‘Right’ down the wrong road
In looking for words to describe the “Know and Vote” initiative, several readily come to mind– “confusing” and “unnecessary,” among others. Stronger words might be “ridiculous” and “nuts,” but one word stands out above all the rest and that word is DANGEROUS. Why? Because this initiative would kill any future development in Signal Hill.
In order to attract development, Signal Hill and many other cities provide financial incentives to encourage developers to locate in their city. Signal Hill is at a strong disadvantage in attracting developers due to the fact that many pieces of land were involved with one of the largest oil operations in the country. Because of that, development involves extraordinary start up costs related to required clean up of abandoned oil well remains and soil remediation, costs that other cities don’t face. According to an independent fiscal analysis contracted by the city, “The Know and Vote Initiative will result in Signal Hill not being able to compete with surrounding communities that offer economic development incentives, including the City of Long Beach. Many of these cities do not have major soil contamination and abandoned oil well issues, which drive up the costs of safely building on a property located in Signal Hill.”
Despite the clear disadvantage Signal Hill faces, this initiative would put us at a further disadvantage by requiring that development incentives be approved by a 2/3rds vote in a citywide election. To add insult to injury, the initiative would require the developer to pay for the election, the cost of which has recently been estimated at $39,400. No developer in their right mind would choose to locate in Signal Hill given the problems posed by an unknown vote result and the addition of such onerous financial requirements.
The proponents of “Know and Vote” keep saying that is not their intention. I’m reminded of an old saying– “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” This initiative will pave the way to economic and financial hell of Signal Hill.
[Ed. note– Yochum is a member of the Civil Service Commission for the City of Signal Hill]