Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

October 31, 2006 > No on K

No on K

Measure K will add to Fremont's problems

Measure K claims to protect the Coyote Hills - but it does not.  The Coyote Hills are already part of the East Bay Regional Park District and are protected forever.
Measure K claims to promote agriculture - but it does not.  Farming is impossible on Cargill's former salt plant.  And if you ask the farmer who used to farm on the Patterson Ranch - he'll tell you that agriculture is no longer viable in Fremont. Vineyards are an agricultural use, but incredibly, Measure K prohibits that use as well.
Measure K claims to limit development and protect the environment. Instead it promotes construction of mega-mansions and private estates. No one is going to build "rural" homes on 80 acres.
Most important, Measure K will cost the City of Fremont $50 million because it breaks two separate and unrelated contracts between the city and the two longtime landowners. Proponents of Measure K dismiss these property rights as "old contracts" and the costs as "scare tactics." 
In deciding whom to believe, voters should consider:   
Since 1983, the City of Fremont has zoned Cargill's 92-acre former salt plant "limited industrial" and required Cargill to pay special assessments to Local Improvement District 25 to finance construction of Paseo Padre Parkway and associated sewer, water and other utilities near Highway 84 and Paseo Padre Parkway.  Measure K would rezone Cargill's land to agriculture, preventing construction of a high tech park, and forcing the city to refund Cargill's special assessments. If interest is accounted for, the refund could total $20 million dollars.
Like Cargill, the Patterson family, has a longstanding agreement with the City involving a complex series of open space trade-offs. These are valued today at $30 million.  If Measure K passes, the City will face these two refund claims totaling $50 million.
Mayor Bob Wasserman, all the city council, former Fire Chief Dan Lydon, Planning Commissioner and City Council candidate Bill Harrison all understand this.  That's why they recommend a NO vote on Measure K.  So do Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty (a former Fremont Planning Commission colleague), the Teamsters, and many others.
City Attorney Harvey Levine's impartial ballot analysis warns voters:  "The city could face refund claims if the owner loses the benefit of the assessment by being designated "Agriculture."... The Initiative would likely subject the City to litigation..."
Measure K caught Cargill by surprise. Our company was never named in the petition and we were never told our property was included. When city officials began analyzing the fine print of the 15-page initiative, we were alerted our property was targeted. If the Proponent had the courtesy to call us, we would have told them about the city's financial obligation - and perhaps averted this financial risk to the city.   
Fremont is already cash-strapped and asking voters to raise their utility taxes through Measure L. Measure K only adds to Fremont's problems.  Please Vote No on K.
Bob Douglass
Property Manager
Fremont Planning Commissioner (1990-1996)

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