Snake Oil

Some thoughts while stuck in traffic on snake-oil covered pavement.

So, Pacifica commuters, now that you're once again inching your way along Highway 1, consider this. After Labor Day, when vacation season is over and the kids are travelling back to school, the commute will get tougher.

Then add ever-increasing traffic from south of Devil's Slide. And when the Tunnels are complete, the floodgates will really open.

Now, just for grins, add more traffic from 355 housing units in Peeblesville on the Rockaway Quarry. Can you feel your blood pressure rising?

Check this out, folks. Here's a true story that you may appreciate. At a recent meeting with a citizens' group, South Florida developer Peebles revealed his hand. He said that he really only wanted the housing units and the hotel in his project if the group would only support his ballot measure this November.

Shocked, I noted that he obviously is willing to throw the whole notion of a "New Urbanism" plan on the trash heap. Forget the town square, a new library, aquatic center, concert hall, movie theater, lots of upscale shops. Can you see the shells shifting on his table? New Urbanism? The Phantom Plan? Now you see them, now you don't. It's just the big profit items for him, thank you very much, and sleight of hand for Pacificans.

Then, he said he would sign some sort of phony baloney pledge or contract to back up his offer to the group. When Mr. Peebles was pressed about the legal enforceability of such a signed agreement, he said that the group could always take him to court if he didn't honor his word.

But, here's the kicker! He quickly noted that, of course, the loser would have to pay the court costs of the winner. In other words, the citizens' group could sell lemonade and cupcakes for the next thousand years for funds to go up against a deep pockets developer and his arsenal of highly paid killer lawyers.

Hocus Pocus, Empty Promises, New Urbanism, a Phantom Plan that's not even on the ballot. That strange taste in your mouth as you're creeping past Peeblesville is snake oil.

The above was also published as a Letter to the Editor in the Pacifica Tribune on August 9th, 2006.

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