The Access Alliance isn’t going away! We remain dedicated to preserving accessible open space for public recreation on Fort Ord, and committed to supporting development that is economically sustainable, conforms to the base reuse plan, and reflects wise urban planning that considers regional impact. That excludes a horse race park, stadium, exclusionary housing, or more sprawling shopping centers, hotels, and freeways that feed an unsustainable event based economy, while the core areas of our Monterey Bay cities decay.
The Access Alliance vision is alive and well, and will maintain strong public pressure on the Fort Ord Reuse Authority board. If you would like to contribute time and talent, please contact us via email on the Contact page.
Alliance Spokesman Jason Campbell’s post-election Monterey County Herald commentary:
If you voted for Measure M, the Fort Ord Open Space Access initiative, this commentary is for you. While Measure M didn’t quite top the 50 percent mark, we came close. Be proud that we navigated the disinformation campaign waged by the Monterey Downs developers in our effort to preserve 540 acres of oak woodlands. We also can be glad that Measure K lost badly, which should send a message to the Monterey Downs developers that their project isn’t welcomed here, but so far it doesn’t appear they’ve gotten the message. So we need to keep up the fight.
Here are some suggestions for how you can help:
Seaside residents, your town does not support the Monterey Downs development. Measure K, the developers’ initiative designed to facilitate approval of the project, failed in Seaside. This is a fact that should temper the enthusiasm of the City Council, but if it hasn’t sunk in yet, you can help by reminding the council members.
Pacific Grove residents, if the election were held only in your town, Measure M would have passed and Measure K failed miserably. Yet your Mayor Bill Kampe, who serves as the city’s representative on the Fort Ord Reuse Authority board, still needs to be encouraged to enforce the open space policies in the Fort Ord Base Reuse Plan.
Most people don’t realize that the Monterey Downs project would be improperly placed on a county site slated for “light” commercial development and no residential units, with emphasis on the preservation of oak trees. And the policies protecting the oak woodlands were conveniently excluded from Monterey County’s planning document for Fort Ord. The Sierra Club has demanded that the proper policies be reinserted into the county general plan. Remind your mayor of his obligation to enforce the plans and policies for Fort Ord.
Monterey and Carmel voters, Measure M won in your towns as well. Your representatives are already doing their job at FORA; you can simply thank them for that. (5th district voters should not forget that Supervisor Dave Potter invited horse race track promoter Brian Boudreau to Monterey County.)
If you rely on Salinas Basin water, you can urge Monterey County Supervisors Lou Calcagno, Fernando Armenta and Simon Salinas to protect the groundwater resources of the basin and require Monterey Downs to have a secured, operational water project before allowing Seaside to annex county property in Parker Flats. Otherwise, the Salinas River Basin will be supplying water for 800 horses, hotels, shops and many homes — basically a mini-city sprung up in the middle of Fort Ord’s back country — while saltwater intrusion continues to be a serious threat to the health and safety of your water supply.
To all local politicians, talk about the environmental effects outlined in a study reported by The Herald on Nov. 24, finding that the project would cut down about 42,000 oak trees and “permanently change the wooded character of the project area.”
There are other unavoidable impacts outlined in the environmental reports: excessive carbon monoxide production greatly exceeding established limits; major impacts to several sections of Highway 1 and its ramps in Seaside and Sand City; and the need for more police and fire services that the city currently cannot pay for. These impacts are as bad or even worse than we imagined.
We can’t allow this travesty. The Fort Ord Access Alliance will continue the fight. We are not giving up, and we have partnerships with many local citizen groups. There will be another opportunity to do a referendum if the project moves forward. We’ll be there, and we’ll be calling upon you to help once again with signature collection and campaigning.
There will be legal challenges shaping up regarding lack of water and other impacts; we know people ready to bring these challenges forth. Measure M was just one chapter in the book of preserving Fort Ord’s recreation areas.
The story goes on.