Letter to the Editor: Groups are ‘hostile to growth’

I am writing in response to the rolling out of by-district elections. To say this process has wounded me deeply would be putting it mildly. As part of the ‘protected class’ this tawdry action sought to empower, I feel neither.

I sat by on the sidelines for a majority of the time, waiting to see who would dare try and capitalize on the theft of my, and every other Hispanic household in Martinez, voting rights. As I expected the first group to show up is the porous 1,000 Friends of Martinez group headed up by Tim Platt. I’m glad Martinez is getting its own baseball team because we’re all going to need to brush up on filling out scorecards given how many of these “groups” Platt’s name is on: Friends of Pine Meadow, 1000 Friends of Martinez, Martinez Open Space et al and etc.

While these groups may have different names, they all have one common goal, to make Martinez hostile to growth, no matter how reasonable. It isn’t mere coincidence that our Planning Commission hasn’t met in months.

There was a time when I felt a sense of alignment with those who were on the Anti Redevelopment side (Platt chief amongst these). When Governor Brown realigned California’s budget and dissolved redevelopment agencies I expected all of the opponents to, I don’t know – go back to living their lives.

I’ve since come to recognize my concerns and opposition over RDAs were contrary to Platt’s. My opposition was the result of unchecked abuses of eminent domain powers. When the Supreme Court upheld the case of Kelo v. New London, I worried for the rights of the property owners who were forced to transfer their property to another private party. In my eyes this amounted to the strong-arm theft by the Government for the financial benefit of another private party.

This is where Platt and I diverge. The strategies and tactics he advocates for continues to result in the strong-arm transfer of private property rights. The only difference between Platt and the State is private property owners aren’t being compensated.

In my next letter I will outline the relation of private property ownership and it’s role in creating generational wealth and the destructive practices Platt advocates for as they relate to the youth of Martinez and communities of color.

– Linda Meza

3 Replies to “Letter to the Editor: Groups are ‘hostile to growth’

  1. I wrote this letter to the editor the same night we got back from Safeway after a lady talked about the petition she was wanting people to sign. I could quickly tell she was not from Martinez and had no clue what she was talking about. Yet still people signed. On outright lies. June 2017 Letter to the Editor ” Letter to the Editor Chris Kapsalis The petition about open space at Safeway last evening

    Dear Editor;

    We went shopping at the downtown Safeway last evening and a lady with a clipboard was asking people if they would like to sign a petition.

    I asked her what the petition was about and she told me. However, she told me wrong. She said the petition was to help protect parks and open space from development. I asked ” What parks or open space are threatened with development?” She then showed me a map of all the parks in Martinez. All (16) of them? I asked which ones were under threat of being developed. She said “potentially all of them.”

    I noticed this was not the so called “Friends of Pine Meadows”, but another group. Open space something or another. But with the same leaders. I was told repeatedly, even when not asking, that this was not Friends of Pine Meadows and had nothing to do with Pine Meadows. Seriously? What do they take me for? Yes this has to do with Pine Meadows in my opinion. It is a strategic move in that whole battle of FOPM to save Pine Meadows from being developed. Just be honest.

    So I asked again what parks are threatened right now with development? She said ” The park behind Nob Hill for one.” Her exact words. I said ” What park?” The RV park? I may not be completely versed on this subject, but I know enough that there is no park behind the Nob Hill shopping center. I could quickly tell she was not from here and I knew more about this subject than her. So I asked her if she lived in Martinez. She said “No”. Then I asked if she was being paid to collect signatures. She said ” Yes, but I only help causes I agree with.” My question is, how can she support a cause she knows so little about? And gives people false information when asking them to sign a petition?

    She claimed to know a lot about zoning and we talked more. I asked about Pine Meadows and what it was zoned as. She said ” Open Space”. I said is that all? Just Open Space?” She said “Yes”. ” Pine Meadows is zoned as open space and they are trying to develope it…” I said ” sorry, you are wrong. It is zoned Open Space/Recreation. And is far from a natural open space. When most people think of open space in zoning they think of a natural setting. Pine Meadows was a golf course for years and far from a natural open space area. But a couple blocks away there is a park that is open space and mostly natural. 63 acres of it. I believe saving Pine Meadows from developers is more a not in my backyard issue than actually caring to save open space. Because again it was a golf course. Not natural. Now an open space committee has been formed who claim it has nothing to do with Pine Meadows and is about saving wild lands and parks from developers. This imo is disingenuous at best. Deceptive is more like it.

    I try to keep an open mind and make informed decisions when I vote. I also like to know what I am signing. But when I see this kind of game being played I back off. In my opinion they are hurting their own cause by not being forthright. I respect and admire many people in these two groups, the open space group and the so called “Friends of Pine Meadows” group. But at the same time I have to be honest. I am backing way off this issue until I know the truth and what is really going on. The true motive for this petition and effort. I would only recommend everyone think before you sign anything. Take a day or two and do some homework if you are not up on all the details. Especially before you vote. Things are not always what they appear and it appears to me this effort and what they claim to be about is not either. It felt as if I was being sold a bill of goods at Safeway last evening. That is exactly what I think it was.

    Chris Kapsalis

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