Eat My Dust -Pave My Alley (Reprinted from 2004)

Historic Home Still Standing on 10th Street
Historic Home Still Standing on 10th Street
I was overjoyed to hear this current city council discuss paving alleys on the City's dime. Shows you that some things are changing. Here's something I wrote many years ago before I started blogging on line. This was from one of the original I.B. Voter's Guides I  produced as a reaction to the Carey's Faux Election Newspapers. After McLeans and others removed our newspapers from business's and private property we decided to go on-line with our next effort. If they tried to remove it then it would be cyber-terrorism.  (we were cyber-vandalized and hacked eventually)

So here's a little story from years ago with some of my thoughts about the city's policy of leaving alleys unpaved unless the people who live on them pay extra money to live like everyone else in town.  I hope you enjoy it and realize that some things are changing....if they are really going to pave alleys now without extra taxation or assessment districts.

I.B. Voters' Guide  (Precursor to SaveIB.com)
Eat My Dust, Breath My
Dust, Pave My Alley
by Ed Kravitz

There are all kinds of homes in Imperial Beach. Up on Tenth Street before you get to Bayside Elementary is a house that appears on an 1887 photograph. Somebody built an addition on it since then but the basic historic house still stands with its hand-forged square nails.

A lot of Navy people bought property in Imperial Beach. Some of them stayed, some of them left and some of them have died. Today
Imperial Beach has a much more diversified demographic makeup and the types of housing available are just as diverse.

The City Code has allowed construction on rear lots facing
alleys for well over 60 years. The structures (homes/apartments/ granny
flats, etc.) are taxed at the same rate as any other property in Imperial Beach. Longtime property owners have been paying taxes for years to live on unpaved, dusty, muddy gravel roads if their front doors happened to
face the alley.

You may think the City should provide the same services to these residents and homeowners as any other resident or homeowner. Why does this City discriminate against people who live at legal alley addresses within
the city limits?

Homeowners and property owners have been paying taxes at the same rate, without services being rendered by the city. The policy of paving outside one resident's front door and not outside anothers'  ;when they pay the same taxes ???  It's absurd !
 It is discrimination !
It's  negligence!

Many people; especially people with children who live on or near these dirt alleys, have serious health issues directly related to the air-born  dust particles that float into their homes though open windows and doors
 A surprising number of children with asthma and other breathing disorders is occurring along the alleys of our city.

Rather than accept the responsibility for its neglect and prior discriminatory
actions and offer to do something constructive about the situation; the Council tried to perpetrate a sham on the residents.

Special Alley Assessment District Sham

Is this City Council and its overpriced staff so incompetent that it can’t call an asphalt company and ask for a bid? It has to spend $500,000 for a
consultant to try to talk the residents into voting themselves a new extra special tax so they can have something they’ve been paying for
already for years?

The alley paving tax measure did not pass because the majority of the people involved; even the ones who have the money; know the City has been ripping them off and shirking its responsibilities ;while taking their money all along.

The costs were inflated and exaggerated. Asphalt was not the paving material of choice. Why? Ask Patricia McCoy. Was it concrete? Well, sort
of. The type of concrete they based their estimate on is a
porous concrete that is only considered to be experimental
within the industry. Are we willing to tax ourselves for an
unproven product that we should have already had for free, since our taxes have been paying for it all these years already?

The $500,000  they spent on consultants could have paved
dozens of alleys already. Now McCoy, Winter, Rose and the
rest of the council prepare to pay them some more of your
money to hold more public meetings and lobby, to put the
issue up for a second vote. Guess they didn’t get the
answer they wanted the first time you spoke and told them HELL NO ?

Spend the consultants money on asphalt and just pave the alleys. The poor children,adults and seniors of Imperial Beach that live on or near the alleys need your help now for their health. I wish you lived on an alley so I
could drive past your house.


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.

Ed Sorrels February 23, 2014 at 06:19 PM
I was in the alley debate from the first day back in the day, and Ed K. is right they lied, Well not lied say misrepresented the thing from the first day, What would be paved, how much it would cost, how much it would cost extra to pave up to a garage or house. This was brought up at aropund last election time when a citizen spread gravel in his alley and the city was going to fine him or hang him by his thumb's to make an example so that other folk's didnt spread gravel in their alleys. I volenteered to help on it but was never contacted by I think it was Pat that they were thinking about it again. They already spent a bunch of Re=development money on the last try, Why do it aagain ? This is nut's !
Ed Kravitz February 23, 2014 at 08:11 PM
The council discussion on the streaming video seems to indicate that staff will prioritize which ones get done first by a set of criteria that determines which are most needy first. The fact that there was no mention of citizens' additional financial participation other than those who wished to contribute some of their own money could move higher up on the priority list. It sounds like they are going to embark on this project and use tax money for it rather than charge everyone a second time with an assessment district. I am surprised nobody has sued to have their taxes pro-rated since they don't have a paved street on alley front yards? It's very over-due...but a good thing. Perhaps it's an issue they don't want to raise it's ugly head around elections next year? They also talked about street lighting and how to prioritize who might get new street lighting first. Crime and Traffic Accidents will be key things that are considered. Glad to see an active community discussion underway. Don't be timid folks. We all want to hear what you are thinking.
Ed Kravitz February 25, 2014 at 08:12 PM
The new alley rules might also allow some under-utilized alleys be incorporated into developments as was done with Ocean Lane at the Beach Club Condos (example). Or an alley that is not being used at all for rear access might be deeded back to the property owners and increase their back yard size. There may be issues with utility easements but it's all interesting discussion.


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