By Doug Porter
Papa Doug Manchester’s Mission Valley minions have decided to create an imaginary world to explain away recent court decisions adverse to the planning documents of the county government and the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG.
Today’s UT-San Diego editorial fantasizes about an alternative universe wherein their “smart growth” principles are opposed by evil environmentalists seeking to impose suffering upon the good people of America’s Finest City by banning automobiles. It closes with a rant about “those who view cars and freeways the same way that most people think about bubonic plague.”
As is true with other imagined narratives (Fox News fantasies about a War on Christmas is my personal favorite), the War on Cars concept provides the opportunity for rapid-fire distortions and lies.
See how many you can count; from today’s sermon:
…it is impossible to accept environmental policies that are at odds with reality. We refer to the bedrock belief of many greens that cars are evil and must go away (starting, of course, with the cars of others). It is this quasi-religious holding that drives increasingly grandiose state and federal environmental policies, yielding lawsuits that threaten the long-planned — and badly needed — expansion of Interstate 5 in San Diego County.
Never mind that there’s actual science about how adding capacity to highways does not reduce traffic. Perhaps we should take up a collection to send the UT editorial board for a cruise on LA’s newly widened (and still gridlocked) Interstate 405. Or-gasp!–maybe we could send them to San Francisco, where they actually tore down a freeway and reduced traffic.
Contrast the editorial with UT-San Diego’s news reporting last week on the very same court decisions:
On Oct. 29, an appellate panel affirmed a Superior Court judge’s ruling that San Diego County’s climate action plan lacks deadlines, quantifiable standards, enforcement measures and other specifics needed to lower emissions of greenhouse gases.
In particular, it found that the document, which guides land use in unincorporated areas, fails to meet requirements set by the California Environmental Quality Act.
This week, the same court confirmed a lower court’s rejection of SANDAG’s blueprint for spending $200 billion on transportation projects — everything from widening Interstate 5 to expanding the trolley system. It said the agency didn’t spell out how such activities would affect air quality and climate change, and that it failed to provide solutions for, among other things, curtailing greenhouse-gas emissions.
The appellate court said the transportation framework glosses over projections that climate pollutants would increase sharply by 2050. California has issued directives for local agencies to reduce greenhouse emissions by that time — and to disclose to the public how it would do so.
The hidden bottom line from the UT editorial is that they don’t like the oft-expressed will of the people in California requiring complete and accurate information about impacts, alternatives and mitigation in planning and development.
As the Cleveland National Forest Foundation’s Jack Shu points out in the comments following UT’s reporting on the court decisions:
… In this regard here is a line from the ruling on page 35 regarding air quality impacts “If the description of the environmental setting “is inaccurate, incomplete or misleading, the EIR does not comply with CEQA.” For this and many other reasons, the ruling repeatedly states that SANDAG failed to comply on a number of issues… “The error is prejudicial because it precluded informed public participation and decision making.” What this all means is that for a plan to use $200 Billion, SANDAG failed to inform itself and the public. It’s about our elected officials providing truth in governance.
I’m not going to say here that building more (and better) mass transit on an accelerated schedule is the answer. But putting it off and ignoring the consequences of doing so certainly doesn’t help.
Corporate Welfare Supporters Move to Oust City Council President
Wendy Fry over at NBC7 reported yesterday on a move afoot to unseat Todd Gloria as President of the San Diego City Council.
The plan, according to Fry’s account, is to have Councilwoman Sherri Lightner take over the presiding position on the council. While the councilwomen is a registered Democrat, she’s sided with Republicans on the council on issues like big-box super-centers and managed competition.
Council bylaws require the selection of the council president on Dec. 8. That’s two days before the newly-elected Councilman Chris Cate is sworn-in on Dec. 10.
Cate said he wants to take part in the vote.”I look forward to taking part in voting for our Council President and working with whomever it may be,” he said in a written statement. “My priority is to be prepared for the transition and becoming the next Councilmember for Council District 6. My staff and I will be working diligently to make sure there is a seamless transition to ensure there is no interruption of service for the people of District 6.”
If the City Council tables the vote until after Cate is sworn in, then the make-up of the council is 5-4 in favor of the Democrats. Republicans, who have expressed anger over Gloria’s minimum wage proposal, would need one vote to replace him as Council President.
The key line in the story is the last one. I believe the Chamber of Commerce and the GOP, both of which advocate for business models that necessitate government support in lieu of living wages for workers, are looking for a way to get the council to remove the minimum wage ordinance from the ballot before the public has a chance to vote on it in 2016.
Lightner has not indicated that she’s actually seeking the position. Let’s hope she decides not to take the bait.
Jack in the Box Case Makes it to Court
Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager will at long last hear the pleas of North Park residents who unsuccessfully fought an illegal remodel of a Jack in the Box restaurant.
Although the building code for the Jack in the Box location in effect since 2000 prohibited auto-intensive businesses such as restaurants with drive-throughs, and the company was denied approval to rebuild with a drive-through lane, they did so anyway.
The city government shrugged its shoulders and basically said “There is simply nothing we can do now.”
Advocates with Care About North Park are urging people to show up Friday, December 5th at 10am in San Diego Superior Court, Department 71 (330 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101).
They are asking people to wear red tee shirts to send the message that the community is supporting this case. For more information, the FAQ page at CareAboutNorth Park.com is a useful resource.
Here’s their answer to the most obvious question (As in “why bother?” now that it’s built):
…The submissive mindset of “You can’t fight City Hall and Big Money” has made a bad situation even worse. North Park is a modest community of working-class families and small businesses. Residents have reached out to developers and city officials, practiced patience, and sought compromise. All to no avail. The citizens’ lawsuit against Jack in the Box and the City of San Diego is the only recourse left to a community whose government leaders will not enforce the law. The city’s empty promise of “We will make sure this never happens again…” is no longer good enough….
On This Day: 1949 – Gene Autry’s song “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” hit the record charts. 1954– The U.S. Senate voted 65-22 to condemn Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisc.) for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.” McCarthy was a rabid anti-Communist who falsely accused thousands of Americans, mostly people who supported labor, civil rights and other progressive causes, of being traitors 2001 – Enron Corp. filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. It was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
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