Putting the cart before the horse

The "blank check" Measure L on the November ballot is a wonderful example of putting the cart before the horse.

Voting on a housing initiative before there is a concrete plan makes perfect sense from Mr. Peebles' point of view. He doesn't want to spend 2 years doing the hard work of preparing a detailed project plan, getting it approved by the City, and convincing Pacificans it was good for the City, only to have the voters turn it down.

While this approach is understandable for him, it makes no sense for Pacificans. What Mr. Peebles is doing is shifting all the development risk from himself to us. We don't know if the concept being proposed is feasible, whether it can gain the necessary regulatory approvals, or what amenities will finally be built.

The way things worked with Measure E is exactly how it should work. The City Council approved a development agreement, it went before the voters, and the voters rejected it.

Anyone who thinks that it's "safe" to pass Measure L because the Council can always scale it back is in for a rude awakening. That's because Mr. Peebles would use this voter approval in November as a club against the Planning Commission and the City Council. The land would be legally entitled to 355 units of housing, whereas currently it isn't. He could also resist any attempt to scale back the project by saying "that's not what the voters wanted", or words to that effect.

With the City Attorney's report saying that voter approval in November can transfer to another owner, the vote in November is essentially a repeal of the 1983 initiative that requires a public vote for any housing in the Quarry.

If Measure L passes, the property will be rezoned for 355 residential units. Mr. Peebles could then sell the property at any time, realize millions of dollars in profit, and we would be stuck with whoever buys the property and their plans. That's a risk Pacificans should not take.