Yee offers HMB $10 million bill to put park on Beachwood

Breaking news

By on Fri, August 15, 2008

Senator Leland Yee has offered to sponsor a bill to allocate $10 million in parks bond money to the city of Half Moon Bay to assist in the acquisition of Beachwood from developer Charles "Chop" Keenan.

With the defeat of AB1991, the city is required by its settlement with Keenan to buy the Beachwood property from him for $18 million. The proposed bill, which Yee’s office says faces no opposition from environmental organizations, would provide the city with up to $10 million in Proposition 1C (2006) money to create a public park on the site.

Although this would prevent the city from building houses on the site, the city has already said that it would lose money if it had to build houses. In June the city released a financial analysis that claimed it would lose $35 million if it could develop as many as 50 houses on the site.

It is unknown how much of the site, which contains wetlands, could be turned into usable park space.

I spoke with Adam Keigwin in Senator Yee’s office and he said that although this was a new proposal, it was still possible to get the bill through the Legislature in the current session.

In June, the city received $5 million from the Association of Bay Area Governments insurance pool as a result of its loss of the Beachwood suit.

Bravo to Senator Yee and to his staff. Both the Settlement and its AB1991 subset were a bizarre result of an unwise capitulation to an upside-down court decision that should have been appealed.  But Senator Yee knew that the people of Half Moon Bay were not the cause of the fiasco and so he found a way to substantially reduce the burden on them. Good for him.

As I understand it the schedule is still tight for this new bill is to get through on time. Let’s hope it makes it.

Essentially, with this new bill, HMB now has to come up with only $3 million in new money to make Keenan go away.

$18 million owed to Keenan less $10 million from Yee bill less $5 million from ABAG insurance.

The recent increase in the tourist hotel tax will bring in additional $700,000 per year to the City, so the $3 million net cost can easliy be paid off in a few years.

Not to mention, now we won’t have to contend with the traffic and other negative impacts of 129 new McMansions built on top of wetlands in violation of the law.

This is a great deal for HMB.

Hopefully, the HMB city council will recognize that this is the best deal they will ever get.

For a mere $3 million, HMB gets more park space and buries some really bad decisions by city government under the rug.

The citizens of HMB can repay Californian by voting their current city council out of office as soon as possible. I hope they do.

Thank you Senator Yee and staff! I hope that the CC4 has not delayed to long to make it happen.

Kevin, it looks like you forgot to include the millions the CC4 squandered on AB1991 and when I looked at the City budget, it looked like they had already committed to spending that $5 million from ABAG.

CUSD would regain the title from HMB of ‘Greatest Squanderer of Public Funds’ with the $15,000,000 lost by CUSD on delaying for a decade the new Cunha Middle school while sadly fighting for the failed Wavecrest development site!

I looked at that ‘other’ web site to see what problems they found with Santa Claus. They moaned about ‘lost’ income to schools from property taxes - apparently they are not knowledgeable enough to understand that CUSD receives funds based on daily attendance in the schools and not based on property taxes.   Many of those that could afford the new houses in that price range are now sending their kids to other schools.

Charlie ‘Charles’ Gardner and Jolanda Schreurs led the effort to have CUSD vote to support AB1991 at the 5 June 08 meeting - only John Moseley voted to oppose AB1991. When Charlie ‘Charles’ Gardner and Jolanda Schreurs demanded to know why John Moseley was opposing AB1991 John explained simply that AB1991 was a dead bill - reality! I had asked the Board to table the item, remove it from the Agenda, as any vote on this unnecessary divisive item was not in the best interest of our School District!

As a further demonstration of ironic comedy,   Charlie ‘Charles’ Gardner and Jolanda Schreurs led a discussion decrying the need for another - now doomed by their own prior vote to support AB1991 - Parcel Tax Vote during the discussion of approving this years School Budget at the 26 June 08 meeting.  Apparently some people have short term memory problems.

Ken Johnson

Ken, if you want to submit comments on the CUSD, you and the other candidates are welcome to submit all kinds of content and comments in the appropriate places.  But this comment is off-topic. Please keep to the topic of the new proposal or other parks-related issues.

Tonight the HMB City Council unanimously decided to support Senator Yees assistance. 

Senator Yee found a way to both help the people of Half Moon Bay and to keep the environmental laws and Coastal Act in tact.  I would encourage everyone to send letters of support for this legislation to Senator Yee to help get this through the legislature and signed by the governor.

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 4048
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4008

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The unprecedented volley of opposition by state-wide environmental organizations, both big and small, is a major reason for AB 1991’s timely dismissal.

Let us not forget the letter writing campaigns to our legislators that came from our hearts.  My belief in grass roots movements and those passionate protectors of the Coastal Act has been upheld.

Thank you Senator Yee, and your staff, for protecting the place in which we live.