The Port of San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal (TAMT), located in Barrio Logan, is a critical link to our nation’s goods movement. Recently, U.S Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez wrote in an opinion-editorial in The San Diego Union-Tribune that San Diego can now add “exporting powerhouse” to its resume, because it’s “a gateway for international commerce.” It’s a “powerhouse” he asserts due to the heavy goods traffic that flows into San Diego Bay. In Gutierrez’s words:

… millions of goods and products sail through San Diego’s harbor each day, making San Diego one of America’s top 20 exporting regions.

Despite the Secretary’s comments, and an abundance of facts supporting his comments, developers and out-of-town investors are working to rezone and then redevelop the TAMT. They are calling themselves San Diego Community Solutions (SDCS). Letting developers dictate land use policy is classic San Diego and it must be stopped.

We can not allow this LAND GRAB of public tidelands for the financial benefit of a few private developers.

How is SDCS doing this? Starting a few months back, SDCS began circulating an initiative for the November 2008 ballot. The initiative calls for the redevelopment of the TAMT. The initiative would, in part:

  • Replace San Diego’s maritime operations at TAMT with more hotels, office towers and retail buildings
  • Allow commercial development along the entire length of the TAMT
  • Eliminate thousands of good-paying, waterfront jobs.
  • Threaten the future of San Diego’s working waterfront and ship repair businesses

Why are we calling this initiative a LAND GRAB? Because it calls for private development of the TAMT in the form of hotels and other commercial development, most of which is not compatible with waterfront cargo operations. But, more specifically, we are calling it a LAND GRAB because the group circulating the initiative added some telling details in the initiative’s language.

Here are some of those details:

  • Mandates redevelopment of TAMT
  •  Prohibits use of public funding
  •  Mandates use of private funding
  •  Requires that the Port enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with a private development entity within 60 days of passage of the initiative

Read those four points carefully, particularly the last one. Which developer do you think will be ready to submit a proposal to the Port of San Diego within 60 days of passage of the initiative?

Why San Diego Community Solutions of course.

— Adrian Kwiatkowski

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