My late grandfather rose from doing menial farm work to the Board of Directors of a Fortune 500 corporation. I was fortunate enough to be able to ask him in retirement to summarize some of his hard-won business expertise.
He told me a number of things, but three of them in particular have come to mind again with the controversy over Measure L. Specifically, he said:
- No promise is worth anything unless it's signed into a binding contract first. Always make sure that this gets done before anything else.
- If you're making a deal, and if you have even the smallest suspicion that your counterpart is employing misleading or deceptive tactics, immediately break off the negotiation. You have a right to insist that people deal with you in a fully fair and aboveboard manner. Exercise that right the instant things smell wrong.
- Evaluate any novel proposal very circumspectly. People always dramatically overestimate the potential profits and benefits of a new venture. They also always dramatically underestimate the potential risks, losses and liabilities.
I can't speak for my grandfather other than to revoice his lessons. But I can say that for my own part, after applying the rules which he conveyed to me, I am left profoundly uneasy by L, and by the developer who is pushing it so quickly and aggressively. My intent is to vote NO on Measure L, and I urge other concerned Pacificans to do the same.
The above was printed as a Letter to the Editor in the November 1st, 2006 Pacifica Tribune, and is republished here with the author's permission.