Since the campaign for District 3 supervisor began, Dan Miller, Patti Ingram and others have been hammering incumbent Terry Lamphier for not being “gung-ho” enough about the new Dorsey Drive Interchange. “He never supported Dorsey Drive, and that was frustrating for us,” Miller told The Union after announcing he would run against Lamphier last summer.
This month Patti Ingram, Dan’s longtime friend and political ally, could not hide her personal contempt for Lamphier. “How can he state that economic development is a top issue and that progress is being made when he misdiagnoses the most important economic development project in our county, the Dorsey Drive Interchange?”
“Who will be served by the Dorsey Drive Interchange? How about the entire community!” Ingram wrote in an “Other Voices,” pointing to “anyone needing to get to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Sierra College or Nevada Union High School.”
Ingram was responding to Lamphier’s call for a diverse approach to economic development — not just shopping centers and housing projects. She dismissed it as “personal puff piece.” On the new Interchange, Lamphier pointed out: “I argued that the developers, not taxpayers, should bear the brunt of the expense as the developers would be the direct beneficiaries.”
“You have been hoodwinked”
Now — even before the Dorsey Drive Interchange has been completed — a Roseville developer last week rolled out a proposed 215,250 square-foot shopping center @ the new Dorsey Drive Interchange, complete with 1,179 parking spaces. It has sparked some real outrage in the community, making Lamphier look level-headed and undermining trust in what Miller, Ingram and others have been stating.
The Grass Valley Development Review Committee will meet on Tuesday to consider the new project. One of the Development Review committee members is Yolanda Cookson, who also happens to be Miller’s campaign manager. (It’s a small town).
When word of the project leaked out —YubaNet was first to report the meeting — people were upset.
“So can I just say, it would have been nice if the City of Grass Valley would have been honest regarding their true plans,” former Nevada City Mayor Reinette Senum wrote on Facebook. “No, the new Dorsey exchange off of Hwy. 49 was never meant as easy access to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital or Sierra College.
“You have been hoodwinked. It is meant for easy access to a new gigantic shopping center the City of Grass Valley wants to put on the very top of the hill: for all of Nevada City and Grass Valley to see, day and night. Thanks, Grass Valley, for throwing all of downtown mom and pop businesses under the bus.”
“Is there a need/market?”
Others echoed similar sentiments, including moderates, and were surprised at the timing. “Is there a need/market”? one asked, a reasonable question. Social media has become a major force of communication in our community — with signed names. KNCO followed YubaNet in reporting the proposal. The Union — once owned by the Ingram family and busy basking in the glory of its past 150 years — has reported nothing so far.
The hope is that some local businesses will expand in the new proposed shopping center — Sierra Cinemas or perhaps BriarPatch, which has been looking to expand on its existing site, open up a “satellite” store or build a brand new, bigger store. No decisions have been made, however.
To be sure, the Roseville developer’s proposal for a new shopping center at this location has been in the works for a long time, though it has “flown under the radar” until now.
But the timing of the development review will spark a heated debate centered around growth, political trust and demand for major new development (our population is declining and aging) just as the election season heats up. People will begin to wonder if the new shopping center means an ambulance has to wait in traffic just to get to the hospital.
The heated debate could force Miller into a political corner, defending the motives of the Dorsey Drive Interchange and his longtime support of large-scale development. He’s a “shoe in” to win an endorsement from the Contractor’s Association. But the facts are the facts, and voters will question any “about-face.” It will test Miller’s temperament too — often a challenge for him.
In addition, Lamphier has won support from the developer of Rincon del Rio, an adult retirement community in South County, showing that he is not a “no-growther” after all.
Now that a big shopping center is being discussed, people also will recall a proposal that Miller and his longtime friend Keith Davies floated for a big resort development in our area. Since then Davis has been appointed to the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce, an arrangement that Ingram and Miller wholeheartedly supported. The details about the Sierra Grand Hotel are here.
Lamphier, meanwhile, has been walking the neighborhoods of Grass Valley, as he did to get elected in the first place. His strength is one-on-one meetings with neighbors. Here’s his campaign flyer — level-headed and not at all negative toward his opponent, at least so far.
Thanks to Roseville developers, the Lamphier-Miller race for District 3 supervisor is now going to be a real horse race.