Attempted Murder of a Good Law: Two people tried to kill Pacific Grove’s law banning Fast Food. Councilman (and Carpetbagger) Bill Kampe1 along with Commerce Chamber head Moe “Strip Mall” Ammar wielded the weapons of mass deception.
Kampe put it on the Council Agenda arguing the City should welcome Fast Foods and “streamline the ordinance2.”
Expecting the existing law to be eviscerated the Council voted unanimously to have the Planning Commission rubber-stamp it.
Nice Big Surprise:
Thursday evening, the Planning Commission listened to Fast Food denounced for its trash, hideous anti-nutrition and harm to Pacific Grove character by a parade of respected residents, former Council members (Dan Davis, Susan Goldbeck, and Terrence Zito) and business owners (from Peppers, Fandango, The Works, Jo Rombi, PassionFish, Red House, Juice and Java, Taste, and Fifi’s and Charlie Higuera from Grove Market gave us a quote to use).
Only a tiny handful spoke in favor of Fast Food, most admitting a financial stake in Fast Food, but by the end of the meeting even most of them were apologetic.
The first official to speak was Commissioner Jeannie Byrne who set the tone that this effort to rescind the Fast Food law was essentially over – except maybe to strengthen the existing Fast Food prohibition. No commissioners spoke in favor of Formula Fast Food Restaurants after that, though two did mention wanting yogurt.
The Good: Terrence Zito Led the Victory
The central figure in this remarkable turnaround effort was former Councilman, scientist and co-founder of “Pacific Grove Neighbors” Terrence Zito3. He and a few colleague members of Pacific Grove Neighbors circulated petitions about Fast Food. What was bold and unusual about Zito’s effort was how he also made petitions for people who supported Fast Food; he let people on both sides of the issue sign up. In doing so he got a reliable poll of public sentiment.
His poll results were extraordinary: some than 92 % of Pacific Grove residents opposed more Fast Food and an even higher percentage of visitors (94 %) oppose more Fast Food.
What was stunning was Zito found 45 business owners willing to sign up and oppose more Fast Food and only 1 supported it (97 %). A total of 300 residents, visitors and business owners signed petitions opposing more Fast Food.
Grove Market owner Charlie Higuera commented: If corporate fast food comes to Pacific Grove, he will not be able to open up a small burger place in the city.
The Bad and the Ugly: Bill Kampe and Commerce Chamber Head “always fighting Residents’ interests” Ammar.
This is a sour cream pie in the face of Councilman Bill Kampe who has also tried to destroy Pacific Grove’s Tree Ordinance (and who had admitted plans to get rid of our Architectural Review Board, our Historic Resources Commission and even the Planning Commission). Reminds me of PG resident Michelle Knight who ran for the Water Board – to get rid of it.
However, this battle is not over yet. Stay tuned for how you can help. (And you could let the Restaurateurs who helped — know of your appreciation for their courage by providing your patronage at their fine establishments. Peppers has a Facebook page with some updates on this issue.)
1. Kampe is a Silicon Valleyite who had only lived in Pacific Grove for a year when he ran for Council. To disguise his short term here, he mislead voters by saying he had owned his house for five years – letting them believe he had lived here five years.
2. “Streamline” is a well-known code word used by developers and polluters to disguise their drive to get rid of environmental protection. Kampe knows exactly what he is doing using this word. If you peruse his campaign website – he is extraordinarily careful to avoid revealing his anti-Residents interests. However, when you listen to him at Council meetings – his hostility to resident’s values leaks out.
3. While on the Council in the early 1990s, Terrence Zito wrote the current version of the Fast Food law in part because he taught nutrition for decades.
Note: Not one person identifying themselves as from “Sustainable Pacific Grove” spoke at the meeting. Well, at least we can be thankful they didn’t support Fast Food.