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Marisol: Commentary
Hope and Fear

Jeff Barnouw | Amphitheatre Drive

After the March 3 election Measure G will have been either approved or rejected by Del Mar voters. So this commentary is either a call for renewed action or a post mortem. I don’t predict. Both sides have shown strong support, but I have been struck by basic differences in the main passions that have informed the two sides.
Like the electorate I personally have been torn between hope and fear. The promise of great benefits weighed against the anticipation of possible disaster. A key factor determining the weighting of hope and fear is the degree of trust. Predominating fear involves basic mistrust in a mutual cause-and-effect relation. I think this has led opponents of G to disregard the claims of proposers and proponents as false or empty promises, and to deny the assurances that passage of G would allow for much of the City’s normal design review process to remain in effect. To believe that G is a zoning change which gives the developer carte blanche within the proposed limits leads to the perception that the election is a last stand against disaster.

If G passes, I think and hope that most of the vociferous opponents will continue to voice their objections and eventually have an impact on the outcome. I myself fear the mass of the proposed development, but I believe that what is proposed can be amended, scaled back, through negotiation. This involves trust on my part, in what the developers of Marisol have promised but also trust in our remaining safeguards and in the social political process of reaching a compromise that has worked before.

Past votes on major developments were under the now discarded Measure B (with detailed plans), and the change to only voting on the zoning change has exacerbated the mistrust and fear of opponents of G. This has led to their trying to discredit the promised benefits rather than weighing pros against cons. But if trust and hope prevail in the election, it should allow opponents to give voice to their concerns in the ensuing approval processes. That could result in something fine.

If Measure G is defeated, we can be assured that we will have more opportunities to comment on new development under the existing zoning. Do I dare predict this is the last occasion where we as a community will be divided and tested in this way? No, I don’t predict, but I do hope we have learned something about how to manage our differences.



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