December 17, 2004

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

UDC Fertile Ground for “Kick Backs”

Thank you for your incisive editorial of December 10 in which you outline the redevelopment debacle that is about to descend on the citizens of Chula Vista. Developers throughout the county are salivating at the opportunities to maximize their revenue!

You are correct in describing the structure of our newly created redevelopment corporation, now known as the UDC Urban Development Corporation. The process of bypassing the three citizen review commissions is designed to put any and all redevelopment proposals on a fast track. In addition, the promised community meetings will probably turn out to be just that—promised meetings. Good government should be dedicated to serving the broader public interests of the community as well as keeping its citizens informed and actively involved in public policy development. We should be receiving accurate, complete, and balanced information.

Unfortunately, this was not how the UDC ordinance was handled. Instead, the commissioners of the three relevant commissions were not informed, nor was the active community aware of the exact date of the redevelopment meeting until the last possible moment. And the additional pay for the Director of the UDC and its 4 additional board members without voter approval is reminiscent of the increased pay maneuvers we see going on in Washington D.C.—passed on in the dark of night or early hours of the morning.

No one is speaking out for the 140 displaced persons and families which will be the victims of the first redevelopment project called “Espanada”. Citizens will bear all relocating costs themselves as no help is forthcoming by the developer to any low-income families.

If redevelopment produces broader benefits, these should be documented in some type of objective analysis. Give us a cost-benefit analysis or a community impact statement that shows benefits before projects are approved. Until then, I shall continue to believe that permitting politicians and developers to exclusively control redevelopment policy is preparing fertile grounds for the planting of seeds such as “sweetheart deals” or “kick back schemes”.

Lupita Jimenez
Chula Vista

Three Question Marks Whose Contribution’s to Iraqi Democracy Remain Doubtful

Sometimes you win by losing. Such I believe is the case of the honor bestowed on three cronies of President Bush. These three honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom should have been ignored and put on the heap of those who directly or indirectly contributed to the debacle of 9/11, the lack of sufficient troops to manage Iraq after the toppling of Saddam Hussein and lack of foresight in planning for a strategic level of organizational security after abandoning their missions in Iraq.

George J. Tenet as the head of the CIA presided over the governmental agency which was to insure safety and security for all Americans. Taking charge in 1997 and being on the scene throughout the growth of the legendary Osama bin Laden he must be credited with making our country LESS SECURE prior to 9/11 and we are still no more secure today.

General Franks as leader of American forces going into Iraq and Afghanistan may have toppled Saddam but was not wise enough to understand the strategic need for sufficient troop strength which allowed Osama bin Laden and Omar the terrible Taliban to escape. When he advised President Bush he should have realized that security, civil police, including military police and shore patrol officers would be needed now to keep some sort of internal order. The ensuing casualties of US troops as well as the brutal internecine warfare with the deaths of untold Iraqis by Iraqis was a failure on the part of Franks whose mentality did not understand how to fight a medieval enemy force. We should not forget to mention that a major failure of his was the total disregard for the training of a credible Iraq police and militia.

L. Paul Bremer 111 left Iraq a total mess and a political force which cannot control its own people. He had no concept of the nature of the Iraqi religious divisions. His lack of knowledge contributed to the instability and insecurity of the Allawi government. Under his adminisration little thought and preparaton was accomplished to provide for improved security to hold believable elections and to facilitate the infrastructure reconstrution. Iraq suffers today from legacy of his administraton.

Al three of the honorees have contribute to leaving Bush as well as all Americans in a seething middle east from which it will be difficult to get the genie back into the bottle

As these three men reflect on and look at their medals I am confident that they will wish that they could have been more clairvoyant to have seen the mess they left Iraq and their country in. So what we see is that you sometimes win after you have failed. They bailed out of res-posnsibility, but their nation is still struggling with the remains of their failure which hopefully can be corrrected.

Dr. Norman E. Mann
San Diego

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