Money in San Diego Politics Puts The Regents Road Bridge And Public Safety Dead Last

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Commentary

The amount of money flowing in and around City Council District 1 is astounding. It affects commuters and neighbors like Clairemont to the south. Here is a list of how money in San Diego jeopardizes public safety;

Money 1; Businesses like the Westfield Mall wants all traffic funneled up the Genesee corridor in order to bring in all those consumers. Westfield Mall provided the half million dollars to fund the PEIR to get the bridge off the plan. According to Smart Growth & Land Use Hearing city staff testimony; if the bridge is removed “about half” of the money developers paid to the bridge fund will need to be returned to the developers. Developers can only collect after the Regents Road Bridge is removed from the plan, not before. This would be a huge windfall for Westfield and other businesses on the Genesee corridor. If the bridge is taken off the plan Westfield will receive a refund from the city probably 10-20 million dollars. Which in turn provides more money for future political contributions and so on and so on. Plus Westfield and other businesses get all those customers funneled up the Genesee Corridor. Win, Win. They are corporations, faceless-immortal citizens who have little or no interest in the perils that confront mortals. They see us only as consumers, traffic and public safety being our problem not theirs.  The new blue line terminates at the mall, should we be re-planning University to service a mall? Malls may not even exist in the future, but ambulances will.

Money 2; Residents who live near the planned bridge do not want it. They want a private enclave to bring up their housing value. Public safety for their neighbors in East UC and Clairemont is not in their lexicon. During the December 5th City Council hearing John Evans, who is a resident of Southwest UC, presented himself as an elected representative of the city schools, during his presentation he did not identify himself as a resident of Southwest UC. His presentation was intended to convince the City Council that he alone represents the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) position on the matter. The School Superintendent has shown no support for the Evans assertion that the bridge will make it less safe for children. The overwhelming majority of the community wants the bridge since it will also allow SDUSD students from UCSD and UTC (aka North UC) to have a shorter and safer commute plus reducing traffic on Genesee is an important regional public safety issue.  I have reached out to the City Attorney about the Evans testimony, given that an elected official did not divulge that he would personally benefit from the hearing outcome, this matter is under review.

Money 3; Why should City Council care if these NIMBYS in University do not want this bridge. If council removes the bridge from the plan, half of the money already collected for the bridge will now go into the city general fund, which can be used for their district and or their pensions.  Given the jeopardy of the city pension program, council members along with city planners were not functioning as disinterested third parties. I was personally outraged to see that the December 5th, 2016 council did not call on the Fire Chief, Ambulance Company, Emergency Room Staff and other witnesses to present public safety issues. Also city planning did not pursue the number of additional people injured or killed due to uncompleted roads affecting ambulance service times. Planning Commission members have no compensation tied to the bridge; last October they voted 6-0 to build the bridge.

Money 4; In 2004 the Friends of Rose Canyon (FORC) monetized the community argument over the bridge. The monies were ostensibly needed to bankroll lawsuits against government. FORC has raised about a million dollars over the years and the only improvement I can see is a 300 foot dirt path with 3 benches at the southwest Genesee entrance. The bulk of the money seems to have gone to the director’s salary to lobby against the bridge. According to public records FORC is sitting on about half a million dollars with the only foreseeable expense being the directors salary. FORC ID#: 65-1227043

I have been a public safety advocate for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this. I see it as anyone’s civic duty to confront such folly. Coordinated by lobbyists these four pots of money are all working in unison against public safety. Review the PEIR – Executive Summary. Also; Fire Chief  we will always tell you, the quicker we can get there the better the patient will be  the bridge reduces all emergency travel times by 30 seconds; this also includes travel times from the patient site to the emergency room. Longer ambulance travel times are cruel and also mean the city (That’s Us Taxpayers) will not prevail in lawsuits. On December 5th, 2016 why didn’t city council ask the Fire Chief, Ambulance Company or Emergency Room Staff to testify? What is the city hiding?

Our main advocate for public safety is; The Citizens For The Regents Road Bridge and they need funding for legal costs. Visit their website at: http://www.citizensfortheregentsroadbridge.org/

Louis Rodolico has been a resident of San Diego since 2001                                         louisrodolico.com

Links:

Final PEIR    Executive Summary pdf pages; 508 thru 510

https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/ucp_amendment_final_peir.pdf

Planning Commission Oct 27th Audio Only, Fire Chief 1:14:00

http://granicus.sandiego.gov/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=8&clip_id=6816

SG&LU Hearing, Staff Testimony about Returned Funds;

http://granicus.sandiego.gov/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=50&clip_id=6829

City Council December 5, 2016 SDUSD Trustee 1:49:06 (MP4 at 2:29:23)

http://granicus.sandiego.gov/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=6835