Flooded by Activist Opposition, Supes Pull Plug on MST/Whispering Oaks Project
February 14, 2012
The public spoke. The supervisors listened.
After hearing from more than three dozen people adamantly opposed to the MST/Whispering Oaks project on the former Fort Ord, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors today voted 4-1, with Fernando Armenta dissenting, to pull the plug on it.
The vote is a reversal of a decision last July to move forward on the project—also 4-1, with Jane Parker dissenting.
Supervisor Lou Calcagno said he changed his mind because of the overwhelming public comments in opposition to the project, which would have disrupted popular recreational trails and destroyed thousands of mature oak trees.
"They’re right on," he said. "You can’t walk away from the type of arguments the public has brought forward…MST is gonna be a loser, the Board of Supervisors is gonna be a loser, but in the end, in democracy, you don’t always win.”
Supervisor Simon Salinas also reversed his earlier vote. “Kenny Rogers says you gotta know when to fold," he said, "and I think it’s time to fold on this project.”
Armenta, who also sits on the MST board, held his ground in favor of Whispering Oaks. “I think some of us are circling now for re-election purposes," he said. “This has nothing to do with the merits of the project…I think it’s all political.”
Armenta, Parker and Dave Potter are all up for re-election in June. Of the three, today's vote represents a reversal only for Potter.
But Potter took an apologetic tone, saying the strong public opposition convinced him to change his mind. “I did not give this the whole level of scrutiny that I should have," he said. “I’m not too stubborn to say it was a bad decision.”
Look to the Weekly's print edition on Thursday for more.