Over the next few days, outside a Target or grocery story, a signature-gatherer might ask you if you want to keep the Chargers in San Diego.

Sign on the dotted line if your answer is yes.

It won’t be just an exuberant fan trying to do his part. This worker will be getting paid $2 per signature.

But his petition won’t go toward an eventual referendum or ballot measure. Signing it means nothing more than that you want the Chargers to stay in San Diego. No matter how many people sign it, it has no actual significance beyond a gesture of how many people signed it. It’s an odd investment.


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It is not an investment by the Chargers, whose ownership is pushing for a publicly funded stadium.

No, Kilroy Realty is paying for it.

Kilroy is the developer that just won approval of the controversial One Paseo development in Carmel Valley. Opponents of One Paseo just started a petition of their own with their own paid signature gatherers. That petition is to provoke an actual referendum on Kilroy’s project. If it gathers enough signatures, it will force the City Council to put the One Paseo project up for a vote or rescind its approval of the project.

Kilroy does not want that.

So Kilroy came up with the meaningless Chargers petition to both try to block the referendum effort and lure professional signature-gatherers to a different job outside of San Diego. Kilroy’s petition, after all, is only for residents outside San Diego city limits.

Kilroy wants to make it as hard as possible for its opponents.

“We make no apologies about hiring area signature-gatherers to pursue a productive effort by helping determine the strength of public support countywide for keeping the Chargers in the region. It will help inform decision-makers and enable those folks who can’t make it to public meetings to participate in the conversation,” said a statement sent to me by Kilroy’s spokeswoman, Rachel Laing.

It appears to be an innovation in the street battles that have come to define all of San Diego’s biggest, most controversial political decisions. The signature-gathering process was always a last resort. But now, signature gatherers – and more importantly, the people who can pay them – have become their own branch of San Diego government. If the City Council passes a law someone doesn’t like, they can force it to a referendum by gathering signatures from 5 percent of the registered voters in the city.

This latest clever move also opened up a window into the world of professional signature-gathering as one of its members, Arenza Thigpen Jr., worked to surface what was going on. He’s a labor organizer of sorts for the International League of Signature Gatherers, and he was suspicious of the petition to gather signatures from Charger fans.

At first, Thigpen alerted his network. It was an attractive job. But it became clear, he said, that working on it would put signature-gatherers directly in conflict with one of the giants of the signature-gathering world, Progressive Campaigns Inc. a firm headed by Angelo Paparella.

Paparella’s team was doing the petition to force One Paseo to a vote. And Paparella was not allowing anyone who signed a contract to work for him to also collect signatures for the Chargers petition. Right now, he’s paying $3 per signature.

I called Paparella. Was the effort to lure his workers out of the city having an effect on the referendum push against One Paseo?

“Yes,” he said. “Circulators are being pulled to outlying areas so they’re not aiding our effort. Is it going to stop us from qualifying the referendum? No. So far, the response from the public has been very positive.”

Ken Farinsky, one of the co-founders of What Price Main Street, the group that lobbied hard against One Paseo, said the goal was to allow voters across the city to have a say. And Kilroy was working to stop it.

“They’re trying to outwit the desires of the city,” he said.

But Kilroy, in its statement, pointed out that the Council representing the whole city passed One Paseo with a 7-2 super-majority. It pointed to the major dollars its rival, the owner of a nearby shopping center, dumped into the campaign opposing it.

“Like the $1.5 million lobbying effort against One Paseo, this enterprise is being funded by an Orange County corporation seeking to protect its narrow business interests,” said the Kilroy statement.

That’s what makes this particular signature-gathering street battle so much different than many of the others: Both sides have money and are deploying it.

Thigpen said signature-gatherers were facing a tough choice.

“If they attempt to cross over, they will be blackballed from parts of the system,” he said. On the one hand, they could have an easy time with the Chargers petition, but they might get in the way of a major employer.

Paparella said he would not blacklist someone who worked against his firm. He said he hopes they would decide against joining an obvious blocking campaign.

“For the most part, petitioners believe in the process. They believe people have the right to vote on issues. A blocking campaign goes directly against that, and is bad for the initiative process,” he said.

For now, the business of the initiative process is booming.

Clarification: I mistakenly typed “inside” city limits instead of “outside” city limits to describe Kilroy’s petition effort. Kilroy’s Chargers petition is meant to lure signature gatherers to areas outside the city so they don’t work on the referendum against One Paseo.

    This article relates to: News, One Paseo

    Written by Scott Lewis

    I'm Scott Lewis, the editor in chief of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it's a blast!): @vosdscott.

    42 comments
    Judith Swink
    Judith Swink subscriber

    Kilroy also now has petition signature gatherers for a petition *against* the "Oppose One Paseo" petitions - ran into two of them at Trader Joe's in Liberty Station last Friday, home grounds for Kilroy HQ offices. I declined to sign. This plus the Kilroy mailer I received earlier in the week simply reinforced my desire to sign the referendum petition against One Paseo (signed on Saturday).

    Diogenes
    Diogenes subscriber

    Aside from the fact that Smart Growth has its basis in transit-oriented development, which reduces automobile centric development, there are solid economic benefits to communities. The State of California has studied how urban planning and traffic engineering can deliver for the environment and the economy. One Paseo is a throwback to the old automobile-centric.

    The concepts of Smart Growth go back to the 90s. TOD has been validated repeatedly in many major cities. San Diego has climate action plans based on Smart Growth. So why abandon those policies just for Kilroy?

    Money got Kilroy as far as cycle 22 in planning before many of my neighbors here in Carmel Valley became aware of the size of the proposed project.

    Kilroy's lobbyist dominated public meetings. I was shown videos of my friends and neighbors who had deep roots in this community with backgrounds on the Carmel Valley Planning Board being given only a few minutes to speak.

    Why have public meetings if the developer runs the meeting. Frisco White as Chairman had to be reminded that he was elected to run the meeting.

    What is the use of having Community Planning Boards if developers run the meetings? City staff rubber-stamped the project. Off the record they admitted that their jobs were on the line.

    Kilroy has spent many millions to secure potentially.massive profits. I understand that. What I cannot understand is the few proponents who doggedly support the project. Some proponents are being paid or have some expectancy. Some politicians had campaign contributions, but what motivates the others remains a mystery. Some are my neighbors. I would hate to believe that they are not being forthcoming about their financial interests in the outcome.

    The issue will now be placed before the voters and the courts. However this plays out, I hope that the environmental policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are honored. Commuting.costs the average family over $10,000 per year. Property values increase where one or more spouse can use public transit. It is healthy to walk more. It is healthy to bike more. It is time that San Diego starts to adopt true Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. The one Paseo project represents one last, huge automobile-centric project. It is a study in using influence to go backwards.

    I see SANDAG fighting to petition the California Supreme Court on the Climate Action Plan. This tells you that politicians want to widen roads with federal funds rather than to meet climate change goals. They assert that they want local control. But the problem is bigger than San Diego. It is bigger than the United States. Unless voters believe that climate change is a hoax, now is the time to act. Public transit for one commuter represents a reduction of 4,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

    George in BayHo
    George in BayHo subscriber

    For many years I have refused to sign petitions due to abuse of the referendum system

    Now Kilroy has forced my hand ... literally ... to sign the petition to overturn city council's approval and put their project to a vote of the people.


    Sad that it comes to this.  Using a corrupt referendum system to overturn a corrupt act of our elected representatives.

    Jennifer Reiswig
    Jennifer Reiswig subscribermember

    Yet another example of how much our democracy is now a farce. With enough money you can buy or bury anything as you wish. Disgusting. 

    Chris Brewster
    Chris Brewster subscribermember

    Are we moving to a concept of disbanding the City Council and deciding everything by a vote of the people? There is a reason the Founders chose representative democracy.

    Frohman
    Frohman subscriber

    @Ducraker It wasn't a question, and its not perception, the link shows that Carmel Valley overwhelming voted against the Barrio Logan community.

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    Frohman,

    Thank you for the information, like I said I don't ask my neighbors how they vote. I supported the Barrio Logan Community Plan and voted for David Alvarez for Mayor, I'm guessing many of my neighbors didn't.

    All this really shows is the people who voted with the Jerry Sanders/Civic San Diego driven referendum against the approved and existing Barrio Logan Plan are as misinformed as the people who approved One Paseo.

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    Chris, We learned a valuable lesson from Jerry Sanders, Civic San Diego and The Lincoln Club using a political war chest to push their selfish, greed fueled agendas.

    These "Civic" minded folks perpetrated the hose job on Barrio Logan, now the gloves have come off.

    Sad, but this is the way you take care of business in Enron by the Sea.

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    Frohman,

    I don't ask my neighbors how they vote as its a personal matter but I voted to support the Barrio Logan Community Plan. The whole "referendum" process has been aborted by the likes of Jerry Sanders money making scam know as Civic San Diego and the greedy folks who comprise the Lincoln Club.

    I was extremely disappointed with David Alvarez vote for the Paseo Ant Farm. Maybe he perceived all us Billionaires up here in the Valley hung his district out to dry during the referendum.

    Todd Gloria not so much. After his groveling at Irwin Jacobs feet, desperately trying to push the highly unpopular Balboa Park Bypass parking structure down our collective throats. Todd is a lot like Nathan Fletcher, he follows the money.

    phil weber
    phil weber

    New update KILROY want to make I-5 a toll road…to bad for downtown San Diego..this will “fix” the traffic nightmare


    Better solutions:


    No SEMI trucks on I-5 (they can use i-15)

    Let the Developers find water for the project… why should we pay more $$$ for water (more devolvement less water for all) you all will pay more

    Projects like this must have really rail line that what will work the best for high density Freeways and cars don’t 


    We must stop this…."privatizing profits and socializing losses” ……...


    Mike
    Mike subscriber

    Oh yes! Yes you can! You were here first. All late comers be damned. Sound like good public policy?

    Mike
    Mike subscriber

    Interesting perspective. By this logic CA farmers that date back generations should tell all of us city slickers to go find our own water or get outta here. After all, CA farming is a pretty huge slice of the American diet. We really shouldn't encroach on their water.

    Rick Smith
    Rick Smith subscriber

    @Mike  Or by that perspective, a native Californian like me can tell those farmers in the Central Valley to take their nuts somewhere else.

    I regularly drive I-5, and the amount of new plantings in the last 10 years, in the face of drought, is astonishing. 

    Rick Smith
    Rick Smith subscriber

    @Mike No it doesn't.  But allowing the growers in the valley to assert superior waters and continue to plant new orchards is not good public policy, either.


    Mike
    Mike subscriber

    @Rick Smith Right.  Sharing is caring :)  We made it to the promise land and we like it here, but we should consider the possibility that others also plan to move to CV.  The best way forward is to find a good way to share rather than blocking people from moving here.  For such a desirable and populated part of town, CV should have developed a good multi-modal transportation network already (still not too late).  Then, future projects large and small will not seem like such a heavy burden on the local traffic congestion anymore.

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    Mike & Rick,,

    Your comments re: Central Valley farmers water rights show your lack of understanding (ignorance) of the regional water problems California faces. Rick, do you even know what's planted in the medians not including the ice plant which is drought resistant, on the off ramps?

    It's not about who was here first, it's about preserving a quality of life, not running the area in which you reside into the ground like so many other cities that witnessed rampant development. Even Orange County residents long to escape to SD, and not too many years ago it was actually quite nice.

    BTW: what dumps did you migrate here from?

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    Rick,

    Do you even bother, before posting, to educate yourself to the water shortages and the looming problems facing America's breadbasket, aka the Central Valley? If you had you wouldn't post this juvenile dribble as to who was here first, and those pesky farmers wanting water to produce FOOD instead of cramming more people on top of each other for Developer Profits.

    Orchards in the Central Valley are no longer producing because of water shortages and being cut down and sold for fire wood along with more and more acres fallow in the face of the persistent drought California is facing.

    Reading is a wonderful tool, I suggest you both try it. You may even sway me to your point of view with an intelligent look at your side of this discussion.

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    I read it. For every report like this there are 10 which will refute this guys opinion.

    So we disagree, have a nice evening.

    Founder
    Founder subscriber

    I expect to see many more "Kilroy was here" tactics as they spend some of their own money to insure would be voter will never have the chance to vote against the One Paseo project.

    Diogenes
    Diogenes subscriber

    What if the Del.Mar Highlands Town Center wanted to build up to 9 stories with a thousand new condos? Would the pro-Kilroy types like that?

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    @Diogenes Sure, the two projects could split the cost of running the shuttle to Sorrento Valley. Better yet, have NCTD build a new COASTER platform in Del Mar, and have One Paseo and Del Mar Highlands jointly pay to run a streetcar to it. Transportation projects like this become affordable when land is used efficiently.

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    QDerek Hofmann,

    Do you live anywhere near Del Mar Heights Rd? Why don't we meet around 2:30 or 3:00 on any weekday when Torrey Pines, Cathedral high and several other schools are getting out and take a trip all over Carmel Valley. I could drive your problem solving behind around and you could point out where the "streetcar line" will be located. It shouldn't take more than an hour or so unless it's on a Friday.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    @Ducraker Del Mar Heights Rd from I-5 to High Bluff Dr saw 48,600 vehicles per day in 2010 according to [1]. It has six lanes and a speed limit of 45 mph, which by the formula (1,000+20(45+7))*.92*6 (see [2] for an explanation of this formula) equals an hourly capacity of 11,260 vehicles. That means Del Mar Heights Rd is operating at 48,600/(11,260*24)*100% equals 18.0% of daily capacity.

    If two lanes (one in each direction) were removed to make room for a streetcar while continuing to move the same amount of traffic as today, it would then be operating at 27.0% of daily capacity. So there doesn't seem to be a capacity problem. Meanwhile, putting a streetcar in would give people an alternative to driving, and giving people another way to get around is a good thing for freedom and personal independence, right? (Especially in their golden years.)

    [1] http://www.sandag.org/resources/demographics_and_other_data/transportation/adtv/sandiego_adt.pdf

    [2] http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/hpmsmanl/appn2.cfm

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    Derek Hofmann,

    Maybe you should get your head out of you statistics treasure trove of traffic density studies and take a moment to live life and experience what 18% of capacity is in real world terms.

    BTW: I'm well into my "Golden Years" and this One Paseo is looking more like a head-on collision than "freedom and Personal Independence".

    You let me know when you want the tour and I'll contact you via FB.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    @Ducraker Don't retired people usually do their shopping and other errands in the middle of the day when there's less traffic on the roads?

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    No.

    In case you've been too distracted with traffic flow studies, a lot of "retired" people still work, like I do.

    The more we discuss this the more I feel you Need to take the tour with me. Just give me the nod, and we'll set up a time and place.

    You are completely clueless as to Real World density problems in San Diego. If you want Mumbai, New York, Ho Chi Min City or Bejing, by all means Move there. They need an expert on daily automobile trips on any given thoroughfare.

    One problem many people ignore or are just in denial about is, San Diego is Full, we have limited water resources, City Hall is broke as in $$$. Our politicians and developers have already stuffed 10 lbs of Sh!t in a 5 pound can.

    Derek, that's about as clear and real as I can explain it. Now, how about the tour?

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    @Ducraker If you say there's traffic congestion on Del Mar Heights Road during rush hour, I'll believe you.

    Have you ever been to Europe? Barcelona has four times the population density of San Diego, but do they have density problems? They use 280 liters of water per person per day (74 gallons), about half of our 150 gallons per person per day, but do the Spaniards live in third world squalor?

    As for city hall being broke, did you know that mixed-use brings twice the tax revenue per dwelling unit compared to single-family homes while costing the same in city services? Here's proof: http://usa.streetsblog.org/index.php/2013/05/08/nashville-study-walkable-infill-development-provides-the-most-revenue/

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    Derek,

    Yes I have. Spent a week in Barcelona and yes it was really congested and a little on the dirty/litter side. The underground rail system made it bearable.

    As for Spaniards. Living in Third World squalor, no but they do live in extremely close, noisy quarters from what I saw.

    If that's how I wanted to live I'd move downtown.

    The idea that you value "Tax Revenue" over quality of life is interesting.

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    Yes I do. I really don't think you know the number of multi family units already here.

    Come see a part of CV you clearly know nothing about.

    Diogenes
    Diogenes subscriber

    A tram is not "convenient access to an established network of public transportation."

    One Paseo is Dumb Growth, not Smart Growth. It is not "transit-oriented development" or TOD. It does not have the benefits of TOD. You know all this.

    You are a polemicist. Have you read the new CEQA Guidelines and the research that went into those Guidelines? That IS the future. One Paseo is just about local politics and money.

    One Paseo is a monument to the auto-centric PAST.

    Reducing greenhouse emissions is a top priority. Lack of shopping never killed anyone; climate change will. That is what the priorities are in Sacramento.

    Sprekels built the streetcar system almost a century ago. Hedgecock.and Wilson favored the Coastal Commission. Lightner and Emerald are visionaries. The rest are shortsighted and San Diego will pay the price in the long run.

    There will always be developers. Look at Los Angeles or New York. Kilroy does us no favors. They want a fat profit without true public transit.They have their politicians and may win the ballot measure and the CEQA lawsuits. But then again, they may not.

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    I, like many people in Carmel Valley live in multi-family housing. You need to hop on our public transportation and pay us a visit so you have a better idea about what you're talking about.

    As for your "Proof" link, you're joking aren't you. That site is an advertisement for downtown. Downtown has done quite well with Our tax money over the last several decades. So please stop the whining and traffic studies and take the tour with me.

    Well, we're waiting Derek.

    Diogenes
    Diogenes subscriber

    I am a strawman for your "arguments." Read Andrew Keatts article on Where One Paseo Stands on the One Paseo.Smart-Growth Checklist dated September 8, 2014. And get over it!

    One Paseo is not Smart Growth, nor is it transit-oriented development. These are now official policies of the state of California and the city of. San Diego. None of this is about me. It is about climate change, economics and pollution issues that transcend some people's little worlds. One. Paseo is a stark example of local San Diego special interest politics in action. Kilroy has spent many millions in promoting this project. I used to represent the President of the California Builders Industry Association. I know how that game is played. But there are existential climate issues involved here. Climate change deniers cannot comprehend the for reaching consequences of continuing with present transportation and urban development patterns that are counterproductive in meeting official state goals.

    I try to educate people whose minds are not made up on a parochial and limited information base. Your mind is closed on this issue. Do your homework assignment and see if your mind changes with new information. This is not just my ideas. I am talking about official state policy. You can argue with them.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    @Ducraker You want me to take the tour with you to prove to me that there's traffic congestion in Carmel Valley? I already know there is. But did you know that the economically optimal amount of traffic congestion is 35 to 37 hours per commuter per year? Here's proof: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2013/10/how-traffic-congestion-impacts-economic-growth/7310/

    And here's more proof that urban sprawl is not economically self-sufficient: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/05/08/nashville-study-walkable-infill-development-provides-the-most-revenue/

    And more: http://bettercities.net/article/best-bet-tax-revenue-mixed-use-downtown-development-13144

    And more: http://streetsblog.net/2014/09/26/do-drivers-cover-the-cost-of-roads-not-by-a-long-shot/

    Now it's your turn. Can you provide any evidence of the opposite, that areas zoned for single-family homes are self-sufficient in tax collection versus city spending?

    Does any such neighborhood exist in San Diego? Anywhere in the nation?

    Alternatively, can you prove that any road in the nation pays for itself 100% in gas taxes and other user fees?

    I'm waiting.

    Frohman
    Frohman subscriber

    @Diogenes There you go again. One Paseo is not auto-centric - CARMEL VALLEY is. Every time you get in your car and drive to the Highlands, is a trip. Every time you finish your latte and get back in your car and pull on to DMH is a trip. Those short trips are as much the problem as someone driving downtown on the I-5.   As someone at the hearing said - YOU are traffic.   The only way to change that is infill that gets people out of cars and has us staying closer to where we already live and work.  I invite the expansion of public transit but with our spread out community the way it is your dream of reducing auto use by Carmel Valley residents is a wasted one. Or maybe its everyone else's problem and not CV.

    Diogenes
    Diogenes subscriber

    @Frohman

    You should read the California Office of Planning and Research plans to accelerate decline in driving. LOS is being replaced by vehicle miles traveled "VMT" as a more accurate assessment of the environmental impact of a "project" as defined by CEQA. This new metric is incorporated into the new CEQA.Guidelines as official state policy going forward. This was based on decades of research.

    You always set me up as a strawman in your "arguments."

    One Paseo is NOT Smart Growth by definition.

    You might read "Where One Paseo.Stands on the Smart Growth Checklist by Andrew Keatts September.8, 2014

    Http://voiceofsandiego.org/author/aandrewkeatts/

    One Paseo is trendy but not Smart Growth. It is still a car-centric system that is counterproductive to our long range goals.

    Please stop pushing misinformation on subjects that you have not tesearched. Read what the experts say and stop listening to the Kilby propagandists. Bruce Appleyard and Jack Shu.- -both quoted by Andrew Keatts.- are experts. The California Office of Planning and Research contradicts everything you say.

    Mike
    Mike subscriber

    Interesting choice of cities. Out of the four NYC has the cleanest air and most extensive subway system. The others are choking in automobile exhaust fumes. When the Coaster was designed, why didn't we get a stop in CV? How about that old bus route we used to have? I dislike too many cars clogging up the roads just as much as the next guy. So why hasn't CV pushed for more public transit in our hood? Maybe instead of blaming others for increasing car traffic, we should look at ourselves first.

    Ducraker
    Ducraker subscriber

    With your traffic studies? Get out and sample the real world, it might change your mind.

    We're never going to agree.