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Port Fails to Live Up to Pond 20 Public Input Promise

Plans for how to develop the land known as Pond 20 were to be shared at a final public meeting last week. That never happened.

Dennis Davidson and his wife, Marie, have lived blocks from San Diego’s Pond 20 for two decades.

“I said: ‘It sounds to me like they’ve got a set up and they’re trying to guide us to that set up,” he said a week after a public meeting Dec. 4 in Otay Mesa.

“We said to the guy from the Port during the meeting: ‘Wouldn’t it be easier if you showed us what you have and we tell you if we like it?’ He said” ‘We don’t have any plans yet’ and I said: ‘I worked for the government for 30 odd years. Don’t tell me you don’t have anything.’”

Said Davidson: “They had an idea and were trying to guide people to that idea.”

For the better part of the past year, the Port of San Diego has told the public that once its staff formed an opinion on how to develop 95 acres known as Pond 20, that plan would be shared with the public before a final recommendation was made to the Board of Port Commissioners.

The final step in a process outlined in an agreement between the Port and cities of San Diego and Imperial Beach never happened, and the change in course was not mentioned at a final public outreach meeting held Dec. 4.

IB Patch learned of plans to turn the majority of the land into a mitigation bank with some commercial development in November. A mitigation bank is land used to offset or mitigate the environmental impact of development projects elsewhere.

Those plans were to be discussed at the meeting last week, but staff decided that discussing particular plans before they are given to the Board of Port Commissioners would be getting “ahead of the process,” said Port spokeswoman Tanya Castaneda.

“There was internal discussion at the Port about whether we were getting ahead of the board and ahead of the process, so they decided to pull back and get more general feedback at the meeting,” she said.

Sharing recommendations with the public before the board hears the plan was agreed upon in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Port and the cities of San Diego and Imperial Beach in January. Port staff and a website devoted to Pond 20 also emphasized this process.

Meetings to gather public comment started in February.

Letters of Interest were solicited for proposals on how to develop the land this summer.

Meetings were held with the cities of Imperial Beach and San Diego this fall. Port staff then drafted its recommendation for how the land on the border of Imperial Beach should be used.

“This was a public outreach meeting that we’re not mandated to do. We did them because we wanted to do them. They’re not part of CEQA or anything. It’s not state law,” Castaneda said.

The Port is still committed to the public playing a role in deciding what happens to Pond 20, she said.

Opinions offered at the Dec. 4 meeting will go toward deciding how the land is used in the future.

The best place for public comment on use of the land may be in front of the Port Commission when staff makes a formal recommendation next year, she said.

“Let’s say that they did go ahead with that, floating a recommendation [at the meeting],” Castaneda said. “Members of the public may have thought: ‘Well I made my public comment, but really, the place for them to comment is at the [board] meeting.’”

Comments made at input meetings were recorded, but comments made at the board meeting will go into the meeting minutes, a public document, Castaneda said.

Deborah Cook of Imperial Beach was one of roughly 20 members of the public who attended the meeting last Tuesday. The other half of the room was people with an interest to develop the land or Port of San Diego staff.

Cook said Imperial Beach and the South Bay have already given up enough land so other people can benefit from business development. An environmental element can be a part of what is built there, but she wants to see part of the land used for businesses like Pier 39 in San Francisco.

“My personal opinion is, just living in the South Bay, we’ve already given up a lot to nature and the birds,” Cook said. “I think it’s time for us to have something down here. We don’t have any businesses. Why do you want to come to Imperial Beach? Why? What’s the big draw here?”

Imperial Beach is a nice place to live and worth visiting, but this corner of San Diego Bay needs to attract more than bird watchers, Cook said.

“I think we’re too landlocked by all this environmental stuff already,” she said. “Imperial Beach has nothing.”

When the Port bought 836 acres of land from the Western Salt Co. in 1998 in south San Diego Bay, 722 acres was handed to the state to offset the environmental impact of building Terminal 2 at San Diego International Airport.

Pond 20 was then set aside for future development.

Any development that takes place in the area must take into account protected wetlands in the area, said Michelle White with the Port.

“I don’t think there’s anything really committing us to development,” White said. In the case of Pond 20, a mitigation bank may be considered development, she said.

Among Letters of Interest sent to the Port this summer were ideas to build an Irish sports field or dinner theater, but the majority of proposals recommended a mitigation bank.

If people like the mitigation bank option, that’s OK, White said.

“If people feel there’s already enough mitigation in the South Bay, that’s OK too. We just want the opinions,” she said at last week’s meeting.

The Port has already committed about $300,000 to make short-term aesthetic improvements to Pond 20, said White, the Port’s environmental policy manager.

Juliane Wright lives in apartments on the San Diego side of 13th Street and said she would like to see Pond 20 become some kind of environmental development so it can be tied in with nearby preserved land like the Otay Valley Regional Park, San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Tijuana Estuary.

“I personally like the idea of tying those areas together,” she said. “I think we’ve already started something down here in IB in terms of making it an ecotourism area and I think this fills in the blanks a little bit.”

“The reason why I like this one is because Dr. Mike McCoy backs it up,” she said about a mitigation bank proposal presented by the Mitigation Stakeholder Team.

That particular project is supported by stakeholder team members WiLDCOAST, the Environmental Health Coalition, Hornblower Cruises and Events, BAE Systems and the San Diego Port Tenants Association, Sunroad Enterprises and Southwest Wetland Interpretive Association.

Roger Alan Benham December 14, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Jon Hall: Yes, I agree that the "the water based rules, the requirement for mitigation, and the territorial rights of the other agencies" make things very difficult for the PCH Dinner Show concept. But I also believe anything really good for IB/Nestor will not come easy. I think you are prematuraly throwing in the towel. Did you actually read the proposal? Why do you not care for it?
Roger Alan Benham December 15, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Jon: I remember those days too. We used to hang out near the abandoned treatment plant where there was a 1st class MotoX track. I was probably 10 years old and I would rally the racers with a flag, they would line up, I would drop the flag and they would rip past. The bikes were mostly European, CZs and Huskys, and I am sure that it is where I discovered my calling to study engineering, which has become my livelihood. Sounds crazy, but yes, we did coexist with nature. I remember catching a particular small species of lizard and I would sell them to my friends for 50 cents. It was ok, we did no real harm to the environment. The experiences I had growing up there define who I am, my abilities, and my confidence to be successful in the world. Now we have $100K/year park employees whose mission seems to be to keep people out. The overprotected children are deprived and not allowed to instinctively experience the flora and fauna. It must be very frustrating for them. So, we can never go back, but, the pchdinnershow.com concept would allow us to reenact and preserve these stories. Amazingly, the tourists will pay for this. Just feed them, entertain them, and they will go away smiling. Let’s watch the young people of our community adapt to this new money-making opp. You will be amazed with what they come up with, including preserving culture, foods, music, stunts, theatre, dance, story telling, electronic animation, who knows what else they will discover. All right here in IB!!
Jacki F December 15, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Mr Benham, I know you won't listen. You want to mke money on Pond 20 development. Qiet people want restoration. We represent them.
Roger Alan Benham December 15, 2012 at 04:17 PM
JackiF: I'm listening. What am I hearing? "Making money" is how we pay for restoration projects, or, do you think the cost for these projects comes out of thin air? I consider myself and environmentalist and I value our preserves, but there is a serious and detrimental imbalance in the South Bay. "Making money" is how families survive, and pay for their children's needs, and support the PTA and Foundations at their local schools. Have you compared the financial situation of our PTA and school foundations to those of our immediate neighboring cities? What about our tax base? The people and the children are suffering financially. If you really want to see who is "making money", check out the out of town companies that are supporting land banking, and the private "non profits". The PCH Dinner Show is a means our communtiy focusing on bringing in outside tourist dollars. Who are the "we" and "them" that you are referring to? I'm concerned that you represent a smaller group of citizens than you imply.
Jon Hall December 15, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Roger --- you have asked me. and others, questions here --- let me give you a few answers First, let me tell you who I am --- my family has lived directly across the street from Pond 20 since 1963 --- at the corner of 14th & Donax --- so Pond 20 is literally at my Front Porch --- and since I am still in the house to this day I believe this gives me a vested interest in what happens We do not need any commercial development there --- there are plenty of unused parcels that are capable of handling whatever project someone has in mind What is needed here is community accessible open space area --- one that is designed for family use, for recreational use, and even ecological use Among other uses the area would be suitable as an access point for San Diego Bay (kayaks, paddle boats, etc), an area for family gatherings, and as an educational area for the schools (not unlike the Interpretive Center in CV) (To be continued in another post --- the Patch has a 1500 character limit --- makes it very difficult to expand upon a point) ...
Jon Hall December 15, 2012 at 04:54 PM
To Roger Part II: One thing you need to understand --- beyond my personal dislike of any commercial development there is the logistics of access, noise, infrastructure But most important is the land itself --- if you can call it land --- as you should know the areas where tides naturally fill and empty there is nothing more than a crust of land --- under which is a slurry of muck --- and to build anything heavy requires a lot more than fill dirt --- pilings planted deep into bedrock to halt sinking, a substrate layer to prevent seepage to the top, and constant refilling and resurfacing to level out the outer areas This is plain old Engineering --- not a political game --- not a nefarious agenda --- just reality
Jon Hall December 15, 2012 at 04:55 PM
To Roger Part III: Ask the contractor who just did the work on Palm about the seepage they encountered ...
Jon Hall December 15, 2012 at 04:56 PM
One last thing ... Are you a Benham from Georgia Street ???
Roger Alan Benham December 15, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Jon: Yes, I am a Benham from Georgia Street, the youngest. I am sure we could do a lot of name dropping here. I understand your concern about commercial development, but I feel the PCH Dinner Show is different, as in one-of-a-kind different. I disagree about the engineering aspects. These are the exact type of challenges our community needs – an engineering accomplishment gives us a sense of pride and puts us on the map. We have addressed the fill dirt issue in the proposal, have you read it? Basically, you do not have to fill in the whole 95 acres, and you design certain aspects to accommodate occasional flooding. The PCH Dinner Show would rely heavily on buses that transport guests from all over San Diego County, similar to Germaine’s Luau in Oahu (the bus drivers are professional actors and the show starts when you get on the bus). I've been thinking a lot about all the posts above, please see the following post that represents what I feel is a balanced view. I strongly believe that the Land Mitigation Bank is a non-balanced use of the land that exploits the misinformed, or uninformed, residents of the IB/Nestor.
Roger Alan Benham December 15, 2012 at 05:25 PM
To All: What if we made a fishing pond, like the prior post mentioned, and kept a large area as a big dirt field with natural flora and fauna. Then provide a large enough parking lot to host farmers markets and carnivals so people could access and use the area. Build on the biking theme and incorporate a veledrome and criterium bike race track. Let the public use the land, and the children play in the fields. Then, we sit back and see how the birds, reptiles, and wildlife respond. It may surprise many that the wildlife will thrive, and may even like the area better than the adjoining restoration habitats. This experiment is about proving that we can coexist with nature, rather than the more extremist view in the South Bay that shuts the community out. Let the children go out and skin their knees, learn serendipitously, and value and respect the wildlife. All this could be done with lower cost supervision and regulations and minimum fill dirt, occasional flooding could be tolerated. The land could be held in trust by the Port for future Land Banking needs THAT DIRECTLY BENEFIT THE PEOPLE OF THE SOUTH BAY. This buys us time, why do we have to decide about a permanent change of titlement not? Give the community time to learn about the pros and cons of all the options. OK, I still believe the pchdinnershow.com would complement the above scenario, take up a smaller footprint, and be the $ driver for a lot of good in IB/Nestor. This may be our last opportunity to break the cycle.
Roger Alan Benham December 15, 2012 at 05:34 PM
JWright: At first I liked your idea about having another meeting to discuss the "proposed plans", because I welcome the opportunity to describe the benefits of the PCH Dinner Show. But now I ask, why only one (1) more meeting? Why does all this have to be decided now? This could be the most important issue IB/Nestor will ever face. It is very clear that the citizens of the area do not understand the options and what is at stake. It is very clear that there are special interests that stand to benefit from getting a Land Mitigation Bank rammed through. I made a post this morinng of an option that buys time. Something I believe most citzens would believe is better than the TJ Estuary (I do love the estuary). What do you think?
Jon Hall December 15, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Roger --- the problem with any idea proposed was the amount of money that was need to submit what was required --- as you know it was much more than a *I think we should do this* type of proposal --- they required a professional grade submittal Oh, the reason I ask about who you were --- it makes the following question understandable to you --- and perhaps will let you see my point better Wouldn't it be nice if the field and seasonal ponds were still across from your family home ??? Wouldn't it be nice to go there and see the pollywogs, tarantulas, scorpions, horned toads, etc ??? Once you pave it over it is gone forever ... Maybe this time we can get it right --- give the area an economic boost without *paving over paradise* --- and without the need to *put up a fence to keep me out or to keep Mother Nature in* ...
Roger Alan Benham December 15, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Jon: "Wouldn't it be nice if the field and seasonal ponds were still across from your family home?Wouldn't it be nice to go there and see the pollywogs, tarantulas, scorpions, horned toads, etc" Answer: Oh God Yes, I knew them all very well. But here is the problem-we have to face change, or someone will face it for us. If you do not face change with a vision, not only do you lose what you are trying to preserve, but you lose the opportunity to make something better. For example, the "Field" across from my family home became cheap multi-unit housing and was entirely paved over. If someone would have had a balanced vision to make a financially vibrant economic center that would preserve existing flora and fauna, we could have had both. The PCH Dinner Show concept does not involve paving over the entire 95 acres. Remember, the land mitigation banking does not preserve wetlands, it is offsetting others paving over sensitive lands elsewhere. Remember the Bait&Tackle shop near the Rocket Roller Rink, the Pet shops, the classic hunting lodge restaurant at 13th & Palm, the Burger King? What happened to these businesses along Palm? IB/Nestor needs drivers that break the cycle of economic starvation.
Jon Hall December 15, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Roger --- the list of closed businesses in and around Imperial Beach is indeed long --- in fact, it is much longer than you think --- the ones you remember are just some of the more recent examples of how the demographics do not support everyday businesses that other areas take for granted --- like grocery stores, restaurants, and fast food places --- hell, we even had a topless bar go broke some years back Which brings us back to another reason why development of Pond 20 is going to be difficult --- with so many **existing opportunities** along the business corridor how does putting another *doomed to failure* venture make any sense ???
Roger Alan Benham December 16, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Hello Jon: I remember a lot of business, and proprietors, in IB, including the In-Spot. I bicycled every street and ally in this town, including 92154. Once again I ask, did you actually read the PCH Dinner Show Proposal? It has a high probability of success because there is a vacuum for this kind of entertainment in San Diego. There are many subtleties about how it is cleverly designed to take advantages of the specific nature of IB/Nestor, an edgy town with history of discovery (Montgomery) and swashbucklers; tourists looove this kind of stuff. Now that TJ has scared away a lot of its tourism draw, we can redirect this traffic to the PCH Dinner Show (the show pavilion includes a Curio show and a stripped zebra donkey where the tourists get a picture with their Viva Mexico hats). What do tourist do when they spend a week in San Diego, 1, 2, 3 big things - that's not enough! We need to provide more, they want more. I can imagine how a Frankie Avalon Annette Funicello duet could strike a chord with the tourism demographic. Look closer at this before you say "doomed to failure".
Jacki F December 18, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Roger, you don't get it. I have read your proposal, as well asthe other proposals, the engineering studies and the wildlife counts on the port's Pond 20 site. It's an engineering nightmare. And, the bird counts were done when there are no migratory birds. Please educate yourself on "paving over paradise." Birds and buses full of tourists don't mix. Birds are vital to our ecosystem, as are the other creatures who rely on Pond 20: grey foxes, snakes, etc. I've seen them. Please buy the 9th and Palm parcel. Looks like Fresh and Easy is pulling out. You can have all the donkeys and cameras that you want there, and you won't have to kill creatures to build.
Roger Alan Benham December 18, 2012 at 06:02 AM
JackiF: You don't get it. Land banking Pond 20 is not saving wildlife it is offsetting the encroachment done in other communities. Already nearly 90% of the acreage has been land banked to offset sensitive land encroachment by development in Cities to the North, without any education, referendum, or vote of the citizens of IB/Nestor. Is this your style of treating the public, or are they not important? There is a serious imbalance of land used by land bankers in the South Bay and it is having a detrimental effect on the immediate economic condition for the children and families in the area, and serious concerns for the future options for the City. The people of IB/Nestor are being taken advantage of. Pond 20 was "set aside for development", so the only surprise is that the land bankers want 100%. I am concerned about your analysis of the engineering reports, because you are obviously biased. I don’t think it’s a problem, and I am an engineer. May I ask, are you associated somehow with a mitigation company? Is the something in the land banking for you? We need more time to allow the public to be informed and provide input. I am aware of the wildlife in the area. I strongly believe that people and wildlife can co-exist, and Pond 20 could be a showcase to prove it, bringing a sense of pride, accomplishment, and economic opportunity to the community. Jackie, buses full of tourists are exactly what we do need.
Jon Hall December 18, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Roger --- I'll have to take Jackie's side --- but unlike her I know you *get it* You are promoting a private business venture, that if successful, stands to make you money --- so trying to make it seem like the development of Pond 20 is our *civic duty* is understandable --- and I must admit it is rather clever Just curious --- are you letting anyone know that whatever project is ultimately chosen will be funded by taxpayer dollars ??? It might make a difference in how they feel ...
Roger Alan Benham December 18, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Dear Jacki: It obvious that you have great affinity for the wildlife in the area. You are probably very accomplished in your understanding of the environment. Although I am not a formally educated biologist, I also have strong feelings about the condition of the environment we share with the animals. I have personally witnessed overnight destruction of rich habitats in the South Bay. From the drawings that were included in our pchdinnershow.com submittal, I understand why you would react with “paving over paradise”. Please understand that those drawings were prepared from renderings of another dinner show concept and due to the lack of time I paid the graphic artist to plop them into our submittal. I would like to rework those drawings so that they are more tailored to the specific conditions at Pond 20. You may or may not like them, but, like your affinity for the wildlife, I have an affinity for engineering and design, and know Pond 20 well because I played in every part of it when I was a boy. I want to be proud of my hometown for the right reason, and watching the citizens get shut out and dooped by land bankers does not sit well with me. Jacki, one thing I have found in all my experience is that things aren’t always a complicated as they seem. With clever design, Pond 20 can be a place where environmentalists, sportsman, business people, athletes, families, children, and the wildlife can all happily coexist. I will get the new drawings out as soon as possible.
Roger Alan Benham December 18, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Jon: Thank you for recognizing that I "get it". The PCH Dinner Show would not be paid for by tax dollars, it would be paid for by private investors. And like the good old American free enterprise, the profits would go to the investors. I don't know how the investor profile would like at this point in time, but it could range from one big investor, to a cloudfunding type investment. For example if 10,000 investors were raised in the IB/Nestor are then all of the profits would come back into the area. Remember, besides profits, the PCH Dinner Show would employ a lot of people and contribute heavily to the economy and volunteer base of the local community. The Land Banking option would do the exact opposite. All of the immediate and long term costs would be strapped on the taxpayers backs. Imagine that, we give the land up so that richer cities prosper from their development, we get lock out, and on top of it all, we pay for it. Yuk.
Jon Hall December 18, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Gosh Roger --- I must have missed the part of your proposal that said how much you were paying the taxpayers for the property --- after all, you now no tax dollars are to be used Also, how much are you paying towards infrastructure improvements ??? Lastly --- assuming you get your proposal passed who is going to be responsible for liability insurance, cleanup, ADA upgrades, etc ???
Roger Alan Benham December 18, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Jon: Wow, you really like to come out blasting. First, the Port District leases land, that's how they make money. They typically do not sell. By leasing the land, and getting a share of the revenues generated, they get recurring revenue and make much more money over time. The Port would probably only “sell” the land if they we getting an equally desirable lease/revenue contract somewhere else -- and that is exactly what Land Banking does -- and for Pond 20 land banking gives IB/Nestor the short end of the stick. You raise a great question, who is getting the money and titles for all the Land Banking in South Bay? The TJRiver Valley is getting chunked away to “outside interests” more than the public knows. I don’t think it’s the “tax payers”. The Port District owns Pond 20, so if it sold it they would get the money (I don’t know if or how they pay taxes?). Who would get the title for Pond 20? Regarding the other questions, they are expenses that are all part of the business plan. I understand your sensitivity about your “backyard” and that the PCH Dinner Show is grandiose, but quite frankly, you come off too much as a defeatist (I have enjoyed our discussion). We need to set the groundwork for the future generations to create new means of generating wealth. A clever tourist trap is a smart thing, bringing in clientele to the core of our City, remote from our residentially oriented beach. Could you imagine the economies Paris and Rome without tourism?
Roger Alan Benham December 18, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Jon: More info about "who pays for the infrastructure?", including details of two other projects in IB, (figures to be verified): 1.SeaCoast Inn. We bought the land from Pacifica for about $6.5million then leased it back to them for $1 per year for 50 years. Pacifica bought the land/hotel out of bankruptcy a couple years before for about $1.5million. I believe we paid for infrastructure and demo (need more details on what we paid). Comment: we need a new hotel, so they had us over a barrel. I wish we could have negotiated better. 2. Miracle Shopping Center, 9th and Palm. We paid about $12million for both the Shopping Center and North Island CU. We are now “selling” the property to a developer for $1 (one dollar), lock stock and barrel. We also pay for the demolition, disposal, and the cost for a fill dirt operation! This deal is in escrow and we have an option to back out. Comment: I attended every public workshop since 2004 and proposed a DowntowmIB.com concept. Not one word of public input was used. The Redevelopment Agency (RDA, now defunct) opened escrow with the developer practically the day after we closed on the purchase. I strongly believe we need a stakeholder agreement with the residential area behind the shopping center-examples were provided. They made a huge mistake tearing down NIFCU, a perfectly sound structure-I wanted to put a Pandaria/Mexican Deli there. Therefore, it seems I am the only person promoting things that do not directly cost the taxpayer.
Jon Hall December 18, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Roger --- I never was very good at subtle --- I see you've noticed that ... As I see you seem to understand the taxpayer funded part of my concerns then you should understand this also Imperial Beach has had numerous chances at developing open space into multi-use places --- and each time they have either chosen a completely urban approach (allowing our beach to be overbuilt) or a completely preserve approach (the sloughs complete roped off) So if you have a beef with what they have done you should take it up with them (it is never too late to steer a new civic course) As for Pond 20 --- it is not in IB (thank God) --- so we actually have a chance it may be developed in a manner that looks to the long term benefit of the area --- not to the short term profit of a few --- perhaps, just perhaps, we might actually get something the public can enjoy Unlike you I was not privy to the initial idea phase of this --- which is interesting since I live directly across the street --- in fact, it wasn't until I was told of this by a friend in IB that I found out --- and it wasn't until after I asked about it at a meeting that the **true stakeholders** --- the residents of the immediate area, were given notice of proposed development --- even at this late date Seems there are some who think this is a done deal --- but I do believe we are only just beginning ...
Jacki F December 19, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Roger, no one around here is going to support buses going down our streets for dinner shows. Get real! Right now the area affords beautiful views, as mandated by the Otay/Nestor Community Plan. Please read it. It is on the Port Pond 20 site. Your concept would not only kill wildlife, it will kill the mandated open space and the view corridors. As to the mitigation bank funds, they are corporate funds from existing port tenants, who will pay to restore Pond 20. There is also grant money out there. Unfortunately for IB, they will not make any money here. They need to look elsewhere. Good luck on finding a new project. Again, buy the lot at 9th and Palm. Jacki
Roger Alan Benham December 19, 2012 at 04:39 AM
You know Jackie, you should get real and let people speak for themselves. When the citizens of IB/Nestor are informed about the facts a majority would welcome buses directed to a world class dinner show, and recognize your traffic concerns are exaggerated. Beautiful view, no problem, we are going to improve the views, and I believe most would agree. Trying to argue a “mandated view corridor” to push your agenda would be truly laughable. So, you want to take corporate funds from existing port tenants, and you don’t think they will pass the cost to the consumer? What else could those funds be used for?Like your “Grants” this is not creating wealth, this is passing the cost to the local citizens. Jacki, you are killing the wildlife by wanting to land bank Pond 20 to allow other communities to destroy habitat. You did not answer, what is your connection to the Land Banking? Do you work, provide services, or associated with any groups that stand to profit with the land banking of Pond 20? People from “around here” want to know.
Jacki F December 20, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Roger, Roger, Roger, Please get informed. Read all the documents on the port's Pond 20 website. Read "California Tidelands: Lands Held in Public Trust." I do not have a nefarious motive here. I am not connected to any profit-making concerns regarding Pond 20, the port or IB. I'm just a concerned citizen who has been involved in saving other wetlands and wants to see this one preserved too. Jacki
Roger Alan Benham January 04, 2013 at 01:30 AM
JackiF: I am more “informed” than you wish me to be. Read this: Pond 20 was “set aside for future development”. But, but,... no buts, read the Port’s website. No amount of double-talk or back room deals can change the fact that the Land Bankers and “non-profits” greedily want it all for their own self-serving interests. Why do you think 5 Land Banking proposals? You told us a lot about you and the people you represent: You say“Birds and buses full of tourists don't mix”. This proves that “ecotourism” is a con-job ruse and proponents of Land Banking have no interest in bringing tourists necessary to help the local economy. Regarding the snakes, etc, you say “I've seen them”. How is that you can personally see them when 99.9% of the population is fenced off from Pond 20 and not allowed access? You say “we represent them”, “involved in saving other wetlands”, and then you say you are “not connected.. regarding Pond 20”. Really? Your reference to “mandates” reeks of the undue-influence and narrow mindedness of a small group wanting to shove Land Banks down the people’s throat with the complete disregard for what is best for the community. I know the people of IB/Nestor well and proper analysis will show a majority want access and opportunity for economic growth from Pond 20. www.pchdinnershow.com is a viable option that will benefit all, including wildlife. Throwing away all options by giving it to Land Bankers is a bad thing.
Jacki F January 04, 2013 at 03:58 AM
Roger, Took you a while...on vacation? I just don't think it will help anyone to continue this thread. Unfortunately, you seem to want to make a personal attack on me for having different values than you. I'm on Mother Nature's side.
Roger Alan Benham January 04, 2013 at 09:34 PM
JackiF: Yes, travelling, both work and vacation. I am sorry you felt personally attacked. My responses were in-kind replies to your “you don’t get it ..get real .. get informed” which I feel were on the personal side and not respectful of my knowledge or values. I do not want to ply for the last word, but I do believe that your “on Mother Nature’s side” is a polarizing remark. Nobody has an exclusive relationship with Mother Nature, and I am afraid that is what the proponents of Land Banking are conveying. I am as close to Mother Nature as you or anybody else. I would like to be on the side of the Children of the South Bay, who are being deprived of access and opportunity by a very unbalanced use of the land. I do believe our dialog will help others understand the issues. My future postings will not be directed to you. You can contact me directly any time, see www.pchdinnershow.com.

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