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The Fox in the Hen House

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
November 19, 1998


"A wise man will desire no more than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contently." — Benjamin Franklin

Recently in the national news there has been a question regarding the lack of wise men needed to lead to this country, as in; where are they? From those needed to advise the naughty boy in the oval office, to the ones who can reign in greedy ones in the House and Senate, we as a nation are in desperate need of some wise council. I applaud the call for wisdom, as we all should, I just think we could use some here on the local level.

Recently I have had to ask myself, "what would possess a group to act in a manner that is detrimental to their long term well-being?" The only answer I could come up with was groupthink. According to Hirokawa and Scheerhorn (1986) there are five factors that can lead to low quality decisions: (1) the improper assessment of a choice-making situation; (2) the establishment of inappropriate goals and objectives; (3) the improper assessment of positive and negative qualities associated with various alternatives; (4) the establishment of a flawed information base; and (5) faulty reasoning based on the group's information base. Does that sound like Oceanside and the passing of Proposition V, or what?

I keep trying to convince myself that the Oceanside City Council is going to wake up and see that there is this huge monster waiting to set up camp around the Municipal Pier. We are talking the development equivalent of Godzilla. This project will lay waste to the area's cultural identity faster than the big lizard could flatten Tokyo. Band Stand, Community Center, and homes, including the "top Gun" house will be leveled. If I'm not mistaken even the recent multimillion dollar film was a flop at the box office. The parallels are unnerving.

Like the current celluloid incarnation, Doug Manchester wants the people of Oceanside to buy his misunderstood monster routine. Greed is an ugly monster no matter how you look at it, and it makes people do things that common sense would warn them against. Case in point The Oceanside City Council is one huge conflict of interest. Sort of like Mothra in bed with Godzilla, not a pretty picture.

My sources tell me that money has apparently been passed under the table in regards to the City Council being on board for the Manchester project, hook, line and sinker. It has always been my impression that the Oceanside's elected officials had been giving away the farm, now it just seems they are selling it for personal gain. Do I think these individuals are evil? No. But I do feel they have got their priorities wrong. They were elected to serve the needs of residents, not serve up prime real estate and park land to individuals who care nothing for the community they plan to invade.

Environmentally speaking this is a boondoggle of grand proportions. First and foremost I have a problem with the developers pledge of lush landscaping. We live in a desert where water is a precious resource, does it make sense to plant tropical species that require lush amounts of irrigation. When the city starts to call for water conservation, as they will, what do you think the the chances are of Manchestor Resorts being exempt from that?

Seagulls are another issue, if you think resident beachgoers will be discouraged from using the pool area, just imagine the campaign that will be waged to keep sea birds from pooping on the outdoor terraces. Then there is the question of chlorine being introduced into the ocean during winter storms, not to mention fertilizers from the aforementioned lush landscaping. And then there is the sheer number of people who will generate untold amounts of waste.

Forty Five percent of Oceanside's voters said No to V, this should be a sign to the City Council that they must go slowly, and adhere to all existent environmental policies...to the letter. No short cuts here, they owe that much to the people of Oceanside. This is no longer a business issue, we now move into the realm of biology. The question now is how will this huge development impact coastal North County. The answer to this question affects us all.

I think everyone should go Pacific Street and look up. Just imagine a twelve story wall there, then imagine four twelve story boxes. I did this the other day, it was weird. Next I went back to Tremont Street, did the same visualization still weird. And then up to North Clementine Street, scary. I'm sorry, I just can't picture this proposed resort as being any thing other than a huge mistake.

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