought the land at low 1990s prices and sold to condo developers at much higher prices. He ignored his initial promise to build a variety of structures and the court let him do it. He promised that if he got a new stadium, he would spend money to improve the Padres. He reneged. Downtown condo developers say that condo prices are exceedingly low; now is the time to buy one. But they ignore the HOA prices and liabilities, as you point out. City council ignores the problem of empty downtown condos. A prior council created it. The ballpark deal was a scam from the beginning. Donna Frye, Carl DeMaio and Sherri Lightner understand the problems, but are outvoted. CCDC should be abolished; I have said that for years. Best, Don Bauder

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SDaniels July 13, 2009 @ 10:09 a.m.

re: post #23: Hi Richard, we met a couple of times at Tom and Barb's over at the Farms. As you know, they've moved, and we miss them terribly. Hope all is well with you and yours, and that you'll forgive Greg and I for voting for Donna :) --Suzanne

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Don Bauder July 13, 2009 @ 11:48 a.m.

Response to post#29: I remember talking with Richard Rider about Donna Frye one time. He had some problems with some of her stances, but appreciated what she was doing in a number of areas. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 13, 2009 @ 12:53 p.m.

City Council is unresponsive and representation is nothing but a long word. The only one I ever see walking downtown is Donna Frye.

Funny you said that, because I have only seen a council member out in a City setting, in person, one single time, and it was downtown.

I saw Wes Pratt back in the 80's, he was walking along C Street, along the trolly lines.

Wes Pratt headed off to Harvard Business School shortly thereafter and I have not heard a thing about him since-at least 20 years. Anyone know what ever became of Wes Pratt?

I met Mayor O' Connor in 88 or 89 also-and was very disappointed in her response to my citizen request. I have not heard a thing about Mayor Mo since the late 80's either-she keeps a low profile (as does Golding come to think of it).

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Don Bauder July 13, 2009 @ 1:31 p.m.

Response to post #31: Golding is keeping a low profile for very obvious reasons: her mollycoddling of developers, pro sports team owners, and most businesses led to widespread corruption that has held down San Diego. O'Connor is keeping a low profile but not for that reason. She was a good mayor, but just prefers to be in the background. You didn't mention Dick Murphy. He is REALLY keeping a low profile. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 13, 2009 @ 5:14 p.m.

Wow, I completely forgot about Murphy, which shows you how much I think of him.

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Don Bauder July 13, 2009 @ 6:11 p.m.

Response to post #33: Murphy is eminently forgettable, except for one thing: I would like to know if he resigned or "resigned" with a shove from a government investigative body. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister July 13, 2009 @ 9:54 p.m.

The emperors on both sides of the issues you illuminate have one thing in common--egocentrism and narcissism. Oh, they don't think they do, but that's the whole point--they hand-wring about how much work they have to do and how busy they are, but when a citizen steps up to help, they ignore him or her. Anyone who wants to contribute in any meaningful way to solving some of the city's major problems is rebuffed with a patronizing email "response" rather than to consider the merits of the case or pose reasoned arguments to the contrary. No individual is worth considering; responses are reserved for pressure-groups. Then the pols whine about pressure-groups and lobbyists.
I think a lot of it has to do with staff who guard the entrance to the lair, but there is no way a citizen can tell. But mostly it has to do with whether or not the citizen is "connected" with the elites at the opposing ends of the political spectrum. People who appear to be in the middle on "issues" tend to be seen as the enemy or mere cranks by both sides. Such citizen effort goes into File 13, and there is no respect for the time and effort of such citizens. The standard response of the aides of elected officials and their assistants is to attend "town hall meetings" and other such fraudulent vent-fests, where the hearing aids are all turned down under the predictable presumption that the only ones who will show up at such "hearings" are all ranting nutcases. Who else would waste their time at such charades? No wonder there is so much cynicism and apathy.

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Don Bauder July 14, 2009 @ 6:18 a.m.

Response to post #35: You make some excellent points. What you are saying, in essence, is follow the money. When we're young, we think love makes the world go 'round. By the time we reach middle age, if we are wise, we realize money makes the world go 'round. Most metro areas are run by the money crowd, but San Diego is an egregious case. You are right on those "town hall" meetings. The establishment has already decided what it will do. It knows it has the pols in its pocket. So the in-crowd sits there, pretending to listen to citizens. Years later, when the citizens turn out to have been right, most media ignore the reality. How many San Diegans know that downtown hotels and condos are nearly empty these days? I understand most think the ballpark giveaway/scam was a good deal. They go down there and see all those tall buildings and think progress has been made. Nobody tells them the buildings are almost empty. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams July 14, 2009 @ 6:22 a.m.

Twister, the members of the Grantville Action Group can tell you how city staffers contemptuously ignored the "mere" residents and small business owners so they could implement their "vision"...a vision that rewards developers who give lucrative jobs to former city staffers.

Jim Madaffer, considered by many to be the most corrupt councilmember in recent memory, spearheaded this effort to rip-off Grantville. When locals dared to voice objections, he reacted with a violent temper, personally attacking those who would dare confront our city hall overlords.

(Note: Madaffer has NEVER had a job outside of government.)

As you say, those who take the time and effort to become involved in the community are treated with contempt and malice by the city staff. Any idea that does not originate at 202 C Street is automatically dismissed.

The public is starting to wake up to this situation. When the Grantville Action Group went door to door to tell local business owners what's going on (they're illegally stealing over $31 million from Grantville to spend it on beautification projects downtown) the reaction was unanimous opposition.

Unfortunately, the city staff, unaccountable and arrogantly above all the rest of us, refuse to listen or even consider the posssibility that anyone other than themselves can have a valid position.

These smarmy non-entities are the reason our city is bankrupt. They're the same toads who cheered on the Chargers and Padres rip-offs, and continue to think they're somehow "public servants".

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Don Bauder July 14, 2009 @ 11:16 a.m.

Response to post #37: Well said. I hope the public is waking up. The Grantville situation is an excellent example of the arrogance of which you speak eloquently. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark July 14, 2009 @ 7:39 p.m.

Mr. Bauder, you mention a stadium, a school, a library, and a convention center expansion. I believe you forgot something; a new arena. You could probably put them all together, you know, to save space downtown. It could be a big pyramid, with the convention center expansion on the bottom, then a new football stadium, then the new arena, then the library, topped off by the cherry, the school on top! It would reach to the sky, like a big middle finger to the citizens of San Diego by developers. Regarding the library; would it be named after John Moores? And do people (developers) really expect us to believe that the cost of the Taj Mahal, er, library has not risen from the $185 mil because of the recession? The Chargers stadium proposal went from $425 mil to over $1 billion--how can the library still cost the same? Just make it all go away...

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Don Bauder July 14, 2009 @ 8:31 p.m.

Response to post #39: If the library is built, you can be certain that baseball fans will complain that the sounds of pages turning in the library interfere with concentrating on the baseball game. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell July 14, 2009 @ 8:32 p.m.

Downtown does not need an elementary school. Few if any school age children live downtown, and those who do likely go to private schools. The developers want the school district to build a school because they hope the school will attract buyers with children to clear the condo glut.

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aardvark July 14, 2009 @ 10:19 p.m.

Response to post #40: LOL...that's assuming the city could afford to put any books in the library, or have anyone available to staff it.

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Don Bauder July 15, 2009 @ 5:54 a.m.

Response to post #41: Interesting concept: build a school and they will come. The idea of the ballpark was similar: build a subsidized ballpark and the condos will come. The condos were built but the people didn't show up. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 15, 2009 @ 5:56 a.m.

Response to post #42: Never mind the library books. The City should be worried about its financial books. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 15, 2009 @ 8:22 a.m.

Never mind the library books. The City should be worried about its financial books.

The Cities financial books will never be balanced (nor any other gov entity) as long as there is the sky high pay (6 figures for cops and firewhiners) and the sky pensions (6 figures for cops and firewhiners). It's tha simple.

We have been in this mess since the end of 2007 and really in deep since Spetember 2008. That is plenty of time to get the pay and pension problems under control-yet here we are and not a thing has been done-well except for Mayor Jerry giving away the company store.

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Don Bauder July 15, 2009 @ 9:05 a.m.

Response to post #45: Actually, the paving of the road to perdition began in 1996 when the City plundered the pension fund to finance the Republican convention. Then came MP1 and MP2, DROP, purchase of service credits and all manner of fiscal insanity. You are correct: Jerry Sanders is giving the store away. Some other cities are laying off workers and slashing benefits to survive. Sanders is speaking loudly and carrying a flaccid stick. He is doing nothing. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark July 15, 2009 @ 11:07 p.m.

Response to #6: Mr Bauder, as an individual who lives in the Grantville Redevelopment area, what can we do to stop this? I know GAG is working as hard as they possibly can to stop this, but has this thing already gone too far? Why doesn't the city council get the fact that the majority of the PEOPLE in the Grantville area DO NOT WANT THIS???!!!

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Fred Williams July 16, 2009 @ 2:25 a.m.

Aardvark, you should contact Brian Peterson of GAG. He's presented a proposed modification of the redevelopment agreement to city staff. This modification would prohibit eminent domain being used in the project area for the sole benefit of another private entity.

In other words, restrict eminent domain to legitimate PUBLIC purposes.

Now the city lawyers have brought in some redevelopment lawyer specialist from L.A. to raise as many objections as possible.

Is this a ploy to delay, deny, and deceive? A tactic to bleed the Grantville Action Group dry?

Sure looks like it.

You can call or write to Marti Emerald and tell her you don't appreciate this kind of sham. The city ought to finally do the right thing and make this very reasonable modification. Using the power and money of the government to deliberately thwart the efforts of the residents and small business owners of Grantville is wrong.

A lot of people are wondering about Emerald. Is she REALLY a reformer, or was that just campaign rhetoric?

I think the Grantville issue will be the decider. If she backs down on this and allows GAG to be gagged by the city, she won't deserve re-election.

The same people who worked so hard for her election will be campaigning against her if she's not careful.

On the other hand, she's attended fundraisers put on by, you guessed it, the developers who have their eyes on Grantville.

So she needs to hear from you. She needs to know that we're watching what she's doing. She needs to know that the developer money, while tempting, is poisonous. She needs to know that if she abandons Grantville, she'll face consequences.

Aardvark, please get with Brian Peterson (http://www.grantvilleactiongroup.com).

Then contact Marti Emerald (http://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/cd7) and let her know that Grantville is NOT an issue that is going away, and that redevelopment abuse by the city and county, including using eminent domain to take private property from one owner and give it to another private owner, is just plain wrong.

Best,

Fred

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Fred Williams July 16, 2009 @ 2:27 a.m.

Proposed Language for Restricting Use of Eminent Domain to

“Public Uses” For and Within the Grantville Redevelopment Project Area

AMENDMENT TO GRANTVILLE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN

For the purposes of implementing The Redevelopment Plan for the Grantville Redevelopment Project Area (“Grantville Redevelopment Plan”), as approved by the City Council of the City of San Diego by Ordinance Number O-19380 (New Series), adopted May 17, 2005, and any amendments thereto as of this date, private property otherwise shall only be taken for reasons of “public use” as that term is defined on the effective date of enactment of this resolution and ordinance.

For the purposes of implementing the Grantville Redevelopment Plan, no use of eminent domain shall be allowed or undertaken when the purpose for the taking is economic development that will ultimately result in ownership or profits of that property being transferred, vested, or shared with another private person or entity as a result of ownership, development or operation of such property.

Except as provided below in the definition of “public use,” the taking of private property with the intent or anticipation of, selling, leasing or otherwise transferring such property to any other private entity is not a valid public use and is prohibited.

“Public use” for the purposes of this ordinance means: (i) The possession, occupation, or use of the land by the general public or by state or local governmental entities; (ii) The use of land for the creation or functioning of public utilities; (iii) The opening of roads, the construction of defenses, or the providing of channels of trade or travel; (iv) The acquisition of property where title is clouded due to the inability to identify or locate all owners of the property; or (v) The acquisition of property where unanimous consent is received from each person with a legal claim that has been identified and found. “Public use” does not include the taking of private property for transfer to a private entity for the purpose of economic development or enhancement of tax revenues.

The Grantville Redevelopment Plan is hereby amended in the above respects and any provisions of said Plan which conflicts with the intent and purpose of this Amendment, this Amendment shall control.

Nothing in this Ordinance and Amendment is intended or shall otherwise affect the right to invoke and exercise the power of eminent domain under existing law where legitimate and exigent health and safety concerns are present.

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Fred Williams July 16, 2009 @ 2:28 a.m.

"As we repair and rebuild our aging Inner City, we have tremendous opportunity to create safe, affordable neighborhoods, public transit and public spaces, and new business opportunities. As your City Councilperson, I will assure that redevelopment reflects the values and priorities of existing communities by listening and following the lead of residents, business owners and planning groups. And there will be no abuse of eminent domain on my watch!"

(source: http://martiforsandiego.com/issues.asp#redevelopment)

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Don Bauder July 16, 2009 @ 7:46 a.m.

Response to post #47: Since when has the council (other than Donna Frye and perhaps Sherri Lightner) given a hoot about the people? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 16, 2009 @ 7:48 a.m.

Response to post #48: Give Emerald a chance to prove herself. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 16, 2009 @ 7:52 a.m.

Response to post #49: But will the Supreme Court toss you out? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 16, 2009 @ 7:55 a.m.

Response to post #50: Fred, you are trying to get a politician to follow her campaign promises. This is un-American. Best, Don Bauder

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Brian_T_Peterson_DVM July 16, 2009 @ 7:58 a.m.

The concept of hiring private attorneys, who live in another city, is the government’s classic response to the citizens pushing back against eminent domain abuse. As a reference, read Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain by Steven Greenhut. City Attorneys, who in their hearts feel they are representing the citizens, don’t really want to litigate against San Diegans fighting for their rights. This is why the Redevelopment Agency hires an outside attorney with no responsibility to the community. Also, if you would like to understand how over-redeveloping Downtown sucks money away from, and adds to the decay of, the other neighborhoods, check out www.Redevelopment.com. Here you may download the book Redevelopment: The Unknown Government. This will give you the basics of the tax increment diversion scam. And, if you want to help Grantville, go to www.GrantvilleActionGroup.com and donate to the GAG legal fund.

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Brian_T_Peterson_DVM July 16, 2009 @ 9:11 a.m.

The Grantville Action Group’s proposed eminent domain reform amendment for the Grantville redevelopment plan was written by the Grantville Action Group’s attorney. Its beauty is that it takes the best from the eminent domain reforms that have passed in most states…except California. We believe it is legal, and it would stand up to the highest scrutiny. The primary objections from the City are not about the amendment’s legality, but that it may set “a bad precedent” or that it may not be consistent with redevelopment policy. We know that the Grantville plan, for example, states that the government does not need to acquire property via any means for redevelopment to go forward. We also believe that preserving civil liberties is good policy.

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Twister July 16, 2009 @ 11:05 a.m.

Response to Post 40:

Naw, it's the clicking of dem mousies dat bugs fan's uncluttered attics.

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aardvark July 16, 2009 @ 5:49 p.m.

Response to #48: Fred, I am very familiar with Brian Peterson and the work he is doing with GAG. He is also familiar with my cat at his veterinary practice in Grantville. I was just curious how Mr Bauder felt the current situation was going. It appears his comments show that the city is once again (shockingly) in the developers pockets on this one. I have already donated to GAG, and everyone living in the Grantville/Allied Gardens area; for that matter, the surrounding areas as well, need to contribute what they can to GAG. I have contacted Marti Emerald before on this issue; looks like we had all better do the same, to see once and for all which side of the fence she is on for this issue.

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Don Bauder July 16, 2009 @ 9:45 p.m.

Response to post #55: The whole concept of redevelopment has been corrupted. It is now simply a vehicle for real estate developers to get rich at the public's expense. Originally, there was a social purpose. But the abuse of redevelopment to subsidize downtown buildings and their developers does not provide a significant number of jobs, and, as you point out, steers money away from the neighborhoods, where it belongs. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams July 16, 2009 @ 11:54 p.m.

Maybe it's time for a local ballot initiative restricting eminent domain to legitimate public purposes.

How many signatures are needed to get on the ballot?

GAG deserves support. Aardvark, I'm sure Brian appreciates what you are doing. As you say, the residents of the neighborhood are in support and are pitching in what they can in these difficult times.

But what happens in Grantville, won't stay in Grantville.

Every place in San Diego is subject to the whim of politicians declaring "blight" so they can take your property and give it to a developer.

Time to end the redevelopment scam.

Don, isn't it time to do another story on GAG?

Best,

Fred

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Don Bauder July 17, 2009 @ 7:01 a.m.

Response to post #56: Preserving civil liberties is at the heart of the eminent domain debate. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 17, 2009 @ 7:03 a.m.

Response to post #57: Librarians whispering "shhhhhh" may also rattle the fans. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 17, 2009 @ 7:05 a.m.

Response to post #58: Of course the pols and bureaucrats are in the developers' pockets. Nothing new about that. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 17, 2009 @ 7:08 a.m.

Response to post #60: It may be time for more GAG coverage. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell July 17, 2009 @ 7:14 p.m.

Sanders is speaking loudly and carrying a flaccid stick. He is doing nothing. Best, Don Bauder

Maybe he should start taking Viagra.

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Don Bauder July 17, 2009 @ 7:31 p.m.

Response to post #65: One of Sanders's strategies is to keep from standing out in the crowd-- to limp along at a slow rate, never standing erect, keeping his ammunition in reserve. The medicine you prescribe would not fit his style. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell July 17, 2009 @ 10:53 p.m.

Sanders is a cockalorum of the first order notwithstanding his flacid stick and inability to stand erect.

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Don Bauder July 18, 2009 @ 7:02 a.m.

Response to post #67: Touche. Will no one prick the conscience of this community? Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 18, 2009 @ 10:43 a.m.

Sanders is speaking loudly and carrying a flaccid stick. He is doing nothing. Best, Don Bauder

Maybe he should start taking Viagra.

By Burwell

There is not enough Viagra in the entire state of CA to cure Sanders problems, all self inflicted I might add.

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Don Bauder July 18, 2009 @ 11:43 a.m.

Response to post #69: This raises an interesting question. Do you suppose that there is more Viagra in California on a per capita basis than in any other state? Perhaps. It is a more beach-, body-, flesh- and libido-oriented state than most of the others. Here is another question: are women's mammary glands larger in California than in other states? I would guess that they are because of the liberal use of silicone, particularly in Southern California. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 18, 2009 @ 6:44 p.m.

Silly cone in So Cal-Im SHOCKED!

Please say it aint so.

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Don Bauder July 18, 2009 @ 9:19 p.m.

Response to post #71: Silicon Valley is that area around San Jose/Santa Clara. Silicone Valley is Hollywood. Best, Don Bauder

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