Thursday, December 08, 2005

Good Letter in NCT

NCT link

Developer's columns reveal building bias

By: LISA PRAZEAU - I am writing because I have to address three North County Times columns written by Michael D. Pattinson.

First, in his Nov. 1 column, Mr. Pattinson called the people of Encinitas "grouchy," "control freaks" and "no growth" advocates. He claimed that developers "give" residents "parks and roads and other amenities" and that residents "reap the rewards."

The people of Encinitas voiced their concerns and Pattinson resorted to name-calling and blanket statements. Everyone knows that growth puts a bigger demand on infrastructure (roadways, schools, water and sewage). In turn, cities often increase utility rates and city fees to help compensate for the impacts. Furthermore, developers do not "give" anything. By law, they are required to monetarily compensate for impacts associated with the development. It's a good thing that article was on the Opinion page, because it stank.

Second, Pattinson's Nov. 15 column stank worse than the first. I was hoping the NCT printed the column to let its readers see the character of Mr. Pattinson. In that column, Mr. Pattinson wrote: "If you are looking for a hero, you must first find a simple act of defiance." He identified Rosa Parks as a hero and offered a look at his so-called "local hero," Bill Johnson.

No doubt Rosa Parks is a hero admired for her bravery, great deeds and noble qualities. On the other hand, in 1998 Bill Johnson purchased 7,500 acres around the man-made Vail Lake near Temecula and proceeded to grade the land without the required permits. Pattinson praised Johnson's "act of defiance." Is Johnson known for his activist work against the mistreatment of developers? Pattinson suggested that "heroes slice through red tape." He proposed that "deep in the bowels" of City Hall a bureaucrat came to the "sudden realization that all of the permits, all the fees, and all the time to get them were a huge hoax" and "a fraud no longer worthy of belief." It would be "deep in the bowels" that Pattinson would come to that summation. A world without permits (law and order) would be a smorgasbord for the self-serving; Pattinson and his cronies would no doubt be at the front of that line.

The third NCT column is the one printed on Nov. 29. Pattinson complained that "Christmas has come early to Oceanside, Lake Elsinore and the county of Riverside." He complained that City Hall is raising new-home taxes. He said residents of these cities are "reaping the rewards," i.e., a new City Hall, boat docks, animal shelter, child care centers and brand-new traffic signals (he refers to these as "amenities" and "gifts"). He admitted that developer fees do not cover all costs of the "gifts." Then he announced that "developers don't pay fees; they just collect them." What I hear Pattinson saying is: The city imposes proportionate developer fees to compensate impacts to infrastructure and services and in turn the developer passes on the costs to the new-home buyer. How in the world did Pattinson think that this column was a winning position? Pattinson should heed the words of Shakespeare: "Better to be silent and thought ignorant; than to speak and remove all doubt."

Pattinson's position is clear: As president of Barratt American, a builder based in Carlsbad, his goal is to build. He is an opportunist. He has no real regard for the impact to the existing residents, schools, infrastructure, environment or quality of life and no respect for the people whose lives are disrupted. He is grouchy because the longtime residents of these impacted communities are not bending over backward to his massive building and measly compensation. Meanwhile, Barratt American just registered an "all-time record quarterly sales" of $131.2 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30. So, what is with all the grouchiness from Pattinson?

Lisa Prazeau lives in Escondido.


  1. No more Govt. BloatDecember 08, 2005 3:49 PM

    I just hope that the homeowners, who actually live in their homes, and want to improve them, do not get caught up in the frenzy of fee increases.

    Yes, the infrastructure costs do go up. As Ms. Prazeau wisely observed, in her letter chastising Mr. Pattinson, no one could argue with that.

    But why is it that northern California can put a moratorium on new home construction, but we cannot? Here in Encinitas, our City Council is deeply tied to the development industry.

    In fact, Encinitas had just hired three new City Planners; we believe on the supposition, at least in part, that Prop. A would pass. It was defeated by nearly a two thirds majority. This mandate should tell Council that we do not want more high end development. We do not want capital improvements designed for the self aggrandizement of Council members running for re-election, which costs are dumped back onto "the little guy" in the form of increased fees.

    Another perfect example is the proposed "clean water fee," which will come up for another “required public hearing” and will probably be voted upon by mailed out ballots next March. Clean water is definitely a priority. State and federal law mandates municipal programs for storm drain maintenance. However these costs should come out of the general fund, not out of homeowner’s overburdened wallets.

    We are so tired of being told the City has plenty of money, that we are winning awards for our accounting methods, then realizing that the yearly projections are millions off, and that we need "more money," which necessitates increasing our fees/taxes.

  2. Pattinson's new nickname is Pussball. Pass it on.


Thank you for posting on the Leucadia Blog.
There is nothing more powerful on this Earth than an anonymous opinion on the Internet.
Have at it!!!