Coastsider endorses Ferreira, Grady, and Skinner

Editorial

Posted by on Tue, October 18, 2005

Residents of Half Moon Bay have a clear choice in this year’s City Council election. Regardless of the opposition’s attempts to blur the lines between themselves and the current City Council majority, the choice could not be more stark.
Coastsider strongly recommends voting for the candidates who are moderates committed to improving the community while preserving the things that make the Coastside special: Jim Grady, Mike Ferreira, and Steve Skinner.

A year ago, I didn’t know any of these guys. Since I started writing Coastsider last year, I’ve become familiar with the current City Council and with a lot of the issues that affect, and divide, our community. The more I learned, the more impressed I’ve been with the current majority. Grady and Ferreira are running on their outstanding record, and Steve Skinner is running on the support of Grady and Ferreira.

They’re getting things done

They’re not afraid to make big plans. The City Council has delivered a fully-funded Highway 1/Main Street project. They’ve built trails, a bridge, and improved roads. They are building a park close to downtown despite opposition from Naomi Patridge and the Half Moon Bay Review. They’re building a small park in a neglected neighborhood.

They’re the real moderates

Grady, Ferreira, and Skinner are moderates in every sense of the word.  While the Review has attempted to paint them as extremists, Grady and Ferreira have received endorsements from the building trades unions, the developers of Wavecrest, and the San Mateo County Association of Realtors—as well as the League for Coastside Protection, the Sierra Club and Coastside Democratic Club. They have shown how development can take place for the good of the community, and within the constraints of the Coastal Act, Half Moon Bay’s Local Coastal Program, and good planning.

They want what’s best for the community

Ferreira, Grady, and Skinner have been working hard to support the school board’s mandate to build a new school at Cunha, instead of the money pit at Wavecrest. Grady and Ferreira have offered to speed building of the new school in the City Council in the same way that they expedited the rebuilding of Cunha’s Market.  Skinner has supported Cunha since the current review began. Patridge, McClung, and Muteff, die-hard Wavecresters all, have never attended a school board meeting since the review began, and have been mysteriously silent on this vital community issue ever since it became clear that Cunha was the only reasonable choice.

They want the right kind of growth

"Because of the 1% cap, growth is off the table as an issue," is something I’ve heard from many supporters of the opposition. This is disingenuous and shortsighted. First, there are plenty of ways to get around growth limits. Second, it’s illegal to steal, but would you trust a thief with the key to your home?  Third, it fails to answer the real question: "What kind of growth?" Take a look at the unplanned, eye-watering, hopscotch development that took place before the current City Council majority.  Even 1% a year of that kind of growth is too much.

We know where they stand

Finally, there’s the vague assertion that Half Moon Bay needs better management and more open government.  There is no evidence that the opposition would be better managers, or that they will be more open. But even if they were, that’s not what matters. What matters is what a candidate stands for. We know what Grady, Ferreira, and Skinner stand for. We’re a lot less certain about their opponents. Why is that?

Here’s an exercise that I think will help you make up your mind.  In the last couple of weeks, signs supporting Patridge, McClung, and Muteff have sprung up on nearly every vacant lot and farm field on the Coastside. I keep asking myself, What do the owners of those undeveloped lots know about those candidates that I don’t?

UPDATED: This editorial has been modified.  It’s less tough on the Review and the opposing candidates than the original version. I think it’s better for it.


Comment 1
Wed, October 19, 2005 9:27am
John Lynch
All my comments

Well done.Well stated. You have that rare ability to put things into their proper perspective.

Padre

Comment 2
Thu, October 20, 2005 8:02am
fredgwynne
All my comments

Not that I disagree, but the “devil you know” argument in the penultimate paragraph is kind of weak.

Comment 3
Thu, October 20, 2005 8:28am
Barry Parr
All my comments

I made the point that Patridge, Muteff, and McClung have not demonstrated that they are better managers or more open than the incumbents or Steve Skinner.  They have made an empty claim.

Furthermore (and I should have made this more clear) the current City Council has set a high standard in the area of good management. They have accomplished a heck of a lot in the last couple of years, and it’s all good stuff, regardless of your stand on growth.  The big piece where they have failed to acheive their goals has been the LCP update, which comes as no little comfort to their opponents.

I had to stop myself from laughing out loud at Tuesday’s City Council meeting when George Muteff went after the incumbents for failing to deliver an LCP update.  He is on record as saying that the City Council has accomplished too much to suit his taste.  He said, “As far as I’m concerned, they’re on too much of a roll, and rolling way too fast.” here:

  http://hmbreview.com/articles/2005/04/13/news/editorial/story3.txt

Finally, I said you should pick your candidates based on their stands on the issues, and not their management ability. And I think that the opposition have been less than completely open in their public statements of where they stand on development. That’s one of the reasons for all their hand-waving about “management” and “openness”.

Comment 4
Thu, October 20, 2005 11:02pm
HMB Ranger
All my comments

Many other arguments in the article are weak.

You say the incumbents are getting things done. You list trails, a (pedestrian) bridge, road improvements, and acquiring funding for Hwy 1 improvements. That’s not very impressive for 4+ years of work and in a City that gets millions of $$$ in revenue from the Ritz-Carlton.

You say they’re building a park close to downtown. No park building has started yet. But the City owes $3M to POST with no clear plan for where the money will come from.

Meanwhile the City continues to fight several lawsuits, and pays a great deal of money in fees to the City Attorney and his law firm.

Add to this the deficit spending, again in a town with more revenue than average, and the mismanagement picture begins to take shape.

Finally, you question signs for the opposition on vacant lots. Guess you haven’t noticed the ones on developed lots. Many of those are people who have negative experiences with this Council and it’s appointed Plannning Commission.

Comment 5
Fri, October 21, 2005 7:50am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Your argument seems to be that the city is in deficit, but they’re not spending enough money. I think most of that Ritz money was used to repair some long-neglected streets.

“Lawsuits” is a handwaving argument. There’s enough money at stake in the development business to sue the city when it’s enforcing the law or conducting the people’s business, in hopes that they’ll just cave. In those cases, is the city at fault? You need to cite specific suits where the suing parties have a righteous cause and have either won or are likely to win.

The Cypress Cove lawsuit was a politically-motivated set-up that that the city lost, but it should never have been filed and resulted in no satisfaction for the plaintiffs.  The city won the Terrace Ave and Beachwood lawsuits resoundingly. The city reached a settlement with Wavecrest, resulting in a better development and benefits for the city.

But you’re right about one thing. If the current city council majority is overturned, there will be fewer lawsuits from developers, who will be happier.

Comment 6
Fri, October 21, 2005 11:34am
HMB Ranger
All my comments

You jump to conclusions.

Where do I say they should be spending more money? I said they’re spending money we don’t have, like the $3M for the parkland.

I didn’t even characterize the lawsuits as anyone’s fault. But when you have legal expenses like we do, and like George Muteff researched and documented in one of his campaign ads, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be fiscally responsible. It’s not fiscally responsible to spend money you don’t have, and to spend at a deficit rate. Please help me understand, if you can, how that is NOT a form of mis-management.

And while you’re at it, how the heck can you argue that we know more about where Steve Skinner, a newcomer, stands than we do about Naomi Patridge, who has years of track record as a Council member and member of the community??

Barry Parr: “We know what Grady, Ferreira, and Skinner stand for. We’re a lot less certain about their opponents. Why is that? “

Comment 7
Fri, October 21, 2005 1:23pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

Yes, Muteff’s complaining about the amount of money the city’s spending on lawyers.  On his website he says, the city spends a lot on legal fees for the LCP update, asking “‘is it defendable’, rather than is it right for our town.”

In other words, he’s unhappy that the city council is spending money with lawyers to make sure the LCP update is legal. The alternative is to figure that out down the road in court.  And since when are legal and “right for our town” mutually exclusive?

I also don’t think he has outlined an LCP proposal that he feels would be “right for our town”.

I’m not going to list the city council’s accomplishments here. But Voice of the Coast ran a good list a few weeks ago. I think it’s impressive for a small-town, part-time city council:

http://voiceofthecoast.com/2005/09/editorial_half_moon_bays_city.html

 

Comment 8
Fri, October 21, 2005 5:56pm
HMB Ranger
All my comments

As I’m sure you know, Voice of the Coast is published by a political action committee called “League for Coastside Protection” (although the website doesn’t advertise that). The League for Coastside Protection PAC funds the campaigns of Ferriera, Grady and Skinner. PACs exist to push political agendas. Nothing illegal about that, but it’s certainly not an impartial source for information. I love how they disparage homeowners who advocate recognition of their own (not big developers) property rights. They have a no-growth agenda, and it permeates the politics here.

Other than that, it looks like you’re responding more to George Muteff than my post.

My comments and questions still stand.

Comment 9
Fri, October 21, 2005 6:33pm
John Lynch
All my comments

HMB Ranger stated that the League for Coastside Protection doesn’t advertise that they are a political action committee. I suggest that he take an extensive course in reading. I just went to their website and this is what it states:

“The San Mateo League for Coastside Protection is a California political action committee (ID 1234363), founded in May of 2001.”

What are they hiding? Nothing that I can discern.

Padre

I’m not sure about you Padre, but I’m talking the “Voice of the Coast” website that Barry refers to.

If the text you quote is there, I sure can’t find it. It must be well hidden.

Perhaps the reason why the response seems to be directed towards George Muteff is that “HMB Ranger” is spewing the same rhetoric. Anyone else wonder who is behind the “ranger” mask?  I applaud Barry for his thoughtful, even-handed response.  However “Ranger”, I do agree with you on one point – we certainly do know Naomi’s politics and track record.  Out of control, developer friendly growth.  Thanks, but I for one will pass.

“spewing ... rhetoric”

“...take an extensive course in reading..”

Man, three responses, and all I see is bitterness and anger, but no substance or even style. Try again - use those brain cells that God gave you.

1.  The windshield smasher needs to be strung up by their privates.

2.  HMB Ranger - same responses I got.  I guess dislike “no-growth” less than “anti-build anything.”  btw - I am not angry about anything that has to do with Coastside politics.

3.  If Grady/Ferriera can put up a sign at by Santa’s tree farm that says something to the effect of “What if the developers win on the Coastside?” and they are backed by developers (Ocean Colony Partners at this point is the only public support - are there more?), what makes them different?

Thanks to Barry for his forum / opinions.  If anything, we know how much he cares.  He walks a very fine line between reporting and opinion.

A lot happened here since I last posted. I’ve been on the road since yesterday afternoon, so I hope my absence here wasn’t misinterpreted.  Let me see if I can address your questions. It might take a couple of posts.

I do think there’s an inconsistency in saying the City Council hasn’t gotten much done, when the opposition candidates seem to be saying they’ve done too much. And George Muteff seems to be saying both things at once.

I cited Voice of the Coast because knew they had a list of accomplishments I could link to. I have better things to do than to cut&paste;&rewrite; the candidates’ accomplishment lists. But, since you attacked their motives and not their facts, can we assume you don’t dispute the list?

Voice of the Coast has been open about who they are, how they’re funded and what their motives are. My guess is the lack of a statement on the website is an oversight.  I wouldn’t characterize their position as “no growth”, and if it is, they’re certainly making a mistake in backing Grady/Ferreira/Skinner, whom I have described as “slowish growth”.

Comment 15
Sat, October 22, 2005 10:21am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Regarding park financing, the city has three years of free financing from POST to put together the long-term funding.

Sid McCausland - a member of the Council’s Finance Committee - stated publicly that the cost of financing the purchase could paid for by the extra funds that would become available from the Transfer Occupancy Tax (T.O.T.) as the street repair expenditures decline from the initial rate of $600k per year to $300k per year.

I believe that Council has stated their desire to consolidate several necessary infrastructure improvements, including the library, police station, and parks and finance them with a bond, which would be the correct way to handle it.

Comment 16
Sat, October 22, 2005 11:24am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Naomi Patridge isn’t running on her record. Her ads are about what she wants to do, not what she has done—or what she hasn’t done, in the case of her most recent ad.

Grady and Ferreira are running on the record, which I think is substantial. What I said about Skinner is that we know where he stands—alongside Grady and Ferreira. You may agree or disagree with his position, but the position itself is indisputable.

My concern about McClung is that she’s positioning herself as a “conservationist” without taking any conservationist positions or carrying any conservationist endorsements. In her 10/12 ad, she says she wants to end polarization, but (unlike Grady/Ferreira) all of her endorsements are from one pole of Coastside politics. It reminds me of GW Bush’s empty claim that he was “a uniter, not a divider”.

HMBRanger said

“And while you’re at it, how the heck can you argue that we know more about where Steve Skinner, a newcomer, stands than we do about Naomi Patridge, who has years of track record as a Council member and member of the community??

Barry - Thanks for the thoughtful responses. As BGinna said, it’s apparent that you care, and you can articulate your opinions.

Regarding Naomi: regardless of whether she is running on her record or not, there is a public record to examine, and one can reasonably expect that past performance will predict future actions and positions (obviously some think her past record is negative, others think it is positive). We don’t have the same data on Skinner. If you’re saying he will follow whatever Grady and Ferriera do - I’d rather have an independent thinker in office than a puppet.

Regarding park financing - even if what Sid said is true, at $300k a year it will take well over 10 years to pay off $3M plus interest plus construction costs in excess of another $3M. And remember, we’re already spending at a deficit rate, so we won’t get all of that $300k/year. The math doesn’t work. Maybe that’s the real reason that Sid left.

Regarding Grady & Ferreira’s accomplishments - yes I have read the list, and no I don’t find it all that impressive. I would like to have seen the middle school, Boy’s and Girl’s club, park and other things already on that list. Also - alot of what the Council does or does not do never makes the paper - they are found in the policies written in the Cities’ LCP and in the ordinances derived from them. These things affect HMB’s residents on a daily basis, but they (the details) don’t make the papers. My understanding is - this is what George Muteff is saying should be slowed down. These policies and ordinances will impact people for years and years after they are approved, especially given the extra bureaucracy coastal cities are subjected to by the Calif Coastal Commission.

HMB Ranger writes that he is not impressed with Grady and Ferreira’s accomplishments and would like to have seen the middle shool and Boy’s and Girl’s club on their accomplishment list.

Please forgive my ignorance but how does the city exert authority and control over a separate special district entity (CUSD)? Also, where do they wield the power to tell a private organization (Boy’s and Girl’s club) what they can or cannot due?

Maybe HMB Ranger, you have the answers in his hip pocket. If you do, it would be desireable if you would enlighten the community.

Padre

Padre - your diatribe is not very impressive either, but let me give you a recent example of how a private development can be facilitated by the City - Cunha’s Market. Enlightened now?

Comment 20
Sat, October 22, 2005 8:23pm
mal.comX
All my comments

bginna writes.
“[Barry Parr] walks a very fine line between reporting and opinion.”

That sounds like a good deal, because the alternative is the HMB Review, where the line between reporting and opinion doesn’t even exist.

Comment 21
Sat, October 22, 2005 8:51pm
mal.comX
All my comments

HMB Ranger writes:
“Regarding Naomi:...some think her past record is negative, others think it is positive.”

That’s true. Some people think that approving numerous new housing development projects (one of which includes a row of monster houses that block residents’ view to the ocean) is actually a negative for Naomi. Others (perplexingly some of same view-blocked residents) seem to view Naomi’s record as positive.

I am not surprised. It is well known that slaves often become devoted to their master.

MalcomX - Even the most hardcore no-growth Planning Commissioners will tell you there is nothing they can legally do to protect private ocean views.

Comment 23
Sat, October 22, 2005 11:19pm
mal.comX
All my comments

HMB Rangeor writes:

“Even the most hardcore no-growth…”

As I expect you know, there is no such thing as “no growth” because the current law mandates 3% residential growth in the Midcoast and 1% residential growth in HMB. Those figures do not count the unlimited amount of commerical growth in both areas. In this, as in many other cases, your arguments are built on a set of false premises.

For some reason I have not seen anyone anywhere say this, so I guess I have to:

After listening to George Muteff’s blustering every time I see a City Council meeting on MCTV, it’s clear to me that he is running for City Council for one reason and one reason only:  He’s upset about the development restrictions on his own property.


I understand that the Terrace neighborhood people are unhappy with Ferreira and Grady due to the settlement with Pacific Ridge.  They are mad at the wrong people—wasn’t it Naomi Patridge’s city council that approved the Pacific Ridge subdivision?  If the subdivision hadn’t been approved there would be no issue now.  Blame her, not the people who managed to get the stupid project cut down to a fraction of its original size.

Malcomx writes: “In this, as in many other cases, your arguments are built on a set of false premises.”

My point was the law allows for development and growth. It’s still possible for a person, even a Planning Commissioner, to wish they could stop it. So they use whatever powers they have to grind it to a halt. These days that’s often done by looking for ESHAs and Riparian habitats in places like storm drainage ditches.

So now regarding your blanket, unsupported statement above, go ahead and enumerate the
“many other cases” where my arguments are built on false premises

Comment 26
Sun, October 23, 2005 10:18am
John Lynch
All my comments

HMB Ranger said “If Grady/Ferriera can put up a sign at by Santa’s tree farm that says something to the effect of “What if the developers win on the Coastside?”.

This statement is flat-out incorrect.  Ranger man check your facts before you respond to this thread.

Grady/Ferreira had NO input to that sign and sign location nor any of the blue signs posted around town. These have been done by the League for Coastside Protection maintaining a “firewall” between the LCP and all the candidates. Not a thing has been done at their “behest” but in accordance of the new city Campaign Finance Ordinace and the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

From reading all of your responses to this theme you’ll
not admit that you were incorrect in your assumption about Grady/Ferreira and the sign. I await your spin.

Padre

Comment 27
Sun, October 23, 2005 12:17pm
HMB Ranger
All my comments

Padre - Whoa cowboy - get YOUR facts straight. If you’re going to quote me, quote something I actually wrote. If you read through these posts carefully you will verify that for yourself. Perhaps your earlier advice to me about taking extensive reading courses would be more appropriate advice for you.

Comment 28
Sun, October 23, 2005 12:33pm
John Lynch
All my comments

I apologize. The post attributed to HMB Ranger was posted by bginna on Oct 22, 05 | 6:57 am. I agree with HMB Ranger that I need to “take extensive reading courses.”

Padre

In response to HMB Ranger’s comments, I’d suggest you spend some time looking at my website if you want to know where I stand.

www.voteskinnerhmb.com

I’ve spent the past several years involved in local HMB issues related to education, planning, zoning and other coastal hot button topics. My record as an advocate for coastal conservation and controlled growth is well known by the people who’ve watched or attended those meetings.  FYI - I’d rather have an independent thinker than a puppet too, and that’s why I am running ;-)  Thanks for your support.

Comment 30
Sun, October 23, 2005 10:04pm
mal.comX
All my comments

Why is it that some people (mostly hardcore right-wingers) demand a strict “constructionist” interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, but then when somebody comes along and tries to enforce a strict interpretation of state or local laws (read: Callifornia Coastal Act or Local Coastal Program) the very same people start screaming bloody murder about how their “property rights” are being taken away? Are these people saying that the state or local laws are unconstitutional? If so, they should take their beef to the courts, not to the state or local officials who are sworn to uphold the law.

Comment 31
Sun, October 23, 2005 10:26pm
Scott Boyd
All my comments

Voice of the Coast’s web site has had a clear indication of its provenance since day one.  Check out the upper-right-hand corner: News for people who love the Coastside. A publication of the San Mateo County League for Coastside Protection.

http://voiceofthecoast.com

In addition, the very first articles published, both in the paper, and on the web site, spelled out who we were and why we chose to publish.  The most specific: http://voiceofthecoast.com/2005/09/why_voice_of_the_coast.html

Sincerely,
Scott Boyd
Editor
Voice of the Coast
News for people who love the coastside