Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Opponents to Measure A speak at Poway City Council

At the Poway City Council meeting on October 7th, both Ann Kana and Dee Fleischman spoke out against Measure A.  Dee raised issues concerning the financial viability of the No Stone Left Unturned LLC based on the recent issues the company had in paying its water and electric bills. In addition, she raised concerns with a section of the ballot initiative that states that if the measure passes, the city must amend its general plan to match the ballot initiative if any changes made since the filing of the ballot initiative are in conflict with the measure.

Ann Kana raised concerns with the enforceability of the side agreement between Poway Open Space LLC and No Stone Left Unturned LLC.  Ann's speech is provided below: 

Hello Mr. Mayor, Council members, city staff and Poway residents…
My name is Ann Kana and I’m here to ask you to vote “NO” on Measure A.

I live on Stoneridge Golf Course and am very familiar with both sides of the measure.  I would like you to vote “NO” on A because it doesn’t protect Poway’s Open Space, it actually gives away valuable development rights to a known litigious developer.   
There are two main elements that the supporters are relying on – the measure itself and a side agreement between two LLCs (Poway Open Space and No Stone Left Unturned). 

Measure A, if passed would rezone the southern portion of the golf course (approximately 77 acres of the total 117 acres) to residential condominium and allow for the building of up to 180 condos on up to 25 acres.  This is the only thing that the City of Poway can hold Mr. Schlesinger accountable for. 
There is a private side agreement with Mr. Schlesinger that contains provisions for building a community recreation center, filing of a deed restriction on the remaining land, and golf course improvements.  None of these is guaranteed, and not enforceable by the city.  The agreement was negotiated by a small group of golfers (the Poway Open Space, LLC) who says we need to “trust” Mr. Schlesinger to live up to these commitments.  However, he has proven that he is very adept at legal maneuverings to avoid fulfilling his legal obligations.  His LLC which owned the Silverstone golf course in Las Vegas sold the property to another newly formed Schlesinger LLC which then declared bankruptcy to avoid re-opening of the golf course.  And don’t forget his handling of the Escondido Country Club!  How much is Poway Open Space willing to spend on legal fees if needed to hold Mr. Schlesinger accountable? 

By itself, Measure A is a bad deal, because it gives away very valuable development rights with no other committed benefit to the City.  Poway has a collaborative planning process and a history of managed growth that takes into account:
air pollution
noise pollution
demographic changes
public safety and access to city services
special housing needs
and many other factors.   

Let’s not make a deal with such a litigious developer without proper planning along with stronger legal assurances that he will deliver on his commitments.

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