Clearing Up “The Peoples Ordinance” Disinformation
At the City Council Environmental Subcommittee Thursday October 7, 2021 the city explained that trash pickup, paid for by property taxes, is not for single homes only. There are many condo and apartment complexes that have city trash pickup. As long as you put your receptacles on the street the city will pick it up. The city is careful to use the word residence when it comes to qualifying for trash pickup. Residences include: single family homes, duplexes, apartments, condos. However many apartments and condos opt out and have a dumpster so they do not have to deal with; 1) finding a place for dozens of cans, 2) arranging for someone to take out and bring the cans back, 3) sometimes there is not enough curb length for all the cans a larger apartment-condo complex needs, 4) they can allocate more of their site towards residential space and less to trash, 5) city trucks cannot enter private property. Calling it free to homeowners is divisive and I for one am getting a little sick and tire of those who sow division. City Report July 10, 2019: According to ESD’s Budget Data for Fiscal Year 2018, approximately 108 City employees were involved with the collection of approximately 388 tons of trash at an annual cost of around $34 million from the General Fund. The ESD website estimates that there are approximately 289,000 residences serviced on a weekly basis." This efficiency is due to "The Peoples Ordinance" The city wants to absorb this general fund tax revenue and charge residences a $35 per month fee. Worse yet the city could hand the entire process over to a private corporation who will end up charging us $60 per residence in a few years. This will create a few dozen multi millionaires, paid corporate board members, share holders, lobbyists etc. Mostly on the backs of the middle and low income residences. City residences could easily end up shelling out 50 million dollars a year to a corporation outside the city. Also there are many single family developments in the city that have opted out of city trash pickup and use private haulers. Their reasons; 1) HOA vote to remove unsightly cans, 2) the houses are on a private street that city trucks are not allowed to enter. Saying single family homes exclusively receive "Free" trash pickup is untrue and only misinforms and creates division. Division should never be our goal. If the city is successful in making trash a monthly paid for service it will affect the lowest income households the most. See attached chart. In ten years the city could raise about 1.2 billion with 300,000 residences at $35.00 a month. The city wants to detatch trash collection from the taxes we already pay. That is what is driving this discussion. If that occurs there will be no brakes on what the city can charge. Right now city costs are about $15.00 per month per residence. This efficiency is the result of attaching city compensation to finite property taxes. If the city detaches trash service from property taxes then the lowest income households will see an increase to their budget of over 5% especially when one adds in the new water and sewer rates. Wealthy households will see their property operating costs go up less than 1%. We have to find a method that does not beat-up the poor and having trash service attached to property taxes via "The Peoples Ordinance" appears to be the best method.
The $50,000,000, 2003 Crossroads fire in University City is the largest environmental terrorist act in the US, see map below. The terrorists remain at large and to this day, with the environmentalists torch threatening, the City of San Diego gives environmentalists what they want. After the fire environmentalists showed up at community planning meetings and intimidated all board members who wanted the Regents Road Bridgebuilt across Rose Canyon. The same type of intimidation and threats against scientists and politicians by Covid deniers today. Eventually board members who wanted the bridge built left and UCPG now has 100% members who do not want the bridge. The two thirds of the community who want it built are banned from board membership.
Westfield Mall paid a half million dollars for the Environmental Impact Report to remove the bridge. A report that somehow ignored ambulance service times which results in about 7 unnecessary deaths each year. If the Regents Road Bridge were built about 25,000 cars a day would be diverted away from the Mall forcing the Mall to lower its rents. Also West UC lobbyists and power brokers did not want the Regents-Governor intersection tied in, see map abovet, since this would bring; public transportation, students from UCSD, racial minorities and affordable housing. _________________________________
The following article was published in the Clairemont Times and Times of San Diego.
How San Diego City Works Around the Brown Act These days most of the City of San Diego community meetings are not in auditoriums but in small rooms with easels and posters that are manned by Engineers and Consultants. Project Managers like this format for several reasons; 1) Managers only have to set up presentation materials for issues they wish to discuss. 2) Issues that are controversial can be left out. 3) A citizen can still ask an important controversial question but it will only be shared with a few listeners not an audience. 4) Managers have told me they prefer this poster station format since it is less hostile. Which translates into: “We do not want to address controversial issues and this is our way around the Brown Act”. As a result of this we find out years later what project managers left out. By then it is usually too late to change. A good example was the Blue Line Trolley poster presentation in the spring of 2016. The room was small, hot, overcrowded and loud. SANDAG addressed the crowd with a bullhorn. There were no boards/posters for the areas I wanted to ask about, so no discussion was possible. These poster meetings were recently used by Pure Water. Here the public was not given details about the controversial four foot diameter high pressure raw sewage line (18 tons per square foot) until it was described in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The documents in the EIR were 60% construction documents so the public was being informed when it was already too late for any public comment to be considered. This flies in the face of what an EIR is intended to be. Citizens are supposed to comment on the EIR and adjustments made based on those comments. Pure Water had completely sidestepped the Brown Act. Managers were in affect saying: “we should consider public comments but unfortunately we have already finished our design,thanks for participating” Equipment Lobbyists pushed for the most complex pipe route requiring the biggest pumps and an excessive amount of sewer gas relief valves. The complexity is guaranteed to generate millions in change orders and additional profits. Pure Water managers make their introduction into the lobbying fold this way. Another method to avoid the Brown Act is when organizations like the University Community Planning Group (UCPG) conceal important issues like new fire stations with Ad-Hoc meetings. Ad-Hoc meetings are supposed to be for short range projects like setting up a picnic. UCPG rules dictate that; only UCPG members can be at Ad-Hoc meetings, the public is excluded and no minutes are required. Ad-Hoc meetings are overused and important topics like new fire stations are being determined by a few individuals without any of us knowing what is being said in our name. As it turns out the individuals discussing fire station locations with officials were using the placement of new fire stations as chess pieces to block roads they did not want in their neighborhood. Public safety was not their primary objective. See: Clairemont Times March 2016 Page 9 Another way information is hidden from citizens is when lobbyists sue or threaten to sue their own ally. Here both parties can enter into confidential discussions that are protected by instruments like; legally binding non-disclosure agreements. With the Regents Road Bridge lobbyists help corporations identify citizens who are willing to put mall profits above public safety, offering them money and or political office. City government is currently set up to benefit the party with money. For example: currently there are two well-funded parties in the vacation rental dispute. They are an even match since each can raise several hundred thousand dollars to get the required ballot signatures. So San Diego democracy gives both of these parties a voice. 40 years ago Westfield Mall realized that if the Regents Road Bridge were built less cars/customers would be funneled up Genesee, and therefore they would be forced to lower their rents.* When the 2006 bid to remove the bridge was lost, Westfield had the money to get the bridge on the ballot but knew they would not win the popular vote. However Westfield also had the money to purchase everything and everyone it needed to get its way. Westfield Mall was Australian owned and had no interest in public safety in University, Bay Ho or Clairemont. With millions to spend and a legion of lobbyists to whip votes, local political organizations in University were overwhelmed with mall loyalists. In 2014 Westfield paid the half million dollars for its own custom EIR to remove the bridge. The Malls EIR ignored ambulance travel times and deliberately misrepresented; greenhouse gases generated and all the time those Americans waste in traffic. Lobbyists created a wedge through the University community, pitting neighbor against neighbor, which kept the spot light off the Mall. American owned companies like the Costa Verde shopping center stayed away from this toxic enterprise. Westfield was finally successful in 2016. The pro bridge citizens who lost to Westfield showed up at the city council hearing with 3,000 local signatures but to get on the ballot they would need 10% of the voter signatures in the entire city. Conservancy groups, under the thumb of big money, endorsed a project that would add millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. With no big financial backer the pro bridge citizens did not have enough money to get on the ballot. Demonstrating that San Diego guarantees proposition ballot access to big money but not its citizens. The city will not release ambulance service data, so based on County data, the lack of completed roads results in about 7 of us dying each year before we can get to the ER. A statistic a foreign owned corporation has no interest in but a local governing authority should at least consider in an EIR. See CEQA Not building the Regents Road bridge puts the City in a position similar to car companies in the 1970's. Back then car manufacturers could not concede that seat belts saved lives, without putting themselves in a poor legal position, so they refused to put seat belts in cars, putting all of us at risk. Another observation of San Diego’s overbearing is its threat to public safety officials. The Fire Chief provided extensive testimony in 2006 to build the Regents Road Bridge and council affirmed it. *I believe that this is what cost The Fire Department their pensions in 2012. In 2016 under threat of; career, pension, and or income loss the Fire Chief did not testify at the 2016 City Council hearing. Big money hires lobbyists who fund politicians who instruct public officials. Going forward the Fire Chief and other public safety officials will need clearance from big money before testifying. They have demonstrated that their voice is no longer independent. All these Brown Act work-arounds; hide the truth from taxpayers, raise the cost of living in San Diego, increase driving miles, increase greenhouse gases, benefit big money and put all of us at elevated risk. Louis Rodolico has been a resident of University City since 2001
*Additions Dec. 12, 2021
Here is an Expanded Regents Road Bridge History In 2006 San Diego City Council affirmed that the bridge should be built but the malls chief lobbying firm, The Friends of Rose Canyon (FORC) successfully sued the city to delay the bridge. Things heated up again when in 2008 the University Community Planning Group (UCPG) voted against an expansion of the Westfield Mall. In 2008 UCPG wanted the Regents Road Bridge. Leveraging its construction dollars with the city, Westfield engaged a legion of lobbyists who harvested the community argument over the Regents Road Bridge. They continued their whisper campaign and identified NIMBY’s on the Regents Road Corridor 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. FORC threatened to sue the mall, but this was a methodology to keep meetings out of public view. Two thirds of the community wants the bridge built, but lobbyists have restricted all of them from being on the UCPG “Community” board. If the Regents Road Bridge were built then about 25,000 cars would be diverted away from the Mall and the Mall would be forced to lower their rents. 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). These secret agreements affect our tax dollars. The FORC director was well compensated. In 2014 Westfield Mall paid the half million dollars, for the EIR, to get the bridge off the plan. This customized EIR ignores public safety issues and city officials went along, in a blatant violation of their oath of office. Everything had been teed up for the December 2016 hearing on the bridge. Lightner withheld ambulance mortality data from the hearing 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 new UCPG, with all members handpicked by mall lobbyists, 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. As payment Southwest UC received; private enclaves, the Fast Response Squad and complete underground wiring. The cities 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 fires stations in North UC (UTC) and none in South UC, see map. Recognizing this disparity, float units can be preposition-ed throughout South UC. 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. Canyon groups, SANDAG and CALTRANS got an early heads up on the project and were given right of refusal, voters were left out. 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
Recently it was announced that Westfield is being sold to Unibail-Rodamco for 15.7 billion dollars. Westfield reorganized in 2014 which is the same year they paid a half million dollars to finance the EIR to remove the REgents Road Bridge. In 2008 The Friends of Rose Canyon (FORC) threatened Westfield with a lawsuit and ended up entering into a secret agreement with Westfield. See Link. These are publicly funded projects, what gives FORC the right to threaten lawsuits anyway? How many times has FORC entered into secret agreements, with whom and how were they compensated? FORC whipped the vote for Westfield and helped find citizens who would; profit if the bridge were not built, were willing to sit on the local planning group and be trusted to remain silent about public safety issues. The Cities rulings also helped load the planning group so the bridge funds could be used to finance the cities 2.5 billion dollar pension debt. Since the financing of their pensions were on the line city managers were not acting as disinterested third parties when they set public safety aside. Two thirds of the community wants the bridge built but the city found ways to eliminate all of them from the 22 member planning group. On October 27, 2016 the Planning Commission voted 6-0 to build the Regents Road Bridge. Public safety officials testified at this hearing. The Citizens for the Regents Road Bridge (CFRRB) agree with the Planning Commission and have sued the city to reverse City Councils December 5th 2016 ruling and keep the Regents Road Bridge in the Plan. On December 5th public safety officials did not testify.
CFTRRB has been given a setback. The CEQA Judge ruled that; "The petition for writ of mandate, filed by petitioner Citizens for the Regents Road Bridge, Inc. ("Citizens"), is denied. In short the Judge will not stop the bridge from being removed from the community plan. CFTRRB must determine if they wish to appeal the ruling.
____________________________________________________ Below is a very important October 2016 poll which Nextdoor has since removed. Over time the real choice is between the Regents Road Bridge or the widening of Genesee Avenue. See February 2017 Clairemont Times: Anti Regents Road Bridge Alliance Page 11
Louis Rodolico has been a resident of University City since 2001