The quarry is one of the last large developable oceanfront properties, not only in Pacifica, but in all of the Bay Area, so it is up to us to enact the right plan. Here's how I made my decision on Measure L:
What if L passes? The multiple review hurdles (environmental, traffic, etc) will necessitate scaling back parts of this huge development. Mr. Peebles told the San Jose Merc that there'd be: 150 single family homes selling for an average of $5.5 million per house. Even if each home costs $2 million to build (a high estimate), that's still a profit of over $500 million on just the 150 houses. Quibble with the exact numbers, but the idea is that the luxury houses generate huge profits. Coincidentally, these multi-million dollar houses would also take up the most area per unit in the quarry. No matter how much the development needs to get scaled back, Mr. Peebles would undoubtedly fight the hardest to protect this most profitable part of the development. It also seems likely that the least profitable structures would be scaled back the most. Which would be the least profitable? The pledged civic land and main street. To which Mr. Peebles would say "trust me." If we can't, then there is no way that the City Council can win with the army of top lawyers this profit would attract.
For me, trust is measured mostly by actions, not words. Which brings up the other scenario - what if L fails? Mr. Peebles has proposed a big box-like development. With zero support from either residents or local government, there is zero chance this would ever happen. He knows this and continues to mail me letters proposing the big box; therefore, this can only be a hollow threat to get L passed. Are these the actions of a trustworthy man? Not in my opinion.
For these reasons, I've decided to vote No on L. Giving up my control now is analogous to the Native Americans giving up Manhattan for some beads and trinkets. If Mr. Peebles wants my vote, I need more than a "pledge" of an undefined amount of civic land and shops. Now he's adding sports field rehabs to the pledge. Not good enough he needs to up the ante a heck of a lot more than that. And put it all in writing.
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.