June 2, 2006

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Prop. C supporters urge a Yes Vote

The editorial page of La Prensa recommended recently a no vote on Prop C, the property rights initiative sponsored by local residents, property, business and homeowners in the City of Chula Vista that is on the June 6th ballot in that city. We the undersigned, and thousands of members in the Chula Vista community (as evidenced by over 14,000 qualified signatures put forth to qualify Prop C for the ballot) respectfully disagree with La Prensa. We thank them for equal time in their paper, but we urge all voters on June 6th to vote yes on Proposition C.

For the record, Prop C seeks to limit government’s ability—via eminent domain—in taking private property from its rightful owner to then give it to another private developer so that they can make a profit. The La Prensa editorial cites that eminent domain—the taking of private property by the government—is and has been a redevelopment tool for cities as a means of last resort. It goes on to cite that redevelopment efforts—and possibly eminent domain—are needed to rebuild and revitalize parts of Chula Vista, specifically the north south-corridor of Broadway. We agree with rebuilding and redeveloping much of western Chula Vista, but taking private property from its rightful owner in order to achieve that goal is not required, nor is it the way to do it.

The City of Chula Vista has just completed an historic General Plan Update for the Westside of Chula Vista that establishes significant land-use changes in that specific area (cited by the La Prensa editorial) that creates a valuable incentive to the private sector to invest and redevelop that part of Chula Vista without the city taking by force private property against the will of its rightful owner. The Chula Vista community has worked long and hard to get these land-use changes in place and the result will be a shining example of how to revitalize a community without government picking winners and losers in the process.

A Yes vote on Prop C would establish real protections for Chula Vista residents and property owners free from the finger in the wind politics of locally elected officials influenced by big money. Currently, the City of Chula Vista has only a “council policy” regarding eminent domain – basically a rule that the council sets, but may change at any time. The community easily supported the signature gathering process to place Prop C on the ballot, but City Hall resisted with outside lawyers and insincere comments that made fictitious claims. The truth is that Proposition C was analyzed by two major law firms, both of whom found it was on solid legal footing and will do what it sets out to do: Protect Private Property Rights in Chula Vista. Despite the best efforts of some at City Hall, Prop C being was placed on the ballot for the people and not the politicians to decide. The community’s efforts were not in vain and the people’s right to decide this issue via their vote on June 6th prevailed.

For La Prensa’s readers outside of the City of Chula Vista as to why Prop C is necessary they need to look no further than the City of National City and the City of San Diego. In both of these cities it is not hard to discover that special interest and not the rights of property owners prevail when the judgment comes down from their respective City Halls as to who wins and who loses. Recently, National City and its redevelopment agency sought to use its influence to remove the Daly family as the rightful owners of a valuable property that Mossy Nissan wanted. Long-time property owners in National City are being removed from their properties to make room for a luxury condo high-rise. In addition, the City Attorney for National City recently threatened to sue one of its own residents if a similar property rights initiative was placed on the National City ballot.

The City of San Diego’s actions (via CCDC its downtown redevelopment agency) regarding eminent domain land seizures are also well documented in both city council actions and in the courts where they were forced to pay millions to a displaced landowner.

There are federal and state initiatives being discussed and possibly placed on our ballots for future consideration on this issue, but government closest to the people is the most accountable and responsive to the people that it serves. The people of Chula Vista have a hard fought for right to decide this issue of private property and to who does your property really belong to; you or the government? All we are asking is for voters to look at the facts, the history and what is at stake; given that careful analysis by the voters we are sure that Prop C will pass.

Please Vote Yes on Prop C!

Jackie Lancaster, Prop C Co-Chair
Jack Stanley, Prop C Co-Chair – Chula Vista businessman and property owner
Gus Chavez, Prop C Co-Chair – Board Member South Bay Forum

In District 4 Councilman Young ignoring Hispanics

Last Tuesday (May 23, 2006), our city council person “Tony Young” said that, his staffing reflected the demographics our district. The demographics of our district are fully one-third Latina/o - and only some one-fourth Black.

I believe you will find that this is incorrect as his statement implies that only one out of every four of his office staff are black and fully one-third are Latino/a. As such the statement he made was not true) Also, Tony Young has been saying for more than a year now that he would be soon putting Latinos/as on the South East Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) board (there are none at this time nor for a long time) and in fact has been saying for months that “next Thursday.” He and his staff continue to refuse to make public even the names of these mysterious “three Latinas/os” of which he is so often talking. We will be very interested to know exactly who these ‘three Latinos/as’ are well as exactly when this installation of them onto the SEDC board” is to take place. The sphere of influence of SEDC covers an area in which some sixty-three percent of total populations are Latina/o (numbers as presented by SEDC Fall of 2005 in city council chambers during St. Rita Clinic debate) yet I believe NONE of the upper level staff (the people making approximately one quarter of a million dollars a year in salary) are Latino/a, nor any member of SEDC’s pack, nor any member of SEDC’s Board.

It is my opinion as well as the opinions of other members of Encanto Azul that Latinos/Latinas and the concerns of the Latino Community - as well as the concerns of working class families in San Diego continue to be unrepresented in any real way in City Council District 4 and in neither SEDC nor the plans of SEDC, as well as generally in by the City of San Diego.

If we are to hear phrases such as “I am pro-development first”, “We want the right kind of people moving into our district”, “the problem no one is willing to talk about is the changing demographics of our community”, “You people are browning up my community”, “you don’t need to be here we have you people covered”.; are we also to believe that individuals who make such statements are truly concerned about representing the concerns and rights of the population to which they are referring?

Another few points of interest:

I was recently informed and SEDC did not deny that H. Collins has had the sole source none-bid contract to do Latino Outreach from SEDC for more than ten years - to date neither I nor any member of Encanto Azul has ever been reached out to by H. Collins nor any member of his ‘team’ which is said to be doing ‘Latino outreach’.

Ms. Smith also said that every single item mailed out of her office was printed in both English and Spanish - after this statement a young Latino, women (in public statements) held up servile postcards, which were only in English. I believe if we were to look at the SEDC website we will find very little information presented in both English and Spanish.

Still working for Latino representation and inclusion, as well as working-class representation.

Gregory Morales
San Diego

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