New Player in the Saltworks Wars

There's a new group in town opposing Saltworks.

Got a call out of the blue this week from a reporter asking me about called Redwood City Neighbors United (RCNU) whose sole purpose in life is to stop the Saltworks Project. Not discuss. Not review. Stop. No other opinion need to be offered.

OK. In our polarized world having an all or nothing position is not unusual.  So I'm good with that.  However, one of the founders, Dan Ponti, was indirectly quoted in the coverage in the SM Daily Journal that while "the group does not have a uniform opinion on what, if anything, should go on the site ... the effort is to take the project off the table completely so that conversation can take place."

No that tells me that Dan and his buds might actually have another idea of what to do with not only the site, but all the issues that face us.  And I want to let him know...

Dan, there is room on the table for other ideas.

Look, even IF there were an actual plan on the table today from DMB (and there isn't) it will take between 18 and 24 months to complete the draft EIR.  Nothing will go before the city for evaluation until that happens.  Right now, DMB is still revising the plan, based on input they are getting from various public and private sources and nothing official is going to even start until they are done revising the plan.  So it's not like we are going to fill and concrete over the 1400 acres tomorrow... or even next year.  So we have a lot of time to consider options.

That's what our little group at Sustainable Redwood City is looking for.  We'd like to see options. In fact, when it comes down to a decision, we'd like to see at least three options for what to do with the site that can go before the electorate.

And getting those options out of people opposing Saltworks is like pulling teeth on a live shark.

So, let's see the plans.  Let's put them on the table.  That means telling all of us what you want to do, how it's to be funded and how it will affect/benefit Redwood City.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Eggbert October 05, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Ah, Mr. Covey. You've donned your Hall Monitor uniform again. Alas for your efforts to dictate, the new group seems well capable of determining its own raison d'etre without adopting your priorities. Your premise is that they must offer an alternative for the site. Certainly a worthy point of view - but it's yours, not theirs. If one sees a child on the railroad tracks and a locomotive bearing down, one deals with the immediate crisis: get the child off the tracks, or stop the train in time. One doesn't insist that alternative locations for the child be debated first; one doesn't pause to ponder how future mishaps might be avoided. These legitimate considerations can be weighed separately. It's a logical fallacy (and come now, you know this) to say one's efforts to stop a bad plan are only legitimized by offering a new and different plan. It's perfectly valid for a "no" to be pure - not amended to a "no, but" or "no, and". Likewise, your assertion that nothing is happening now in the development of the Cargill space is more than a tad disingenuous. A great deal is happening behind the scenes, and has been for several years now. Only a political naif would await formal developments to weigh in. But again - you know that.
Matt Leddy October 05, 2011 at 06:17 PM
It seems Mr. Covey has a short memory. Our community was engaged in a great visioning process for our Bayfront during the recent update of our City's General Plan. When City staff brought forward an additional Option 7 that included Port expansion, community park/playing fields and marsh restoration, Cargill immediately requested that their property be removed from the General Plan update. The City Council granted their request and the seven options were taken off the table. Dan Ponti's comment is right on. The community never had a chance to complete the conversation about what should happen on 1,436 acres of designated open space when Cargill no longer wants to make salt. That's not opinion - that's a fact.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive October 05, 2011 at 10:08 PM
Sorry, Matt. I guess you didn't get the invitations to all the different meetings that happened around the city where people could make input. I went to several and there were lots of great ideas, but there was no one that came forward with a plan, just ideas. Nothing wrong with ideas, but eventually you have to put some flesh and bone to the effort. There have been, as far as I've heard, no other formal proposals made or plans submitted that include the cost, the funding source and the maintenance of anything on the Cargill site, other than "leave it as it is," which will be one of the options put forth. There will also be options put forth by city staff that will include all that, as well. What I am asking for is proposals and plans from someone other than city staff.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive October 05, 2011 at 10:17 PM
Eggy, Eggy, Eggy. You take so much out of context I hardly know where to begin. I do know exactly what's happening because I go down and talk to the planning department about all kinds of stuff happening in the city. And I know that DMB is constantly revising their plans based on input from the consultants they have hired for the purpose of looking at their proposal. But to use your analogy, the train tracks have not been laid yet no matter what you believe or say. It is an open field with only the initial proposal to put a railway through. To worry about children on the tracks is entirely premature. As far as the new group, a report in the Patch said they are coming up with new ideas, which is not what was reported elsewhere. (So, good job, Stacie). It's a great thing that someone has decided to make the effort to come up with another plan for the Cargill site. I really want to hear it. I want to know how to get wetland restoration within the next 10 years on the site. I want to know how we can get enough housing in Redwood City without having to have a liberal use of eminent domain. I want to know how we are going to solve the flooding problem in my neighborhood. I want to know how we are going to afford to build levees along 101 so I don't have to evacuate my home along with thousands of others as the tides rise. I want to know if I will ver see more than a half-acre of parkland to service the 15,000 people in my part of town. Am I asking too much?
Lou Covey, The Local Motive October 06, 2011 at 03:09 PM
Eggy, let me give you an analogy from my perspective: Iou and I aresitting on the roof of my house and the flood waters are rising. They are lapping against the eaves of the roof. In the distance I see a motorboat coming. I wave to them and am about to call for help but you shush me and say, "Motorboats are environmentally unacceptable. Let them pass." I point out that the water is rising and there is no other foreseeable option. You respond, "There you go being the hall monitor again." Can you see where that might be frustrating?
Jack Hickey October 07, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Right, Lou. Someone like Cargill who will put THEIR money where THEIR mouth is.
Sharon Levin October 07, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Lordy Lou, that's the worst analogy ever and does not really address Eggbert's point at all. Cargill has been on the agenda in front of and behind the scenes for quite a long time (see Rosanne Foust's being fined for her conflict of interest). How much information do we need that the oceans are rising and building on the Bay is a bad idea?
Sharon Levin October 07, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Well, that's it in a nutshell. Cargill is all about spreading money around in order to decimate the environment.
Jack Hickey October 07, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Politics make strange bedfellows. I find myself agreeing with William Nack, Business Manager for the AFL-CIO (BCTD) who supported the ill-conceived idea of relocating Sequoia Hospital down by the Bayshore. You may recall my referendum petitioning effort which derailed that idea. Now, Sequoia Hospital is undergoing a major renovation, which has created the jobs which Mr. Nack seeks. See Mr. Nack's letter: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=110052&title=Letter: Saltworks and sea levels&eddate=10/06/2011 04:39:00 See also, Elissa Jones letter: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?type=opinions&title=Letter: The Saltworks proposal is the solution to flooding&id=110143 and Magdalena Mora letter: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?type=opinions&title=Letter: The Saltworks proposal is the solution to flooding&id=110143
Lou Covey, The Local Motive October 07, 2011 at 08:06 PM
Ya know, I think I'm just gonna sit back and watch what happens now. ;)
Jack Hickey October 07, 2011 at 08:06 PM
Sorryabout the 2 broken links. You can view the letters at: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/news_listing.php?type=opinions
Eggbert October 07, 2011 at 08:50 PM
"Eggy, Eggy, Eggy." George W. Bush's affectation of nicknames for those around him comes to mind. Overtly chummy, they in truth betrayed a veiled aggression, usually turning on insult ("Turd Blossom" for Karl Rove) or ethnic stereotype ("Fredo" Gonzales). He was in fact degrading the target, asserting a pecking order. It was sociopathy disguised as sociability - a play for control. (These verbal plays for dominance took physical form in his "friendly" - and wildly inappropriate - manhandling of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 2006 G8 summit.) Bush's intelligence will ever be argued. But he was in fact quite clever in his cheery, frat-boy nicknaming behavior. While others, through courtesy or protocol addressed him with the honorific "Mr." or "President", he diminished their standing and boosted his own while securing plausible deniability: he was only having fun! This was good-natured jousting! Only a crank or a sourpuss could object! In Bush's case, he was a classic dry drunk, the product of cold parenting that left him angry and insecure. He needed to manipulate issues and people, and to obfuscate as necessary rather than engage respectfully and honestly. To do otherwise risked exposing his self-perceived inadequacy. I'm not sure what produces the same behavior in others.
Sharon Levin October 08, 2011 at 03:23 PM
Ah and San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission adds some sanity. Woo Hoo! http://www.bcdc.ca.gov/proposed_bay_plan/bp_amend_1-08.shtml
Barb Valley October 08, 2011 at 10:00 PM
And the Saltworks and DMB agree! http://redwoodcity.patch.com/articles/developers-thumbs-up-new-bay-lands-policy-amendments
Barb Valley October 08, 2011 at 10:23 PM
Ms Foust was not fined. She had relied on the advice of the City Attorney, Since receiving notice from the FPPC she has recused herself from any and all discussion of the Saltworks during City Cpuncil meeting.
Sharon Levin October 08, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Oh puh leeze Ms. Valley, I took that state ethics exam and at almost every question I thought "Rosanne Foust, Rosanne Foust, Rosanne Foust" The exam is very clear that it is not legality but the PERCEPTION of a conflict of interest that causes an ethics issue. Any thinking person could have seen that, Ms. Foust chose to ignore her responsibility to the public's trust in order to build business (and therefore the people who pay her) in Redwood City
aallan wofchuck October 09, 2011 at 04:01 PM
The bay is a national treasure We have destroyed it in the past by filling it and developement. We need more affordable Houseing .Build on the el camino and down town redwood city Preserve the bay and rwestore it to it natural beauty Allan wofchuck
Eggbert October 09, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Which may well be true, but doesn't address Ms. Valley's very relevant assertion that no fine was assessed. It is rather dazzling that anyone with Ms. Foust's education and legal sophistication could imagine her position could be considered at all impartial. Makes for a convenient and profitable "mistake", to say the least.
Sharon Levin October 10, 2011 at 02:31 AM
Eggbert, you and Ms. Valley are correct. I stand corrected on the 'fine' part, Here's what happened: Rosanne Foust's double duty as a city councilwoman voting for the project and the CEO of a pro-business lobby endorsing the project isn't kosher, the Fair Political Practices Commission said Again, though, her conflict of interest was VERY obvious. Is she like Mayor Ira, not caring how things look, although having the public trust IS part of their job?
Sharon Levin October 18, 2011 at 01:46 AM
Heard this on Quest on KQED this a.m. If not for forward thinking people, our Bay would be a garbage dump and a river, not a bay. Check out the story and the scary, scary photos from what it was like before Save the Bay: http://science.kqed.org/quest/audio/the-amazing-transformation-of-san-franciscos-sludge-puddle/
Jack Hickey October 18, 2011 at 06:06 AM
I don't think the Saltworks project would turn the Bay into a garbage dump. Nor do I believe that Foster City was a mistake. But then, we all have our opinions.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive October 18, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Exactly right, Sharon, and Cargill has been front and center in making the restoration of the bay possible. http://vimeo.com/23396384. Save the Bay stopped the expansion of development on the bay. Cargill made it possible to restore the bay to a size it has not been for 100 years.


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