New urban builder wants high-density housing on public-owned Downtown parking lots – you pay! Sounds like Chico!

12 Feb


This week I will hit the ground running in my attempt to keep my New Year’s resolutions – two meetings in two days.  

Tonight at dinnertime I will go to the Airport Commission meeting. I had so much trouble getting on the notification list for this committee, I just have to find out why. These meetings are only held four times a year, which I find odd, for something as important to the economic vitality of your town as an airport. I’ve heard bad things about how our airport is run, I’ve heard the airports at O-ville, Willows and Redding are fun far better, and I’ve read reports about the workings of those airports that leave me wondering, “why not Chico?”

While Redding is looking into providing more aircraft parking for private jet owners who are able and willing to pay, Chico looks into raising car parking fees for people who have to leave their cars at the airport while they fly out of town. 

Are you tired of being treated like a cash cow? Poke, prod, yank, squuuueeeeezzzze!” Me too. I’m going to try to find out what the heck is going wrong at the airport. 

And then, the next morning, I’m going Downtown to the 8am Internal Affairs meeting. There’s an item on that agenda that I have been watching float around town like a bad turd for years – Tom DiGiovanni wants a “public/private partnership,” which he managed to worm into the General Plan, to develop Downtown parking lots into high-density “live-work units.”  This guy is a leech – he doesn’t really build anything, he just goes about getting the plans approved and selling them to other developers. He got Meriam Park, a “city within a city” approved, then sold the low-income portion to a Fresno based developer for $7 million. The $7 million came from our RDA fund, given to the Fresno developer to route to DiGiovanni. 

Have you seen a shovel of dirt turned over at Merriam Park? No, but you’re looking at a gazillion dollar freeway widening that was necessitated by the approval of Meriam Park, forced by the threat of a lawsuit from CalTrans.  That freeway widening was also paid for out of the RDA – it was part of the lawsuit, Cal Trans demanded that Chico “dedicate” money for that widening, so Tom Lando handed them some cookies out of his RDA cookie jar.  Now we, well, really, our grandchildren, will pay $3 for every dollar spent on that low-income housing and on that freeway widening.

Not to mention, DiGiovanni and his high-density new urban spree have bottomed out the new housing and rental markets, and you see the results. And now DiGiovanni wants public money again, so he can sell the plans and walk away with his pockets full of money? 

Oh, and by the way, whatever happened to that parking crisis that caused a $1 million…oh, excuse me, $3 million Downtown makeover? This whole thing just stinks to high heaven.

So, I will be there at 8:00 in the morning, and I’ll keep you posted. 



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