“[The Landwatch Community General Plan] does allow a significant amount of growth.”
– Landwatch Executive Director Gary Patton at the televised Green Party debate between HOPE and Landwatch, March 9, 2005
You might reasonably wonder why does Landwatch want huge (25%) Growth in next 15 years involving 40,000 new houses and some 125,000 new people.
But you wouldn’t learn about that by reading Monterey Peninsula newspapers. You’d have to read the Salinas Californian or watch the Green Party TV.
1. On November 22, 2004 Landwatch wrote a Salinas Californian Commentary endorsing a 25 percent population increase and 40,000 more housing units for Monterey County in the next 15 years. The Landwatch commentary also disavowed no-growth and slow-growth.
The commentary was signed by Landwatch’s President Rod McMahan. (But likely drafted by LW Executive Director Gary Patton who disappeared (was fired?) right after this controversy.)
2. Alarmed, HOPE published an article on January 21, 2005 shining a light on this. HOPE also reminded readers how we are out of water, our Carmel River is dying, our roads and highways are gridlocked and how every bit of additional growth further stresses our natural environment and could lead to the extinction of the some 68 local animals, flowers and trees officially on Endangered Species lists. The article was signed by all HOPE’s Trustees and its Executive Director.
3. Landwatch responded with a February 2 letter to HOPE’s Executive Director foolishly trying to argue their Commentary did not advocate for growth — which their commentary explicitly, and favorably, mentioned. This was signed only by Landwatch’s President Rod McMahan. He also asked that HOPE send his letter to our members and others who had received our article, which we did – along with an expose of the baldly contradictory claims the Landwatch letter makes.
4. HOPE then sent a letter back to Landwatch on February 23, inviting Landwatch to refute or disavow that growth, explaining that HOPE could find no disavowal of the 40,000 new housing units or the 125,000 population increase in their letter and asking “Does Landwatch Accept Growth?” Again, it was signed by all HOPE’s Trustees and Executive Director.
6. HOPE sent the Landwatch Board a response on October 12, 2005 pointing out their almost complete failure to respond to crucial concerns.
What follows here is the full text of all six documents, a commentary exposing “Smart Growth” as fraudulent doublespeak and an article explaining six ways to create affordable housing – without any bulldozing.