In an editorial Dec. 9 ("Keep Home Ranch referendum off the ballot"),
the Pilot both incorrectly characterized the "opponents" of the Home
Ranch project and neglected to mention the grounds upon which valid
opposition is based.
According to the environmental-impact report (sponsored by the Home
Ranch owner and the city planning division) the project will cause 19,938
more vehicles each weekday on the roads and 14,000 trips on weekend days.
Pointing to that expected increase in traffic is hardly a "scare tactic,"
but it is the best estimate of one harmful result of the development.
Changing lane stripes, narrowing lanes and adding lanes can mitigate
traffic. But these actions can only help to a limited degree; natural
growth increases traffic every year. Spending all the available city
funds on the Home Ranch will deprive other areas of needed road
improvements. Adding traffic now will only accelerate the time when we
must purchase more land for even more lanes; how much of that land will
be purchased from the owners of Home Ranch? The Pilot seems to think that
pointing out these undisputed facts is "fear-mongering."
Extrapolating national statistics, about 4,000 Costa Mesa residents
suffer from some degree of asthma, more from chronic bronchitis or
emphysema, both conditions worsened by atmospheric pollution. About 15%
of asthma is considered to be causally related to smog. The environmental
report estimates that those 20,000 vehicular trips each day will generate
292 tons of atmospheric pollution each year. The editorial implies that
to point out these serious and real health issues is a "scare tactic."
In developing traffic mitigation measures that would be required
because of the project, the writers of the environmental report
anticipated the construction of the Gisler Street bridge. The
spokesperson for the Home Ranch declares that his company is opposed to
the bridge. It must be remembered that once the Home Ranch project is
built, those traffic engineers responsible for alleviation of traffic
congestion will have to deal with the reality of the burden of 19,938
cars and trucks each weekday imposed by the Home Ranch development. That
this could result in consideration of construction of a bridge that
remains part of the Costa Mesa general plan does not constitute
"hyperbole and fear-mongering."
The editorial alleges that opponents of the project called for the
elimination of rental dwellings on the project. That is not factual; the
developer's own discussion groups, not those characterized as the
"opposition" by the Pilot, were responsible for requiring owner occupancy
The editorial writer is invited to peruse the tapes of presentations
before the Costa Mesa City Council and Planning Commission concerning the
Home Ranch. He will find that the only matter that qualifies as "scare
tactics" and "hyperbole and fear-mongering" was the fiscal-impact report
prepared by the Home Ranch consultants. That report was proclaimed to
demonstrate "a permanent deficit" to the city of Costa Mesa if the Home
Ranch land were built out according to the existing general plan.
Following dissection of that report, the applicant admitted that the
worst imaginable fiscal scenario was used -- that means "hyperbole." The
only defense offered was to the effect that the proposal produced more
city income than the general plan -- a point not disputed by "the
The Pilot recently supported a popular vote on a project in Newport
Beach involving a traffic increment of 2,700 vehicular trips per day.
Now the paper decides that Costa Mesa citizens should have no say in a
project involving 19,938 vehicular trips per day and 292 tons of
atmospheric pollution per year.
Does the Pilot consider the citizens of Costa Mesa not yet ready to
participate in their government and in their future?
* PAUL FLANAGAN is a Costa Mesa resident who opposed the Home Ranch
project as a member of Costa Mesa Citizens for Responsible Growth.