Letters from our Readers: Allow review process of Redwood City project 

Ken Garcia’s March 16 column got it right: Let the review process in Redwood City concerning the proposed salt flats development go forward. Outsiders think they are the only ones smart enough to know that the Redwood City voters elected the wrong people to their City Council.

They conveniently overlook the City Charter in Redwood City that defines the process to review development proposals. Proposals with significant impact require an Environmental Impact Report to bring out the facts, pro and con.

Most elements of the salt flats proposal were created through an extensive, multiyear outreach to residents of Redwood City. They deserve the right to go through the EIR process and the Redwood City approval process.

I live and vote in Redwood City. I am not making up my mind about the salt flats proposal until I see the facts and the amendments that come forth in the review process.

Foster Kinney, Redwood City

Cargill’s maneuvering

As a former Menlo Park mayor and a signer of the petition opposing the Cargill salt flats project on the Redwood City tidal plain, I’ll point out that for 40 years Cargill used the Williamson Act, designed to protect agricultural land from development, to avoid property taxes on their salt ponds.

When Sen. Dianne Feinstein proposed expanding the National Wildlife Refuge, Cargill enormously inflated appraisals of the property based on development potential that is not permitted under Redwood City’s zoning or general plan. These appraisals effectively prevented purchase of the Redwood City ponds for the refuge.

Despite Cargill’s claims that its plan is a product of many public meetings, my suspicion is that Redwood City and the developer long ago decided to build on the Bay and have worked relentlessly ever since to concoct a plausible plan. More housing is good, and Redwood City has a fine record of approving in-fill housing. But housing on a tidal plain that should be restored to the Bay is wrong.

Steve Schmidt, Menlo Park

Siding with SF on utility

Many San Franciscans know it was an act of Congress that established the Hetch Hetchy water and power system that supplies San Francisco and the Bay Area. Proposition 16 gives voters the final say on public power.

San Francisco is the PG&E headquarters, and one of the largest load centers of their system. Public power would be a moneymaker for The City, and the residents would have final say over the electric SmartMeters that will be having time-of-day pricing, much like the bridges and some parking facilities.

I spent 55 years engineering and designing the PG&E electric and gas grid, from the time our electric rates were the lowest in the country until they became among the most expensive in the country. As a retiree, I have mixed emotions on breaking up the PG&E grid, but as a fifth-generation San Franciscan, I have to stand with San Francisco on this one.

Frank Norton, San Francisco

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Michael Daboll

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