District redraw sparks Templeton discord
September 17, 2011
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
Templeton has become the epicenter of a protracted effort to initiate so-called “smart growth” policies in the rural community, and current plans for redrawing supervisors’ district lines “push that agenda” and are blatantly political, one outspoken resident maintains.
Bill Pelfrey, an elected member of the Templeton Area Advisory Group (TAAG), told CalCoastNews this week that he believes long-term social planning, and political expediency, are influencing the board of supervisors’ majority.
Last week, the board voted unanimously to approve a set of boundaries including a controversial division of Templeton.
This Tuesday, however, supervisors Frank Mecham and Paul Tiexeira reversed their votes, both suggesting that more Templeton voices needed to be heard.
“This community considers its boundaries to be those of the school district,” Pelfrey said.
Supervisors Adam Hill, Bruce Gibson, and Jim Patterson stayed with their earlier decisions.
“I don’t agree that Templeton has been split,” Gibson said.
Pelfrey along with an outspoken group of Templeton residents contend Hill, Gibson and Patterson are redrawing supervisors districts with a focus on ensuring their political futures.
Pelfry said he thinks that “the majority of three have a more liberal outlook, particularly as it relates to housing and the slow smart growth initiative. They need to maintain that majority in order to maintain their smart growth agenda. It’s straight-out protectionism.”
Templeton presently has a 7,500-square-foot lot size minimum. The smart growth concept would drop the minimum down to 1,000 square feet per lot.
Pelfrey, who holds degrees in psychology and anthropology, pointed to the proposed Davis Project, a high-density residential plan now encountering Templeton community resistance: “I think that’s what they want to do to our entire community,” he said. (Pelfrey and three others on the TAAG board voted down the project, but county planners continue to push it.)
Density breeds criminal behavior, Pelfrey said, and gangs tend to proliferate when there is nothing for people to do.
Pelfrey was allowed by supervisors to propose a third alternative for district lines, one which was not endorsed.
The community already has a population with 32 percent lower income residents, Pelfrey said.
“We don’t have any walking community, no real business centers. But since Highway 101 runs right through here, it’s an attractive place for growth plans. I think all of the supervisors have an interest in it (developing Templeton). It’s social engineering, and it’s never worked before.
“They want to nullify Templeton’s voice, to spread it between two districts so we (residents) will have no say in what goes on here. They are dividing us, and then they’ll move in and put the screws to us. They want to take our voice, our vote away. And with elections coming up, I do not understand why they would do something like this. Others have asked this of the supervisors before — why are you not listening to the people?”
Mecham, Hill and Patterson face reelection in 2012.