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Commercial Diversions and Other Flights of Fancy

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
August 13, 1998


Well it is the middle of August, the beaches are crowded, our overburdened transportation system is made worse by the heat, and for some reason the powers that be want to bring millions more to the area to share in our the collective frustration. Recently I have become convinced that those who benefit from this development frenzy the most, are the same people who operate under the assumption that the average North County resident will notice only the diamond placed in a bucket of cow manure. They seem to be right.

Last night I went to the local 21 screen movie multiplex. It is obvious that the developers believed that if they lit the front of the building bright enough, no one would notice the lack of parking. I'm sure they were also hoping that no one would register that there are too many movie complexes being built. In my opinion people are all too willing to check out from reality for two and three hours at a time. I guess if you sit in a dark room long enough you won't notice that your quality of life is being sold to the highest bidder.

Speaking of people operating in the dark, what is up with the Manchester Resorts people and the development whores sitting  on the Oceanside City Council? Can someone please show me the wisdom behind placing an ice-skating rink less than 100yds from the beach. Am I the only one who considers this absurd. One would think residents of Minnesota would stay home if they wanted to ice skate.

As I write this I have in front of me a glossy piece of propaganda, provided by Oceanside's friend and savior, the selfless Doug Manchester. On the front cover is the slogan "PROSPERITY FOR OCEANSIDE," excuse me, but wasn't Walmart suppose to provide that. Inside the glossy is an architect's design rendering. Looking towards the coast the hotel project looms above the rest of the city. Some envision this being the jewel in the city's crown, others see it as an eyesore blocking their ocean views.I guess property values mean little to the people at City Hall.

It is important to remember that Dougie Manchester wants to build his hotel on municipal park land, remove Pacific Street and historical buildings such as the Bandshell, and the historic homes at the corner of Pacific Street and Seagaze Drive. Looking at the master plan it is clear to me that the people at Manchester have no room for such non-entities as Oceanside's residents or it's history.

Proponents of this commercial endeavor will state that this project will create over 650 jobs. To that I say, "at whose expense." Do you really think that all the businesses catering to marines are going to be allowed to stay once their "First Class" neighbor moves in? I think not. Soon small business owners will feel the squeeze of gentrification, and Darwinism will reign downtown. And what about those created jobs? Service sector jobs are nice, but they rely on a good economy. Need I remind people that our current economic boom is being fueled by development? What happens when we reach build out?

The glossy also states that this project will enhance beach access. Yeah, right. Looking at their plans, I see that access is actually reduced. I have a feeling the hotel concierge is going to have a problem with local teenagers traipsing through the lobby to get to the beach. And how welcome are the fishermen going to be as they pass through the Pier Village with tackle boxes and bait in tow.

According to my calculations this development will include at least six retail shops, three restaurants, three snack bars, a night club, and something called a library bar. I don't know about you , but I have trouble reading after my second Piña Colada. This Development also has three pools, two water features and a water slide. Can someone define "water feature" for me. Other natural amenities include a formal lawn over Betty's lot and lush grounds.

According to Webster's lush means luxuriant growth, characterized by richness, abundance, or extravagance, often tending to excess.

So much for xeriscaping.

At this point it seems to me that Mr. Manchester has decided that if he throws enough pretty baubles at us, we won't notice that we are being robbed in the process. To that I say, if he wants to build a lush hotel, he can do it on private property bought at current market value at his own expense. It is high time the Oceanside City council began to represent the people who elected them, not every out of town developer willing to accommodate them in their flights of fancy.

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