I’m one of the many folks who worked hard to give the board of supervisors a new direction in 2008. I supported Jim Patterson and Adam Hill. After the election, we figured we had finally left behind the bad old days of the “Three Amigos” (Supervisors Katcho Achadjian, Jerry Lenthall, Harry Ovitt), under whose corrupt leadership the county took a hard right turn to property rights extremism.
Under the Three Amigos—who were unwaveringly pro-development, anti-smart growth, anti-General Plan—the planning commission became almost meaningless and, indeed, was almost disbanded on recommendation of the Three Amigos. Time after time, the Three Amigos rubber-stamped projects, often ignoring glaring environmental problems, ignoring inconsistencies with the General Plan, and ignoring planning commission recommendations. Examples: North Coast Viewshed Ordinance (commission recommendations were ignored and a new, much weaker ordinance was written by property owners); Santa Margarita Ranch (it was significantly inconsistent with the General Plan but favored by the Three Amigos anyway.) The developers and anti-environmental folks and property rights extremists whined, raised a big fuss, and got their way. It looks as though under the “new” Jim Patterson, that pattern may repeat itself.
We don’t want the Three Amigos all over again. We want planning commissioners who are intelligent, engaged, knowledgeable about General Plan policies, who try to strike a balance that protects the economy, agriculture, housing affordability, the environment, and the long-term sustainability of our quality of life. In Sarah Christie, we had such a planning commissioner.