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You would think since the housing market has crashed that developers would not be building right now, right?

Wrong, now is the best time ever because of something called a "redevelopment agency" and YOUR property tax money.

The biggest obstacle to these new Walmart style condos going up everywhere with your tax dollars is people like me.

The city doesnt want you to know about planned demolitions. They do their best to keep them secret and believe me its practically a full-time job trying to track down the demo permits. And yes, they will let you know about demos.....after its been approved (as in this case) and then say you can't do anything about it even if its been approved with erroneous or downright fraudulant information.

I live on El Cajon Boulevard as in "Boulevard of the Arts", except their notion of "the arts" seems to mean tear down every last historic structure contributing to the neighborhood character for condos (see El Cajon and 30th) and paint the electrical boxes and ta da....you have an arts district. The entire page is dedicated to the "Utility Arts Gallery" which is great and all but come on.

http://www.theboulevard.org/ArtDistrict/boulevardartdistrict_home.htm

Look at their projects on their webpage. This is what is replacing buildings like the salt box and dozens of craftsmans and the clay tile 7-up bottling plant and believe me their renderings are way better than the finished product.

http://www.theboulevard.org/Projects.htm

Not to worry though, the city in all their brillance and benevolence said among other styles "El Cajon Boulevard has several remaining Craftsman homes that are not worthy of preservation because of the large pool of those in surrounding neighborhoods, although it would be interesting to preserve one or two as an example of the very early years of El Cajon Boulevard development."

ALRIGHT!!!!! We get to keep 1 or 2 on all of El Cajon Blvd!

I find it quite ironic that their homepage is the San Diego Stage and Lighting Building with all those gorgeous murals and that building is about to be demoed for yet another affordable housing project. (Nothing against affordable housing but when Obama gave 150 million in the stimulus money to buy up the GLUT of housing in California it didnt make sense to me to build more....maybe just turn the glut into affordable housing).

The latest victim in this historic architecture massacre is the block between Alabama and Florida Street on the north side. The block contains San Diego's only other Saltbox building in addition to the William Heath House downtown which is the Gaslamps oldest surviving structure.

http://emporium.turnpike.net/~walk/sandiego/gaslamp/Is410.htm

yet somehow the developers didnt even mention that this building may be remotely historic in their report. The saltbox design was actually first seen as early as 1650. They are mostly found on the east coast so the fact that we have one here is EXTREMELY rare and makes it very valuable as a resource. The idea that it didn't even get a second look by the city is unconscionable. Here are some historic examples of the saltbox.

http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/175_sal1.html

The block also contains 2 original craftsmans that just need a little TLC and a gem of a building behind the craftsmans and the SD Stage and Lighting...the old clay tile 7-up bottling factory.

The city didnt even think these were important enough to go before the Historic Review Board to allow the public to comment, but then again they just massacred 12 craftsmans on Florida street and the only suggestion of how to mitigate the environmental impact was to "match new sidewalks to the existing".. But it gets even better....its all being paid for with your tax dollars.

The city has created Redevelopment Agencies that have special powers. These Redevelopment Agencies can seize anyone's property under eminent domain as they have done in this case. My friend Ron describes it to me this way (I dont want to steal his words but he did such an excellent job explaining it to me and time is of the essence to get this word out) They get to hold back all the property taxes to subsidize the developer. They get the land for 5 cents on the dollar, then give it to a developer with as much as 40% of the funding for a condo project. Special agency, special powers, = tax money held back from the general fund.

Now does it make sense why we are continuing to see so much development when foreclosures are at a high......that's right because YOU are paying for it. Now that the private till has dried up its time to just get the public to pay for projects they dont want or need.

And our boy Todd Gloria received ALOT of money from private developers who also coincidentally were affordable housing developers. Affordable housing...thats where its at. You dont have to worry about the market because its all tax money. He still will not respond to me asking him about this. But Todd thinks this is a win win because he gets to pretend he is doing it for you when really he is doing it to pay back his contributors and we are getting the shaft.

http://www.developeralert.org/INDEXGloria.html project

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs

The California Environmental Quality Act states that these projects MUST be reviewed as a whole. This project has changed substantially since the original permit was issued, thus the demo permit is null and void.

It started back in 2005 as a mixed-use urban development, seven stories on all properties from Florida St. around to Alabama. It was a for sale project using the density bonus to provide 180 units. Then it was redesigned under a new development with a decrease in height and the number of units to 94. When the economy collapsed the Housing Commission came in buying the permits and plans to put in affordable apartment units and case management for disturbed teens.

The problem is the demolition permit is INVALID because the entire project has changed. The city seems to think they can continually ignore the law and the citizens in favor of their favorite special interest group....the developers.

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Comments

nan shartel May 17, 2010 @ 11:19 a.m.

Greed tearing down important places to put up condos...it's nothing new but fighting the process is still a brave and concerned thing to do

Brava!!!

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nan shartel May 17, 2010 @ 11:20 a.m.

Eminent Domain is such complete bulls*** isn't it?

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CuddleFish May 17, 2010 @ 11:39 a.m.

I have passed this story on to others, it is good information. And I wrote to the woman in the planning department cited in the link to express my concern, I hope others will too.

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Founder May 17, 2010 @ 1:54 p.m.

I liked most of your long article but did not like all your friend Ron's inaccurate info about the Redevelopment Agency, which really "hurt" your otherwise interesting article!

Please consider the following:

  1. As you pointed out, because of the great support the City Council has (and they ARE the Redevelopment Agency with "different hats on), unless you can get 30+ folks to all appear and protest what's happening you don't have a chance of changing what is planned.

  2. Ask all these new folks where they were when we discussed this project many times over the last few years. Since they were not interested then, many now believe that this sudden interest is due more to the new proposed Low Mod housing than saving one or more old houses.

  3. I suggest that if you really want to save the "salt house" find a new location for it on or near Park Blvd...

  4. Here is the link for the Redevelopment Agency website where folks can read factual information about what they have done in the past are planning on doing: http://www.sandiego.gov/redevelopment-agency/majorproj.shtml

and here is one for their major projects: http://www.sandiego.gov/redevelopment- agency/majorproj.shtml#majorprograms

  1. Please get involved in the process, if you live in (or are interested in) Midtown, San Diego then check out these three (3) great Reader Articles and then attend some future meetings, "We Need You": a. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2010/may/06/kick-pants/#c60658 b. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20... c. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2010/apr/06/more-meter-management/#c58363
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Founder May 17, 2010 @ 2:18 p.m.

Regarding comment #1 by nan "Greed tearing down important places to put up condos." is just not factual!

  1. They are NOT building "condos" for sale, instead they are building High Quality "Green" Low Mod. rental housing that will allow many folks to live in that area that would not be able to, unless this project goes forward; Think about housing for a family of four that make less than about $49,500 or housing for a single person making less than $34,600...

  2. They got one of the very few State grants to help build this showcase project.

  3. Community Housing Works is probably one of the Best and "Greenest" in the Business: http://www.chworks.org/about_us/default.asp

  4. And as far as the "Greed" goes, they just happen to be a non Profit!

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a2zresource May 17, 2010 @ 2:50 p.m.

To not burn yourselves out, it is important to know what to focus on.

Know who you are going up against: http://www.theboulevard.org/Projects.htm

The Boulevard@North Park project appears to be a project of Hampstead Partners.

The California Secretary of State has two listings for a "Hampstead Partners":

Entity Name: HAMPSTEAD PARTNERS, INC. Entity Number: C1920053 Date Filed: 12/28/1994 Status: ACTIVE Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA Entity Address: 4250 LOUISIANA ST Entity City, State, Zip: SAN DIEGO CA 92104 Agent for Service of Process: JAY WENTZ Agent Address: 4250 LOUISIANA ST Agent City, State, Zip: SAN DIEGO CA 92104

Entity Name: HAMPSTEAD PARTNERS DEVELOPMENT, INC. Entity Number: C2287532 Date Filed: 02/21/2002 Status: ACTIVE Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA Entity Address: 4250 LOUISIANA STREET Entity City, State, Zip: SAN DIEGO CA 92104 Agent for Service of Process: JAY WENTZ Agent Address: 4250 LOUISIANA STREET Agent City, State, Zip: SAN DIEGO CA 92104

I did not check exhaustively; there may be a number of limited liability companies, one for each project, as a means of absorbing legal papers by others with a cause without exposing the partners' corporate assets.

For vanity purposes (probably to attract that kind of money), there is a La Jolla listing at http://www.lajollabythesea.com/members/detail.php?mid=2773 :

Hampstead Partners 1205 Prospect St 450 La Jolla, CA 92037-4415 (858) 551-5303

IMPORTANT: please be aware that the San Diego Redevelopment Agency is actually the San Diego City Council members when they are not being the City Council. You may find that on approaching a City Council member with your concerns, the council member (and staffers/interns) may tell you "Oh, that's a Redevelopment Agency issue" and go about her or his merry way with pencil erasers stuffed in her/his ears.

You may find much better leverage by checking directly into Hampstead Partners to discover who exactly is the money behind the name. There is a reason the Boulevard@North Park project is being promoted by an apparent shell of a low-key real estate corporation that does not have its own website or published email address. Remember what Deep Throat told the Washington Post reporters about the Watergate Break-in before Nixon went on TV to tell us he was not a crook: FOLLOW THE MONEY.

Don't forget that the partners' main motivation is in seeing that the project reaches completion, or a few somebodies do not get their commission checks. To hear your concerns or prepare to buy you off, they may even spring for dinner.

To help you along the way, see the following 2006 press release and realize that the mentioned "Prestigious Hotel Management Company" has a definite financial interest in not having its hotel surrounded by an unfinished "affordable rental work force housing project": http://www.ventanahotels.com/up/load/FINALVentanaManagementRelease.pdf

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CuddleFish May 17, 2010 @ 2:59 p.m.

Right on the money as usual, a2z. And we are involved in the process in my area. And we just had a significant victory in STOPPING SEDC from implementing their 5 Year Strategic Plan.

"Affordable housing" is a code word for infill development in built out communities, and guess what? Most of the people in those communities can't afford it, and don't get a chance to live in it: Ask me about Petco Park "affordable housing."

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a2zresource May 17, 2010 @ 3 p.m.

Also see http://www.spoke.com/info/pBRWaH9/JayWentz which lists Wylie Allen as "associate counsel" for Hampstead Partners Inc.

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historymatters May 17, 2010 @ 4:06 p.m.

Founder, I can ASSURE you if Id had any clue about this project I would have been there and I take it from your disdain w/ us that you are maybe 1 of the developers.

And the Developers when they presented it to NPPC presented it w/ FRAUDULANT information. They did not mention the saltbox at all let alone all the other historic buildings.

a2zresource : thank you for the tip about Hampstead. Yes that is another thing it is in the City Charter that they must KNOW exactly what persons they are doing business with so this notion that they are hiding behind this LLC is also illegal according to our charter.

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historymatters May 17, 2010 @ 4:13 p.m.

Founder: "They are NOT building "condos" for sale, instead they are building High Quality "Green" Low Mod. rental housing"

OK 1st of all the city LOVES to throw the word "GREEN" around and it is utterly meaningless. The greenest building is the 1 you save. You could renovate every building on that block into low-rent condos. 60% OF GREENHOUSE GASES ARE CAUSED BY NEW CONSTRUCTION.

And we already learned that "energy -star" is a big scam. They will put that label on anyone that pays them.

And this "need" for housing....Come on!!!! Do you know how much the federal govt is shelling out to subsidize people to buy the GLUT of housing and they are pouring billions into buying the GLUT so why wouldn't you take the GLUT and turn it into affordable rentals.

And finally, take your showcase project and build it on a block that doesnt contain anything historic. Their are a million blocks to choose from. How about Texas street just south of El Cajon. That is JUST as close to where I live so Im not a NIMBY. I welcome this project near me just not at the expense of North parks OLDEST building!

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Founder May 17, 2010 @ 5:01 p.m.

Historymatters

You comments are going to get most of the PAC & the Redevelopment Agency Staff to roll on the floor laughing; because I'm almost always the one that gives them grief about making sure the Residential Neighborhood is protected AND that the Residential Neighborhoods get their fair share of the goodies not just the Density:-)

Check this out:

http://www.np-rid.org/

I'm not trying to give anyone a hard time here instead I'm trying to encourage you and all your readers to get involved and help support those of us that are attending the meeting! It would be great to make some Anti-Density statements and get a few folks to applaud instead of hearing silence when we are finished speaking up!

Blogs are good but getting your comments on the official record will help SAVE "OUR" San Diego...

FYI The three next important Planning meeting are:

  1. Affordable Housing Parking Study Public Workshop, important so the City can't "omit" parking requirements and add Density our Neighborhoods... http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/programs/transportation/mobility/affordpark.shtml

  2. NP Plan Update Meeting 5/19/10 6-8:30 http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/community/profiles/greaternorthpark/pdf/agendas/npcpuac5agenda051910.pdf

  3. Uptown Planners Update: Two More "Open Mic" Events for Plan Update: 6/07/10 & 7/19/10 from 6-9 PM info: DebbieL@CollaborativeServices.biz

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historymatters May 17, 2010 @ 5:02 p.m.

And Founder if this showcase project looks anything like the showcase project on 30th and El Cajon I am not impressed. I do have a MAster's Degree in Architecture and I can tell you 30th and El Cajon would have received a D grade at best. Absolutely no site analysis, no attention to detail, it does not engage the street and cheap cheap cheap. Those people are herded in there like cattle.

And the rendering of 30th and E looks a 1000 times better than the finished product. So I dont trust your rendering on "the boulevard" project which is "C" quality at best.

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nan shartel May 17, 2010 @ 5:10 p.m.

it was not my intention to be completely factual Founder..the big picture is and always has been ..tear down the old and make money off the new..wrapping them in all kind of GREEN ENERGY makes the procedure no difference

Eminent Domain means that any time the Federal..State or County government wants to they can take ur property and push u out in the street as if u never even owned in anyway

so ur not one of those sentimental slobs who thinks this is my land ...this is my house...even if it's a dustbowl i couldn't grow on a p*ssant on now...it belongs to me!!!

well Mister..there are those who are mad as hell and won't take it anymore as one of the characters yells in Network

get ready to rumble!!!

the people who oppose ur kind of thinking are on the rise...they've fought this fight before and won't stop now

if the buildings don't bring a smile to ur face help the original owners improve them to suit a new and better way of being...instead of trying to steal them with EMINENT DOMAIN!!!

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nan shartel May 17, 2010 @ 5:19 p.m.

and founder...i agree with Cuddles...no matter what u say i doubt there wouldn't be much if any low income housing available to those who qualify

what's on paper rarely becomes reality in these kinds of projects

and they r built in a way that eliminates the quaint and individual beauty of old established neighborhoods

if it could be any different i would be amazed

go ahead...

AMAZE ME

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historymatters May 17, 2010 @ 5:34 p.m.

And in regards to State grants...I just called Sacramento because I imagine if this project is now receiving state tax payer money there are even strickter guidelines about being able to go in and tear down a potential historic resource. This house is 160 years old!!! 1 of 2 saltbox in san diego. I think they may have something to say about using the grant money to destroy that.

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historymatters May 17, 2010 @ 5:44 p.m.

OK Founder, then why dont you tell us your name. If Im wrong, I will be happy to admit it, but your disdain for the people that care about this is rather suspect and saying its their fault for not attending meetings is absurd. This is real life, most people cant make it to mtgs but they trust their public officials not to approve things based on fraud. They should be able to be confident that historic resources are being protected. As I said its like a fulltime job to track down demo permits. the city wont just publish them in a searchable database. Its a scavenger hunt. My friend Jimmy has lived over by robinson and florida for 7 years and had NO clue that 12 crafstmans were going to be massacred in the middle of the night. And there have been several stories where they have shown notifications for new projects are simply not even sent.

And this is not about density, this is about protecting what is left of the neighborhoods character and building around that.

And thank you for your support nan!!! We need people to be mad as hell and stop allowing the city to ignore the law. The people enforcing the law are the ones breaking it.

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historymatters May 17, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.

And in regards to your comment about citizens going to mtgs to comment....I know that game. You get them all worn down. They give you all kinds of wonderful comments and think they are making a difference and then you show them the final design and its nothing at all like what you promised. The developers have shown they are not capable of compromise....just posturing like they are going to compromise only to turn around at the last minute and betray the citizenry.

So personally Id rather spend my time finding strategies that work. The City doesnt care about the law or the citizens so I say we take our battle to the state w/ CEQA and if any federal money is involved w/ them.

Our best strategy is the person that said to follow the money. If we can find out who these humans are hiding under their LLcs, we can show major conflicts of interest...I'll bet anything.

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Burwell May 17, 2010 @ 9:15 p.m.

The slobs who are coming here from the midwest and the east coast are the root cause of the massive overbuilding along the El Cajon Blvd. corridor. They've turned their hometowns into slag heaps and now they want to do the same thing to San Diego. The transplants should move back to Slobsville and Pudville where they belong and stop degrading my city with the filth of their presence.

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a2zresource May 17, 2010 @ 10:26 p.m.

I deserve to be kicked in the head by a mule.

Looking back at the http://www.spoke.com/info/pBRWaH9/JayWentz page, I finally looked at the one co-worker name that has no job title by it: Lakisha Jarrett.

Developer Reese Jarrett was the president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation (SEDC, subordinate redevelopment agency to San Diego Redevelopment Agency) when Carolyn Smith came on board a decade and a half ago. Smith was most recently denied a 6-digit golden parachute by San Diego Superior Court after enough mayoral mayhem ensued once she was found to have mis-directed accountant-hiring money that she used for unauthorized staff bonuses. As for Mr. Jarrett, a local private school closed when his board couldn't make payroll, and most real assets of Carter Reese and Associates were recently auctioned off during the housing market downturn. The Carter Reese project Citrus Heights in Lemon Grove has already generated at least three legal actions, including UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. SDG&E (http://www.justice.gov/usao/cas/press/cas70713-SDGEVerdict.pdf). On this stuff, I have blogs...

The fact that Ms. Jarrett's name appears as a Hampstead Partners employee with no job title attached is... well... damn interesting. It could mean nothing. It more likely means everything. In the least, it does seem to mean that Hampstead Partners has connections deep into that alternate universe of developers, well-heeled investors, consultants, and professional lobbyists who are especially familiar with our council members and redevelopment boards.

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historymatters May 17, 2010 @ 11:05 p.m.

a2zresource: I dont know who you are but I love you! Your comments are golden nuggets of info. Thank you for doing that research. Thats why I wrote this to hopefully inspire some individual detective work. I certainly dont pretend to know everything about this so I am so grateful for these tips, really anything at all. Im just trying to get people to start thinking about this and maybe inspired enough to send the city some emails and Todd Gloria and I am learning just like evryone else.

Please keep them coming!!!!

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historymatters May 17, 2010 @ 11:15 p.m.

You know Katheryn Rhodes of La Playa Heritage is really my mentor in all this. She is very brilliant at putting pieces together like you and she was saying that these developers are all hiding behind these delaware LLCs which dont reveal anywhere who the actual humans are making it impossible for us to see if there are any conflicts of interest. This however is illegal according to our city charter which states the city must know the people it is doing business w/.

So this may be the best angle yet. But really it should not be a scavenger hunt to find out who a developer is. If your project is so great and is gonna help all these people then PROUDLY stand in front of it and put your name on it for the love of god.;

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historymatters May 17, 2010 @ 11:40 p.m.

http://www.nixonpeabody.com/attorneys_detail1.asp?ID=1372

Wylie Allen. He's a lawyer for developers specializing in affordable housing.

e represents affordable housing and commercial real estate developers, investment banking firms, and mortgage lenders in complex real estate and affordable housing transactions. Mr. Allen has recently had particular experience in the development of low-income multifamily housing involving a wide variety of financing sources, including low-income housing tax credits, federal and state loan programs, HUD financing, tax-exempt bonds, and private equity funds.

Then he should know the CEQA law and that this project MUST go through a full CEQA review.

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a2zresource May 18, 2010 @ 12:31 p.m.

Things in this comment thread are pointing to the San Diego County Public Law Library.

In the first-floor reading room, there will be reading material on CEQA designed for practicing attorneys. The materials are written by other practicing attorneys with experience and/or judges as references, and will no doubt contain radioactive nuggets on both sides, either obeying CEQA or getting around CEQA as part of representing clients.

I am most definitely not a judge or attorney, but I was a part-time shelver in the Justice Complex downtown while I was tutoring at City College and taking the odd paralegal class...

The Law Library's "card catalog": http://millennium.sdcll.org/

According to Millennium search results, CEQA materials are found around KFC610 in the California Reading Room. Looking at Practice under the California Environmental Quality Act (KFC610 .K67) won't give you direct facts on the project, but the practice guide checklists will tell you things at least considered by project participants as they prepared paperwork later filed with city agencies. Things considered but not covered will be key areas of vulnerability. This is just one source: check with the law librarians to see if there are other local regs that just might have been ignored by project participants as deal-killers. Law librarians can't actually advise you, but they can help you find materials for you to make your own informed decisions about.

I was not paying attention to it earlier this year, but apparently the state grabbed a lot of redevelopment money from San Diego, and the redevelopment agencies went howling. Bets are that in the following scramble to obtain alternate funding sources, potential investor names have been revealed on paper or online somewhere for investor review, or the project could face collapse from a lack of confidence in completion of the deal.

It would be amusing to see if Wylie Allen shows up as author of any law review article on CEQA...

Experience teaches me that it is not a good idea to be your own attorney. At the same time, attorney time is very expen$ive, and the more you know about relevant law and gather "material" facts ahead of time, the faster and less expensive time will be when you actually have to get one.

As a potential pitfall, reflect carefully on anything that may cause a project participant to run from the room screaming "interference with my contract" while speed-dialing Developer Legal Aid (AKA any politician not running for re-election). Many investors, developers, consultants and lobbyists consider anonymity to be a valued asset worth defending at nearly any cost.

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a2zresource May 18, 2010 @ 3:14 p.m.

"Mr. Allen has recently had particular experience in the development of low-income multifamily housing involving a wide variety of financing sources, including low-income housing tax credits, federal and state loan programs, HUD financing, tax-exempt bonds, and private equity funds."

Sounds like a description of projects by Carter Reese & Associates, or at least a partial Carolyn Smith résumé. I do not know that Mr. Allen has worked with or for CR&A or SEDC, but if he's practiced in San Diego in the above specific fields, he could be as close to either as SDG&E executives are with Public Utility regulators over dinner (http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...).

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nan shartel June 6, 2010 @ 9:52 a.m.

congrats historymatters...this was a GREAT blog!!!

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Mary Leary June 26, 2010 @ 12:09 p.m.

This is an excellent use of this forum to organize, disseminate info, etc. - might not be the use for which these blogs were originally envisioned/intended but, oh well -- when the forces in question hold so much power, and are so secretive, "all's fair." Quantum kudos.

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