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Pond 20 - PCH Dinner Show is Best Alternative - Chance of a Lifetime could be lost to Out-of-town "Land Banking" Interests

PCH DInner Show Concept for Pond 20 - Aerial View
PCH DInner Show Concept for Pond 20 - Aerial View  Download PDF 

To: Letter to Editor – San Diego Union Tribune / IB Patch

From:          Roger Benham, P.E.

SUBJECT:    Pond 20 - PCH Dinner Show is Best Alternative – and why People of IB poised to be robbed by Land Bankers

 

This letter provides additional information about our Pond 20 proposal for the Pacific Coast Historical (PCH) Dinner Show submitted to the Port District on August 24th 2012. Please see new drawings at www.pchdinnershow.com.  

The Port District received seven (7) proposals for the use of Pond 20, see http://www.portofsandiego.org/pond-20/letters-of-interest.html.  Five of the proposals are for ”Land Banking” for wetlands restoration to offset development projects to the North of IB, one proposal is for a Gallic themed sports park, and one is our proposal for the PCH Dinner Show.

The goal of the PCH Dinner Show is to direct a portion of San Diego’s $8 billion annual tourism industry to the Palm Avenue Corridor. The PCH Dinner Show will also be known for its dedication towards enhancing the social and economic fabric of the South Bay communities of IB, Palm City, and Nestor.

In contrast, turning Pond 20 into another “land mitigation bank” would be an economic disaster for the area. It is evident from discussions with residents, business people, and the public meetings held by the Port District, that most people in our area do not understand the negative economic implications of “land mitigation banking”, or, that already about 90% of the 836 acre salt works land has been forever lost to land banking interests.

A disproportionate amount of South Bay “open space” has already been “banked”, including area of the Tijuana River Valley, without any vote, referendum, or public input. Only out-of-town businesses and “non-profits” have significantly benefitted from land banking.

One of the five land banking proposals received by the Port District is the “William Hall – Mitigation Stakeholders Team”, a coalition of local environmental groups such as SWIA and Wildcoast, and unnamed “ex-officio” city representatives.  This proposal claims to have “successfully and thoroughly interviewed members of the public”.  I have yet to meet anyone that has been interviewed. Did they interview you?

Under the Revenue Generation section, the William Hall Team proposal declares “Funds that normally would provide return on investment (ROI) to commercial investors will be used for community benefit in Imperial Beach and south San Diego”. This is a huge red flag that reeks of backroom partiality and outright despotism. What “funds” are this group to receive, and in what manner do they choose to distribute benefits to whom? If this is any example, the SWIA webpage advertises $30 million in land banking activity, yet our City can’t afford to raise $50K to keep the Sports Park afloat, or pay for security for Fireworks.

Ask yourself, in the last three decades of land banking have the local businesses benefited? Has the community benefited? Do we have more access to our “open space”? An honest examination of the land banking activity will show that the public has lost in all respects, and the land-banking proponents are preaching us into poverty, while they benefit financially and maintain exclusive access rights. 

The William Hall Team shows that SWIA and WIldcoast are in bed with Sunroad Enterprises, BAE Systems, and Hornblower Cruises.  All of these companies, and who knows who else, want to use Pond 20 to offset their ambitious development projects to the North. It is very disheartening that these local “nonprofits” are willing to sell out our last chance for a prestigious bay front opportunity and true tourism based revenue. It makes you wonder what kind of back-room deals may be taking place.

Free enterprise and ROI to investors are exactly what the IB Area needs, and it is exactly what the PCH Dinner Show offers. The wealth generated by the PCH Dinner Show will inspire more commercial activity along the Palm Corridor.  The PCH Dinner Show will provide tourism based year round revenue that will enhance our City both financially and socially.

In contrast, in an article published in the Union-Tribune entitled “Pond 20 Could be an Ecological Gem” dated January 9, 2012, the proponents of land-banking argue that “ample retail space along the Palm Avenue corridor sits empty, attracting neither proprietors nor customers.”  This comment raises a lot of questions about the sincerity the land-bankers have for the best interests of the community.

Are they are claiming that the economic development Pond 20, a 95 acre bay front parcel, has no significance for enhancing the economic prospects of our City?  Should not Pond 20 be viewed as a chance of a lifetime for our community to improve its economic base? How could anyone in their right mind deny the people of the IB Area an opportunity to reverse the long trend of deprivation, where neighboring cities have enjoyed great economic prosperity while ours has languished?   

The proponents of land banking argue that it is not economically feasible to “fill”, or raise the elevation, of Pond 20 for development. Don’t believe this, it is only their attempt to quickly shut out competing interests. The PCH Dinner Show concept cleverly addresses this concern by locating the main building on an area that has always been on dry land, and both the building and “multi-use” parking area are designed to accommodate the occasional 100 year flood as a normal cost of doing business.

The proponents of Land Banking carry on as if they represent the wants and needs of the citizens, but they do not. The people of IB, Palm City, and Nestor must be adequately informed of what they stand to lose if Pond 20 is used as another land bank. We need the leadership of our area to protect the best interest of the local community, or else, the people will be robbed blind by special interests.

Please support the PCH Dinner Show concept for Pond 20.  It has been specifically designed for our area by homegrown talent, to provide the greatest opportunity for prestige and economic prosperity for all.

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.

Serge Dedina July 22, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Hi Roger: Any time you'd like to meet with us to talk about Pond 20 we would like to meet with you. Cheers, Serge
John Holder July 22, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Hi Roger, as Serge stated, we would love to discuss Pond 20 with you at our office anytime you would like. Once again, we at WILDCOAST support restoration and mitigation for Pond 20. Not only is the area suitable for tidal wetland (of which over 90% of tidal wetlands have been paved over in California) restoration and mitigation, but commercial development in the area is unlikely to be successful as public resource agencies (Coastal Commission and USFWS) will highly unlikely support any sort of commercial development on Pond 20. Surrounding restoration projects already successfully finished or in process serve to create and connect an open space conservation area in south San Diego Bay, along with the Bayshore Bikeway and the Otay Valley Regional Park. In regards to the UT article you speak of, numerous members of the public (and residents around Pond 20) were interviewed and showed their support by signing a petition that supported the MST Stakeholder LOI and for restoration, in fact over 500 people did. Community members who live directly around Pond 20 attended the public outreach meetings to show support for restoration. Also, there are certainly no "back room deals" between groups or organizations, just a collaborative effort to find a solution on Pond 20 for the community of the south San Diego Bay. Regarding the "empty commercial space" around Pond 20 mentioned in the article, this is simply further reason to not destroy highly valuable habitat with unsustainable commercial development when there is vacant commercial space around Pond 20 and along Palm. The MST Stakeholder LOI was the result of varied groups coming together to show support restoration and mitigation on Pond 20. Just to note, I grew up in IB as did a lot of my family. We look forward to working with you on this. Cheers, John Holder
Roger Alan Benham July 22, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Hello Serge: Let's go ahead and make it an online chat, and get the public involved. Best, Roger
Roger Alan Benham July 22, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Hello Serge: Let's make it an online chat, and we can let the public be involved. Best, Roger
Shirley Nakawatase July 23, 2013 at 09:53 AM
Well said Rog. For many years Imperial Beach has been the city with no voice. I've witnessed the many times we have not been given notice to the sell out of our waterfront. This may indeed be our last chance. We lost the south to Government preservation, our street ends and pier to the Port. In 1991 there was a public hearing regarding land use for the bay front of Imperial Beach. Oh, but they didn't tell us. And it was in Chula Vista. Brian Bilbray and myself were the only ones who found out about it and attended from Imperial Beach. The Port's hearings regarding Pond 20 seemed to be merely a speaking ground for people. Do they care what people said? I wonder if the decisions were made prior to the public workshops. If Mission Bay develops, there must be a sacrifice somewhere else. Like us. There is no land mitigation for Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Mission Bay. But Imperial Beach has very little tourism, no major dollar investments (yet) to put back into the Port's pockets. We are given a vote just like Coronado, Chula Vista, National City and San Diego. Come on Dan Malcolm, be our voice please.
JImmy July 23, 2013 at 10:13 AM
What an improvement the project would be to the area and economy!
Jon Hall July 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Interesting revisions --- looks like you are now proposing the destruction of the businesses on both sides, the trailer park, and depending on how far that channel goes who knows what else ...
John Holder July 23, 2013 at 12:25 PM
Hi Roger, as Serge stated, we would love to discuss Pond 20 with you at our office anytime you would like. Once again, we support restoration and mitigation for Pond 20. Not only is the area suitable for tidal wetland (of which over 90% of tidal wetlands have been paved over in California) restoration and mitigation, but commercial development in the area is unlikely to be successful as public resource agencies (Coastal Commission and USFWS) will highly unlikely support any sort of commercial development on Pond 20. Surrounding restoration projects already successfully finished or in process serve to create and connect an open space conservation area in south San Diego Bay, along with the Bayshore Bikeway and the Otay Valley Regional Park. You actually mention these areas in your plan as "wildlife areas" that tourists may enjoy. Indeed they do and will continue to enjoy as we continue to work with the local community to conserve and protect this part of the bay. In regards to the UT article you speak of, numerous members of the public (and residents around Pond 20) were interviewed and showed their support by signing a petition that supported the MST Stakeholder LOI and for restoration, in fact over 600 people did. Community members who live directly around Pond 20 attended the public outreach meetings to show support for restoration. Also, there are certainly no "back room deals" between groups or organizations, just a collaborative effort to find a solution on Pond 20 for the community of the south San Diego Bay. Regarding the "empty commercial space" around Pond 20 mentioned in the article, this is simply further reason to not destroy highly valuable habitat with unsustainable commercial development when there is vacant commercial space around Pond 20 and along Palm. The MST Stakeholder LOI was the result of varied groups coming together to show support restoration and mitigation on Pond 20. Just to note, I grew up in IB as did a lot of my family. We look forward to working with you on this. Cheers, John
Marcus Boyd July 23, 2013 at 03:08 PM
A sports park would offer much more opportunity and benefit to the community-at-large than would a for-profit dinner-show venue. Just say'n...
Roger Alan Benham July 23, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Dear Mr. Boyd: What is wrong with profits? Isn't that exactly what business need, and in turn benefiting the community-at-large by bolstering families, supporting schools, and funding volunteer efforts? Just ask'n.
Roger Alan Benham July 23, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Dear Jon Hall: You really surprised me. I know that you can think a little deeper than a knee jerk reaction. The new drawings show the venue only, and I'm sorry they do not including the detail of every existing structure, of which non have to be removed. Please read the callouts on the Plan View. There are some good ideas gained from input by others that have been incorporated. I know it's bold, but please revisit this with an open mind before you throw the baby out with the bath water.
Serge Dedina July 23, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Hi Roger: Since a large percentage of the people who make comments on this site use fake names I'm not sure this is a transparent public forum. First so the public knows--you and I have known each other since high school (about 1979), your mom and my mom were friends, and you were a WILDCOAST donor at one point. Since you were a supporter of WILDCOAST, I didn't realize that you were upset about the beautiful open space we have around us in Imperial Beach which includes the Tijuana Estuary and Sloughs Reef--an area that you and I grew up surfing and where I still surf with my kids--in addition to the beautiful open space of South San Diego Bay and the Otay River Delta where literally thousands of people use the bikeway to ride their bikes and walk/run each week. As for Pond 20-I invite you to join us in supporting the current effort to remove the ugly fences around Pond 20 and install more public access to the site. Additionally we are just currently initiating an effort to remove all the ugly fencing in the south bayfront area--and it would be great to have your support on that. I've love to see more public art and the removal of all the ugly fencing. As for deals with developers and backroom deals--there are no deals with anyone. We participated in the public forums, supported an effort to have Pond 20 be open to the public, and gathered more than 600 signatures (by going door to door around Pond 20) in support of our efforts. This was a grassroots effort that was totally supported by the Nestor/Otay Planning Group as well as the residents of the apartments around Pond 20 and the trailer park--residents who came to Port meetings to speak about their support of preserving Pond 20 and opening it up to the public. Remember--technically Pond 20 isn't in Imperial Beach. Thanks for all your efforts Roger to improve our community--you and I don't always agree--but we both seek to improve our hometown. Cheers, Serge Dedina WILDCOAST IB resident for 42 years
Jon Hall July 24, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Roger --- nothing knee-jerk about my comments --- your conceptual drawing clearly shows the venue intruding on the area where the businesses are (both sides), it clearly shows the elimination of the trailer park, and depending on where that channel goes who knows what else --- and if I remember correctly your ideas also spoke of future commercial development on the other side of Palm Avenue --- which, as you well know, is where I have lived since we were kids ...
Jon Hall July 24, 2013 at 11:19 AM
One other thing Roger --- about your comments to me --- just like before it appears when you have no answer you stoop to personal attacks --- well, just like last time I don't care to play this childish game ...
Marcus Boyd July 24, 2013 at 03:40 PM
@Roger Benham: "What is wrong with profits?" Nothing, until you mix them with a public land through public elected officials, then oops... there goes nothing! -- Back at you Roger: What's wrong with public land being used for the good of the greater public - without profits? Specifically, what's better about "Dinner Show" over a "Sports Park"?
Roger Alan Benham July 24, 2013 at 06:17 PM
John Hall - Since I made the drawings, I will tell you. There are no existing structures being removed - they are just not shown, Ok. The callouts on the Plan View shows ideas from others, including other Letters of Interest, that suggest land swaps with existing owners. When did I "not have answers" and "stoop to personal attacks"? I personally believe your response to be an emotionally driven knee-jerk reaction. Nothing personal.
Roger Alan Benham July 24, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Marcus Boyd: I see your point about public lands. I believe these lands are considered "private" because they are owned by the Port District. They will decide how they are used. The problem about the Sports Park is that it would be too expensive to produce and maintain, e.g., the Port wants to make money and can't justify this expense. The PCH Dinner Show is better because it will generate income primarily from tourists. We estimate that revenues for the PCH Show will be $40 million per year, that is only .5% of San Diego's direct annual $8billion tourism income. How much of the $8billion do you think the IB Area gets now? Parks, including estuaries and bird habitats, have to be paid for by profits from "industry". We are very imbalanced here in the IB Area, and we need more revenue to have and keep our nice parks. The children who grow up in our area are deprived compared to neighboring rich communities, because they generate the revenues to fund school foundations and other philanthropist groups. Please take a look at the call out on the Plan View drawing that describes a "Multi-Use Area", all for public access and events. In effect, the whole PCH Dinner Show concept is a big park. We have just cleverly included a must-do tourist trap.
Jon Hall July 24, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Roger --- funny how you don't consider attacking my intellect and reasons for opposing your project as personal stabs --- especially when you and I have had this discussion at length before ...
Jon Hall July 24, 2013 at 07:15 PM
As far as how much Imperial Beach will get from your project, or any other commercial project --- the answer is $0.00 --- remember, this land, owned by the San Diego Port District, is in the City of San Diego --- whatever economic gain comes from this will in no way go into the coffers of IB to be squandered on traffic circles, bike lanes, and rock gardens ...
Leon July 25, 2013 at 12:35 AM
I have been a resident of Imperial Beach for 50 years. I spent many of my summers camping, fishing, boating and enjoying the coast of Imperial and the South San Diego Bay. I find it quite upsetting that with 48 miles of coastline inside San Diego Bay that there is no water access for citizens of the communities of National City, Chula Vista, South San Diego or Imperial Beach. There should be access for all citizens not just a select few. Of course there are five ton boulders at Chula Vista Marina you and your children can navigate and approx 250 feet if rock strewn beach at the north side of the Marina. In the early 1980's we had much better access. Ski Beach on the Silver Strand, fishing on the dikes as well as a no hassle policy from local law enforcement. When did we give up our constitution right to access our tidelands? When the Port of San Diego/Regional Airport Authority traded away the 785 acres of the south bay in exchange for the right to extend the airport runway, the 95 acres of pond 20 was set aside for "Development". With this understanding the Port of San Diego put out for public input and ideas for the development of this land. The PCH Dinner show is the best of the ideas submitted. It provides for a great venue that includes a theater which shows the history of San Diego Bay, the US Navy history in San Diego Bay. It also provide a place for a rowing club/Kayak entry point with direct water access to the south bay for Bird Watching. The Bicycle Race track is perfect for events such as Triatholon/Iron Man competitons. All of these activities have a low impact on the enviroment and provide great tourist interest and dollars to the south bay economy. Of course there are other interest 's who would use the 95 acres of pond twenty for other purposes. Many people believe that the final decision has already been made and the public input requested by the Port of San Diego was just the due diligence excersize. One theory is that the land for Pond 20 will be traded to the enviromental concerns for the right to expand Sunroad Marina. The San Diego Regional Airport Authority is moving out of the rental car return on the north side of Sunroad Marina. So in the end it may be a coup de cras (head shot to kill a suffering victim) for the citizens of the South Bay Communities of Chula Vista, National City, South San Diego, and Imperial Beach who want a facility. Although we make up 3 of the five cities of the Port District we get very little or no access to our bay front, our lands are being traded away to special interest to the north end of the bay and the spending of public monies and the income that these public monies generate favors the high income segment of our population over the low income segment. This practice is wrong. The PCH dinner show is the best idea that has been submitted to the Port of San Diego for Pond 20. Please do not trade away our tidelands again. Carry through with the original promise made to the people of the south bay of San Diego that Pond 20 would be used for development. This does not have to be a win or lose project. Why can't Pond 20 be a project that is a win win for all concerns.
Roger Alan Benham July 27, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Dear Serge: I’m disappointed that you imply I am no longer cool because I do not support Wildcoast. Are these the same bullying tactics used to get the 600 signatures? And what is with the guilt trip? I have no interest in participating in your fence building publicity stunt, because I am fundamentally opposed to putting up fences. And please do not put words in my mouth. Of course I never said a word about being “upset” about the estuary or bike trial, because this is not what I believe. Here is what I am upset about. Our community has the chance-of-a-lifetime for substantial economic opportunity, and you want us to be happy with a fence, and few park benches and “limited” trails How can you claim that your group represents “grassroots” efforts when you are in bed with Sunroad, BAE, and Hornblower? Your group has become a well-oiled political machine with all the spin tactics to produce the benefits of financial gain and control. I provide an example of these spin tactics in my response to Mr. Holder. It is The PCH Dinner Show that is the true grassroots effort, not only in striving to do what is just, but to educate the public about their options. 90% of the salt works has been land-banked to offset development projects to the North. Why can’t the people have just 10% for economic growth in the South Bay? Isn’t that fair enough – your side has 90% and our side gets 10%. Why wouldn’t you be happy? Remember, Port District documents state that Pond 20 was “set aside for development”. If you look at the drawings, The PCH Dinner Show venue will be a beautiful enhancement for the Palm corridor and the “gateway to IB”, and includes an example what we call “advanced environmentalism”. I recently spoke to Bud Webb, one of the greatest philanthropists of our city, and he told me that he built his family home on 13th St overlooking Pond 20 because he “liked looking over the water” (for the public’s information, when my family grew up on Georgia St in the 60s and 70s, Pond 20 was always full of water, EXACTLY how it is shown on the attached drawings, but the area where the PCH Show building is located has always been dry land). Budd Webb was favorable to the PCH Dinner Show concept, and unhappy with all the land banking activity, just like every business person I speak to in the IB Area. Have you really looked at the PCH Dinner Show design? The drawings show complementary features to the bicycle theme, including a velodrome, BMX course, and a multi-use area to accommodate criterium bike races. This touches on our history as bicycle innovators, being the first to make BMX and Beach Cruiser bikes. The PCH Show is about preserving this kind of history. I was part of this history, having built some of the earliest of these bikes and working for Phil Bartel at Bicycleville when I was just 14 years old, the only teenager he ever hired, and to this day he is the longest running business in IB’s History. The PCH Dinner Show taps our local economy into San Diego’s $8 billion tourism industry. In addition, as the drawings show, it supports a Rowing Club, water access for recreation and sabot sailing, multi-use parking area for cultural events, bike amenities to complement Bike-Way Village, advanced methods of wildlife preservation, iconic bridges, picnic areas, and more. This Serge, is an example of PUBLIC ACCESS. Please tear down your fences. Sincerely, Roger Benham
Roger Alan Benham July 27, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Dear Mr. Holder: With all due respect, here we go again with the “90% of tidal wetland paved over..,….”, rhetorical spin. Land banking Pond 20 DOES NOT prevent loss of sensitive environments, it only offsets encroachments in other areas, hence your involvement with Sunroad, BAE, and others. How factual is your “90% claim”, and why do the people of the IB Area have to be deprived of opportunity for the financial benefit of others? Haven’t we given enough for your cause? Besides the fact that your group stands to gain in your financial and control aspirations, your comment that “unlikely support any sort of commercial development on Pond 20” because of public resource agencies (Coastal Commission and USFWS) is a cop out. Yes, it will be very difficult to gain support from these agencies, but that is the reason we should try harder, and not throw in the towel before we reach the starting line. The real motivation should be for what is best for the community, not what is easiest to get approved. To realize the grandeur of the PCH Dinner Show is something that will be hard won, and I believe given the informed opportunity, the community will rise to the challenge. Regarding the “successfully finished” restoration projects, what are the numbers? What are the direct and ongoing costs associated with these projects and who is paying? The public must know the immediate and long term opportunity costs before you put your positive spin to justify further land banking of Pond 20. Because of the spin, I am skeptical of your interviews and petitions, for the following reasons, 1. Did you interview your own constituency, 2. Did you use bullying tactics, implying you are cool if you support us and outcast if you don’t, and finally 3. Were the interviewees given unbiased background information and choices, such as the PCH Dinner Show option? Regarding public outreach meetings, I attended the Dec 4th meeting and was shocked to see that of the 62 attendees, 42 attendees were Port staff and Land Banking consultants/advocates, and only about 20 were local citizens. The official Port record on that meeting shows that 24 bullet points were in support of “Commercial/Economic Development” of Pond 20, and only 9 were for ” Mitigation Banking”. This shows that the local citizens want economic development, and also indicates that there is no basis for your claim that you represent a majority of the community. One thing that was definitely apparent from the Port outreach meetings, and my personal interviews, is that the public is highly uninformed about what land banking is, and the cost to the community. Regarding the empty commercial space, a case could be made that the cause of the Palm Ave blight is too much land banking activity. How is more land banking going to help the businesses, especially compared to the economic benefits of something like the PCH Dinner Show? You mention “unsustainable commercial development”. Do you consider Sea World, Legoland, Medieval Times, Australia Outback Spectacular, or Germaine’s Luau unsustainable? With the serious imbalances in the IB Area, we should be more concerned about unsustainable environmental extremism. Without economic prosperity we will not be able to afford to maintain our park areas, we know the first thing to happen with a government financial crisis is a cut to funding for parks. I admit the use of “back room deals” is harsh language, but how can you expect us to believe that you would be in bed with Sunroad and BAE, and not have confidential discussions. Do you really believe we are that naive? Yes, we need to find solutions, and the public awareness of the cost of land banking is an important step in making an informed choice. Sincerely, Roger Benham
Roger Alan Benham July 27, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Dear Serge and Mr. Holder: Your previous posts have invited me to meet with you to discuss Pond 20. I prefer a more public discourse, but yes, I would be happy to meet with you. Before we meet I ask for the production of the following: 1) a fully developed map of the South Bay area showing the land that has already been used for Land Banking, and by whom, 2) a detailed accounting on all aspects of cost and income associated with these land banking activities, including involved parties, and 3) the production of a unbiased survey that includes disclosures about items 1 and 2 above, and educational material about the pros and cons of all options of land banking and economic development. Do you think this is a responsible way to move forward? Please let me know. Sincerely, Roger Benham
Roger Alan Benham July 27, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Jon Hall: Actually, I was disappointed with your response because I believe you are a thinker. The new drawings are detailed and complex, and your immediate critical response because I did not include existing buildings made me think you acted with an emotionally driven knee-jerk reaction. What I do recall about our past chats was your eloquent description of the field in front of my family home, something few people could express like you did. I apologize I spoke too directly and offended you. Regarding your comments about $0 financial impact of the PCH Show on the City of IB, I respectfully disagree. Not only does the City of IB have a letter of understanding with the Port for a financial portion from Pond 20, but the PCH Show directs 7,000 tourist per week to the Palm Ave Corridor. Of course this will result in increased revenue for the City with more people patronizing the beach front businesses and our new hotel. Sincerely, Roger Benham
Serge Dedina July 30, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Hi Roger: Thanks for your comments--I think you are confusing WILDCOAST with the Port of San Diego, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the City of San Diego, and the California Coastal Commission. We are a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to preserving coastal and marine ecosystems that worked with the community (no bullying tactics used) to advocate for the conservation of an area that is a designated coastal wetland. If you as a City of San Diego resident wants the Port of San Diego and the City of San Diego to give you public land that is a designated coastal wetland to run a for-profit business on it--then I strongly urge you to lobby the Port of San Diego and all of the agencies and elected officials involved. But we'd love to meet with you --and again since we've known each since high school and you were a generous WILDCOAST donor at one point who supported our mission--hopefully we can meet and chat soon. Cheers, Serge Dedina Executive Director WILDCOAST IB Resident since 1971
Roger Alan Benham July 31, 2013 at 06:15 PM
Dear Serge: Thank you for your reply. I am fully aware of your “non-profit” status, and there is no confusion with the other agencies. Your group, the “William Hall Mitigation Stakeholders Team” is directly competing for the control and financial benefits of using Pond 20 for Land Mitigation to offset development efforts to the North of IB by large corporations, including Sunroad, BAE, and others. Pond 20 was “set aside for development” by the Port District, who has clearly offered this option to the community through their outreach program. Given this fact, I respectfully disagree that Pond 20 is “a designated coastal wetland” (although I am weary of word-smithing and vernacular tricks used by those connected to the land banking business). Yes, I have been lobbying the best that I can to get through to all agencies, groups, and citizens, to make them aware that the IB Area has given too much to land banking, and we need an economic shot in the arm more than any other city in San Diego (look at our sales tax ranking – last). 90% has been land banked already, why can’t we have just 10% that Pond 20 offers us, land that many IB Area residents have always looked to for commercialized public access to the Bay? Yes, my family’s primary residence is in San Diego, however, we do have a home in IB that we do not rent, and it is my intention to grow old in IB, my hometown. Sincerely, Roger Alan Benham.
Aaron Hall October 11, 2013 at 02:26 AM
I have lived in IB for over 15 years and we need a PCH Dinner show
Aaron Hall October 11, 2013 at 02:27 AM
Roger i would love to see this show!!
Leon January 11, 2014 at 09:55 AM
The south bay communities of Chula Vista, South San Diego, Nestor, and Imperial Beach through their elected officials and Port District gave away 842 acres of south San Diego Bay to expand the airport at Lindberg Field. At that time they wisely set aside 95 acres for future public development at the corner of 13th street and Palm Avenue. Can we have a public park that grants access tidelands, that people can touch the water, that protects our environment and wetlands?

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