Viewpoint - February 24, 2010


Ignoring the facts of Cargill project


After having attended almost all of the Cargill/DMB "community meetings" on the development issue and several of the Redwood City Council meetings on the same issue it became apparent to me that something was going on beyond community input.

At each and every DMB community meeting the overwhelming sentiment of those in attendance was against development. However, DMB controlled the meetings and set the agendas in such a way that opposition to their development plan was virtually ignored. In one instance, one among many, DMB required that all in attendance make a choice among various plans they offered. Not one of those choices allowed restoring the wetlands or not developing the area.

The mayor and Redwood City Council (RCC) seem to see this development as a short-term fix to budget problems. They are ignoring the facts, including:

• That there is no foreseeable demand for the proposed housing (vacancy rates are at an all-time high);

• That there is no way to control the locations to which supposed residents would commute (it is planned that they will go to and from the East Bay);

• That there is presently insufficient water, garbage, power, public transportation, and highway space for the proposed population increase;

• And that the proposed included shopping center would be in competition with others nearby which are already finding it difficult to keep afloat.

Despite such drawbacks, these public officials forge ahead with plans for what is undoubtedly a financial and environmental disaster.

If housing were truly an issue then why did the Redwood City Council deem it appropriate to declare the decrepit houses in the vicinity of City Hall an architectural treasure and of historical interest? Only the developer that is "restoring" these "treasures" did not complain.

Businesses in the area that had invested in these properties and desired to renovate them for housing/office space were consistently denied permits until the city could decide what to do. Their ultimate decision favored one person and avoided the possibility of adding additional housing or office space near downtown.

The development of the tidelands is likewise going to benefit Cargill and DMB, not Redwood City citizens, and in the long run it will produce tremendous negative impact, both social and environmental. However, some people will get very rich. Guess who!

Van Thein, Redwood City

Nice to know Farmers Market open year-round


I really appreciated your (Feb. 3) article reminding us that there is a flourishing year-round Farmers Market in Menlo Park.

Eating locally grown produce and meat has become our best hope for clean and healthy food. It was a very informative article and made clear that real "home-grown" organic food is accessible to us.

As one who is starting to have growing doubts about the "organic" labeling of food, now that the enormous industrial food producers, such as Walmart, are taking over, local food seems the best option.

Gita Dev, Mountain Home Road, Woodside

Council undermines city's strength


Our City Council continues to undermine the strength and fiscal stability of our city.

As The Almanac reported in the Feb. 10 edition: "A key source of revenue [sales tax] for Menlo Park fell by 21 percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, making an already dour revenue picture even bleaker."

Meanwhile, of course, the huge swatches of former auto dealers remain empty, producing no revenues and no property taxes for our increasingly desperate city. All the while, this council busies itself wildly protesting Redwood City's growth prospects, which, by the way, would produce huge benefit to Menlo Park retailers, the breed of which is suffering mightily.

Sloane Citron, Laurel Street, Menlo Park

A 'delusional' analysis of Cargill project


I recently had the opportunity to read the "Preliminary Analysis of Transportation and Circulation," paid for by the land developer Cargill/DMB that intends to convert Redwood City wetlands to housing, which would make them a lot of money.

The "analysis" is a truly remarkable document. As a piece of creative writing it is superb. As an objective evaluation of the impact of paving over wetlands to add tens of thousands of new residents to our area, it is somewhere south of delusional.

The document includes some wonderful and appealing suggestions — streetcars, bike routes, subsidized links to Caltrain — all good and effective ways to reduce car traffic and improve our quality of life in Redwood City and surrounding communities.

And these are all solutions Redwood City could have done long ago, if the city had the political will to fund them. I encourage our elected City Council to take action now on these important transportation initiatives, and skip the trouble of destroying wetlands in the process.

Cedric Crocker, Redwood City


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 27, 2010 at 7:48 am

I have very good friends who live in Brunswick Georgia with the back of their home set at the edge of the Marshes of Glynn. When I sit on their deck I take in the awesome beauty, the wonderful smell of the salt marsh and the feeling of serenity. What is interesting is that the Georgia legislature had the foresight in 1970 to protect the marsh land.

Please refer to this web link:
Web Link

Here are some excerpts from the New Georgia Encyclopedia:

"In 1970 Georgia legislators, fearing that the state's coastal salt marshes would be irrevocably damaged by a proposed phosphate mining operation and other industrial activities, passed the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act. The jurisdiction of the act includes marshlands, intertidal areas, mudflats, tidal water bottoms, and salt marshes. They were spurred on by scientific studies showing the immense value of the marshes for storm protection, for pollution filtering, and as a nursery area for more than 70 percent of Georgia's economically important crustaceans, fish, and shellfish."

"The law provides the state government with the authority to protect tidal wetlands. The government manages certain activities and structures in marsh areas and requires permits for other activities and structures. Erecting structures, dredging, or filling marsh areas requires a permit from the Marshlands Protection Committee, administered through the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources."

"Georgia's salt marshes are some of the most biologically productive natural systems on Earth. They produce nearly twenty tons of biomass to the acre—which makes them four times more productive than the most carefully cultivated cornfields, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The enormous productivity helps to make the salt marshes primary nursery areas for blue crabs, oysters, shrimp, and other economically important fish and shellfish. Young shrimp and other marine organisms also use salt marshes as shelters and hiding places from predators. In addition, salt marshes help filter pollutants from the water and act as buffers against offshore storms. The potential damage from large storm-spawned waves and tides is greatly reduced when they pass over the marshes."

If Georgia has the common sense to protect its wetlands why can't California?

Posted by boyet, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Mar 18, 2010 at 6:42 am

boang mo10x

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