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Hi neighbors: Last night the Council affirmed its decision to move to districting and its selection of the Purple map. Sho Tay, Peter Amundson and Roger Chandler voted for it. April Verlato and Tom Beck voted against districting, saying they were willing to challenge the issue in the courts. Over the past two months, April and Tom have done all they could to bring reason, fairness and common sense to the districting issue, but they have consistently been overruled.
April pointed out that the entire process has not been about achieving what is best for the City but as a way for the developers to once again have free reign to build whatever they want. Even though the drawing of the districts in the Purple map is ridiculous, clearly gerrymandered and disenfranchises a large majority of voters, Tay, Chandler and Amundson voted for it.
I'm particularly disappointed with Peter. When he was running for election, Peter promised at a meeting at the home of Donna Perez that he would support the goal of sensible and harmonious development. His vote last night paves the way for the resumption of mansionization in the City.
Peter should have sided with April and Tom against districting or at least voted for the more balanced Orange map. The Orange map created two Council seats in the North, one in the Center and two in the South. It was drawn by the demographer employed by the City and it reflected a fair and even distribution of voters across the City. Many people, including former Mayor Gary Kovacic, were in favor of it.
Instead Peter joined hands with Tay and Chandler and chose the Purple map, gerrymandered so that each current council member keeps his/her seat and opening the door to a developer-controlled Council.
Without the support of the voters in North Arcadia and those throughout the City who supported the Saving Arcadia effort, Peter would not have been elected. Many of us helped place his signs, wrote letters, made calls and urged our neighbors to vote for him. His support of districting and the Purple map is a betrayal. He has chosen to allow the 3100 voters in South Arcadia to rule the City with three Council seats while the North, with 5100 voters, is left with two.
His excuse is the possibility that a lawsuit filed by the City of Poway, CA in federal court might overturn the requirement for districting. First of all, there is no guarantee that Poway will win. Second, it could take years to settle the case. In the meantime, the Council will be packed with developer-backed cronies.
Mark my words, the next thing we will see is an effort to roll back the reasonable building codes that were put in place last year to contain out-of-control development. Despite warnings from Chandler and Tay that these codes would hurt property values, the opposite is true--property values have increased considerably. This proves that tighter controls on development do have a positive effect on prices. And I believe that the current codes could have been improved even more if we had had a Council that represented the wishes of the people.
When Amundson, Tay and Chandler begin their effort to undo the City's building codes and encourage their developer friends and backers to build a monstrosity next door to you, I hope you will get involved and work to oppose them. When they run for reelection, we must support and vote for candidates to replace them. The three of them need to go. Their vote for districting and the Purple map proves they do not have the City's best interests at heart.
Thanks to all of you who paid attention to this important matter, got involved and showed up at City Council meetings.