Kimberly Blough 6:28 p.m., March 9
- Community Blog
- Encanto Gas Holder
Why I am voting No on Proposition B
Proposition B is entitled "THE PORT OF SAN DIEGO MARINE FREIGHT PRESERVATION AND BAYFRONT REDEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE" (all caps in original) where text of the local ballot initiative is located at:
Don't bother looking for it in your voter pamphlets. For some reason, it's not there.
Six personal reasons why I am voting 'NO" on Proposition B:
SIX. The only way to fix any substantial problems with Proposition B is to have another vote on some future ballot initiative (see PDF page 10 of 17, sections 12 and 13). Keep this thought in mind as you read the Top 5 list below.
FIVE. Instead of requiring sealed competitive bids for the proposed project, the initiative requires an "Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA)" with an un-named "private developer" within 60 days of passage by us, the voters... then that un-named developer under the ENA will have six months or more to come up with the actual plan "including design themes, building footprints, elevations, location of parking facilities, vehicular and pedestrian access ways, and other factors..." The initiative essentially turns the Port of San Diego into a functional clone of the Centre City Redevelopment Corporation (CCDC) and the Southeastern Economic Redevelopment Corporation (SEDC); the County Grand Jury earlier this year recommended that these separate redevelopment agencies be absorbed by the City to reduce expenses and improve oversight. Prop. B also rejects any power of the strong mayor's office of San Diego to effectively integrate the project's planning into the overall development of the City of San Diego.
FOUR. Contrary to initiative language that states no public funds will be used, the "funding mechanism" for the redevelopment project need not be identified until the ENA is signed, or some time thereafter under the terms of the ENA (see PDF page 8 of 17, section 5). Furthermore, while current pubic funding is prohibited, specific initiative language allows for "any new incremental tax revenues" may be diverted to the project as long as they come from any aspect of the redevelopment plan (see PDF page 9 of 17, section 5.D). Clever readers will note that there is no limit to the percentage of "any" taxes this project generates that may be diverted to the project, potentially leaving none for San Diego's general fund. The ballot initiative contains mention of cooperative security measures with the Coast Guard and local police for "maritime security" (the two sentences of section 5.C), but if members of the San Diego police and firefighter associations are looking for this project to improve public safety funding, then they should start looking somewhere else.
THREE. Prop. B eliminates Crosby Street oversight by "the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the San Diego Noise Abatement Office for compliance with all applicable regulations" (see PDF strike-out text, page 8 of 17). The County of San Diego Air Pollution Control District is a local investigative agency in United States v. San Diego Gas and Electric (2007, guilty verdicts on appeal pending new trial). The Regional Water Quality Control Board monitors Crosby Street as an EPA-identified Clean Water Act hot spot. For you downtown condo owners, if you think railroad horns are loud, then try living in the concrete canyons of downtown during a football game.
TWO. Prop. B contains absolutely no provisions for any consideration of its effect as presumptively the largest hazard in the entire port of San Diego next to a burning nuclear aircraft carrier tied up at North Island; at least the US Navy has plans, equipment, and personnel to respond to that. Prop. B contains no provisions for any hazard mitigation planning nor for any mitigation implementation other than "maritime security", putting the Port of San Diego out of compliance with the National Response Framework under the National Strategy for Homeland Security. Under this initiative, both the City and County of San Diego are effectively cut out as a Comprehensive Emergency Management stakeholders in such all-hazard emergency planning (see PDF page 9 of 17, section 5.C).
ONE. The most significant reason I will vote no on Prop. B is that there is no identified source of private funding located anywhere in the proposal. Supposedly, some group of somebodies has a billion or more burning a hole in their collective back pockets, and what hasn't fallen through that hole into the Crash of 2008 is supposedly still enough to cover all construction costs and related expenses -- plus any overrun costs, which there are sure to be plenty -- without those somebodies being bailed out by some combination of the G-7.
Remember: private funding means just that, not public bailout money that just happens to pass through un-named private investor hands on its way into Prop. B developer pockets under the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement's still-unknown funding mechanisms.