continued The De Anza Corporation, it appears, is focused on the removal of the residents as part of its business plan for the future use of the property.
All the residents I spoke with said they were filled with hope that their city would show concern for the situation. Much of that hope is directed to Donna Frye, councilwoman for District 2. "I've got hope as well," Ms. Frye said. "I mean, I'm extremely sympathetic to what's happening here. I understand it very well." But she was blunt, admitting the situation "is sort of in flux. That's a kind way of saying it. There's so much else going on, with the budget cuts, and then, of course, you know what's going on with the Chargers and all the other hoopla on some other issues. Sometimes the issues we're trying to get information on just don't have the same level of priority, unfortunately. So, you know, so that's kind of where it is. It's kind of in a holding [pattern]...no action that I have seen."
In the context of discussing the 1999 Memorandum of Understanding with the De Anza Corporation, I asked her if the city had considered changing this. "It has not come up. I would expect that would come up in closed session. It has to be soon, because November is not that far away. That's why I'm doing some things on my own here. Just trying to get more information because time is of the essence, and something needs to be done."
The residents have a proposal. "We are not looking for another 50-year lease," Ernie Abbit says. "We are looking for the current lease to be extended to 2017." Their rationale is that the Campland lease does not expire till 2017, and the additional 14 years would provide positive opportunities for the city as well as the residents. The city would gain more income. It currently receives an estimated $1.2 million per year from the De Anza citizens -- not inconsequential, given the city's current money crunch.
Donna Frye agrees, referring to the $20 million shortfall in "our existing budget, not counting what the state budget cuts may be. They're absolutely correct."
Moreover, because the De Anza Cove property has already been designated a "special study" area, an extension would afford the city more time to accomplish an in-depth study of land-use possibilities that would comply with the Mission Bay master plan, while collecting nearly $17 million. "Why don't we revisit the situation in 2017," homeowners president Lewan said, "when all three parcels are available?"
The homeowners propose that in the interim they could operate without the De Anza Corporation's involvement using a fee-based management company. "We will also fund our own demise," says Lewan. The homeowners plan to "put into an account, a trust, a certain amount of money per month per homeowner so that each homeowner will have a pot of money to draw upon" at the time of moving, whether soon or in 2017.
For now they live in hope. "I hope that sanity prevails. I hope the city has a human heart," says Lewan. "I think the people on the city council are wise people, and they will make it possible for us to stay," says Ethel Murphy.
"I'm waiting for the Lord to do a miracle," adds Jane Hewitt.
Their city councilwoman says, "I think everybody has some responsibilities here. It's kind of a three-way street." Frye advocates sitting down at the table to "just try to say, 'What do we need to do to rectify the situation? What are the financial realities? And what are the political realities?' And see if we can't come to some sort of a solution. And I think we can."
Even Ernie Abbit is positive. "I definitely believe there is hope. We're gonna fight the good fight."