Thursday, May 31, 2007
1. MEASURE A BETTER PRESERVES AG LAND AND THE AG ECONOMY.
Monterey County has the fastest conversion rate of ag land to urban use of any county in California. Measure A will ensure that when development projects that subdivide farmland are proposed, the community at-large decides whether that’s in the best long-term interest of the county. Measure A allows 600 acres of farmland to be converted to urban use; the supervisors’ plan converts 4,900 acres.
2. MEASURE A ELIMINATES SPECIAL INTEREST INFLUENCE ON LAND-USE DECISIONS.
Right now, developers seeking to get their projects approved in the county need to win over three of the five supervisors’ votes. Not long ago, the most influential lawyer for the county’s biggest developers was caught “ghostwriting” county planning documents; it’s hard to believe that the conditions for that kind of corruption have been effectively stopped and cleaned up. Measure A would circumvent this special influence and require any large-scale project to go to a vote of the full community, and reduce the potential for corruption.
3. MEASURE A REQUIRES HIGHER PERCENTAGES OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN NEW DEVELOPMENTS, AND KEEPS THAT AFFORDABLE HOUSING AFFORDABLE FOREVER.
Under the General Plan Initiative, 20 to 30 percent of all new developments must be affordable to low-income buyers—GPU 4 requires far less. While GPU 4 would allow a bigger number of affordable units to be built over the next 20 years, Measure A requires all affordable housing to stay affordable in perpetuity, while GPU 4 would allow these homes to sell for market rate in 15 years. The benefit of building affordable housing today but taking it out of the inventory of affordable housing stock in the near future will benefit only a few lucky individuals.
4. THE COUNTY WILL STILL GROW UNDER MEASURE A, BUT MORE SLOWLY.
The supervisors’ plan allows for 21,520 new units to be built; Measure A allows 10,620. Add these numbers to the 18,000 homes already approved and the 40,000 already in the planning process, and Monterey County in the year 2027 will look very different than today. Does the community really want the county to grow by 50 percent?
5. TRAFFIC WILL GO FROM BAD TO WORSE UNDER THE SUPERVISORS’ PLAN.
Today, it’s hard to find a county road that isn’t at—or over—capacity. And there’s insufficient money in the budget to accommodate the increased population expected. For example: Rancho San Juan, approved by the supervisors but opposed by 76 percent of the voters, would add over 70,000 daily car trips on Highway 101. Highway 68, Carmel Valley Road and Highway 156 will all go from bad to worse. Measure A’s growth plan will have less impact on the county roads, and fewer daily car trips.
6. THE TOURISM INDUSTRY WILL BE BETTER PROTECTED UNDER MEASURE A.
The last thing any tourist wants is to bump against other tourists on their way in and out of town, or find the majestic beauty of Monterey County has been overrun by uncontrolled growth. It won’t be a big plus for our community if visitors have to sit in more traffic. Measure A better protects the intrinsic beauty of the county, and prevents it from being overrun by sprawling growth.
7. WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH WATER TO GO ON A BUILDING SPREE.
We are currently in a Stage 1 water alert on the Peninsula. Many homeowners can’t currently add a second bathroom in their own home. The Salinas Valley water system is under threat from seawater intrusion, since the fresh water aquifers are under such heavy use and being lowered. So where exactly is the water going to come from for the supervisors’ proposed 27,000 new homes?
8. THE PROCESS IS BROKEN AND MEASURE A WILL HELP RESTORE CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT.
After six years and $6 million of expense, the supervisors in 2005 came to some agreement with GPU 3. That compromise proposal was subverted by some very powerful, moneyed interests. The supervisors caved to this special interest lobby, and tossed out the plan they had found broad agreement on. This is when the citizens’ plan was hatched. Measure A takes away power from an untrustworthy board of supervisors and returns it to the hands of the people.
9. MEASURE A IS TESTED.
Measure A was based on a citizens’ initiative that passed in Ventura County. It has nearly 10 years of history and has better preserved farmland than Monterey County during the same period.
10. MEASURE A IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CITIZENS.
Look closely at the campaign against A and you’ll see it is paid for by development interests. The largest single contributor to the Yes on A campaign is an individual with no financial stake in the outcome—the former CEO of Natividad Hospital. Measure A is truly a citizens’ initiative—supported by a broad-based group of individuals.