Virginia Moran: Justice for Alta Sierra residents in Dollar General project? The game is rigged
March 9, 2018
Of the three Dollar General projects, the one county staff raised the greatest concerns about was the horribly planned county code-violating Alta Sierra store — the planning commission recommended denial.
But now, let the Nevada County magic show begin! Watch how this decision disappears and poof, the Alta Sierra store is now mysteriously approved!
Residents in Alta Sierra are currently massaging their nostrils back into place after the government, doing what it does best, just dragged us by them. It makes a mockery of the "public process" to do what it intended to do all along: approve the Dollar General in Alta Sierra, approve the expansion at Squaw, approve the 35th housing development in Truckee — insert any project here — again offering up the same "explanation: they're "afraid" of being sued.
Funny, they're never "afraid" of being sued by people who live here, community groups, the residents who have something to lose, be it property values, serenity, beauty, safety. No, the county is only "afraid" of being sued by the developer so they just have to acquiesce to the developer — every time. That for every project they approve, they get more tax revenue enabling the county bureaucracy to grow has nothing to do with it. No conflict of interest here, no.
... it’s a charade, a joke that then acts to dampens the motivation of local residents to ever participate in the “process” again.
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Let's call them what they really are: glorified real estate brokers who broker real estate deals between developers and the community, the agreement being they will side with the developers because, you know, they're "afraid."
What they engage us in isn't democracy, it's a charade, a joke that then acts to dampens the motivation of local residents to ever participate in the "process" again.
Our supervisor, Ed Scofield, did something disturbing early on — scolded us for having the audacity to be concerned about the store. Instead of encouraging our participation, he criticized us leaving us to wonder if he has/had a conflict of interest, and if he did, why didn't he recuse himself?
From the beginning, Ed threw his own neighbors, the people he is supposed to represent, under the bus and now many of us would like to know why.
There is nothing "left field" regarding how terrible this project is: it will be constructed on a dangerous curve; it will destroy an ordinance-protected legacy oak woodland (but the county violates its own land-use ordinances all the time, speaking of needing to get sued).
The vast majority of engaged Alta Sierra residents were against the Dollar General the second we heard about it, and we have been involved in the process for years. We did research, wrote letter after letter, went to meetings. Like my neighbors, I spent hours on this because we had faith that the process would represent us, be fair. What a bunch of stooges we were.
If showing immediate clear bias for this project is/was Ed's idea of "representing" us, he must be voted out (if he runs again). Ed sees "no problem" that his legacy will be he approved defiance of a county ordinance to allow destruction of one of the few remaining legacy oak woodlands in the county, maybe one he even played in when he was a kid. Kill it for an ugly store no one wants that would fit into the existing ugly shopping center anyway. (As pointed out multiple times and ignored: there is an "avoidance alternative" and consideration of this alternative is required under CEQA.)
To the two supervisors who did stand up for Alta Sierra (they weren't ours!). Thanks anyway!
Remember "no taxation without representation?" My property taxes just went up $300. Haven't I 'earned' one oodle of "representation," Mr. Scofield? My taxes pay your salary? (I'm over here, under the bus). Planning staff, commission? Who pays you? Does Dollar General? I guess they do now (did they pay you for anything else we should know about?).
As I have attested for years, we must abolish board-based county government in California because it gives unaccountable power to just a few, expected to represent thousands.
It is easily corrupted, influenced, and it makes a mockery of the public process.
We could do this by placing a referendum on the state ballot for what exists in many other states, countries — local community councils.
Nothing will change unless the current board of supervisors system is eliminated.
Virginia Moran lives in Alta Sierra.
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