Well, this Rockaway quarry flap is certainly heating up. It appears the PR specialists the Mr Heule hired have finally figured out that not a lot of people are buying the first shot at selling Measure W as an environmental imperative.
I heard around the water cooler that a few fellow Pacificans got invited to focus groups where some new messaging got tested. I figured this was going to signal a change in the propaganda being spewed, and have been itching to hear what the new spin was going to be. The result of the focus group was test flown at a “town hall” meeting at Nick’s (that largely was unattended), and then a press release appears stating that Mr. Heule is has met with city leaders reinforcing his commitment to the commercial part of his scheme – the proposed hotel.
Of course, this set me off a bit because I want to yell “You can build a hotel RIGHT NOW! THAT’S WHAT YOU LAND IS ZONED FOR!!” at him. Honestly, it’s just exasperating. But, just as my vitriol was really getting going, the City once again did it right and issued their OWN press release in response that spells it out – Any commitment made right now is not binding. Of course, Paul never said it was binding, his people said it was “Firm”. Now, firm is something they know about in Michigan for sure.
Maybe they mean the same thing to Paul, but to the bevy of heavies he hired, “Binding” should mean a very different thing than “Firm”. The Sacramento based PR firm that pushed out the original press release is definitely some big guns – they count Coca-Cola and Disney among their clients, and have worked on all sorts of issues. From thier website, they are proud members of the Republican party of Orange County and staunch death penalty supporters – so long as you are willing to pay for it. While cruising their website for a while and looking at some of the causes they had worked on previously, I came across this little gem – in the case of a similar measure in Buena Park.
It that case, local citizens of Buena Park were able to pony up the money for the focus groups, multiple mailers, opinion and push poling, and general slicing and dicing of the voters that FSB provides to get the outcome paid for. Housing was not built on the site.
In the case of the Rockaway Quarry, Mr. Heule had the bucks to hire good ol’ FSB, and we are now experiencing the effect. This team will tell you many good things, and they will not miss an opportunity to hold up shiny objects to distract you from what is actually being voted on: the authorization of rezoning for up to 206 MFUs in the quarry and the removal of any future public vote. I anticipate a flurry of mailers, more full page advertisements in the paper, and all of the slick stuff that was done in Buena Park No on A campaign – So long as Paul and Eenhorne have the checkbook out, anyway.
As for the opposition to Measure W, it is a truly grassroots mix. Not only are there not deep pockets, there are no pockets at all – so they are turning to the community with a Fundraiser / Art Show up at Shelldance on Sept 11. More info is at stopquarryrezone.org
ps – as I was hammering this epic treatise out, a fellow Pacifican also finally was able to figure our who FSB was and also noticed that they had breached some ethical boundries with a spurious Facebook page. Rather than let it slide by, Jenny fired back with another new website to raise awareness of these deceptive practices and called them out for it on a new website- restorethequarry.com . I’m just glad you’re on my side, Jenny.