Letters to the Editor

Measure H-14 gives control back to people

Pismo Beach City Council incumbents now are distancing themselves from Spanish Springs, the massive project proposed in Price Canyon, falsely claiming they didn’t approve it. The Environmental Impact Report and General Plan changes were approved by the City Council on June 18, 2013, and later rescinded because of a citizen referendum and threatened lawsuit. Because it can still be brought back after one year, the Citizen Initiative has been placed on the ballot for a more permanent solution.

The anti-Measure H-14 Viewpoint (Tribune, Oct. 24) by Dave Watson, a paid Spanish Springs representative, raised several issues, which are the same tired arguments we have heard and responded to for the past five years. All have been shown to be false, or at best, half truths. For instance:

Measure H-14 “takes away local control.” False: Measure H-14 strengthens local control. Price Canyon is and always has been under county control. With the initiative, Pismo Beach voters will decide whether it is annexed, and how it will be developed if it becomes a part of the city.

“SLO County is actively seeking land near city services that can be rezoned for high-density affordable housing.” This is a phony scare tactic. The county is not seeking to develop land in Price Canyon; it already has it. Further, the county is not in the development business and doesn’t possess the infrastructure to serve large development. Given that the major negative impacts (water, traffic, air quality, etc.), could not be mitigated in Pismo Beach’s environmental impact report, how could that be achieved in the county? Plus, there is no water! In the county, this project would never get off the ground.

“Two-thirds of the donations and money raised for H-14 has come from donors and businesses that do not reside in Pismo Beach.” False: Contribution records indicate that 68 percent of donations came from Pismo Beach residents, while 27 percent are from residents of Arroyo Grande. Not surprising because the project borders many residential areas outside our city. A project of this magnitude will affect the entire Five Cities area, if not the county as a whole. It is noteworthy that, as opposed to contributions received by council incumbents, all contributions to Yes on H-14 come from individuals. Nothing is from corporate, development or political interests. The same is true of donations for the two council candidates who favor H-14, Marcia Guthrie and Sheila Blake. Measure H-14 and the campaigns of both of these candidates are as grassroots as it gets.

“They turned down the opportunity to address the public’s many concerns with this law by refusing to appear at an unbiased forum sponsored by the California League of Cities and moderated by the League of Women Voters.” We welcome a debate, moderated by an unbiased individual, with a member of the City Council who approved Spanish Springs. Perhaps Mayor Shelly Higginbotham, who publicly opposes the measure, should debate the measure and the council’s action? No citizen group was formed to oppose H-14, and local signatories opposing the measure have remained silent.

If Measure H-14 is approved, all existing project review steps will remain intact with the addition of one step — obtaining the approval of Pismo Beach voters. Under today’s process, the City Council alone can make that decision.

With Measure H-14, everything would be out in the open — no sweetheart deals, no backroom agreements and no special treatment.

Measure H-14 is not anti-development; its sole purpose is to reign in the power of Pismo Beach’s City Council, five individuals who have been unwilling to listen to the people who elected them.

Watson’s article makes many other false assertions — too many to be debated here.

For complete information, please visit our website at http://www.savepricecanyon.com.

Vote “yes” on Measure H-14. Put control with the people of Pismo Beach where it belongs.