Northwest Escondido has been battling an uber-rich, out-of-town developer for several years now.
He has utilized many of the same bullying tactics as Kilroy Realty: spending millions to circulate misleading petitions, ignoring community input, overwhelming the opposition with legal expenses, and using the courts to overrule the constitutionally protected citizens initiative process.
Most Americans fiercly defend personal property rights, as they should. Like all 'rights' however, there is always another side of the coin. Rights wouldn't be needed if we all lived in a vacuum. Your rights stop where mine begin...
In Escondido, our War is to stop a developer from remodeling the entire nature and appeal of our community. It would be one thing if Beverly Hills flipper Michael Schlesinger was putting unused or obsolete property to better use; essentially improving the neighborhood by addition. Of course his marketing and PR characterizes the property as exactly that, an obsolete golf course (though there is no hard evidence of that), because absent that element, the true extent of his exploitation efforts would be obvious.
But in this case, he has targeted the signature piece of real estate, the centerpiece of the community, the very essence of what established, and continues to identify, the reason people chose to move here, by converting it into a nondescript concrete jungle of homes for no other reason than that he could walk away with an enormous amount of profit if he can successfully pull it off.
It is an audacious plan to take the best part of the Country Club community and redirect the resource to line your own pocket. Who cares about the tradition, the legacy, the charm that residents have spent decades building? That is something only whiny old fools care about anymore!
Carmel Valley, your War is to stop speculators from cramming a massive, downtown-style, high-density, high-rise building complex onto property better suited for a neighborhood strip center. One Paseo is a massive intrusion on a relatively settled area, and a gross over-development for the plot it would occupy. Who cares if the nature of the community is all about casual, coastal, small town living? Don't you know, the New Normal is SmartGrowth, stacking new residents on top of old ones? Since when is 'quaint' exempt from 'Smart?'
These turf wars symbolize the larger issue of property rights conflicts with existing infrastructure, communities, and resources, when developers see an opportunity to inject steroids into a otherwise benign piece of real estate. Any property that has the potential to be exploited will be, since the developers hold all of the financial leverage. It is a difficult task for individuals, community coalitions or even adversely affected nearby businesses to mount much of a defense when pitted against deep pockets with strong political ties.
Like Escondido, Carmel Valley may not engender a lot of sympathy from the general public; the media, driven mostly by well-placed propaganda PR, portrays us as obstructionists to modernity. It paints us as selfish NYMBY's who resist any growth at all. If you dare to speak up, the developers PR machine will brand you as a neanderthal.
All of which is insulting, naive and BS. Note how none of the land speculators live in the area they are assaulting. They should find a piece of property in their own neighbor to exploit!
These David vs. Goliath battles can only be won if reasonable, respectable and dedicated volunteer homeowners stand together to defeat soulless investors who are unconcerned about the impact of their greed.
Carmel Valley and Escondido, we are Brothers in Arms!