Commentary by Louis Rodolico
In a precedent setting ruling CEQA Judge, Katherine Bacal, refused to hear any arguments, including public safety arguments, about the Regents Road Bridge. If not overturned on appeal California Municipalities can now collect Development Impact Fees (DIF) without providing development. The city has found a path to completely ignore the bridge public safety advantages and they did it with an overwhelming number of taxpayers in opposition. So anything in a city or community plan is now optional, this CEQA ruling affects all of California. Taking projects off the plan, like the 70 million dollar Regents Road Bridge, will help San Diego with its rising 2.5 billion dollar pension debt. San Diego has played rough with pension whistleblowers in the past, threatening to arrest pension board trustee Shipione in 2004. How did we get to the point where San Diego puts pensions above public safety?
In 2008 the University Community Planning Group (UCPG) voted against an expansion of the Westfield Mall and UCPG wanted the Regents Road Bridge. However the Mall did not want the bridge, they wanted all traffic funneled up Genesee Ave. Leveraging its construction dollars, Westfield engaged a legion of lobbyists who harvested the community argument over the Regents Road Bridge. They identified NIMBY’s on the Regents Road Corridor (see map) whose property value would increase if the bridge were not built and with city support; fixed elections and created their own customized UCPG “voice of the community” that could be trusted not to raise the public safety alarm. This new UCPG hid important community issues with undocumented sub-committee meetings. Two thirds of the community want the bridge built, but lobbyists restricted all of them from being on the UCPG “Community” board.
In 2008 council candidate Lightner, withheld her anti-bridge bias until after the election.
In 2008 Westfield Mall entered into a secret agreement with the Friends Of Rose Canyon (FORC). See Link. These secret agreements affect our tax dollars. The FORC director was well compensated.
Everything had been teed up for the December 2016 hearing on the bridge. Lightner withheld ambulance mortality data and put a muzzle on public safety officials, unlike the 2006 bridge hearing where public safety officials willingly testified and council voted to build the bridge. At the December 2016 hearing there was no roll call to verify speaker’s slips. The venue Lightner chose was council chambers, not Golden Hall, so council could be duped about the numbers of persons in the audience who wanted the bridge. The customized UCPG, falsely represented the “will of the people” as no bridge. School Supervisor John Evans falsely represented that the school district did not want the bridge while failing to note that his house would go up in value if the bridge were not built. When it was all said and done council voted the bridge down. Why should City Council care if these NIMBY’s don’t want this bridge? Council members knew that monies for the bridge could now go to their district and or their pensions.
UCPG and NIMBY’s were vindicated and they were the righteous ones. Truth be told, they were bought off for betraying the rest of their community. Southwest UC received; private enclaves, the Fast Response Squad and complete underground wiring. The city’s underclass in Southeast UC got stuck with; overhead wires, the high pressure underground sewage lines and excessive traffic delivering poor ambulance service times.
South UC is a peninsula with 2 of its 3 main roads incomplete. Thanks to lobbyists and undocumented UCPG fire station subcommittee meetings, there will soon be three fire stations in North UC (UTC) and none in South UC, see map. Recognizing this disparity, float units are prepositioned throughout South UC. See Link
For the foreseeable future University will be controlled by lobbyists loyal to a secretive corporate cabal, rubber stamped by a customized, entrenched UCPG. The bridge and anti-bridge groups will continue to hate each other, providing a distraction. Our tax dollars are directed, quietly, in board rooms. The city will continue to favor the western private enclaves and West UC will reciprocate with UCPG voting as directed by the city. Everyone else will find out about projects when it is too late to have input. For example; we recently got details on the Clairemont Drive – Genesee Avenue high pressure sewage lines when the construction documents were at 60% completion. Canyons and CALTRANS have right of refusal, voters do not. Voters want the SDGE alignment, but San Diego consistently rejects community input. See Clairemont Times, December 2017 page 11.
This is not just a local lobbyist phenomenon. Congress routinely ignores the electorate when it comes to issues like: gun registrations, balanced budgets, health care and tax equity pushing more citizens into poverty. Hate continues to sprout in new places as corporate greed drives its roots deeper into our culture. Will we find the courage to reverse this trend?
City Council and CEQA rulings delivered one big winner: Westfield Corporation opened its new UTC expansion late last year, and then promptly announced its sale to Unibail-Rodamco for 16 billion. Westfield Mall will soon be; comfortably nestled between two Fire Stations, have a new bus/trolley terminal and all traffic/customers funneled up Genesee. Westfield re-designed our planned community to improve their property value. With a tip of its hat, Westfield leaves with this message; thanks suckers.
Louis Rodolico has been a resident of University since 2001
FORC Secret Agreement with Westfield
Westfield Half Million for EIR
Planning Commission Oct 27th Audio Only 1:14:25 Times
“The quicker we can get there the better off the patient will be”
“Bridge improves response times 30 seconds”