Does the City Ever Listen to the People?
Proposition E will be on the ballot in June. This is the General Plan Protection Initiative that was circulated twice. A number of people are walking around talking to people about this initiative. Overwhelming the feedback from residents is they are voting for it. Why? Because they want to preserve the small town feel of Chula Vista.
Personally I, Theresa Acerro, chose to live in Chula Vista because I did not like San Diego-too much traffic, too many tall buildings, too noisy, too dirty. The small town atmosphere impressed me; people sized buildings, and friendly people in Chula Vista. Unfortunately we now have traffic problems due to run away growth in the east, but the west still is a nice place to live with the character of a small town.
It is unfortunate that the city council seems determined to destroy this small town feeling. The citizens of Chula Vista have consistently told the city how they feel, but the city has consistently tried to ignore us and do what they want. These are graphs summarizing the thousands of comments the city received as part of the visioning process for the General Plan Update. I attended most of these meetings and I have a copy of several thousand comments people submitted. Unfortunately few are reflected in the Plan adopted and even fewer in the recently adopted Urban Core Specific Plan.
How clearer could citizens have been that their number one concern was preserving community character?
Small Town atmosphere means no high rises one would think. I personally feel that the General Plan Protection Initiative does not go far enough. I think citizens should get to vote on any and all General Plan amendments. There really is no other way that we can protect the small town character that is essential to the character of this community. Elected officials unfortunately spend a fortune getting elected, and greedy developers with no concern for the community donate to campaigns way to generously. We desperately need to restrict donations from independent groups in some way. Some of the city's planning staff were hired specifically to promote the run away unsustainable growth we have experienced and have little concern for what the existing residents want.
It is unfortunate that this initiative does not include all areas of Chula Vista, including the bayfront, trolley stations and Eastern Urban Core. All major projects should go to a vote of the people. All the people should get to vote on the bayfront, but for other projects at least the people living within a few miles of the project. Unfortunately this is the only way the citizens can be assured of a voice. Commissions and Council give way more time and consideration to developers than residents. There was a recent story in the Union Tribune about this.
The Initiative actually is a very small step for the people, which hopefully will pass and force the city and developers to actually spend the time to explain their projects thoroughly and listen to residents concerns.
Obviously the only one wanting density at transit stations is someone working for the city. The residents sure tried to make it clear it was not them. People want to preserve the character of their neighborhoods. It is a shame the city only deals with the public through consultants who sometimes get input, which the city ignores, unless it agrees with their preconceived ideas. Staff generally just does what they always intended to do regardless of citizen input with the blessing of the council. Voters have a chance in June to make it clear we have had enough of this lack of respect.