The following is a letter to the editor from Mary Ann Comes
Recent published comments from the chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce start out with, “The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce is entrusted with the responsibility of looking out for the welfare of our local merchants and small business.”
The chairperson goes on to endorse Jim Dahl and Mike Mortenson for city council.
Of course, all San Clemente residents want to “look out for the welfare of our local merchants and small business.” But why the chamber would endorse these two particular candidates for that job is a mystery.
Both of those candidates have, in no uncertain terms, rejected the recommendation of the General Plan Advisory Committee (which speaks for the citizens) to limit downtown buildings to two stories. The GPAC made its recommendation after a study showed that residents want to “maintain -- rather than change” San Clemente’s existing character.
It appears the Chamber of Commerce, which has over the years received hundreds of thousands of dollars in free rent from the citizens of San Clemente, has conflated business development (which everyone wants) with real estate development (which no one wants, except maybe a few landlords and architects.)
Think about it: If you owned a downtown business, would you benefit from someone living above you on a third floor? And do you think your rent would go down? So much for “looking out for the welfare of our local merchants and small businesses.”
Downtown real estate development could destroy the small town atmosphere most of us cherish about San Clemente. The only two candidates who have expressed serious reservations about the wisdom of three-story buildings downtown are Bob Baker 1 and Chris Hamm.
The Chamber should endorse the two candidates who are truly best suited to “entrust with the responsibility of looking out for the welfare of our local merchants and small business.” Bob Baker 1 and Chris Hamm.