Diogenes

Smaller One Paseo project heads toward approval

Astroturfing is easier when the Chairman of the Carmel ValleynPlanning Board and the President of the City Council fail to ask speakers if they are on Kilroy's payroll. The same woman spoke repeatedly during a five-year period on behalf of One Paseo - even while she had a big website where she advertised her services on behalf of developers to create fake grassroots astroturfing and campaigns of writing letters to the editors of local newspapers in favor developers throughout Western States. This is unfair competition. It is illegal. Find out who "speakers" are. Request hearing officers to inquire about financial ties to the developer. A bona fide resident is not getting paid to speak. That's astroturfing. The "revolving door" tactics of hiring the former head of the Development Services Department was also used by Kilroy when they hired Marcella Escobar Ecke as their chief lobbyist. A local war chest to effectively oppose developers would include costs for a website, environmental lawyers, a traffic engineer, and a media consultant. These costs would amount to at least one-half million dollars, not invluding gathering 63,000 signatures, going to trial, appeals, etc. These costs could amount to one and one-half million dollars or more. If all 60,000 people in the area contributed $20 a piece, this could be done. I think one person actually contributed $20. Her same $20 bill was returned to her. The owners of the Del Mar Highlands Centre paid undisclosed amounts to reduce retail competition. The cheap-skate residents paid zero. A few dedicated residents fought back for more like six years without any pay or favors whatsoever. Some of these were professionals. They reduced the traffic of the project significantly. Same number of condo and some retail and business and commercial will be approved, but will less retail that brings in traffic from all over the county. When the developers come to your neighborhood, get a legal defense fund going. Hire a good environmental lawfirm. Put up a website. The metric now is vehicle miles traveled, not additional daily automobile trips. If your neighborhood has convenient access to an established system of public transportation, you are looking at Smart Growth and Transit-oriented Development ("TOD") policies that encourage density along established transit corridors. Parking is to be restricted to force use of bikes, pedestrian and public transit modes to reduce greenhouse emissions. These policies have already become law in Sacramento. One Paseo grandfathered in under widening streets and paying into a fund. If you live in an area where you have even bus service, get ready for high-rise, little parking, dense development, and a change in the character of your neighborhood. Be prepared to walk, bike, or use public transportation. That is the law. You must educate yourselves as to the new policies for Smart Growth and TOD.
— June 15, 2016 1:14 p.m.

SDG&E attempts brazen caper #2

Aguirre is acting as a "private Attorney General." That means that he looks after the interests of the people of California as a private citizen and attorney by setting important legal precedents and addressing fraud. Setting aside the SONGS settlement is an example. The courts will award Aguirre his fees and costs in the SONGS case if he wins on appeal and the matter is remanded to the Federal District Court and he wins at trial. Setting important legal precedents permits an award of fees and costs. The PUC awards fees and costs to intervenors if the intervenor and his attorney "make a contribution." Unfortunately, the PUC itself decides if a contribution has been made. The PUC is a hard nut to crack. Aguirre has tired to get the federal court to prevent an unconstitutional taking by private utlitities without due process or just compensation. This protection is found in the 5th Amendment to the US constitution in the SONGS settlement. Governor Brown is pro-utility. The legislature does not have jurisdiction over the pending PUC matters. Courts have no general power of review either. This is a similar situation to commissions in Texas whose job it is to oversee oil drilling. The commissioners become little kings. Some federal courts have intervened under the taking without due process or just compensation when state commissions saddle ratepayers with the costs of private utility screw-ups and grant rate raises arbitrarily. If the Democrats lack the political will to clean up this mess, you can bet that the Republicans never will. Democrats receive huge campaign contributions and can find nice jobs on the boards of directors of large energy companies or as lobbyists upon leaving office. Meanwhile, damages incurred by private utilities due to lack of prudence or safety violations will be foisted on ratepayers to protect investors (shareholders). Legislative efforts to reform the PUC are being blocked by lobbyists. Only the federal courts can change this. An initiative placing reform of the state general ballot should be attempted by consumer groups. Millions of signatures would be needed and lots of television time. This is an unlikely scenario.
— September 26, 2015 7:16 a.m.

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