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The power of No wins the day

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
November 11, 2005


Omens have a strange way of sneaking up on me. Early Tuesday morning, after a leisurely walk to my neighborhood-polling place, a quick no vote on everything, coffee and the usual grooming rituals, I had a moment of clarity while on my way to work.

At the Leucadia Road side park a teenage girl waved a Keep Flowers in Encinitas, Yes on A yard sign. Appearing too young to vote, I remarked on the irony out loud, commenting to my partner that I had just seen an omen , an omen too early to decipher.

Of course, I was in front of the computer on election night. I was eager to follow the Prop A race as it left the gate. At exactly 8:00pm, when polls closed and absentee ballots were posted online. With 4 percent of the vote, the No vote led with 3,288 votes, or 60.90 percent. A good omen.

Every few minutes I would hit refresh, nothing. For three hours I watched state wide tallies send Governor Schwarzenegger a wake up call, but no movement on the Prop A numbers. At 11:18pm, with 14 percent counted, the No vote led with 62.63 percent. Another good omen.

Twenty minutes later, with 100 percent reporting, the Proposition A question was settled. With a majority of 65 percent, Encinitas voters rejected efforts of Paul Ecke Ranch to rezone agricultural land for residential development. It could be said this is a truly historic outcome marking a cultural shift in the Flower Capital of the world.

Even with the endorsement of the two major daily newspapers, the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce, the Sheriffs's Association, the Encinitas Fire Fighters Association of San Diego County, 5 former council members, and 2 current ones, the folk at Paul Ecke Ranch were unable to persuade the voters to subsidize their corporate shell game.

All across the state voters rejected the Schwarzenegger agenda. Saying "No" on 73, No on 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, and No on 80, Californians once again gave meaning to the term Bear Flag revolt. On a different planet, and under different circumstances, I could almost feel sorry for Arnold and the other corporate apologists seeking to cash in at the public's expense.

I should point out this is first time, since I began voting in 1982, that my all my choices were echoed by the voting public. No is the new yes, and by voting no to greed, mendacity, and politics as usual, the people of California have said yes to personal accountability, fiscal responsibility, and intelligent governance.

Poor Arnold.

So where do we go from here, other than directly back into to the belly of the bureaucratic beast, as Team Schwarzenegger plots the gubernator's reelection campaign?

Now that voters have said no to the Schwarzenegger jihad, and voted to keep agriculture in Encinitas, it's time to start planning for the future. With Arnold being sent a public mandate regarding his personal failure, Californians must begin planning for economic and environmental sustainability.

In Encinitas I predict a great deal of gloating on the part of the No on A activists, myself included. With the re-election of Maggie Houlihan in 2004, and the defeat of the Ecke proposal in 2005, it's clear a new guard is emerging to defend quality of life issues even against big money and blind cronyism.

Personally, I see blue skies ahead. Now comes the conversation of what is possible with the remaining agriculturally zoned land in the Encinitas. Currently the East Saxony parcel of Encinitas Ranch specific plan is zoned to accommodate a municipal park and tenants such as 4-H, a community garden, and the renovated, state of the art greenhouses of Paul Ecke Ranch. The Saxony agriculture parcel could also host an organic farming collective, an avocado grove, a small winery, a vermiculture facility, or flower fields.

It's clear to me now what the omen of the teenage campaign worker foretold. The girl of twirling the deceptive yard sign was clearly a last ditch effort on the part of a losing campaign. All smoke and mirrors, poorly fabricated myths are no match for carefully placed promises, regardless of the insincerity with which they were pledged.

Flower power is people power.

Poinsettias anyone?

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