Can’t We All Just Get Along: Politics as usual in Yorba Linda
Posted by Brenda McCune on January 23, 2014
I hate to quote Rodney King, but it just fits. There are too many important races coming up this year and too much at stake to not take an early look at alignments, tactics and issues.
In my little town of Yorba Linda, we have the usual onslaught, yes, already, of Republican on Republican verbal violence. It makes no sense, and literally everyone loses in such a battle. There is a movement afoot, to recall two council members. There is no allegation of abuse of power, of violation of law, of conflict of interest, sexual or moral misconduct, the gist of this movement is that they did not keep their campaign promises.
Really. Shocking. Whether they did or didn’t, just shocking that such an allegation would arise.
One of the Council Members targeted in the recall is up for re-election in NOVEMBER. Mark my words, the candidates and their supporters who are behind this, will run in November beating the drum of how they are the “real” fiscal conservatives. Please consider the cost of this recall effort. Even if it goes nowhere, the city staff still must count and review the signatures obtained and the application paperwork.
Recalls should be reserved for serious and egregious conduct, not just because you don’t like who’s in office. That is precisely the situation with this one, as well as the last unsuccessful recall effort (that would be the ‘other’ side who tried that last cycle) The current recall literature is couched in terms of high versus low density zoning. This is a perennial issue in Yorba Linda which has existed as a very contentious one for more than two decades.
News Flash: Nobody wants HIGH Density zoning. The proverbial, NOT IN MY BACKYARD attitude prevails. The best spin doctors on this issue, many years ago, used the term, “low income” housing. Which is confusing and lead people to have images of a Harlem style development, also formally known as Section 8 housing. Higher density does not mean Section 8 housing.
The one true statement that appears in the literature from both sides is that it is gonna happen. The part that is not true, is each side attributing ‘fault’ to the other. The real villain in the scenario is Sacramento. The state mandates that the city have some land available for building homes that are “affordable”. Last time I checked that was the theory of housing for a family of four with an income of about $40,000 per year. We can’t be sure where the Sacramento brain trust came up with such an imaginary family, but I can assure you, regardless of what they build in Yorba Linda, it is not likely to be affordable for that family under any circumstances. The theory though, requires that the “density”, or the number of homes per acre, must be raised to more homes per acre than Yorba Linda has had historically, in order to satisfy this State mandate.
If Yorba Linda does not in some way comply, there will be litigation. State of California vs. Yorba Linda, is not a case that I want to see filed anywhere. It is likely to be very costly and the bottom line is, Yorba Linda loses. I suppose there is a tangential argument (Translation of tangential: Ridiculous and unsuccessful) that we Yorba Lindans have a proprietary and constitutional right to all have low density zoning, anywhere and everywhere in our town because that is what we bargained for when we moved in here and paid all this money for our lovely homes.
This has been tried before. The U.S. Supreme Court block busting cases, Kraemer, and it’s progeny, basically said what we all already know, our constitutional rights all have limits. All of them, even the ones related to ownership of property. Keeping people out on the basis on economic impediments is likely to go as well as keeping people out on the basis of race. Likely result of the litigation is the California law will be upheld and Yorba Linda will foot the bill for the whole fiasco. The city’s law firm, and the numerous law clerks who would work on the case would be imminently pleased to have learned so much about constitutional and municipal zoning laws, at our expense. So, if you think High Density will have a negative impact on your property taxes, just wait till City Hall gets our lawyers involved with litigation with the State and see what happens to our city’s otherwise bright financial future.
The city’s coffers are not the piggy bank of politicians to take up and take on ridiculous issues for the purposes of keeping their names in the paper. Look around residents, it has become the status quo. Everytime you see a Yorba Linda politician in the paper or on the news it is usually NOT about an issue that has a close nexus to something that is in the best interests of the city.
Everybody in the race this year is likely to be Republican. Everybody in the race this year is going to be waving the flag of being a “Fiscal Conservative”. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION to the spin, here because in general they are all SAYING THE SAME THING.
We don’t want HIGH Density, but we DON’T want litigation either. We must walk this fine line between getting what we want and placating big brother. Anyone who is telling you something different, anyone who is blaming the other guys and saying it is THEIR fault and THEY broke promises, and I can give you the proverbial “chicken in every pot” (or a half acre for everyone in the case of Yorba Linda), well they are just not being truthful with you.
The bloodsport of politics in the city of Yorba Linda is likely to be as ugly as any year prior. Be informed, tell the people standing in front of your grocery store that you are informed and that there presence is decreasing your property value as much as anything.
The only thing to be gained by any of this posturing is to ruin some candidates and get attention for other candidates. We as citizens encourage this by tolerating and ignoring it. These ugly and contentious races have kept away good candidates and very much work to minimize public participation of those who fear retribution. I don’t know about you, but my intent is to be aware and not support the negativity and histrionic shenanigans of these people. We should all make that known to the candidates as they announce their candidacy in the coming weeks.