Rule No. 261
"A wealthy man can afford anything accept a conscience." — Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
"A wealthy man can afford anything accept a conscience." is just one of the Ferengi rules of Acquisition. I have concluded that those seeking to force the monster known as the Manchester project on the City of Oceanside, must be from the planet Ferenginar. For those of you unfamiliar with Star Trek, Ferengi philosophy ruthlessly embraces the principles of capitalism. Another rule of acquisition, "Never pay more for an acquisition than you have to." brings me to my point.
Environmental issues aside, the proposed Manchester Resort is shortsighted and favors transient business concerns over residents. Waving development fees is akin to subsidizing private enterprise. Manchester resorts should be required to pay mega bucks to develop parkland. Instead of contributing $15 million to the development, the city should be asking for that in fees, after Manchester has upgraded the infrastructure. Manchester Resorts is a business, not the second coming, and they should pay their own way.
If Jane Smith wanted to open a coffee shop elsewhere in town, do you think the city is going to waive all her fees? What about the homeowner who wants to build a room addition, or a granny flat? If the Manchester Resort is the cash cow they say it is, then there should be plenty of people that would be willing to invest. Oceanside should have it's hand out, not the other way around.
Then there is the issue of public land being leased. If I am not mistaken, part of the proposed site was a gift to future generations of Oceanside residents by one of the city's founding families. By placing a private enterprise on oceanfront parkland, does the city mean to convey the message that the future is over?
Regardless of the continuous spin, beach access will decrease. By bringing tourists to the beach, residents will have to fight for towel space, let alone parking. Currently anyone can go down to the bandstand on a summer day and roller blade, sun themselves, or just hang with friends and family. Once Manchester is built, this will be the pool area for hotel guests. Public parkland no longer accessible to the public. How are residents compensated for this?
Speaking of spin, I have been enjoying reading Terry Johnson's attempts at appearing moderate on this issue. Although I agree that Manchester should be required to relocate the Oceanside Beach Community Center, I believe this is a conversation based more in Mr. Johnson's upcoming Mayor's race than community concern. Because if that was his first priority, citizens affected by the relocation would have been included in all negotiations. But then again that is hard to do when all the negotiations are done in behind closed doors.
A third round of negotiations have just begun. Recently it was revealed that instead of four towers there will be three, although the amount of rooms remains the same, as will the amount of traffic generated. Same package, different wrapping. Tourists may generate traffic, but homeowners in coastal Oceanside have to live with it. The people of Oceanside deserve better from their elected officials. Greed and stupidity don't mix and right now those calling the shots in Oceanside are guilty of both.
It is high time that tax-paying residents demand that developers pay their own, or vote in a building moratorium until they do.