Pacifica's Pro-Business Wing Gains New Clout

Candidates promoting business interests who dominated last month's council race say the election was a repudiation of an environmentalist faction that's dominated the city's political landscape for decades.

The era of Pacifica's environmentalist wing's dominance of city politics is over.

That's according to the top two vote-getters in last month's election for the two-year term on the city council.

Mike O’Neill and Victor Spano represent a pro-business faction that’s emboldened by an apparent repudiation of a once-mighty Pacifica environmentalist voting block.

O'Neill’s decisive win in the two-year race figured prominently in an election that dramatically changed the dynamic of a council that for decades has been dominated by the city's environmentalist faction.

Pacifica voters last month gave the city’s pro-business faction a decisive 4-1 majority on the council, voting in Karen Ervin and returning incumbent Mary Ann Nihart, who along with O’Neill and newly elected Mayor Len Stone give the city’s pro-development wing more clout than it’s had in recent memory.

Sue Digre is Pacifica’s only remaining environmentalist left on the council.  

"I think it shows that (Pacifica's) pro-environmentalist movement subsiding," said Victor Spano, the runner-up to O'Neill in the race for the two-year seat.

Spano finished ahead of Sierra Club-endorsed Richard Campbell by a razor-thin 23-vote margin (4,060-4,037).

The two pro-business candidates combined to garner more than 60 percent of the vote.

O'Neill said the election reflects a change in the electorate, with Pacifica voters expressing their angst with years of budget deficits, shuttered businesses and proposed cost-cutting measures. 

"I just think people realize that there's got to be more revenue," O'Neill said. "The days of getting services and not paying for them just aren't there any more."

For his part, Campbell rejects the notion that Pacifica's green movement has become non-factor in city politics, noting that his pro-environment stands did not in his estimation represent a hindrance to economic development.

"I think that's a false choice between economic growth and environmental protection," he said. "I don't buy into that notion and that I was just representing environmental folks in town. I had a lot of support among a broad base" of the electorate."

Campbell said he campaigned on economic development, too.

"I think the message was (that voters) want to see progress on development in the city," he said. "All three of us campaigned on that message and all three of us split the vote."

O'Neill acknowledged that Pacifica's environmentalist faction is in tune with the city’s desperate need to promote economic development.

"I think they've acknowledged the realities of today's world," he said.

He also acknowledged that pro-business in Pacifica doesn't mean the same thing as pro-business Bakersfield does.

"I don't want to see the hills developed," Campbell said. "There's a reason you live in this town by the ocean and there's a reason you have 60 percent open space. What (voters) want to see is a realization that there's a budget and services that are in the city of Pacifica and there has to be some sustainability in order to maintain them."

Spano and Campbell said they've both congratulated O'Neill on his victory.

"I wish Mike well," Spano said. "We've got a great council now and as a member of the Pacifica Economic Development Committee I want to help out the entire council any way I can."

Campbell said he believes O'Neill's real estate background is an asset to the city.

"I wish him well and I believe he can serve effectively," he said.

Both left the door open to a 2014 council run.

"Why not?" Spano said. "I thought the people of Pacifica received me well. We'll see in 18 months."

Campbell acknowledged he's thought about another council run, too.

"Sure, it's something to consider," he said. "Absolutely."


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hutch December 24, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Hello... do you know we are almost bankrupt? Do you notice the potholes? The dilapidated buildings? Cuts is services and programs? We have no extra money to take care of our infrastructure let alone environmental protection and up keep. It sounds great to say you want Pacifica to stay as it is, but this is the mentality which has put us in dyer straights. 20 years of an environmental, anti development council have almost killed us. Now it's our turn. We need development and business and it's not going to destroy our culture. It's going to make it better, cleaner, nicer.
Geo Kitta December 24, 2012 at 12:35 AM
I totally agree and am on board w/any people oriented ideas that maintain the unique characteristics of our coastal community. Pebbles and his ilk care nothing for quality of life of the people who live here, their only concern is money - period. To him Pacifica was just another "area" to exploit monetarily. They and their "solutions" are from outside, benefit a very few and destroy forever the thing that makes places like Pacifica special. The big easy fix. There needs to be deeper more creative thinking before creating these irreversible "fixes" for we who live here now and those who will live here in the future. The long and short range thinking must focus on quality of life, not money.
Geo Kitta December 24, 2012 at 12:51 AM
You continually misread the intent - it is not "wanting Pacific to stay as it is", it is maintaining quality of life in any new community planning. No one would disagree w/ things better, cleaner, nicer - go for it. If you want more shopping - redevelop the malls we have and give up the libertarian/tea-bagger "no taxes" crap. If you want to live in a nice community - everyone who lives here will need to pay for it and stop bitching.
The Pacifican December 24, 2012 at 01:42 AM
GK said: "The long and short range thinking must focus on quality of life, not money." GK, is this how you manage your household budget? I assume you must either live in a tent or in your parent's garage. I love how people like you who pay little if any taxes and sponge off the public dole always feel the rest of us never pay enough in taxes. Obviously you have absolutely no clue how much federal, state, local and add-on taxes the rest of us who you obnoxiously call "tea-baggers" are actually paying on every dollar we make. I guess the fact that most of us work well past June of every year just for the government seems to make absolutely no difference to you. GK, you really must move to a place that appreciates your "progressive" way of thinking. I hear Cuba has very nice weather this time of year. I'll gladly help you pack.
Geo Kitta December 24, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Unfortunately, people like you find it easier to divide than to attempt to reach out to another human being who happens to be your neighbor and work out reasonable solutions. The problems you talk about are not going to be solved this way.
Just Another Guy December 24, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Hey Hutch if you are so pro development why don't you move elsewhere? California is loaded with over developed ugly coastal cities just waiting for you to buy a condo and move there...
The Pacifican December 24, 2012 at 03:04 AM
@GK Well, calling those of us you disagree with "tea-baggers" (and I think we all know what that means) and calling Don Peebles, a man who President Obama has personally reached out many times himself to for advice/help, the derogatory and racist moniker "Pebbles", isn't exactly my idea of "reaching out". It does, however, say quite a bit about you - not the least of which that you are a hypocrite.
The Pacifican December 24, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Hey JAG: Since you are SO anti-development why don't you return the property you live in to its pre-development state, i.e., open space? It's easy. Just ask your parents for their permission since it's their house.
Just Another Guy December 24, 2012 at 09:44 AM
Hey The Pacifican: GFY!'
Geo Kitta December 24, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Dear The Pacifican: First off I am truly sorry to have slipped into the same divisive typecasting that ply are known for. As you say, it was hypocritical of me and I stand corrected. Secondly, until you brought "Pebbles" up, I didn't realize that I had in fact misspelled Peebles. As I stated earlier, nobodies perfect and to err is human. I'm not quite sure how I misspelled it is a derogatory and racist moniker but I guess one can find such if looking for it in anything. Something for you to consider. Third: I wholeheartedly voted twice for Obama and unless he backs down from raising taxes on the 1% and compromises SS, I'll continue to support him. But regardless of my support for him, or at least for how he's represented himself to the american people, I have no more trust for the dmc than the rnc when it comes to being controlled by a creeping fascist/corporate agenda. If you think that is typecasting or an exaggeration I suggest to look up fascism in the dictionary and review the current state of affairs in Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas and and a few other states. This is the extremist "tea-party" libertarian faction I referred to. If you align yourself with such then feel duly offended by anything I might say, otherwise I'm not referring to you personally as I don't know you. I don't think I could find "The Pacifican" or "Hutch", or all the other false names used here in the directory. I at least don't hide behind such.
hutch December 24, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Sorry JAG (off), now that we finally have a pro-growth city council I'm not going anywhere. Just sit back and watch the exciting changes about to happen. First will be Palmetto Ave. You're going to se some big changes starting in 2013, Street beautification, landscaping, moving wires underground. Trendy shops and restaurants. After that the old sewer plant will be transformed into a great ocean front restaurant, hotel and housing. But don't you worry your little hippie head over it all. You had your turn, now it's ours.
hutch December 24, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Yes Geo, "the evil outsider mega developer" was just here to screw Pacifica. Go peddle that garbage at a Peter Loeb dive bar performance. Is it because Peebles is Black? Is that why you think he's a liar and a cheat? Or because he's friends with Obama? Or his many awards for conscientious building practices? Can you please tell me why you hate and mistrust this man who has done nothing but good for the communities he's touched?
Just Another Guy December 24, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Hutch why don't you go fight with your wife (if you have one) and stay off line with your b.s. for awhile? Thanks and Happy Holidays!
hutch December 24, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I'll tell you why the NIMBY's vilify Don Peebles. Because they'll do and say anything to stop any kind of progress in Pacifica. You want to criticize about lying and cheating? Well look inward. These people are against everything. From improving Highway 1 so emergency vehicles can safely get through to Safe and Sane Fireworks to an assisted living housing. They are just against everything and for years they got their way because the council were nutty hippies who hated progress too. Now the tables have turned. After 20+ years we have a pro progress council. So sit down NIMBY's, we'll take it from here.
hutch December 24, 2012 at 05:58 PM
I understand JAG, small minds have a difficult time with different points of view then their own so they try and silence them. Good luck with that.
I fixxy Pacifica December 24, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Geo, what in God's holy name are you balthering about? Either you want the city to be broke, or you don't. the nobie way has made the city broke. Time to let the grown ups play for a while. You don't like it, tough. it amazes me the ability of the hippies to run every developer out of town, then say it is not THEIR fault the city has no money.
I fixxy Pacifica December 24, 2012 at 10:27 PM
typical liberal nonsense. "Everyone else needs to pay for MY way of life I enjoy"
I fixxy Pacifica December 24, 2012 at 11:28 PM
you are part of what keeps the community poor. Get over yourself already!
I fixxy Pacifica December 24, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Peebles proposal got voted down for one reason and one reason only: TRAFFIC! oh wait. 355 HOUSES! oh wait . . . the hippie enviro liars on city council, representing the likes of the corrupt Geo Kitta, LIED about the city finances during the election. November: we have plenty of money, no need for development. January: we are broke and cannot afford city services, we need to pass a sales tax. HAHAHAHAHA! Glad you lying losers are getting drummed out of power.
Geo Kitta December 25, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Let me see if I've got this right - according to your particular brand of logic, "the noble way" infers negativity yet according to its actual definition, its antonyms are: ignoble, base; vulgar, common. Sounds sort of familiar of "those who hide behind false names" while mocking indigenous Americans. Although I was sucked-in/entertained by playing w/the "grown ups" here - it's gotten very old and boring and so to all those who hate - peace and love to everyone on this Christmas eve. (my apologies to any hippies I offend by this sentiment)
I fixxy Pacifica December 25, 2012 at 03:36 AM
NOBIE. not "NOBLE". NOBIE = people who say NO to everything. Formerly known as the "NO-NOTHINGS". aka BANANAS (Buildings Are Not Allowed Near Anything)
I fixxy Pacifica December 25, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Geo - why do you hate Pacifica? You actively strive for their to be no money, no infrastructure, no people, no police, no firemen, no business, no new development . . . . you are the haters, and expect everyone else to subsidize your hate. No a very "Christmas" message. Oh you're all for the giving . . . as long as you are the one receiving.
Jeffrey Simons December 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM
I have never posted on Patch as anyone but me. You and your little blogmaster buddy Sinai and that wretch of a human Todd Bray want to keep spreading lies about me, be my guest. Oh, I better watch what I say or you will try to shut me up with a bogus Restraining Order like you tried with Schlesinger.
Jeffrey Simons December 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM
and yes you have worked for this company for cash under the table without paying taxes, Ian.
I fixxy Pacifica December 28, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Ian Butler is Keri Santos. bank on it.
Lionel Emde December 28, 2012 at 06:26 AM
Keri, Do you have multiple personality disorder? Not Ian, not Todd, not Johnny Depp; I know, you must live in Texas.
Keri Santos December 28, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Keri Santos, is Sinai, everyone in town knows this.
I fixxy Pacifica December 29, 2012 at 06:36 AM
we got a lot of dirt about the leaders of the no-business crew. things the papers refuse to publish. and yes, Pacifican, all you say is true. but it is just the surface.
Christa Bigue (Editor) January 02, 2013 at 10:56 PM
A few of the comments were deleted from this article for violating Patch's Terms of Service.
hutch January 10, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Thanks Christa


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