West Coyote Hills is 510-acres of natural open space bound by Imperial, Rosecrans, Beach and Euclid. The future development of Coyote Hills has been the subject of much controversy in Fullerton for many years.
I’ll keep this simple. Chevron is a lowlife among corporate miscreants. A dark oilstain on the free market; a corrupted, taxpayer-subsidized payoff and extortion specialist with expertise in despoiling the globe and bullying anyone who challenges them. They are responsible for disastrous oils spills and damages to Ecuador, Brazil, Nigeria and elsewhere, resulting in loss of life and mind-boggling environmental devastation. They have also been implicated for human rights abuses in despotic states such as Burma. Even by oil company standards, they kinda suck.
Now, you might say, sure, they’re the bottom-feeders of transnational corporate-oil-trash, and probable warmongers (with a tanker named “The Condoleeza Rice”) but still, what about their property rights? Good question. Let’s look at Ecuador, where Chevron fouled other people’s property so much that they lost an $18 billion judgment in court. You violate others’ property rights, you pay. Unless you’re Chevron. Refusing to pay, they instead filed suit against the indigenous people of Ecuador and their lawyer for racketeering. Pollute, deny, avoid, bully. That’s Chevron’s way of handling your demand for the fair treatment of YOUR property rights.
So here’s a company with NO respect for property rights, including ours in the US. In Richmond CA they were recently placed under criminal investigation for intentionally routing pollution around sensors. Pollution that travels into people’s homes and makes them sick. But even psychopaths are guaranteed property rights. Well fine, they can have their property rights. After all, nobody is trying to seize their property and they can keep drilling for oil and gas as long as they want. But their property rights to land zoned for oil and gas drilling do not give them the right to build 700 homes on it and call it a park, any more than I have a right to say … open a public Gin-bar on my porch and call it a rehab center.
Speaking of everybody’s favorite cocktail base, guess who among our fine crop of candidates supports Yes on W? None other than purported “liberal” and breastfeeding advocate Jan Flory. Evidently police union support and vapid Facebook posts are insufficient resources to counter her well-deserved shortage of voter appeal. So might as well hit up Chevron.
If Chevron’s plan was really in the public interest, would it be necessary to spend $1.3 million dollars in cash on trying to secure the vote? Some befuddled citizens and politicians are agog with the prospect of the oil-soaked carrots being dangled by the plunderous petroleum-peddling plutocrats. Fullerton teachers are particularly ginned up by the prospect of a “Nature Center” they can plan worthless field trips to, where students can learn all about what caving in to special interests looks like as they try to locate the scant vegetation popping up between the expensive and potentially PCB-laced tract homes. The bribe offered to the Fullerton School District (“free money! Gimme!”), as well as the greed of the non-profit moneygrabbing sector shows special interests only too willing to trade their “green” integrity for a little bit of the other green Chevron bilks from the US taxpayer. The fact is however, that city analyses indicate no major new revenue coming in from this development. The schools get some cash, greatly offset in the long-term by having to serve even more students. Nobody else basically gets a dime.
Greenwashed Yes on W ads are all over the place – on Youtube, Facebook, email, via phone call – everywhere but in most people’s yards since the average citizen has an instinctive sense not to trust professional grifters. They realize that Measure W is a joke. No real park compared to what is possible, just a few lonely ditches surrounding the concreting of North Orange County’s last open space, an already existing park, and a “Nature Center.” Unneeded houses on contaminated oil-lands. Traffic. Dangerous and toxic air pollution (a Chevron specialty) and infrastructural, water, and education costs to a city that can ill afford them. “But think about the children! Doesn’t anybody care about the children?”
Yes, we care about the damn children. Some of us even have some and would like to leave them a bit of undeveloped nature as a legacy. We’ll be saying no to the oil plutocracy’s local con job. No on W!
Now sue me, Chevron.
Two of the four referendum petitions for Coyote Hills have failed to qualify per the OC Registrar of Voters. These petitions would have put Chevron’s Coyote Hills development on the ballot in a future election.
The Friends of Coyote Hills had submitted four separate petitions to cover the specific plan, the general plan amendment, the development agreement and the zoning change. The remaining two petitions (zoning and development agreement) are still being counted.
Just in case you were wondering what’s happening with Coyote Hills:
Fighting a multi-billion company like Chevron takes a lot of perseverance and money! The Friends of Coyote Hills is an all volunteer group from the community (we are not paid). We live in the community so we have a deep stake in the outcome of West Coyote Hills.
The donations we receive are spent wholly on the effort to save West Coyote Hills. Your tax-deductible* donation will be spent on legal and other consulting services, education and public awareness supplies and materials (i.e. signs, banners, newsletters, brochures) that directly further the effort to save all of West Coyote Hills.
Interested? Read more here.
A few months back we told you about a new group called Open Coyote Hills here. Their friendly looking green and white signs have appeared all over Fullerton to show support for Chevron’s West Coyote Hills plan. The development was voted down by the city council last year, but thanks to the ongoing threat of a lawsuit by Chevron, will be brought back before the council tonight, July 12. No doubt some of Open Coyote Hills’ illustrious members will be on hand to state their support for the 760 home development.
An April 1 email from Scott Starkey of West Coyote Hills forwards a message introducing Open Coyote Hills. Additionally, the West Coyote Hills website features a direct link to Open Coyote Hills, where they are described as “an independent group of Fullerton residents who joined together to support West Coyote Hills.”
I wanted to call your attention to the email below from Open Coyote Hills, a recently formed group that wants West Coyote Hills to be approved so the land can be enjoyed. Their website is extensive and worth checking out.
Thank you for your interest in West Coyote Hills. We will keep you posted on our efforts to bring back a low-density plan for West Coyote Hills that preserves 55 percent of the property as open space and generates about $38 million to local agencies to improve schools and services.
Our new website www.OpenCoyoteHills.com is now live and we’re reaching out to Fullerton residents to help spread the word.
The site contains a brief history section and an extensive FAQ — both of which should be of interest to all residents. It also offers those
Can you please pass this information along to those on your West Coyote Hills interest list?
The Open Coyote Hills Steering Committee
However, if you hover over any of the links to Open Coyote Hills you’ll see a short hidden text referencing emcdesignca, a design firm found online here:
Funny thing is, one of EMC Design’s clients is none other than West Coyote Hills. Click on the “Client Work” link, then on “West Coyote Hills” to see images of the website and familiar color brochure promoting the development.
Did the same design group that produced the website for West Coyote Hills, the development plan, also create the website for Open Coyote Hills, an ostensibly independent group of familiar Fullertonions supporting that plan?
A reader sent in this image taken last week on a hillside somewhere in Fullerton.
Check out the deftly-named Open Coyote Hills website that was listed on the sign. The website was put up by a group of residents who support the proposed Coyote Hills project, it’s associated parks and the opening of the 72-acre Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve that would come with it.
The “About” page lists an interesting cross-section of Fullerton’s politically inclined.
Last night the Fullerton City Council voted 4-1 to settle its lawsuit with Chevron in a deal that essentially man-dates approval of the development plan for West Coyote Hills that includes 760 houses, and that was denied 3-2. Last year Shawn Nelson, Pam Keller, and Sharon Quirk-Silva voted no. With Nelson and Keller having moved on, only Quirk-Silva remained to opposed the settlement.
As always, share your thoughts in the comments thread.
As part of its project mitigation planning, the Orange County Transportation Authority’s Measure M program has sequestered a huge pile ‘o cash, something in the neighborhood of $200,000,000. The purpose of this dough is to procure sensitive habitat from private property owners who might have development plans.
Naturally, the West Coyote Hills property was on the initial list, until removed by its owners last year. Chevron likely thought their plans for development were in the bag in 2010.
It wasn’t, and now it’s 2011. And apparently the OCTA is re-opening consideration of applications for the first funding from the mitigation fund. Chevron has until Jan 13, to file an application to the OCTA if they want to participate in the program.
Chevron may believe they now have 3 secure votes to approve what the Council denied last June. And they may still prefer to face long years of entitlement, inevitable lawsuits, and two or three embarrassing economic cycles in order to make a big profit. Or perhaps upon further reflection, they might come to realize that selling part or all of their property for a big payday up front without mitigation cost and without dragged out development issues, is preferable.
The Fullerton City Council might want to consider this too, and help persuade Chevron to take this alternate path. Bruce Whitaker, for one, has an excellent opportunity to make this overture.
Last week Pacific Coast Homes, a subsidiary of Chevron Texaco, filed suit against the city of Fullerton for it’s recent denial of the West Coyote Hills development project.
The suit was preceded by a claim for damages of “$1,000,000 plus” in which Chevron says Fullerton is responsible for breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, violating the civil rights act, and a few other things expressed in legal mumbo-jumbo beyond the vocabulary of this blogger.
If you feel like wading through it yourself, here is the claim and the complaint:
So it looks like Chevron is attempting to apply pressure prior to bringing the project back in front of what will likely be a more favorable city council in 2011. I’ve also heard that the suit was preceded by Chevron making no-so-veiled threats towards a councilmember regarding future re-election possibilities. That’s just not very nice.
The north part of Orange County has a notorious lack of parks and open space. And while the County of Orange spends millions on its park system annually, including vast tracts of parkland in south county, and even on the Harbor Patrol in the wealthy enclave of Newport Beach, us taxpayers up north get almost nothing. We have Craig Park and Clark Park which total about 130 acres; meanwhile the County controls around 60,000 acres of park and open space counting the new Irvine Company “gift.” Now that’s just wrong.
Former 4th District Supervisor Chris Norby kept talking about this unfairness, but he never actually accomplished anything to fix the inequity. Norby’s successor Shawn Nelson also made this topic a campaign issue. Will he be able to succeed where his predecessor tapped out? Let’s hope so. The opportunity for additional parkland, and even bike trails in utility rights-of-way are there. It may not be easy, but some of us voters expect elected folks to do the hard stuff.
Shawn Nelson voted to kill Chevron’s West Coyote Hills development – but not for the same reasons that Keller and Quirk-Silva noted. At Tuesday’s City Council Meeting Shawn Nelson said of staff, “It’s like everybody got their Christmas list out.”
Nelson was referring to the extraordinary list of demands that the City of Fullerton has placed on the developer that include all-terrain vehicles, trailers, an interpretive center, school fees of more than $10 million, a $5 million endowment, and park fees. Nelson said “There’s only 760 units planned in this development and that would be $265,000 per unit. And they haven’t graded one spec of dirt, haven’t put in a street, a sewer, a street light. I’m embarrassed. I mean that’s shameful. Whether you approve it or not, that’s a problem.” He went on to ask, “How is that [list of demands] their [Pacific Coast Homes] or anybody’s responsibility that comes to town?”
Nelson made it clear that he supports the rights of developers. He said, “Chevron has a right to build.” But he was not happy that the development agreement showed up on his desk at noon, not leaving sufficient time to scrutinize the details. One major concern was over water rights. When he first took office, Nelson said he had inquired about other issues that have yet to be adequately addressed by Pacific Coast Homes, such as parking.
The councilman appeared to be most irritated that, “These people have been run through the ringer”, referring to the developer, Pacific Coast Homes – a subsidiary of Chevron and the list of unreasonable demands by city staff.
Shawn Nelson is running for the Orange County board of Supervisor’s 4th District seat vacated by Chris Norby after Norby’s election to the California State Assembly. To no one’s surprise, Shawn Nelson is endorsed by Congressman Ed Royce and Assemblyman Chris Norby, among others.
Before the meeting was adjourned, Councilwomen Pam Keller made a lengthy statement that she would not be seeking reelection.