Thursday, July 6, 2000
Come to find out, the petition is to send Pebble Beach Company''s initiative to the ballot. The initiative would change the zoning in Del Monte Forest so the company can build a new golf course along with 150 or so new hotel rooms. So where does the "Save Del Monte Forest" part come in? Under an old PBC plan, some 300 new homes were to be built. If the company can get the zoning changed, they''ll build the hotel rooms instead of the homes, and fewer trees will have to be cut down.
If you''re not following the irony here, let me spell it out for you: Pebble Beach Company''s initiative would only "Save Del Monte Forest" from Pebble Beach Company itself.
Is this the deal, guys? A 27-page zoning ordinance comes down to a four-word soundbite? Do you think the voters are that naive?
Squid has serious reservations about zoning by initiative. I know, I know, my paper endorsed Measure B, the Monterey Coastal Initiative, which was also a zoning ordinance. But I see a disturbing trend going on here. Zoning by initiative plays into the hands of special interests. A small band of initiative authors can write whatever they want into the law, and if it passes, we all have to live with the consequences, good and bad.
Zoning should be done through the normal, open public process, where many citizens, elected officials and agencies representing difference interests work together to create fair zoning laws, where the impacts of that zoning are fully understood and addressed, and the ordinance goes through state-mandated environmental review.
So go ahead. Make Pebble Beach co-owner Clint Eastwood''s day and "save the Del Monte Forest." But beware the consequences.
A Poor Man''s Rich Man
Squid read with delight the recent announcement by Gov. Gray Davis to fight school vouchers. The pet project of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, the voucher initiative, if passed, would siphon money from public school funds and give it directly to parents to put toward private school tuition. Opponents say vouchers rob public education and imperil accountability. Supporters say it gives parents a choice in their children''s education.
Squid had the opportunity to interview Draper a few months back. When the extravagantly wealthy, Libertarian-leaning Draper talks about public education, his voice drips with scorn as he describes a system of corrupt union bosses and buffoonish bureaucrats. That''s no surprise. Draper''s a don''t-tread-on-me type who''s ranted publicly about how government intervention in business is screwing Silicon Valley up. But when Draper talks about educational choice he sheds his business-first demeanor and becomes the Defender of the Little People.
"A poor parent in the inner city doesn''t have a choice about where to send their kids to school," he told Squid. "I can''t imagine the fury burning in Compton''s parents."
Reflecting upon Draper''s privileged Menlo Park upbringing, the undergraduate years at Stanford, the MBA from Harvard, the reams of money he''s made in the last five years, Squid has to agree: No, Tim, you probably can''t imagine the fury burning in Compton''s parents. But it''s nice of you to try.
Help Squid save the forest: email@example.com.