Original post made
on Oct 11, 2012
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Great time to schedule a candidates forum - same time as the Vice Presidential debate. The League of Women Voters should plan events more carefully.
I was surprised to hear most of last evening's candidates speak in platitudes about filling empty storefronts downtown, on El Camino, and in M-2. They seem to think that changes to zoning and use permits will solve the problems. How naive and ignorant!
The zoning downtown has long allowed retail stores "by right". If there are issues with the city, it's with the BUILDING permit process. But both Mueller and Carlton didn't understand that; they think it's the use permit process. Mueller even mentioned several projects are "on the books" (i.e., approved), both downtown and in M-2. He seems to think the city needs to give away even more development rights to promote development of them - even the Bohannon project, forgetting that the project went to a vote of the people with the explicit requirement that the hotel would be built first. Mueller, Carlton, and Clarke kept referring to land use changes without much understanding about land use laws and processes. Frightening!
Much to my surprise, Fergusson came across by far as the most knowledgeable and most specific. I did not expect to want to support her, but will. I hope the Almanac will endorse her. We need her experience and knowledge. We can't afford more beginners.
The ballots have arrived, and only three candidates sent mailers; Fergusson was not one of them. Last night, only three candidates had supporters at tables with literature: Fergusson was not one of them.
Almost ten years ago, Fergusson made a name for herself by helping spearhead a successful petition campaign against the controversial residential and commercial building ordnance 926. After eight years on council, she has done nothing to repair that damage she caused.
For those not in attendance, the videos will be online soon. You'll be able to see for yourself that Mueller and Carlton did give substantive answers. None of the statements made by platitudes map to specific statements regarding the use permit process. Carlton did give a specific explanation regarding the challenges faced by the owner of the Sugar Shack. Mueller demonstrated he knows more about historical and potential revenue from the M2 than anyone.
Carlton seems to think the Sugar Shack's problems relate to zoning and land use. Those are building permit issues. The city can be much better about a consistent and efficient process for those.
Mueller seems to oppose guidelines that would help make approval processes much more predictable. Show me is what he said, ignoring that virtually every other town has them.
Thank you for your feedback, but I actually did speak in favor of building guidelines. The question I believe that may have confused you was would I support Green Building Guidelines? My answer was, yes I do support them in principle, but I can't say I will rubber stamp them, without seeing the proposed guidelines first. Later in the forum I indicated again that I support residential building guidelines, because presently different applicants who apply for variances get different results, and there isn't enough certainty in the process. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions, or even criticisms. Thanks for attending the forum.
"reality" mentioned there will be videos online soon. where?
Video of all segments (17) are here: Web Link