Escondido, CA

Letters to the editor


Editor, Times Advocate:

I read an article recently regarding this subject. Apparently, UC Davis and Berkeley have done considerable work on what they have determined to be offensive comments or questions. Some examples of micro aggressive statements are “America is the land of opportunity” infers the person may be on welfare. “Where are you from” implies the person is not an American. “Why are you so quiet” or “speak up” is similar to questioning someone about their race.

My hope is to learn more of these offensive micro aggressive phrases and make a sincere effort to use as many of them on a daily basis as possible.

RICHARD J. MOKER, Valley Center * * *


Editor, Times Advocate:

For those of us who have worked so hard to translate the VISION for Valley Center that emerged from (at least!) 15 years of community meetings into a detailed development plan, the current chaotic and contentious situation is a disappointing, sad and predictable outcome.

Every planning volunteer in Valley Center is aware that the County has failed to deliver the master planning for the North and South Villages that the County promised in exchange for our community’s support of “Smart Growth” during the General Plan update.

This is not for lack of our input, or ideas, or hundreds of volunteer hours: Valley Center’s Community Plan has been sitting in a drawer at PDS since 2010 when the GP Update and Mobility Subcommittees delivered our draft. More recently, the Form Based Code for the South Village has also been delayed for more than year by the planning de- partment to the great disappointment particularly of the non-profit, Heart of Valley Center, which funded the original grant application.

So, despite the intense efforts of many Valley Center volunteers to address and resolve the issues, the County has failed to do so. Our community VISION for the future has never been translated to a concrete plan to which different developers could contribute. As a result, developers are now putting forward a hodgepodge of competing VISIONS that they have each cobbled together with the help, evidently, of potential anchor tenants. They have all benefitted financially from the density and intensity increases they secured during the General Plan Update. Most unfortunately, however, without a real plan that organizes all of this density around a functioning road network and a Vision to guide the development of each sub-area – it’s every man for himself, isn’t it? Just imagine how much more constructive things might be if anchor tenants could be inspired by a strong, attractive community VISION!

These are not issues that can be resolved by a contest of raised voices. Nor can these issues be resolved by Planning Group and Design Review Board volunteers who have no authority or power, or, evidently, influence. In the last few years the “advisory influence” we once had has really disappeared — both on the planning process AND on the compliance of individual projects with our most rudimentary planning objectives. It is as though someone has “muzzled” the planning professionals. Projects that do not begin to meet community planning objectives are flung into the community for “comment,” formal comments that reflect our legal planning documents are ignored, from what I can tell, unless developers “feel like” honoring them. I hear from the grapevine that staffers who raise issues are looked upon as “obstructionists.” From all I can see myself, the culture at the planning department is a toxic soup of indecision, failure to support professional planning principles and/or practices, and a lot of “lip service” about being development friendly.

Without the support of the professional planning staff and our elected “representatives” – citizen volunteers, even very devoted citizen volunteers cannot create or enforce legal planning documents. Nor can we “choose” one of these projects over another. We can see in this sad mess of competing, conflicting VISIONS that “development friendly” does NOT mean NO PLAN. As we all know from our own lives, rules are pretty important to living together cooperatively. Our developer friends are all speaking the truth here, but they are all also seeing the circumstances competitively, not as a part of a greater whole.

As we have said many, many times before — these planning issues can only be resolved by a cooperative effort. Perhaps the developers who are now at each other’s throats are beginning to see the advantages that Valley Center’s VISION for itself and a plan to implement it would provide to each and all of them. The County MUST lead this effort!

Though no one has asked for my advice, I do see my name mentioned repeatedly in the exchanges that are now making the rounds. I’ve been involved for a long, long time in Valley Center and I would like very much to help move this situation to a more constructive place. The only way I see to do that is for the developers is to take their issues to the County Planning department and to Bill Horn’s office and to demand the planning that has been denied Valley Center.

My strong recommendation to VC citizen planners is to insist on it.

Editor—Dr. Montgomery recently
retired as chairman of the Valley Center Design Review Board after many
years holding this position.
* * *

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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