Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Group Launches Initiative To Save Fairview Park

As the petition signature-gathering winds up for one initiative - the so-called Smart Growth Initiative - another group has launched a similar effort to preserve and protect Fairview Park - referred to by many as "Costa Mesa's Crown Jewel".
The Fairview Park Alliance, HERE, has crafted an initiative to do just that.  The full initiative may be viewed HERE.  Beginning within the next few days representatives of that organization will begin collecting signatures, hoping to gather enough by the deadline - I'm told it will be early in May - to qualify the initiative for the November, 2016 ballot.
As is required by law, the initiative has been reviewed by the Costa Mesa City Attorney, who has fulfilled his responsibility of creating a proper title and an official Summary which will appear in the sample ballot should this initiative qualify.  The following is the complete text of that Title/Summary as produced by the City Attorney recently.  I've edited it for spacing and type color only, for easier reading:
    The initiative prohibits certain changes in land use at Fairview Park unless the City of Costa Mesa pays for and conducts a citywide election, and the electorate votes in favor of the proposal. 
    In general, the initiative requires voter approval each time Costa Mesa authorizes any expansion or intensification of uses, new or expanded amenities, expansion of park hours, grading, expanding parking lots, new foundations or permanent structures, installation of lighting or utility delivery systems, and alterations using geotechnical or structural analysis.  Exceptions apply to (1) restoration, (2) preservation, (3) maintenance, (4) public safety, (5 )expanding Fairview Park’s size, (6) improvements pursuant to the Fairview Park Master Plan which do not require installing permanent structures, and (7) certain changes approved and completed before the initiative’s effective date. 

    The following are examples of projects currently authorized under the Fairview Park Master Plan that could not be implemented without voter approval: 

Fairview Park, east of Placentia Avenue:  Playground, Platforms/retaining walls for vista overlook area, Museum/multipurpose building, Constructing two paved parking lots to accommodate a total of 131 cars.

Fairview Park, west of Placentia Avenue:  Playground, Covered picnic areas, Bus turnaround, Stairs to allow bluff access, Grading bluffs to prevent erosion, New restrooms, Boardwalk and pedestrian bridge on new trail.

    Other examples of activities that would be prohibited unless voter approval is obtained include:  Completing structures that were under construction when the initiative became effective, Concrete curbs, Expanding existing buildings, Installing additional lighting, Expanding park hours, New trails not listed in the Fairview Park Master Plan, Installing water, electric, gas or sewer lines, Expanding parking lots, Constructing retaining walls, Increasing the number of community events such as concerts-in-the-park, seasonal festivals or races, Pergolas and gazebos, Rest areas along trails that are larger than the minimum required by law, or are within 100 feet of one another.

    The following are examples of activities that would be allowed without an election:  Activities authorized in the Fairview Park Master Plan not requiring the construction of any permanent structure, Restoring Fairview Park to its natural non-developed state, Replacing non-native trees with native trees, Activities intended to protect habitat, vernal pools, burial grounds and artifacts, Removing paths, parking lots or existing man-made improvements, Improving educational signage, Repairing existing structures, Maintaining existing roads, trails and parking lots, Adding land to Fairview Park, Mowing, Replacing broken lights, Installing trash cans, park benches and picnic tables without coverings.

    The initiative requires specific information be included in any sample ballot mailed to registered voters regarding a proposed change to Fairview Park.  The initiative also requires compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.  The initiative could not be amended without voter approval.  

I've not asked the proponents of this initiative precisely why they felt it necessary to present this measure to the voters, but I can guess.  After having watched the current council majority create the Fairview Park Citizen's Advisory Committee - now dormant - and stack it with cronies who apparently shared their view - which appeared to be that ALL land within the city should be developed, either as high density housing or active use playing fields - I suspect the folks behind this initiative were concerned that similar attacks on the last bastion of natural open space in the City would continue to come under attack without protection.
I watched that committee do it's work.  I saw them create a list of "possible" uses in Fairview Park that included all manner of playing fields, including Bocci Ball, for goodness sake.  I watched as, meeting after meeting, residents and other stakeholders in Fairview Park - including representatives of Native American tribes who have a very special interest in the park - presented their views to the committee.  It would be accurate to state that, by a very wide margin, the speakers wanted Fairview Park to remain in a natural state.
The initiative and the summary, above, refers to the Fairview Park Master Plan.  You will find that document HERE.  
So, over the next several months you may encounter proponents of this initiative who will be asking for your signature.  Take a few minutes to have them explain the initiative to you if necessary, then let your good judgment and conscience guide your decision.  This really just boils down to a matter of trust.  Do you trust this current batch of elected leaders to protect and preserve this irreplaceable asset?

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Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Next: Look for Mayor Stevie to circulate his own initiative mandating the park to be completely covered with DG (decomposed gravel). You know, like that illegal road there that's still under investigation.

12/29/2015 05:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Very good. Its a shame the residents have to resort to this measure to do something that should be obvious but very glad to exercise that right. I'll sign.

Hoping the other initiative regarding ability to vote on high density also passes at the polls. I'm tired of hearing how much we need housing, etc. This is not about housing at all. "They" don't care about housing. What the density is about is keeping the building industry alive, which supports not only developers, but builders, real estate, banks, and such. Those people would be hurting if they couldn't build, so they do it under the guise of needing homes.

Their ilk says that if you can't afford to live here, go to the Inland Empire where you can. But you never hear them say, "If you can't find a home here, go where you can", they will bend over backwards to build for them, but no care for the need for affordable housing for people who have been here their entire lives. Quite hypocritical. Do you see the people spouting that living in those boxes? No! They all own their single homes, and some quite large ones.

And don't even get me started on the monoliths our mayor and mayor pro tem are now building for themselves. Multiple family? Of course not. Those are for the peasants.

12/29/2015 07:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Considering that those who spoke at the meetings were about 95% in favor of leaving the park alone while the gang that can't shoot straight on the panel completely ignored them, this would be pretty sweet to get on a ballot. No amount of council-driven misinformation and propaganda would defeat it.

12/29/2015 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you Geoff for being the Jon Stuart of Costa Mesa! We all need the truth with a little humor! Great Job As Usual!

12/29/2015 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous zennymoon said...

The majority council has lost the trust of the residents and voters, so residents have formed grassroots groups to protect the city and residents. TWO initiatives tell the story of a need for protecting ourselves, our quality of life, our open space from becoming a Santa Monica look alike. Hmm, they even tried to import a Santa Monica resident to serve on a committe (and coincidentally he is a developer) oh, my who knew? Costa Mesa Wake up...2016 is our year

12/29/2015 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Thank you, Geoff.
Like WMC said, it's a shame that these
initiatives are necessary, but they are
to fight back against the surge of over
development, HDD and plans to put concrete
sports fields in a wilderness area.
A section of Fairview Park has already been
destroyed by an illegal DG trail.
Those who have visions of $$$ dancing in
their heads tell us development is "good"
for us, that HDD "doesn't exist in CM" and
that "sports fields will improve Fairview Park"
that quality of life is "subjective"
and "smart growth is denser growth".
Intentionally misleading people is their goal.
You need hip waders and gas masks
to get through their posts.

No, these two initiatives are very needed in our
city today.
We can no longer count on the city council majority
and their cohorts to have our city and its residents'
best interest at heart.
We need to take care of that ourselves.

12/29/2015 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Westfall said...

That's exactly why I wrote the book: The Costa Mesa Bluffs -- and presented it at the annual dinner of the Costa Mesa Historical Society -- to a sell out crowd.

Fairview Park is the largest open-air field of Native American artifacts, and giant animal fossils in Orange County.

"A killer whale effigy was discovered during a 1938 archaeological dig (site ORA-163)on the Costa Mesa Bluffs in one of five sites including the early villages of Lukup and Genga -- these are part of the Gabrieleño. Costa Mesa is a treasure of California and all who live here should guard it well —- for there is more under-
foot than we could ever imagine."

From: The Costa Mesa Bluffs

12/30/2015 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

@Douglas: Excellent book. Thank you for giving everyone a free download of it for the holidays. I'm grateful that we have people like you to balance out the villains currently in power.

12/31/2015 05:19:00 AM  

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