What contempt Mr. Peebles and the other developers must have for our town and its people! They continue to work us with a carrot and stick approach. The carrot isn't real and neither is the stick. We get glossy direct mails, phone messages and his staff of timeshare salesmen conducting phony town meetings, which he calls "Charettes" for some reason. They insist that filling the area between Nick's and Valley Mar with condos is going to make the town rich. The argument runs, "If you increase the number of housing units then you increase the tax base and so you get the town out of debt". It's hogwash. They are trying to bribe us with promissory notes that they don't have to pay. They are saying that if we let them line their pockets by building and selling a whole new neighborhood, then we will get a bone from increased property taxes. They don't say that we also have to pay increased city services as well. The new neighborhood will need lots more police and fire coverage, there will be three hundred- odd more kids in our schools and that many more cars in our morning rush hour.
How can I disprove this? Well, for starters I have driven every day for twenty years on Skyline Drive. I have seen the woods and meadows where I used to walk with my kids all turn to condo developments. The deer we sometimes saw were driven out. I saw one of then dead on skyline with an arrow in it last year. We have lots of new condo developments in town and more coming all the time. If building condos will get the city out of debt then why hasn't it done so by now? Did that idea ever work? Is it about to work now? If we can't run the city in the black now then how will making the city more crowded make things any better? When I was trained as a teacher I learned that, from the school's point of view, you want more commercial development in your district and not more housing. Commercial enterprises pay property taxes, they don't put more kids in the schools, and they have their own fire prevention and security. That's what we need there.
Now for the stick part. In one of his mailings Peebles indicated that he could bring down our town like Gomorra if he so chose. Well, that is, he could bring in a Wal Mart, which would be the same thing to the Chamber of Commerce. He doesn't need anyone's permission for that. Now let me conduct my own town meeting, right here and now. If it is a choice of one or the other, which would Pacificans rather have, more condos or more shopping? I know for sure what my wife's choice is. Once in awhile she even goes shopping at the Wal Mart in Mountain View, almost an hour away from here. The fact is that if a mall would be profitable then they would have put one there long ago. The Sierra Club has decreed that there can be no more roads in the hills behind Linda Mar because they claim that there are endangered salamanders there. The commercial traffic all goes to Colma and San Bruno and not to Pacifica now. We have only US 1 into and out of town and that isn't enough to support a mall. The new tunnel will still be only a two-lane road, again thanks to the Sierra Club. Wal Mart is an empty threat, they aren't interested in our town, and the gravel pit lot isn't big enough for them anyway. Peebles can also buy our government.
He has paid people to put his measure "L" on the ballot. I found one of them collecting signatures at the post office and I demanded to know if he was in Peebles' pay. The smiley facemask slipped away and he told me, "Yes, and this measure is going on the ballot and there isn't anything you can do about it". Peebles can put lots of measures on the ballot to confuse the voters. He can put his own slate of candidates into city office. If he repeats his lies long enough then everyone will believe them. Pacificans voted No on the Trammel Crow sponsored measure E and they voted all who supported it out of office.
Now Peebles is doing the same thing with Measure L. It's still more Condos in Pacifica and you still should still vote no on it.
The above was printed as a letter to the editor of the Pacifica Tribune on September 27th, 2006, and is republished here with the author's expressed written permission.