6.30.2006

Angry Buzzing

Perhaps we don't need an observation hive in our theoretical new house.

Anyhow. I have been all hopped up about the spurious brouhaha still taking place in my neighborhood. The CC cited below is the EHi11s Community Coa1ition. They are using the same strategy as Bush & Co. in terms of cloaking evil institutions with friendly labels, accusing opponents of techniques that they themselves are wielding, and using fear mongering to intimidate locals into signing petitions of support. I am sick of this shit on the national and state levels and can't believe the same techniques are now being used to help promote business interests at a local level. You can read about the fracas here:

SF Examiner Article

Mostly I am pissed off about the CC's abuse of democracy, and the CC proponents turning this neighborhood upside down and inside out--pissing everyone off at each other--in the name of "concerned community members," when in reality the CC people are all property developers and real estate agents.

Witness this Supporter's Letter.

I wrote this letter in response:
  • I am disappointed by the CC's developer- and real estate agent-backed campaign of misinformation against the proposed zoning and design codes for EHills. The CC has repeatedly claimed that the proposals' majority vote was not representative because of low voter turnout. When has low voter turnout ever been an excuse, or a surprise? CC's supporters should have rallied their neighbors to vote "no;" instead they are trying to derail a fair and democratic decision because their interests didn't win.
  • Even more dismaying is NM's lead role in the CC campaign. NM is the Saint Matthew County Design Review Committee's community representative for EHills, a position which gives her the opportunity to squelch the remodeling or building projects of any local who vocally opposed the CC. This is a direct conflict of interest, and a disservice to every resident of EHills whose interests she is supposed to be protecting.
However I can't actually submit this letter because two of the CC's leaders have the power to stall our house building project. So I am being a coward and have found a friend to send the letter in, instead.

I also sent the following letter to all my neighborhood friends:
I received a letter and petition from MM and the EHi11s Community Coalition (CC) today, and I suspect you did, too.

I do not support the CC in their campaign against the proposed zoning and design code changes for EHills, and ask for a moment of your attention as I detail why:

* The CC folks, like all property owners in EHills, were invited to develop and then vote on the proposed code changes. Why did CC not muster its forces then? They are framing a straightforward democratic process as a special interest group's stealth campaign.

* I have attended all the relevant meetings, and have been reading the ongoing arguments, of both the CC and the HA (EHi11s Homeowners' Association, the proponents of the new codes). I believe that the CC is using scare and intimidation tactics, including using incorrect data and citations, and misleading language, rather than sticking to the facts as the HA has been doing.

* While the CC presents itself as a group of interested EHills residents, in reality the members are mostly local real estate agents and property developers. It is their right to protect their own interests and livelihoods, but they are not being forthcoming about their roles.

* NM, MM's wife, is the Saint Matthew County Design Review Committee's community representative for EHills. Her involvement in the CC campaign is in direct conflict of interest with her sworn duty to her neighbors.

While I personally voted in favor of the proposed code changes, I realize that not everyone did so. I also realize that EHills has a variety of micro-neighborhoods and home styles. If the majority truly does not want the proposed code changes put into effect, I respect that. But I do not respect the hijacking of the democratic process.

Please do not sign the CC petition.

Thank you,

Squid
I am sure all this is both confusing for and boring to anyone who is not directly involved. And I wish I had more time to devote to this cause, and could do so publicly. I would if it didn't affect my family. Arrrgh. SO FUCKING FRUSTRATED.

And of course this all boils down to a tempest in a very fancy teapot, because really, who cares about rich peoples' building codes? How cool would it be if everyone instead devoted all this intensity to local charity causes, or getting out the vote? But, again, at the most basic level this is about the derailing of democracy, and about a powerful special interest group trying to negate a majority vote. I wish everyone would sit down together and watch the Battlestar Galactica season 2.5 finale. In the meantime I am doing what I can.

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