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Mark Lee’s Controversial Veronica Meadows Project

Since another big, pricey mailing from Developer Mark Lee came in the mail today, I decided to read the whole thing, and note that the FPPC ID# is listed as PENDING. So are we rushing the framing of the argument just a bit? On further inspection of the hefty mailing, with sheets printed only on one side, glossy Business Reply Card and huge fold-out, it doesn’t seem to mention anything about being printed on recycled stock, or with soy inks, which I would certainly expect from someone who claims to be as environmentally conscious as he does in his plea for support—and concerns expressed about watching the creek erode every day.

And never, ever, have I read about a ballot measure that includes, as part of its plea, “This is the last step of a very long process for my family and me. When I first started forming this plan, my wife and I were just married, without children. Now as we approach this last step, we will soon celebrate our son’s ninth birthday.” Oh, so I guess that’s why we should support this, as a birthday present for his kid? When a Developer repeats some variation on the phrase “a very small piece of vacant, unused and degraded city land” four times in one letter, you gotta figure he’s trying to manipulate you—and say “No, thank you.”

34 Responses to “Mark Lee’s Controversial Veronica Meadows Project”

  1. Interesting that the FPPC ID# is “pending”. How much advertising can one do, how much can one spend before there is any accountability with an FPPC number? As for the recycled stuff, I would not expect someone who wants to take city parkland, cutting down oaks and sycamores to access his own development, to be that concerned about saving trees.

    If nothing else, this campaign will show how much valuable are local mega-bucks spent on advertising; in brief, can a developer buy an election?

  2. Convinced

    Now I’m convinced to vote YES on Y.

    The arguments in FAVOR of Y are powerful:

    1. Neighborhood already approved (even by Coastal Commission)

    2. Y ensures an amazing creek rehabilitation of a horrible dirty creek – property owner pays!

    3. Y gets us a restored 6 acre park – property owner pays again.

    4. Y means a new trail from Elngs to the beach – yes, propert owner pays.

    5. Y leaves 44 of 50 acres as open spac forever.

    6. Y allows an environmentally advanced clear span bridge

    Arguments against:

    1. Campaign FPPC # pending.

    2. Property owner talks about family.

    3. Business reply card to respond is too nice.

    4. We don’t like Marty Blum because she supports Y.

    Anyone agree – Yes on Y is convincing. The others are weak!

  3. FrankinSB

    Convincing? Absolutely!

    Yes on Y has a number of aspects that will help our community.

    The no side complains about nice paper.

    Yes on Y. Easy.

  4. Yes 100%

    I agree 100%!

    I’ve walked the creek before and it’s disgusting. Filthy. Horrible.

    Seriously, This is a great measure. I can’t wait to see the restoration.

  5. No brainier - Y-Yes


    Measure Y is a no brainier. Creek, park, trail, open space and we don’t pay!

    What a gift. The owner gets a bridge (a very cool one) to access homes that are already approved – bridge respects neighbors who asked not to access on their road.

    Totally convinced.

    Oh, I think its cool that Mark Lee loves his family.

  6. el_smurfo

    Time to start tracking IP ranges for comments to Measure Y posts. Methinks that the glossy paper isn’t the only campaign being run on us.

    My objections are as follows:

    1. Misleading campaign materials (I hate being lied to).

    In all other things, I am in favor of private property rights and private money benefiting the public good, but this mailer is sleazy and deceptive.

  7. Runnin4Life

    Measure Y had me with the trail.

    Their proposal to keep hundreds of people that jog, walk and bike down that road safe by getting them off the road is amazing.

    Why has no one thought of doing this before? Such a clear simple solution to a dangerous problem. honestly the city should have done this years ago – but probably couldn’t afford it. Now we get the benefit without having to pay for it.

    Thanks Mark.

    Yes on Y!

  8. Bike Friendly SB

    As a Santa Barbara bicyclist I am Yes on Y! Traffic on Las Positas goes over 55 mph. Me on a bike less than a yard away from the traffic…talk about scary. Santa Barbara needs to be more bike friendly and Yes on Y does its part towards that goal.

    A Yes on Y Is a yes for SB bike riders.

  9. Bike Friendly SB

    Really, El Smurfo?!? Really?!

    I’m confused. You’re complaining that too many people are for Measure Y?

    First, you guys complain about the #pending.

    Then you complain about the guy talking about his family.

    Now you are actually complaining about people voicing their support.

    More and more the arguments against Measure Y sound like a teenager complaining about curfew. No real substance, just whining.

    Yes on Y looks better and better.

  10. el_smurfo

    Nope…just looking for data. There are a surprising number of supporters appearing on each Measure Y post considering the overall poor response the mailers have received. As a creature of the Internet, when I see such shifts in opinion, I generally look for manipulation of the data. My only objection to the project is the dishonest way the mailer presents it as a selfless act of charity without once even mentioning the associated McMansions which this improvement enables.

  11. Convinced

    My Yes on Y fact sheet and letter was on a non-glossy paper in an old fashion envelope, so el_ … not sure what you got. And it showed the already approved homes on the no glossy flyer.

    If its proven to be not glossy paper does that mean you will join my family and the huge majority of the community in voting YES?

    I for one would like to see the benefits from Y, especially the creek restoration and safe route to the beach, even if Y had used glossy paper.

  12. el_smurfo

    Should change your name to “Straw Man” because I clearly stated my objection was the deceptive wording of the mailer, not the obviously expensive materials it was printed on. I would have probably already been a supporter based on my opinion that the city overreaches in their intrusion into private property rights. Just showing the houses there without accompanying text stating the link to this project is clearly deceptive to those unfamiliar with the controversy.

  13. Convinced

    The YES on Y fkyer was very clear about the trade off. My no glossy mailer said:

    “Your approval as a city voter is needed to permit a small piece of vacant and degraded city land (less than 1% of the parcel) to be used for a new road and clear -span bridge over Arroyo Burro Creek.”

    That’s pretty clear!

    Then it says in return –

    “Measure Y ensures . . .

    – an 1,800 foot section of Arroyo Burro Creek . . . will be cleaned up and restored – at no cost to the taxpayers.

    And then talks about restoring a 6-acre creek side park and the new trail and 88% open space.

    It shows the HOMES that have ALREADY BEEN APPROVED by the city and Coastal Commision.

    There are countless reasons to say YES, I can’t even fathom why you would not support other than you want to write the flyer your way.

  14. No on Y. I believe the majority of residents are against giving city parkland away to a private developer.

  15. Convinced

    I believe the large majority of Santa Barbara environmenist get a good deal when they see it.

    Today there is no park. The creek is a mess.

    Getting a 6 acre city park from degraded land is a great deal. Insane not to grab it.

    Getting a dirty degraded creek cleaned up is a better deal. Especially when he owner pays.

    If some guy is willing to trade all of this just to build a small bridge on 1% of the land, how can anyone say no other than some high paid anti lawyer paid to fight ths?

    I’m a YES. My family is a YES. My neighbors are a YES!

  16. If we vote NO on Y, we can get 3 luxury houses ( and no bridge), but a Yes is 25 luxury houses: what a deal! Why are council members White, Murillo, Mayor Scneider and former council member-now assembly member Williams so opposed?

  17. Convinced

    Yes on Y ensures restoration of a horrible creek, creation of park out of degraded land, safe access to beach and 44 acres of open space.

    Marc my word, No gets us nothing. Homes are already approved – all 25 family homes by our City Council and the California Coastal Commssion.

    • el_smurfo

      I am convinced you are a developer sock puppet. No normal person uses terms like “degraded land”.

  18. Convinced

    When one is unable to articulate a persuadable argument – one makes character attacks.

    The facts behind Yes on Y are so overwhelming and honest that el_smurfo and others are unable to debate facts instead talk about glossy or non-glossy and FPPC # pending – or worst they resort to childish name calling.

    Degraded land is a fact – go take a walk and see. Today would be good as the dirty and degraded creek will be flowing in its full mess right out into the ocean tearing at the banks and threatening oak trees. Come to our neighborhood and learn.

    Y is a great deal for our entire community.

  19. NO ON Y!!!!

    What’s interesting is the timing of all these Yes on Y comments.

    It’s almost like it’s the developer or his shill.

    Keep it up…everytime you post, another angel sees the truth and will VOTE NO ON Y!!!!

  20. I'm voting No on Y!!

    The fact is, when voters VOTE NO ON Y, Mark only gets to build three homes with access via Allen Road, and there will be very minimal environmental impact or impact on the neighborhood. Sounds good to me!


  21. No brainier - Y-Yes

    If you care about the environment, how could you be anything other than YES on Y ?

    Y is a huge environmental benefit. Creek repaired – Land restored for a park – 44 acres set aside as open space forever. (Homes are already approved)

    I chuckle when I read that because I don’t agree I should not have a voice! Odd indeed.

    Your continued attacks and accusations against anyone who disagrees illustrates the weakness of your argument.

    Yes means amazing environmental benefits. No means the current horrible environmental conditions remain.

    It’s a. YES brainier.

  22. William Munny

    For those of us who visit this site often, clearly there are brand new posters here purely to help pimp the Yes on Measure Y side. Tone it down a little and you won’t be so obvious.

    Putting that to the side, I have a hard time seeing why people would be so opposed to this project. At its heart, the developer will be doing a lot of public good with the trail connecting down to the beach. That alone is worth it to the public. People will be able to safely travel through Elings all the way down to the beach without having to be out on Los Positas.

    I just don’t see the downside to the average Joe. What, the installation of the bridge? Seems the creek restoration efforts way more than offsets that issue. The supposed “gifting” of public land? The developer is using a portion of the land for a public park!

    Yes, the developer wins more than anyone else in this deal. But the public wins too. The only people who seem to win if the measure fails are those that like to say “No” to everything. Perhaps I’m just not seeing what the downside to the measure really is……

  23. I agree with the measure, for many of the same reasons as stated above. And, no, I am not the developer, nor do I know him personally. I live next to where the project is and the creek is a mess, often smells of stagnent, blocked water, and walking to the beach is entails battling traffic. With what the developer is offering, I can enjoy a nice walk to hendry’s.

    Given the types of comments I’ve seen, I would like to point out that the biggest argument is the mailers either being misleading or non-environmentally friendly, here are some thoughts. First off, single coat wax is biodegradable and no more expensive to produce then card stock. Second, there has been several different mailings and communications, each addressing a specific issue. The most recent is an idiotic “developer hates santa barbara” mantra.

    On another aspect, @el_smurfo, I would like to see what figures you for the basis that a majority of Santa barbarians are opposed to this measure. Have you asked all of them, done your own polling, and had people cast ballots? No? Maybe it’s possible you and the editor (who chooses to hide his/her name on any “news” article (which is really opinion, as there is not one shred of news in this article) are not among a majority.

  24. Convinced

    William and Martin –

    Thanks. Helpful. New to this blog, saw the Measure Y post and was frustrated as I agree that there was no news on the no messages – and not really opinion, just false rhetoric. Like your points – thank you.

  25. No on Y. Maybe the developer will make the creek area look prettier, but that doesn’t mean it’s better for the environment. After the developer’s proposed creek restoration, Arroyo Burro Creek would be permanently damaged by this project according to the city’s environmental analysis.

    No on Y.

  26. Good Plan

    So their spin here is that the “homes are already approved” so the voters might as well vote yes on the bridge?

    That would be nice spin if only it were true.

    The residential project is meaningless without the bridge because no access ever was approved via Alan Road, which is why the bridge ever entered the picture.

    And no project with around 25 McMansions with their guest cottages and all the magnified traffic would ever be approved for access up Alan Road.

    “Thank You Mr. Parker!” (bonus for knowing that exact reference)

  27. My question is will Mark Lee give road access to joining properties that could then turn into more developments? I believe there is interest in developing above the property which has beautiful views of ocean but right now there is no legal road access. Will he give them access?

  28. I don’t think they can limit use of the bridge, private bridge on public land?, so it is possible that there could be subsequent hillside development. Who owns the hillsides in that area.

  29. Has anyone thought about the damaging effects to the existing neighbors from work on the creek? Some animals will never return and some people will face erosion of their backyardsd. Who will take care of these victims?

  30. Hidden Valley Resident

    I would be willing to vote Yes for this if we could get a trail from Palermo.

  31. NO on Y

    Not likely to happen to have a trail through private properties over the hill from Palermo to Las Positas and the city-maintained street that Mark Lee proposes for his luxury-housing development. He does propose a trail from Las Positas to the once quiet neighborhood of Alan Road. It would parallel the trail on Elings Park.