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The Big Box Beat-- 4/29/08 PDF Print

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The Big Box Beat

With Joe Feller----Aging Punk Rocker and Entrepreneur


A Look at Small Business--Big Box Development--and What it Means to YOU!!!

 

4/29/08

 

Hello VIB readers,

 

I’ve decided to do an article on county issues.  This is pertinent, considering the election for supervisors that is happening and the general plan update that is required.

 

First off, I only got involved with the general plan issue due to something called “MSA’s” (Municipal Service Areas).  These are areas surrounding the existing cities of the east county mainly.  They are a new designation that has been added to the general plan and encompass areas that cities may want to annex at some future date.

 

These MSA’s will allow development outside city limits.  These developments will be required to be “temporary” and “within current zoning”.  They also are the perfect place to put up big box retailing.  So I asked the planner why this was included in the plan.  He claimed that the farmers demanded this so they could build agricultural related items.  If this is so, why wasn’t the section written to allow agricultural development only; as other lands will be designated in the new plan?

 

There was no answer to that question.  And given the current attempt by Wal-Mart to rezone the White Slough, I doubt that the “current zoning” caveat will slow any developer for long.  And temporary construction being allowed could be interpreted as a big box that will only be used for 8 years.  That is temporary, isn’t it?

 

Enough on MSA’s which endanger our existing downtowns with new development that the cities will not even receive the tax benefits.  The new general plan puts commercial operations at Travis, AFB on the same footing as military operations.  It is known that Jim Spering, the Supervisor from Fairfield, has been testifying in area and state transportation organizations for the commercial use of Travis.  This is a much greater encroachment than the Wal-Mart and is totally counterproductive to the saving of Travis.

 

Also, the new general plan will open up somewhere between 2,000 and 10,000 acres of land for “rural residential” development (the plan is changing in an ongoing fashion).  We all know what that means, more taxes for all of us to support police and fire in unincorporated areas.  These plots are also set up to “leapfrog” other ag lands that will then be under pressure to develop both because of traffic and the increased land value.

 

I think it was stated best by one of the General Plan opponents, that this General Plan will be a lawyer’s dream.  The changes are subtle but will allow development outside existing city boundaries and make each development uncontrolled by the general plan.

 

I also believe that our only hope in stopping this general plan is Linda Seifert and Skip Thompson.  The existing “gang of 4”, which includes Linda’s opponent John Silva and Skip’s opponent Mike Reagan, have stacked the deck in this battle.  The most outrageous detail is that the same company that wrote the new General Plan is also doing the EIR.  Such self dealing will be the rule, not the exception if these two guys retain their offices.

 

In addition to the General Plan, there are two other important reasons to vote for Linda and Skip.  The first is Barbara Kondylis’ effort to create a citizen’s oversight board for our elections.  Considering the incredibly bad effort by our registrar of voters and his inability to count ballots accurately, I think this should be a top priority for our county.  It is an infallible proposition that this country recognizes one man one vote.  (Sorry for the gender issue but that is the saying).  If we do not punish those who do not wish to count every vote accurately, then we will de-evolve into a third world country.  So, I believe that both Silva and Reagan have to go for not supporting Barbara’s efforts to have honest and fair elections.

 

The second is the possibility of a 4th attempt to raise our sales taxes for transportation.  I am not opposed to taxes ideologically.  I am opposed to taxes that will just enrich the few and make the rest of us poor.  The citizen’s have voted this tax increase down 3 separate times.  Linda recognizes that this tax will not pass and should not be presented to the voters again.  It is an abuse of process, especially considering that the funds will just go to help developers.  We see this in Suisun which subsidized a private developer with taxpayer funds so he could sell his land to Wal-Mart.  Our own money is used to destroy us.

 

I hope I haven’t tried to cover too much in one article.  I will likely post some more on these critical issues as we get closer to the election. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments at  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Take care All and be sure to vote on June 3rd.

 

Aging Punk Rocker

Joe Feller