Seven reasons to vote NO on L

With November 7th drawing near, now's the time to summarize why Measure L is bad for Pacifica.

  1. Measure L exists only to allow 355 housing units in the Quarry. It's not a straw poll or a survey. It's a permanent change to allow 355 housing units in a C-3 commercial zone.
  2. More houses mean more cars. Measure L's high-density housing "vision" would merge hundreds more commuters directly in between the two worst-rated intersections on Highway 1 in Pacifica. Miami high-rise developer R. Donahue Peebles has claimed he'll build multi-million-dollar, 4,500-square-foot houses there. The residents of those "Tract Villas" will almost certainly own and drive multiple cars, and commute to big-city jobs to pay their mortgages.
  3. Peebles has repeatedly threatened us with a mushroom cloud of "big-box" retail if we don't give him his 355 housing units. But that "choice" ignores the vast middle ground between those extremes. Peebles deliberately chose an "all-or-nothing" approach, instead of negotiating a development agreement first.
  4. Measure L asks Pacificans to forfeit our right to vote on the specifics. Why authorize 355 housing units and a dramatic change to the character of Pacifica, without assuring anything in exchange? Measure L puts the cart before the horse. It would give away those lucrative houses before negotiation even begins. That's not a negotiation, it's a fold.
  5. Attempting to get Pacificans to fold is big money politics, straight from Miami and D.C. The "yes on L" campaign has spent $1,310,384 so far to try to push Measure L past Pacifica voters. It's an extravagant sum for an election in a quiet coastal town.
  6. Peebles has claimed that Measure L will solve all our problems and fulfill nearly every wish. We've been told that it'll give us a sports complex, a library, a movie theater, a new City Hall, an aquatic center, affordable housing, a performing arts center, loans to the City, and more. Those would have to be built, maintained, and staffed with taxpayer's money, and it's unclear where exactly that's going to come from. Without a development agreement, the promises are meaningless anyway.
  7. Finally, there is no "town center" in Measure L. The words don't even appear in the ballot language. There's no specific number of houses other than 355. There's no specific amount of commercial. There's no specific amount of space for any public buildings, parks, or amenities. It's just not there.

Measure L is an attempted end-run around the public process. It has been sold through:

  • a non-negotiable take-it-or-leave-it vote,
  • a barrage of slick mailers and TV ads,
  • paid "Astroturf" signature gatherers and "community meeting" sales pitches,
  • push-poll attacks on the Council incumbents,
  • "sock-puppet" fraud,
  • privately-controlled "Charrettes",
  • extensive and contradictory promises, and
  • a luxury "vision" that is out of line with the mainstream of Pacifica.

Measure L looks more and more every day like a hostile takeover attempt.

I don't believe Pacifica can be bought.

Join us in voting NO ON Measure L, along with Pacificans for Sustainable Development, Concerned Manor Residents, and the Committee to Save the Fish and Bowl. These local groups are joined in saying NO on L by regional groups such as the Surfrider Foundation, Committee for Green Foothills, Greenbelt Alliance, San Mateo County League for Coastal Protection, and the Sierra Club, as well as the San Mateo County Times Editorial Board, and Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Leland Yee. Vote NO ON L on November 7th.

The above was printed as a guest column in the Pacifica Tribune on November 1, 2006.