June 13, 2007
Although Measure A did not prevail in last Tuesday’s election, the election results, on the whole, were not a defeat! We battled the opposing General Plan Measure C to a draw (since it did not prevail either), and we scored a wonderful victory on Measure D, defeating for the second time the Rancho San Juan/Butterfly Village development, this time by a 64% to 36% margin.
LandWatch Monterey County and our allies accomplished a great deal during this election. More than 26,000 voters (44%) voted for Measure A, and we defeated the Supervisors’ Plan by a 55% to 45% margin. Hundreds of volunteers throughout the county worked tirelessly for months to help build strong grassroots support for Measure A. These volunteers are now educated, mobilized, and keenly aware of the issues.
The post-election analysis. The Board of Supervisors intentionally created a convoluted ballot to confuse voters. They rushed to approve a flawed general plan (Measure C), then illegally placed on the ballot a horribly confusing "repeal" measure (Measure B). Real estate development interests were able to exploit this situation, but only after spending $1.2 million+ dollars to run a campaign based solely on fear and confusion to defeat Measure A.
The end result. The 1982 General Plan will remain in effect until the Board of Supervisors can craft a compromise that addresses community concerns, or a new citizen's initiative is put forward to the voters. The Supervisors may argue that the majority "no" vote on Measure B means that GPU4 is still valid, even though Measure B has no legal basis. If the Supervisors hold to this ridiculous position they will find themselves in court. Like the expensive litigation over Measures A and D, in which a federal judge also ordered the County to pay the plaintiffs their attorneys’ fees, the County (i.e., the taxpayers) will again likely be footing the legal bills for any potential litigation over GPU4 if the County continues to insist on implementing that rejected measure.
Next steps. The coalition of community groups, elected officials, community leaders, scientists, and others that sponsored Measure A remain committed to promoting common sense planning principles. We believe that a majority of voters support an increase in permanently affordably housing, farmland conservation, reduced traffic congestion, and safe and adequate drinking water. We will assess our options for ensuring that these policies are incorporated into the Monterey County General Plan, as the Board of Supervisors originally promised.
And finally: A heartfelt thanks to all of you who contributed time, money, votes, and moral support to the Yes on Measure A campaign. All of us at LandWatch are proud to be part of Monterey County and to have an opportunity to educate the public and promote your interest in good planning and good government.
Very truly yours,
Chris Fitz, Executive Director
LandWatch Monterey County