monaghan

Chargers, Airbnb, and Mark Fabiani’s vicious knife fighter

We don't realize the power and influence of well-paid City Hall, State Capitol and Congressional lobbyists to change the rules that everyone but developers and other special interests have to live by. That's why Readerwriter Matt Potter's persistent reporting on lobbyist activities is so important. Only recently, now-lobbyist Marcela Escobar-Eck who used to work for developer-friendly Mayor Jerry Sanders and was responsible for allowing the too-tall Sunroad Building in the Lindbergh Field flight path, managed to get Planning Commission approval to override La Jolla community planning groups' objections and undermine La Jolla's longstanding Planned District Ordinance (PDO.) Lobbyist Escobar-Eck's efforts will benefit the property owner of a prime Prospect Street site in the "Village."The landlord had claimed a two-year dearth of suitable retail tenants. (Translation: no shop proprietor could meet his price.) So now there will be a big-bucks brokerage-office tenant on the ground floor of his Italianate building that fronts on a small plaza with a charming fountain. The corner site previously housed a small hotel and a street-level retail shop, Victoria's Secret, which attracted passing pedestrians and shoppers. The PDO in the commercial center of La Jolla encourages ground-floor retail establishments that attract strolling shoppers, with offices off-street or on upper floors. Prospect Street now has many street-level vacancies as other landlords undoubtedly hold out for astronomical rents or further erosion of PDO rules. One busy La Jolla builder, C.A. Marengo, is openly calling for ending the PDO. Tourists and other visitors to the main drags of Prospect and Girard in La Jolla this Fall may prefer window-shopping sexy lingerie over seeing sweaty-palmed financial analysts at their computers, navigating the iffy stock market. But volunteer planning groups, tourists and visitors are not represented by lobbyists who work for landlords and developers.
— August 29, 2015 8:55 p.m.

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