February 6, 2016 @ 12:39 pm
The first observation is that I never heard of either of these guys. Rothgery, whoever he is, is a decent job with the questions, though how alternative points of view were being questioned. The injection of the lengthy clip with the guy involved with the General Plan update seemed misplaced and introduced some issues or questions about THAT process, but Orcem was NOT a major of element of that.
As for Brooks, never heard of him, either. I wasn’t aware–were YOU?–that south Vallejo was a current-day industrial center, that it was already overloaded with too much industry. Yet Brooks made that argument in his opposition to the Orcem proposal, claiming that the addition of Orcem’s operation in south Vallejo would present a clear overburden of industrial concentration.
Brooks presented concerns about truck traffic and residential uses in the area. True enough, coming up from the mill site on the Strait, you get to the first residential area at Alden Street and at 3rd Street. Then you get to Sonoma Blvd. Trucks that want to head to I-80 west will likely be turning onto Sonoma Blvd and running south to I-80 near the Maritime Academy entrance and the Carquinez Bridge. There is no alternative routing that could be established that would completely avoid residential. Once again Vallejo is left with old-fashioned planning and zoning situations that present hindrance to current and future development possibilities. It is difficult to swing an old-fashioned, physically out-of-date city into any kind of economic engine.
The fundamental undercurrent of all this is a very FUNDAMENTAL movement to pacify the entire Vallejo waterfront, to de-industrialize and de-commercialize the Mare Island Strait completely, converting the whole waterfront into a fantasy wonderland of trails, dance spaces, and landscaped promenades. But Brooks comments also that Vallejo wants and needs to return to the glorious days of the past, when Vallejo–due almost completely to the Naval Shipyard–was a Federally-funded center not only of industrial production, but of HEAVY industry. What does Brooks think was going on in the Shipyard? That they were braiding rope and making flags and pennants? And across the Strait from the shipyard, what was going on along there for decades?
Well, using some of the maritime capabilities provided by the Vallejo waterfront can and will generate actual revenue for the City and its taxpayers. Trails, promenades, and dance spaces are financial sinkholes, costing taxpayers money but producing zero revenue because such facilities are FREE OF CHARGE to its users. That’s fine, and as it should be but the movement to render the ENTIRE Vallejo waterfront as a revenue-free zone does NOT bode well for the future of this community. We have already been warned by the City Manager that the upcoming fiscal year budget will almost certainly include a structural deficit that can not be overcome by using ‘reserve funds’ to obscure it. The ‘reserve funds’ have already been blown by the City to cover the structural deficits that have existed in the City budget since it emerged from bankruptcy. What will be the deficit threshold that will drive the City of Vallejo government back to Federal bankruptcy court? The first time around it was $12 million or so.
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