Who should replace David Gorn?

Invitation to discussion

Posted by on Mon, July 3, 2006

One well-known candidate (John Muller) has already thrown his hat into the ring (if that’s the correct metaphor for an appointed position) to replace David Gorn on the Half Moon Bay City Council. The deadline for applications is Thursday, July 6, and candidates will be interviewed on Tuesday, July 11.

Independence Day Eve is as good an occasion as any to start a discussion of what kind of person, and specifically who, should be appointed to fill the position.  It is a better occasion than most to remind everyone that we’re going to be enforcing strict civility rules in this discussion. 

New and infrequent posters are especially welcome to participate.  You must be a registered user to post, and must use your real, full name.  Once you’re registered, click on the "comments" link under the headline of this story.

Who Indeed?  Part One

Yes, on July 11th the Half Moon Bay City Council will appoint a new Council member to fill the seat of former Councilman David Gorn who was appointed by the previous City Council.  The Council now has an obligation to appoint a moderate who will help them move away from the ruinous course set by previous City Councils.

The clear choice for a moderate Council member –one who has an exceptional knowledge of HMB history, City and Council operation and problems of the Coastside, and the initiative and integrity to address those problems– is George Muteff.

The NIMBY faction argues that needed infrastructure improvements will bring hordes from the east, and has attempted to establish that private property is only an abstract constitutional concept.  They will argue that he is the extremist. 

Over the past decade, lawsuits resulting from Council policies have threatened the economic sustainability of our community, allowing city bankruptcy to linger as a very real possibility. The City has spent over $1,000,000 (more than 10% of the entire budget) in legal fees each of the past two years and is on course to do it again this year. These fees are primarily to defend against litigation brought against the City because of past Council decisions.

The illusion that providing adequate roads, schools, water, sewer, and the many other elements critical to our community infrastructure would result in uncontrolled growth has only made it more difficult and costly for us to conduct our daily lives.  Each day that goes by delays changes essential to the collective wellbeing of our community, increasing the cost of those changes, pushing them further out of reach.  In the meantime, we are all in a position of greater vulnerability to disasters of all kinds because of these shortfalls.

During the last Council election, Mr. Muteff challenged this dangerous direction by unflinchingly identifying the problems created by this extremist mindset; he was branded the “extremist”.  That’s somewhat like the child who, having been caught and convicted of murdering his parents, places blame on the court for picking on an orphan.  Mr. Muteff, despite his vilification, garnered 1642 votes in the election last November (enough to win a seat in any previous election) only 218 votes short of the lowest winning total.

Mr. Muteff is an articulate, forward thinking member of our community who recognizes the problem.  The only way to recover from the many untenable positions we have been placed in is to reverse the radical self-compromising course we have had thrust upon us.

Who Indeed?  Part Two

Putting the brakes on isn’t enough, it will take reverse gear, with our foot on the accelerator, to get us out of the morass of unmanageable constraints that have been placed on our citizenry.  This means challenging the recent establishment and changing the many unworkable policies they have put in place.  Mr. Muteff is not “pro-growth” as they have labeled him.  He is, in fact, a free-thinking advocate of moderate growth, who has the best interests of our community at heart.

Appointing an “acceptable to all moderate” to the City Council would be to take a giant step backwards toward a dangerous precipice.  We need someone who will help us move aggressively back from the precipice and return to the community mores that first made HMB a desirable place to live and raise a family.  George Muteff is the person most capable of helping our present Council do this difficult job.  He is the best choice to fill the vacant seat on the HMB City Council.

There are only three votes that count in this election: Ms. Partridge, Ms. Fraser, and Ms. McClung.  I am sure that they have conferred and contacted their candidate.  I would not expect he/she to register until shortly before the deadline.  They will go through the motions, but in the end they will have their person.  Have we not learned from the Planning Commission?

The only people that we have to blame for this situation are ourselves.  We have allowed the council to select a replacement instead of requiring that the position be placed on the upcoming ballot.  Either change the law or live with the consequences.

I find it amusing that people believe that they should be under some type of obligation to find a replacement that fits the “beliefs” of the council member who vacated that seat.  It is far more consistent to find someone who represents their views since that is what people who elected those three voted for in the first place.  Sid and David disenfranchised their constituency by abdicating their elected positions.  Blame them for creating this situation.

Is this really a change in power?  No.  No matter who they select, we can only hope they will address the problems that face this community.  When is the next opportunity to vote someone off the island?

Hi Dale,

I find your comments here to be provocative, and I’ll try to explain why in a civil and non-provocative way.  (This will be two comments in length, just as your comments were. And thanks to Barry for providing this wonderful public arena!)

You appear to have an agenda here.  Mr. Muteff showed very poorly in the last HMB City Council election, in large part (I believe) due to his positioning himself in an extreme way - both in expressing his stance on “property rights” and in choosing right-wing shock-style talk radio as a venue for airing his views (and yes, I listened to some of it - and it was not civil towards anyone who disagreed with Mr. Muteff).  You seem intent on trying to stir up resentment towards many who have served and who do their best to contribute to the community here, and I’ve decided that I should respond to that. 

You are a director of CCF, which appears to me to be a fledgling political action committee camouflaged as an educational endeavor.  Trying to educate people as to the “moderate” nature of Mr. Muteff, or of the CCF agenda, seems disengenuous at best; perhaps no one else has commented on your description of Mr. Muteff as a moderate yet because they are laughing too hard to type coherently. :-) 

You’ve attacked the HMB City Manager on what appear to be specious grounds (more on that below), and your organization is doing it’s very best to cause the City to show bad faith toward a developer who settled a major lawsuit against us a few years ago.

You - and your board composed of apparent “property rights extremists” (whose bios can be read at http://www.coastsidecommunityfirst.org/contact.html) - are leading a movement to “undo the Ailanto deal and get Half Moon Bay sued again”, nominally led by school board member Charlie Gardner of Montara.  You are trying to cause the City of Half Moon Bay to act in bad faith - to undo a done deal which was supported across the spectrum (from Naomi Patridge to Mike Ferreira).  And you appear quite cynical to me when you use the words “The NIMBY faction argues that…” (in your comment above), when in fact your organization is encouraging NIMBYism by the Terrace Avenue residents to fight widening of Hwy 1 and installation of a light to ensure saftey at that dangerous intersection.  (I personally would like to find ways to maintain the rural character of Hwy 1 - and our entire region - but I’m also grateful that I live south of 92, where access to the highway is not as harrowing.)

(continued in my next comment…)

(part 2)

I attended one of the Ailanto presentations, and the settlement reached by Ailanto and the City and the Coastal Commission seems not only sensible, but even very positive for the City - including 75% open space, something in the ballpark of $1 million or so to widen Hwy 1 where the light is being planned at Terrace, something like $2.85 million in cash to the City to be used to purchase development rights from other city lot owners at genuine fair market value (no compulsion! - just as the property rights folks always say it should be done), and only 63 houses, when the original vesting tentative map included 212, and a court ordered some 126 if I recall correctly.  And all because your CCF group “has a vision” for a road through Ailanto’s already approved project, through wetlands, and - even if it were possible - decades or more away from the tens of millions in funding it would need.

Frankly, I’d like to see your CCF president applying his vast skills (“Mr. Gardner is a civil engineering construction Project Manager with Kiewit Pacific Co.”) to getting real bids for the design of the new Cunha, instead of sole-sourcing it.  I’ve had several apparently-credible sources tell me that the school ought to cost millions less than the $25-30 million figure that is tossed around - if we had a proper RFP and a competitive bid process for the design, I’d be a lot more confident that the taxpayers’ money was being well spent.)

I’d like to see your organization stop trying to cause reinstatement of an already-settled lawsuit (actually, three related lawsuits, all part of the settlement agreement) by encouraging the City to show bad faith to Ailanto.

And I’d like to see you stand down from your position that the HMB City Manager should be fired because she doesn’t live in HMB - on the pretext that one individual (and not an “emergency services” official, at that) is all that stands between us and an unsuccessful response to a disaster.  You didn’t question her job performance; you attacked her because she might not be in town at some random moment when an emergency might happen to occur.  Well, that’s why we have genuine emergency services people - police, fire, etc.  There is a system, and it does not depend on the presence of one person.  You claim to be an expert on emergency response, but I sincerely doubt that any longstanding emergency response plan is predicated on the presence of a single individual.

My own training as a chess master is what informs my analyses, above.  And it makes me wonder to what degree you are really serious in the positions you have staked out here on Coastsider.  I look forward to a more cogent analysis of the various issues than you have presented to the public here so far.  Casting an extreme position as moderate just seems wrong to me.


Hal M. Bogner
Half Moon Bay

Messrs Dunham and Muteff have a different definition of “moderate” that I do.

To be a moderate, you have to treat both sides of an issue as a sincere disagreement.

I see a polarization of the community by calling the oppositon NIMBY’s and “extremists”, but I see no willingness to address their arguments as if they were being made by people of good will who differ about how to build a community.

I see lots of support for new development, more infrastructure,  and rezoning.  I see no support for the environment, parks, open space.  I see a willingness to stand down on developers’ lawsuits that the city has been winning, but no willingness to stand up for the law.

The previous city council negotiated in good faith with developers and achieved good deals—with something for developers and something for the community. The jury is still out on the current city council. But one thing is certain, George Muteff would not be a moderating influence.

I was puzzled by Dale’s citing of George Muteff’s vote count as proof of his popularity. There is a genuine moderate out there who got more votes than Mr. Muteff in the last election. His name is Mike Ferreira.

Can somone tell me what NIMBY means?

If George Muteff is a moderate, could someone name some extremists on the development/property rights side?

It is certainly much more appropriate to refer to Mike Ferreira as a moderate than to refer to George Muteff as such.  Mike and I are on the same side more often than not, but that’s exactly my point—Mike does try to find a workable middle ground and we often disagree on where that middle should be.  To people like George, it’s binary:  either you think that anyone should be allowed to do whatever at all they want on their property, or you don’t.  How’s that a moderate middle ground?

Hal Bogner wrote ... “perhaps no one else has commented on your description of Mr. Muteff as a moderate yet because they are laughing too hard to type coherently. :-)”  No kidding, Hal.

Given the razor thin margin in the election, there is only one moral choice for the appointment, and that’s Mike Ferreira.  Not like anybody thinks this City Council will do what’s reasonable.  They’d still have the majority, but 3:2 is never good enough, they want 5:0.

NIMBY is defined by Wikipedia:

NIMBY is an acronym for the phenomenon in which residents oppose a development as being inappropriate for their local area but, by implication, do not have a blanket opposition to such developments elsewhere. It is therefore used to signify protest by people whose major concern about some development or activity is for it not be associated with or developed within their locale.



The problem, as I see it, is that this is simply a label that doesn’t address whether the the arguments of the opposition. “NIMBY” is no argument at all. The fancy phrase for that is ad hominem.

NIMBY is an acronym for Not In My Back Yard.  it is a derogatory term applied to those who oppose various developments or uses of real estate in their vicinity.  The user of the phrase (not the target) usually believes that development is vital or unavoidable and is implying that the target simply wants the probem development or use moved elsewhere—out of their “backyard”.

Did Mr. Ferreira say he would not run again or was that just a dream?  Something like a “snowball’s chance?”  I cannot find the story on the Review’s website but I swear I read it.

If that is true, why should he be appointed, when it is clear that he is not wanted at the table by the other council members?  He was rejected for planning commission and he would be rejected for this.  Why go any further down this road?

I like this gem from Mr. Grady:

“A lot of people who are interested in serving don’t want to go through the process of an election.”

Some folks are in politics just to be politicians.  Exhibit A - the “Coffee with Mike” video.  Notice how Mr. Ferreira says he became “interested in the politics.”  He does not say that he wanted to help the community.  Not ONCE.  Did he help the community?  In some ways, yes.  In many ways, no.

The majority of voters would surely want someone who is clearly a “moderate.”  Using “moderate” in the same sentence as “Mike Ferreira” is laughable.  Moderates would compromise.

This is also pretty funny:
“...only one moral choice for the appointment.”
Mr. Woren, are you serious?  Moral choice?

Lansing and McCarthy would have far better chances at appointments, so dropping the “Mike for council (again)” thing makes sense at this point.

Mike Ferreira does seem to represent a logical choice. For those who don’t recall, winning and losing in the last election was determined by only a handful of questionable votes. His willingness to stand for the position would place the onus upon the current City Council majority to then demonstrate whether they wish to reach out or do they desire a divided community.

Ken Johnson

I don’t remember Mike Ferreira saying he wouldn’t run again.  I think that might be wishful thinking on Brian’s part.

Ferreira was the author of a number of compromises. Both the current versions of Pacific Ridge and Wavecrest represent compromises between the concerns of the developers and the environmentalists.

Many of the environmentalists I know have mixed feelings about Ferreira because he really is interested in compromise and getting things done.

Brian: Who do you think is a moderate, and can you cite some examples of what they have done to strike a balance on the critical issues that divide our community, and to reach out to the opposition to craft a compromise that both sides can live with?

To answer your question, I would need to know who or what exactly are “environmentalists” and what they are looking for.  Any examples?

If we assume that respecting the law regarding wetlands, endangered species, and the Coastal Act is a given for all members of a civil society, I would define “environmentalists” as people who regard the letter of the law as it is currently written insufficient protection for the environment and seek either an expansion of the law or higher regard for the environment than is required by the law.

Lawbreakers on either side of the issue are not part of civil society and cannot be compromised with.

So it sounds like our community is now divided between “NIMBYs” and “Extremists”? Having visited this site most every day I don’t think I’ve read any post from an Extremist. Is saying that some sort of bypass between 92 and highway 1 is desperately needed an “extremist” view?

Barry: you stated the following:
“I see lots of support for new development, more infrastructure, and rezoning.  I see no support for the environment, parks, open space.”

Can you clarify this for me? When you say “no support” who are you referring to? From my 15 years of living on the coast the only support that I have seen is for open space, environment, and no growth (at whatever the cost). I believe what is happening is that the silent majority is fed up with this agenda and desires to have a more high quality community. We need a boys and girls club, we need a better road infrastructure (including bikeways and walkways), and we need more modern schools (including the middle school). We also need to take care of our local businesses to make sure they can thrive (including support for tourists). We can do all of this and be good stewards of the environment. And I don’t think any of the above statements would be considered “extremist”.

Can someone clarify what is meant about respecting the law regarding wetlands, endangered species, etc? Who has been stating that they do not respect the law, or the environment? I don’t believe lawbreaking is on any of the 2 sides, though both sides use pieces of law as it suits them best (or better yet create a law if there is more to gain).

Excellent definition, I will try to remember to give you proper attribution when I use it.

Ball is back in your court.

Ken Johnson

I thought this crowd believed in transparency in government. The minute Mike Ferreira divulges why he continually buried the first Community Park appraisal—and remember his fingerprints all over that redacted losing lawsuit?—and shared his true motives for attempting to ram through a family-unfriendly park, well, then I’ll start to believe he’s something other than one of the extremist chief architects of the LCP’s anti-infrastructure position.

I, too, hope for the appointment of a moderate voice, one who has the goal of helping the community first.

No one has answered my original question for Brian.  And anyone can play:  Who do you think is a moderate, and can you cite some examples of what they have done to strike a balance on the critical issues that divide our community, and to reach out to the opposition to craft a compromise that both sides can live with?

Joel:  Reasonable people can differ about Ferreira’s openness on the park deal.  But it’s dishonest to describe the park plan as “family unfriendly” or Mike as “one of the extremist chief architects of the LCP’s anti-infrastructure position”.


Actually, no, since Barry did not give me examples, just a definition.

I think labeling people is going down the wrong path (and I did not start this…), however, more folks like Marina and Bonnie is a good start.  Throwing people’s hats into the ring - not going to happen (at least I am not).  not fair to them.

Attack George all you want.  He can take it.  He would do more for the community than most.  Same with Naomi.  If the jury is out on this council, it is still out on Grady.  He needs to prove he wants to reach out too.

I do not want someone with a “constituency” per se.  Just someone who wants to work for the community.  Hard to find and hard to get them elected.

As long as developmental interests see any piece of real estate without pavement as a potential dollar sign, whether that property may have had any history of esthetic value for the entire community or not, or whether it might be still better utilized do something novel like actually helping to feed the local population, communities are doomed. To that extent you can define me as an extremist because, given the current set of geographical and infrastructural contraints in this area, we have already gone too far. Call me a retro-growther.

The current trend in community planning, here and elsewhere, is well represented by the raft of articles being printed by the Chronicle on global warming and extinction. Every day there’s one more chink taken out of the armor of long term human survivability because of the myopic self serving interests of a few people who just don’t get the larger picture. They think the larger picture means more pavement and more houses, more money in their wallet. It should include more education, more intelligent community planning, and focusing on more quality instead of quantity.

I’ll be impressed when I see developers grow a social conscience, use tracts of “NON-ARABLE” land, and along with building collective solar units and affordable housing, set up community involved biodynamic and/or hydroponic farming stations, composting and recycling facilities, and all within walking distance to work for many of the residents.

I’m not holding my breath, but in the meantime, until someone who might see a still larger picture steps up to the plate, I’ll put my eggs in Mike Ferreira’s basket.

As far as the NIMBY argument, unconscious NIMBYers selfishly seek to exclude others from also enjoying their version of personal paradise. “Conscious” NIMBYers better understand the constraints within the area they have chosen to live in and are more apt to live there for philosophical reasons. Putting both groups in the same sentence is absurd.






Brian Ginna,

You said: “The majority of voters would surely want someone who is clearly a “moderate.” [Jul 06, 06 | 9:21 am] Sounds reasonable, until you include George [I presume you mean Muteff ] in that definition from my limited knowledge of him.

Maybe you will elaborate in detail how George Muteff meets your definition:
“Moderates would compromise.”

You mention Naomi positively and Mike negatively.

I’ve known both Mike Ferreira and Naomi Patridge measured in decades. In both cases, on various issues, we have agreed, disagreed or simply agreed to disagree. In both cases I have known each of them to reach out to seek solutions to problems. We need more people on the City Council who understand the concept of agreeing to disagree and moving on to the next issue to work together.

If the City Council majority is unwilling to reach out at this point, everyone will lose.

Ken Johnson

Grady has definitely shown that he does not want to compromise or try and reach a middle ground. A Moderate would have to be someone who is involved no matter what the person is up against (to try and show a middle ground despite any sort of polarized view).


How has Jim Grady show he does not want to compromise?  Please be specific.

I don’t expect everyone to compromise every time.  But I do expect them to do it sometimes. For that reason, I’m much more interested in examples of compromise than I am in examples of failure to compromise.  I’d like someone to put forward a person they believe is a moderate and cite an example to demonstrate it.


Sometimes, more often than not now, with the current majority on the City Council, Jim Grady who is the only moderate member has to draw the Hard Line with the antics of all of the shark-like, Special Interest/“Property Rights” individuals who are trying to undo the City’s protective land use policies & laws. Jim Grady is doing a wonderful job of defending these policies & laws!

Barb Mauz

Muteff is no moderate.  Speaking from personal experience, I can assure you that his style of “attack politics” will do NOTHING to promote an agenda of moderation and compromise here on the Coastside.  While I do not question his dedication, I feel that his communications style is unprofessional, at best.

Will the public be able to ask the candidates questions at the meeting on 7/11? Or is it just the council doing the interview?

Steve Habelow
<email>[email protected]</email>



Hal, the shotgun approach makes it difficult to address your Comment, particularly since you don’t seem to have a very clear understanding of many of the issues you address.  But, for starters, I have never suggested that the City Manager should be fired, as you claim.  However, I would not say the same for the City Council, under the leadership of then mayor Mike Ferreira, who authorized such an inappropriate disregard of City Code and Emergency Plans.

And, if you don’t belong to an organization that permits freedom of individual expression, perhaps you should join Coastside Community First.  CCF has a highly diverse membership which actively encourages debate and independent expression outside of group consensus, as I am doing here.

Ah yes… the moderate.  I’m afraid I wasn’t thinking in terms of a HMB no-growth moderate when I labeled George Muteff as such.  That type of “moderate” has Mr. Ferreira’s fingerprints… and signatures all over it.  The Ailanto fiasco is a conspicuous example of his handiwork.  What started out as an approved City project, fair to both sides, is now a debilitating, very expensive to all, tar baby, from which no one will emerge unscathed.  The obvious attempts by Mr. Ferreira to disparage a proposal for an additional roadway along the foothills clearly demonstrate his distain for positions other than his own.  He repositioned the Ailanto project to ensure that, once built, it would shut off any possibility of another roadway into our community.  And, the contrivance and use of wetland designations for this purpose is an insult to every fair minded property owner, and is now pervasive on our coastside.

There are many other issues I could address, such as the gross-net lot area resolution and the Kehoe ditch, but to what end?  Suffice to say, Mike Ferreira may be your moderate—- he’s my extremist.

More to the point, perhaps there is a better label for George Muteff.  Because of his unwavering efforts in pursuit of administration transparency and rationality maybe he should more properly be identified as Saint George.  That would certainly more clearly define his position and intent; a “heads up” for the dragons.



I released this comment, but I’m pretty much done with the use of the term “no-growth” to describe people who insist that developers follow the law. It’s being used (as it always has been) as a smear.

There is no evidence to support the idea that Ferreira, Grady, or any other LCP-supported candidates for that matter, are no-growthers. As I’ve pointed out here before, when they were in the majority, HMB grew at a very healthy clip and new developments were added to the pipeline.  To use “no-growth” to describe them flies in the face of the facts.

In the future, I think I’m going to limit the use of “no-growth” to cases where the evidence warrants it.  For example, “Candidate X’s policy of allowing no new residential construction shows he’s a no-growther.”

I also note that Dale has abandoned his effort to claim George Muteff is a moderate.

I don’t believe that is fair assessment for the term no-growther Barry. For example, The issue of the El Granada pipeline replacement project smells alot like no-growthers trying to stifle infrastructure improvements for fear that somehow more developments will happen. Correct me if I am wrong but it sounds like the facts are that even though the project was granted a CDP in 1999, certain folks felt the need to re-review and try and see if something can be found to hinder this improvement project. I think you will also find the facts to be that HMB growing at a healthy clip is “in spite” of all of the political maneuverings to try and prevent developments. All at a cost of the current community losing out on needed improvements to our area. I am not saying that certain folks do NOT want to improve our community, I am saying that there seems to be a certain agenda that is more important, thus a higher priority. The El-Granada pipeline project is an example of this.


To label people who differ about the necessity or legality of the pipeline, or whether CCWD has their paperwork in order, as “no-growthers” is to say something about their motives that may or may not apply to some of them, but certainly does not apply to all of them.

I know that some people are concerned about the way that CCWD goes about building pipelines, want to make certain that CCWD follows the letter of the law, believe that CCWD has targeted some sensitive land for its pipeline, are concerned that the pipeline is unnecessarily growth-inducing, or simply don’t trust the motives of CCWD board.  I’m not advocating any of these positions. But it’s possible to believe any or all of those things and not be a “no growther”.

If anyone questions actions or the policies of CCWD they should bring those concerns to the Water District. CCWD follows the letter of the law. CCWD conducts its business in the open according to California law. It tries to answer all questions and provide the rationale for the decisions it makes to anyone who requests it.

The justification for the appeals of the El Granada pipeline project were based upon its presumed “growth inducing” size. The size in fact was selected by the district engineer to provide adequate water pressure for fire protection with gravity flow. That is physics not politics. The Coastal Commission agreed with the CCWD engineering analysis.

I am not privy to the motivations of others, but I do know what motivated the CCWD Board to approve the engineering design of the El Granada pipeline and it was not growth. Given that I can understand why Mr. Olsen would see things the way he does; the opposition to the El Granada based their opposition on growth. That they may see other issues too, as Mr. Parr suggests, may be true as well.

All that said, the pipeline was fully and legally vetted according the laws of California and the Federal government.

Jim Larimer

I agree with you, and the key to your statement is what sort of position in the community are those folks where the label does fit. In El Granadas pipeline situation, even after the letter of the law has been followed, and the project was supposedly able to move forward, you have to seriously consider why certain folks felt the need to re-review (aren’t they breaking the law?). What interests are they really serving, and is that in line with the community’s desire?? I’m pretty sure the majority of folks in our community are not for building out the coastside, with dozens of developments and concrete from Montara to Pescadero. But, when someone who has owned an empty lot for say 20 years, in a tract of homes that was originally designed for all parcels to be built out, and they are now told they can’t build their home because there is not enough water. In addition, the neighbors (taxpayers) have to put up with an empty lot full of weeds and is very unattractive and unsafe to the neighborhood. Now whose interests should come first??

Mr. Larimer,

You wrote:

“The justification for the appeals of the El Granada pipeline project were based upon its
presumed “growth inducing” size. The size in fact was selected by the district engineer to provide adequate water pressure for fire protection with gravity flow. That is physics not politics. The Coastal Commission agreed with the CCWD engineering analysis.

But you omit the conditions of approval that were imposed.  Please explain what those conitions were - and please try to be especially clear about how and when CCWD would be required to apply for a CDP if you wish to use the increased capacity of the larger pipe for serving more than the already-approved number of permitted connections.  Mr. Ric Lohman and others who sought this seem to consider it to be quite significant.  Isn’t it?

Hal M. Bogner
Half Moon Bay

Mr. Larimer:  when responding to Hal Bogner’s questions, perhaps you could also include an explanation of why the CCWD board is so upset with the conditions which the CCC imposed when granting approval of the El Granada pipeline.  Those conditions were specifically to insure that it isn’t growth-inducing.  Since you claim that it’s not growth-inducing, I don’t see what’s wrong with any conditions which insure that.

The CCWD board has even discussed challenging or not complying with some of the conditions.

Isn’t “to insure that it isn’t growth inducing” the same thing as saying “no-growth”? Yet again our infrastructure needs are held hostage for fear of over-development.

No, insuring that something isn’t growth-inducing is NOT the same as saying no-growth.  Growth-inducing in our case would mean fueling even more growth than is currently allowed/planned.  As conditioned by the CCC, the pipeline can provide service for the amount of growth allowed in the certified LCPs.  The CCC-imposed restrictions that Jim Larimer objects to simply insure that CCWD can not use the expanded pipeline to service more than what they’re currently allowed to serve.  What they’re currently allowed to serve is substantially more than what they’re currently serving, and that provides for a large amount of growth.  CCWD has a very large number of sold but not-yet-used connections, and many unsold priority connections.  That is the growth that the expanded pipeline is allowed to serve, but no more.  It’s the “no more” part that Jim Larimer and others object to, whether he admits to that in those words or not.

Mr. Olsen,

I expect that when and if Mr. Larimer provides the answers that I requested, you will see that your question will be moot.  (Now, whether Mr. Larimer makes that clear, or whether someone like Mr. Lohman or Mr. Woren will need to correct or clarify…well, that remains to be seen.)

It’s one thing to plan for and approve infrastructure that is consistent with and ACCOMMODATES planned growth, it’s another thing to approve infrastructure that INDUCES growth above and beyond that called for in applicable general plans and local coastal programs, infrastructure that directly or indirectly:

—Fosters unplanned economic or population growth that precipitates the need for construction of additional housing; 

—Taxes community service facilities requiring new ones; or

—Encourages or facilitates other activities that cause significant environmental effects.

If we support land use planning and financial management we should of necessity be concerned with the potential for growth inducing impacts of our land use activities. Unforseen impacts result in unforseen financial costs and unmitigated environmental damage. THe Coastal Commission is doing it’s job. How about CCWD?

Deborah Ruddock

Thanks for you responses Leonard and Hal. I obviously do not know enough about the El-Granada pipeline improvements to argue about current capacity vs. desired capacity. I will let Mr. Larimer comment on your questions.

However, I still can’t understand how growth-inducing is not the same thing as “no-growth” when it comes to increased water supply. From what you’ve stated, the assumption in your logic is that someone would say “Hey we have more than plenty water connections, let’s build more houses”. I can’t see that ever happening since water would be a concern near the bottom of a whole list of other concerns. Unless of course it were for plots on streets that were originally planned to have houses.

Ray, a certain amount of growth is provided for in the planning documents—the City’s and the County’s Local Coastal Programs.  Anything which would support more growth than is spelled out in the LCPs is growth inducing.

To approve a new subdivision, under state law the planning agency (city or county, accordingly) must make 4 findings.  I don’t remember all 4 and don’t know how to find that code section, but two of those 4 required findings are that sewer and water capacity are available.  So if something like Pacific Ridge were to come along today, such a subdivision could not legally be approved because most or all of the findings can’t be made.

So… if things like sewer and water have been overbuilt, it makes it much easier for developers to argue for new subdivisions—and more density in existing developed areas—beyond what’s allowed in the existing planning documents (the LCPs.)

The County’s Land Use Plan (LUP) for the Coastside discusses infrastructure “leapfrogging”.  Simply put, when one part of the infrastructure which is well-funded (it mentions sewer capacity), expansion of same puts intense pressure to expand other parts of the infrastructure which aren’t as well funded (roads and schools), and therefore infrastructure expansion must be phased in order to allow other infrastructure to catch up.

The primary constraint to development on the Coastside from 1988 to 2000 was lack of sewer capacity.  When the sewer plant overexpansion came online in 2000, the next constraint became water.  So now we have this ridiculous situation of lots of residential wells in an urban area.  Nobody has found any other urbanized area in this country with such a density of private residential wells.  The experts are appalled.  Now, if CCWD wasn’t hell-bent on facilitating additional growth, they would alter their policies to favor getting people off of those wells and onto the public water system, instead of favoring new development.

To tie the bow on this, any infrastructure capacity built beyond what is required to serve the current buildout plan (which is a plan for growth) is growth inducing.  Infrastructure which is sized to support only the current buildout plan and no more is not growth inducing.  The Coastal Commission conditions insure that only the currently planned growth can be served by the pipeline expansion, therefore those conditions provide for growth without such provision being growth inducing.

Why do I say the current sewer plant was overbuilt?  Simple:  At buildout of the LCPs, Granada Sanitary District and Half Moon Bay will be stuck holding the bag on a large number of unsold sewer connections.  Therefore the overexpansion of the plant was growth inducing because there will be pressure to increase the buildout numbers in order to sell the excess remaining sewer capacity.