HOPE Helping Our Peninsula's Environment
Monterey County Sept 12 1999
Re: 21rst Century Plan
(Monterey County General Plan Update Process)
While some parts of your proposed participation plan at first glance appear positive - the blueprint for a General Plan Update appears designed to essentially perpetuate business as usual behind a facade of fairness. The concept of "Win-Win" is hopelessly harmful to our environment and quality of life.
"Win-Win (From the old English word "winnan" - to fight): A negotiating strategy urged upon environmentalists by their opponents, who seldom practice it themselves, to ensure activists "lose-lose" and are grateful for it."
"MYTH: A win-win process is always superior to the now hopelessly outmoded, unenlightened and thoroughly discredited win-lose approach, which has proved contentious, divisive and unworkable."
"FACT: The "Win-win" strategy is a product of 1950's game theory research which found that in some game scenarios it produced much better outcomes for all parties than "win-lose". However, it is not appropriate for all games, particularly some where the players do not have shared interests. For example, if a swimmer in the ocean met a shark, to use "win-win" to perhaps compromise on say, an arm or half a leg, might not be a viable outcome for the swimmer."
"In modern times a good example of the effectiveness of win-lose was in the early 40's when Truman, then Chairman of the Senate committee overseeing government war contracts, found a few defense contractors had deliberately overcharged us about 100 billion in todays dollars. Truman simply forced them, with very blunt threats, to give all the money back. Truman knew what every farmer knows: to get a pig out of a trough you use a 2x4.You don't invite pigs into a consensus process, and you don't tiptoe around barnyards in three piece suits and wingtip shoes with the media setting up photo opp's for the piglets."
(Courtesy of Jim Britell, "The Usual Suspects" series)
In San Francisco after a long foot chase the police grabbed a burglar who was found to have committed dozens of robberies over a period of decades. As he was being handuffed he cried out "You don't have to do this - I promise not to do it again."
After years of Monterey County government taking advantage of and running roughshod over residents concerns and now seeing that residents are becoming successful at fighting back - County government wants us to "compromise." How amusing. Sounds like the Burglar's plaintive plea.
The County government has been breaking so many laws for so long and is continuing to do so while and after this document was released we've found no evidence or reason to expect that we will not be forced to continue to litigate County government's outrageous irresponsibility at every feasible opportunity.
You ask us to help in "solving problems related to growth."
Solving problems may be contrary to our interests.
We generally oppose growth whether it is population, economic or land use - and so should the County. Our community is so painfully far past its carrying capacity in water, traffic, natural resource depletion we need to stop now. We will help solve problems for existing residents.
Growth is not inevitable.
When considering the astounding number and depth of constraints on natural resources and how growth always costs more than it pays Monterey County should be examining how to stop growth - not how to accommodate it.
Range of Solutions
We want to participate in the honest evaluation of two alternatives -
1. A General Plan constrained by water, traffic and other existing infrastructure limits.
2. A General Plan constrained by sustainable use of resources sometimes called "Carrying Capacity" or "Steady State."
For details of our concerns please refer to our letter of Oct 28 1998
Mandating a Response is Missing and Should be Required
Page 7 describes how the County will Listen (but not necessarily agree) - but it is silent about whether the County has any duty to "Respond" to substantive and procedural points raised during the proposed process. Mandatory response to serious questions should be required.
"It is our duty to resist compromising our mission" pg 8
What mission is that - specifically and thoroughly?
Re: Your timetable chart pg 21
Who is getting "Consent Building Training"?
What is a "Smart" database?
Who are in the Focus Group; who are conducting it and why are the background materials to be tested?
Who specifically are to be on the Municipal Advisory group and what criteria are used?
Will the Municipal Advisory group meetings be publically noticed?
A "Problem Statement" is not the same as a quantified list of resource constraints, their carrying capacities and their current levels of use. We request that a quantified list of resource constraints, their carrying capacities and their current levels of use be prepared.
Why are you scheduling a "Solutions Generation" workshop without having a "Diagnosis" or "Problem Definition" workshop first? The PUC held fairly successful workshops locally in this vein about a year ago. We request you hold "Diagnosis" or "Problem Definition" workshops before you schedule any "Solutions Generation" workshops.
We request that a list of all existing General Plan deficiencies and inconsistencies and out-of-date information be prepared at the beginning of the process.
The time frame for problem definition and solution alternatives seems far too short.
Rotating Roundtable sessions between Peninsula and Salinas. Good start, but King City residents and Prunedlae residents need to be included in the roundtables.
We request you hold the Roundtables in the evening when working people can attend and in each community in the County.
Please acknowledge receipt of this letter within 5 days.
We look forward to your substantive response within 10 days.
With all due Respect,
-David Dilworth, Acting Secretary