Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Vote Felix for Seaside City Council

I have known Felix Bachofner for more years than I can remember, and I am happy to report that my good friend is running for a seat on the Seaside City Council this November 4th.

Felix will bring a breath of fresh air to Seaside politics. For too long we have suffered through mediocre city councils with little or no vision for our city's future. Several generations of mayors and councils have talked about redevelopment, but we still have little to show for it. Opportunities have been squandered by setting our sights too low.

Take the new development at Fremont and Broadway. That property was ideal for a major anchor tenant, such as a department store, to form the foundation of a new downtown which the city has long sought to develop on Broadway. That property needed something that would draw customers from all over the peninsula. Instead, our city council sold it below market value to a developer who gave us yet another Starbucks, a Kinkos, and a failed bank. Other spaces in the complex remain vacant and the Broadway vision has yet to materialize.

On Canyon Del Rey we had a prime property alongside Laguna Grande where now sits a Chili's restaurant. There's nothing wrong with chain restaurants, but the standard corporate architecture fails to take advantage of the scenic setting, and actually detracts from the most attractive park in the city. Perhaps if the city had required the developer to seek designs from local architects we might have a restaurant that blends into the natural surroundings and takes advantage of the lakefront setting with indoor/outdoor seating.

Years ago when Felix sat on the Seaside Planning Commission he and his fellow commissioners, along with the presiding city council, approved a train station for intercity rail service on Del Monte Avenue just north of Canyon Del Rey. But the late Jerry Smith, seeking to distance himself from the previous administration, killed the train station and replaced it with, yup, Starbucks. Felix would never put coffee ahead of our transportation needs!

Each of these council decisions carelessly took the first proposal that was presented and they were approved with little foresight, discussion, or architectural review. Felix wants to set a higher standard. He doesn't seek to approve whatever happens to come along. If a proposal doesn't make the best use of a particular site, Felix will work to find a better use. If a good project idea comes along, he'll ask the right questions and find ways to make the project work better, look better and provide a better payoff for both the developer and the city tax base.

Let's have no more willy-nilly development in Seaside. Vote for Felix on November 4th and support quality development in our city.

Go to www.felixforseaside.com to learn more.


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