Editorial: Yes on parks initiative
Published: May 21st, 2004

THIS NEWSPAPER has supported a long series of ballot measures to preserve undeveloped land in the Monterey Peninsula and along the Big Sur coast. Protecting open space, scenery and wildlife is vital not only to the natural and spiritual future of this area, but to its economic future, as well.

What we don’t support is seizing property via the permit process, turning private lands into public parks, permanently or for decades at a time, by withholding or delaying development permits.

The Pebble Beach Company, for example, wants to build a new golf course while putting almost 500 acres of Monterey pines into a forest preserve. This very generous quid pro quo was welcomed by the voters when they approved Measure A in 2000. But a small handful of activists, willing to settle for nothing less than the preservation of all the pine forest in Pebble Beach, is determined to stop it. Preserving all the forest is a laudable goal, perhaps, but one which is a complete waste of time if not accompanied by an offer to buy. The public, after all, has unlimited resources to pay for anything it thinks is important enough. Put another way: If the people don’t want to pay for something, it means they don’t really want it.

That’s where parkland ballot measures come in. Public opinion polls show strong support for new parks, and for enhancements to existing parks. Given that, it is absolutely essential that the public be willing to pay for them.

This week, the latest ballot measure goes to the voters. Dubbed the “Parks, Open Space and Coastal Preservation Measure for the Monterey Peninsula,” it would assess property owners $19 per residential parcel, with large property owners assessed roughly $9 per quarter acre.

The measure has a long list of endorsements: The Peninsula taxpayers’ association, the Pacific Grove and Marina chambers of commerce, the association of realtors, and the mayors of virtually every local city.

Key to those endorsements are the modest size of the assessment, the strict limits on how it can be spent, and the fact that it will “sunset” after 15 years.

The regional park district has an outstanding record of creating and maintaining parks. Under the leadership of general manager Joe Donofrio and board president Ben Post, it has avoided getting involved in ugly political fights. It can be trusted to spend the people’s money wisely. When your ballot comes in the mail, please vote Yes on the Parks, Open Space and Coastal Preservation Measure for the Monterey Peninsula.


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Coast Property Owners Association, P.O. Box 59, Big Sur, CA 93920
© 2004 by Coast Property Owners Association