Reader Rant: “We Need a Point Loma Town Council”

by on March 15, 2017 · 5 comments

in Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing

By Michael Winn

We need to elect a Point Loma Town Council that appropriately reflects demographics on the Peninsula, and charge it with promulgating a vision to preserve and restore quality of life on the Peninsula.

The Emerson project and San Diego airport (SAN) flight path expansions show us what we should expect from traditional back-door politics and ad hoc citizen protests.

Kellogg Beach shows us that unless we organize better, this will continue to plague our community because we must organize unpaid labor for each new proposal, while developers can budget it.

Our Peninsula Community Planning Board carries little political weight, has no authority and is limited in scope.

Emerson, Kellogg, flight path expansion and gridlocked “interstate” highways are all evidence of what happens to quality of life when communities are less important than development to municipal leaders and since their election campaigns are financed mostly by contributions from developers, unless we change that process, it’s all we should expect from our city council member and mayor and the Port Commissioners and Airport Board, all of whom are appointed by city councils. What you see (and hear) is what you get.

Kellogg Beach is a poster child for the problem, but Emerson, and Navy and commercial jets screaming over neighborhoods–they’re all ludicrous examples of complete disregard for our quality of life.

When health and even economic sustainability take a back seat to development in municipal government, neighborhoods must be organized (in advance) to respond effectively to each new thrust for building without regard for impacts, whether by SAN, downtown condos, SANDAG or real estate speculations that increase traffic, and degrade the environment and our quality of life.

A town council will provide the currently missing political framework for addressing any proposals that threaten to impact our quality of life. It will also support our ability to invest in solutions to existing problems of traffic, public safety and so on.

Unless we create an effective means of local control and representation of community interests, we are foolish not to be concerned about the future of La Playa and Roseville. The real estate investor’s place at the table is paid for by campaign contributions and the city government wants to increase tax revenue. They’ve made downtown into a fantasyland for midwestern provincial tastes, what will they do here?

To get the Port to restore and preserve our beaches; to get SAN to operate within boundaries of its conditional use permit and to ensure that new (pedestrian and transportation) mobility infrastructure is provided before approving increased density in view of current zoning, we need an elected town council.

We need the town council simply because individually or as neighbors banding together occasionally to protest in letter writing campaigns, we’re unable to maintain a constant safeguard to preserve and restore our quality of life and meet pressure from developers and a municipal government that promotes growth for tax revenue and from the U. S. Navy, whose operations needlessly and thoughtlessly shatter the peace of residential neighborhoods.

(Note: A town council requires no money from SANDAG, nor decisions by city, state or federal bodies.)

“We know what a masquerade all development is…In fact the world is full of hopeful analogies and handsome dubious eggs called possibilities.” —George Elliott, Middlemarch, London 1871

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar OBC March 15, 2017 at 12:21 pm

What a fantastic idea. I would support this wholeheartedly.

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avatar Lynn Silva March 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Awesome Idea.

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avatar Dan Dennison March 15, 2017 at 1:08 pm

I believe this is both a correct and timely position. It is easy to see the effectiveness and political strength of the OB Town Council. There are different ways to structure a community focused organization but a Town Council is likely the best because of how widely this structure is used in nearby neighborhoods with success.

It is also my strong opinion that there really needs to be a “Macro” consolidation for voicing concerns of all Peninsula Communities because we are so closely connected and impacted by the same issues. I suspect that if we added another Town Council to the Peninsula that collaboration could be enhanced across the Peninsula.

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avatar George Zimmerman March 15, 2017 at 8:24 pm

I’m all for a PL Town Council. We need a vocal majority to say fu*ck the dope smoking hippies of OB. They attract homeless like flies to sh*t by feeding them. Act contrary to the betterment of their community by attacking, instead of supporting, the demolition and renovation of the neighborhood. And want to redistribute everyone else’s wealth. Let’s say f*ck them load and clear as an entity with a direct line to the San Diego Town council.

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avatar AJ March 16, 2017 at 8:34 am

Michael, good article. I do want to point out some items.
First, I agree that the advancement of densification should be in line with infrastructure advances. I think the focus of the community should be to fight for a change like you point out. A change in the system and the way things are done. To me that is a productive use of time and could be effective in fact. Doing that will help for generations to come. To me fighting developers on specific projects that today comply with zoning regulations is a waste of time. Neighborhoods fight against almost every project that is more dense and will cause more traffic. All the time. Its nothing new, and they all get built. They are going to get built as long as they comply. Simple as that. But here is the million dollar question. How do we solve the growing population problem? We need more housing, we have more people. It is what it is. What is the solution? To me, the solution is not the “not in my backyard” idea. “Oh no not my neighborhood, Ive been here for 50 years and never had this much traffic”. ” Why are all these people moving here?” Well, because the population grows, densification is needed, and everybody has the right to come into this neighborhood and live there. Nobody likes to accept change. A neighborhood is not yours because you live there. A neighborhood is everybody’s. So traffic increase and density increase is a result of a human need. I agree with you, it does affect the quality of life of people. What should be done? More infrastructure work. How? I don’t know myself. Neighborhoods change, look at little Italy….Point Loma is going to get densified so fast its not even funny. What you have seen until today is only the beginning. Again I agree with your approach of looking for a change in the system. I think its a valid point. I think you got it right on the money. But that is exactly it, changing the system and finding a way to appropriately house more people without affecting the quality of life. And that is the challenge, how do we do that? I leave it tot he smarter people! In the meantime, while a solution is found, density will keep happening at 100 miles an hour. Thank you for your comments Michael.

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