Letter: City council working at cross purposes?

Letter to the editor

Posted by on Tue, January 30, 2007

As is well known, the City of Half Moon Bay suffers a severe deficiency of parks and playing fields for our youth and adults. Why, then, would our City Council adopt a stance that works against the Boy’s and Girl’s Club? Let me explain.

According to the local paper, the majority on the current council proposes to reinterpret the Pacific Ridge Settlement Agreement to eliminate the highway widening/traffic signal at Terrace Avenue—which would also extend the westside frontage road to connect with that intersection.  That extension would have provided signalized access to westside residents, farmers, the Sewer Plant, the projected Boys and Girls Club, and the projected parksite.  If this reinterpretation is pulled off then the decades old struggle, supposedly supported by some members of this current city council, to have the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and playing fields located near the sewer plant is either just about to become a dead issue, or someone is planning to stick the taxpayers with the bill.

Why? Because the 1997 Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and playing fields, at this location, stated that it could not be approved without a Highway 1 signalized intersection to handle the increased traffic. There was other deficiencies in the DEIR that might have been resolved but not the lack of a traffic light.

The question of the lack of a signalized intersection for the Boy’s and Girl’s Club was almost about to be eliminated because access to Highway 1 would be accomplished with the Terrace Avenue widening/signalization/extension.

I’m very concerned that this kind of isolated decision making, this reactive no recognition of consequences, is, sadly, the order of the day.

John Lynch
Frenchman’s Creek


“I’m very concerned that this kind of isolated decision making, this reactive no recognition of consequences, is, sadly, the order of the day.”


“...or someone is planning to stick the taxpayers with the bill.”

Oddly reminiscent of October 2004 decision by the City Council to spend $3.2MM on “Community Park” land.  How are we taxpayers going to pay that bill, Mr. Lynch?

Comment 2
Tue, January 30, 2007 10:07pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

Brian, that sounds like “Yeah, but your favorite city council was just as lousy as my favorite city council”. John has raised a significant question, but you’ve ignored it.

Comment 3
Wed, January 31, 2007 11:37am
Ken King
All my comments

Surprise! A red herring from Mr. Ginna. The parkland disparaged by he and the CCF clique might have been an asset like parks in other communities. With the felling of the pines along 92, the immense potential of that unused land at the entrance of our town is breathtakingly apparent. What a waste because the faction in power, who would prefer seeing condos on it, chooses to do nothing at all. This has nothing to do with its cost, btw. Property costs money and this was cheap by any standard, particularly when the initial financing is factored in.

Let’s see how CCF et al justifies abandoning the developer-financed highway widening and signalization project Mr. Lynch describes. Mr. Ginna’s red herring suggests that they won’t come up with an adequate response.

Comment 4
Wed, January 31, 2007 11:57am
Brian Ginna
All my comments

“John has raised a significant question, but you’ve ignored it.”

I’VE IGNORED IT?

I do not need to produce here a bunch of links to all of the glowing stories Barry wrote in 2004 and 2005 about the park purchase - people can find them for themselves.

What they cannot find here is a story about how much that lovely park would cost the taxpayers of HMB.  News blackout.  What we do see presented is videos titled “The Great Giveaway.”

Mr. King’s and Mr. Lynch’s rhetoric is simply provided in an effort to discredit the current City Council, not solve problems.  That much is very obvious to me - just making sure others are reading between the lines.  Perhaps my mocking of his argument did not come through very clearly (I also feel no need to address his “opinion”).

These guys should take a cue from Mr. Lansing - his use of rhetoric is clever BUT matched by fairly solid arguments, not this kind of obvious hit piece.

Comment 5
Wed, January 31, 2007 12:40pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

Brian, you’re still trying to redirect the conversation.

I’m still convinced that an objective analysis would show that the downtown park is a winner, but six months after the city’s consultant produced an unsupported “estimate” of the cost of developing the park, there is still no explanation or itemization. The city has done nothing to move the process forward, only to delay the day of reckoning.

Nor has the city provided any guidance on how they hope to resolve the mess at Terrace. The so-called “no-signal alternative” is not a decision. It’s the opposite of a decision.

John raises a legitimate issue in saying the the current city council is making piecemeal decisions that don’t add up.

Comment 6
Thu, February 1, 2007 9:27am
John Lynch
All my comments

As usual, Mr. Ginna, you are playing the red herring game. 

My point is that the widening/stoplight/extension that is being readied for throwaway was to have been paid for by the developer, not by the taxpayers.  Throwing away a $1,500.00 ~ $2,000,000 infrastructure improvement is the topic under discussion here.

Isn’t referencing the contents of a public document (1997 DEIR) a solid argument?

Perhaps I should have added a sub-title…“Be Aware of the Law of Unintended Consequences?

Mr. Lynch,

Please elaborate on your efforts to solve the “severe deficiency of parks and playing fields for our youth and adults.”

The safety imporovments are Terrace are needed a.s.a.p.  Folks on both sides of the road will have improved (in terms of both safety and time) access to their own community.  This safety improvement will benefit not only the folks in the immediate neighborhoods but those from any area to the north - 60 to 70 percent of all midcoast commute traffic goes through that intersection morings and afternoons.  Visitors driving up to north HMB and the midcoast will benefit as well.

I recall hearing complaints about the access to Highway One from Casa del Mar in 1979.  Folks were pleading with the County and City to put in a lightthen - almost 30 years ago. 

As far as Mr. Ginna’s question on the cost of the park - I hope Greg Ward will start a new topic on how to build a park less expensively than the “Cadillac” we were hoping to have.  I am sure it can be done for less to start out with - and them improved with grants and volunteer labor oveer time.  Maybe HMB will take him up if he offers, since CUSD chose not too.

Kathryn

Comment 9
Fri, February 2, 2007 12:30am
John Lynch
All my comments

Brian,

As I am not an elected official it is not my responsibility to solve the park issue. However, I served on the Community Park Advisory Committee and have on many occasions highlighted our park deficiency.

Read below my letter, dated 10/10/04 , to our local paper.

“Researching data from The Trust for Public Lands for the year 2000, reveals some interesting data that pertain to the City of Half Moon Bay.

For low density cities in the United States, on average, there is 15.8 acres of Park/Open Space per thousand residents. Half Moon Bay presently has around two acres per thousand. If we were average we should have over 200 acres of Park/Open Space.

For years and years the city leaders have not aggressively pursued the purchase of such lands. Now when the city council is pursuing the purchase of 22 acres (Nurserymen’s Exchange land on Hwy. 92 and an 9 acre community park north of Oak Street adjacent to Pilarcitos Creek, they are being excoriated by a former city council member and the Half Moon Bay Review.

One has to wonder why because you would think that they would be jumping for joy. Go fiqure.”

Respectfully submitted,

John F. Lynch

P. S,  Brian, Please elaborate on what you have done.