Credit Where Credit Is Due
Thursday, September 2, 1999
Squid wants to know what went wrong with the evil plot to slide the Cannery Row Marketplace development through the process like a greased pig. Did the payoff get lost in the mail?
According to conspiracy theorists, the city was in bed with Marketplace developer Dan Summers. But someone apparently forgot to tell the city planning staff, who advised against approval. And we all know that development-wary Planning Commissioners Walter Keintzel and Molly Erickson were axed in order to replace them with pro-development puppets. But it seems that someone failed to spoon-feed the new appointees. The Planning Commission voted 6-1 against the project.
The City Council then screwed up and voted 5-0 to kill the Marketplace. Of course, that''s easily explained by activist Barbara Bass Evans. The denial, according to Evans'' theory, was intended to take the wind out of her coastal initiative''s sails.
But Squid thinks citizens should thank the developer himself for sending the Marketplace down the tubes. Summers was a walking public-relations nightmare from the beginning when he swept into town and demolished the San Xavier warehouse, a move that ultimately reflected on the City Council and made for a nervous election season for incumbents. Summers was an arrogant out-of-towner with too many enemies, and a denial of his project presented no political backlash. City Councilmem-bers had nothing to lose--and everything to gain--from voting against his project.
Too Farr Gone
Squid notes with bemusement the frantic pace with which Congressman Sam Farr has been popping up all over the county these last few weeks, spreading glad tidings and a bit of federal largesse, in anticipation of next year''s election.
I realize politicians can''t resist grabbing the credit for good works no matter how minimal their contribution. But regarding the cleanup of Fort Ord, Squid thinks Sam has gone a bit too...Farr. At a recent appearance in Marina to kick off the creation of the Strategic Management Analysis Requirements Technology (SMART), a coalition of agencies designed to expedite a more efficient removal of toxics and munitions at Fort Ord, there was Sam acting as head cheerleader, crowing that, "We have to build confidence that working together we can clean up and we can remove risks as far as humanly possible. This is bigger than a lawsuit."
The "lawsuit" Sam was referring to no doubt was the one filed by Fort Ord Toxics Project (FOTP), which charged that the Army was doing an inadequate cleanup of the former Army base. In order to pre-empt an adverse court decision, the Army agreed to settle the lawsuit, and hence the creation of SMART.
Since Sam is so gung-ho about the cleanup at Ord, I wonder why he went out of his way to torpedo FOTP and its efforts to make sure we inherit a "clean" and safe base for reuse. According to sources, Farr did everything he could to kill Environmental Protection Agency funding of FOTP, going so Farr as to send a letter of inquiry to the EPA regarding his office investigating purported improprieties by the watchdog group at the time it was to receive its first EPA grant, and meeting personally with top EPA officials to try to kill a second grant.
And where was Sam when the Army, in apparent violation of federal law, unilaterally eliminated the Restoration Advisory Board, the sole public, participatory voice in the cleanup of Ord?
Squid thinks it''s time Sam came clean himself as to whose interests he''s looking out for at Ord. You never know when some white-hatted cowboy might come riding along to champion the cause of the people.