Elected Officials Join Activists in Referendum Campaign on Whispering Oaks
July 14, 2011
About 35 people gathered at Marina City Hall Thursday to formally announce their campaign to get a referendum on the June 2012 ballot giving voters a chance to overturn the Whispering Oaks/MST headquarters development approval. The effort is being led by Fort Ord Recreation Users, which has made fighting this development their central issue.
The County Board of Supervisors approved the development July 12, on appeal after the planning commission unanimously rejected the project in April because it would level 3,400 coast live oaks. The only dissenting Supervisor, Jane Parker, spoke at today's press conference about what she views as an inappropriate site. "[At a meeting of the economic development committee this morning,] the emphasis was on cooperating with cities, not competing. The county still has something to learn about walking that talk."
Parker and Mayor Bruce Delgado say the Marina Municipal Airport would be a more suitable site, and is closer to shovel-ready. They were joined by Frank O'Connell of Marina City Council and Jill lutes of Salinas City Council in calling for more careful site consideration.
Petitioners must gather at least 10,100 signatures within a month after the ordinance approved July 12 becomes final to get a referendum on the June ballot, when Parker along with Supervisors Fernando Armenta and Dave Potter are up for reelection. "We're hoping the Board of Supervisors has a new face," said ForU founding member Gail Morton.
"So many people have asked me, 'Why is the county doing this? I haven't been able to answer that questions, because I just don't get it myself," Parker said. She adds, "I'm really sad that MST is caught in the middle of this."