To his credit, Jeff Gallagher’s letter to the editor last week (“Seek input on south side,” Dec. 18) acknowledges that much of his comments are based on what he has “inferred” from a recent letter of mine about the Target proposal rather than what I actually wrote.
Nevertheless, he touches on legitimate issues regarding due process and the city’s extension of the 45-day public comment period. And Gallagher’s question is a fair one — “Is there any proposal so outrageous that it isn’t obviously wrong for SV?”
There’s a twofold answer. The first point is that to many people, of course, Target locating in Scotts Valley wasn’t something outrageous but rather something to be considered seriously with an open mind once all the facts were in. That’s certainly the position all five council members have taken thus far.
Putting this aside, when dealing with matters involving basic rights — whether they are rights of property, due process or speech — the ultimate arbiters of those questions are judges. To the extent a developer can convince a judge that a city has denied its rights of property and/or due process protected by the U.S. Constitution, any city is vulnerable to an expensive lawsuit it could lose.
As is their right, those leading the charge against Target have threatened legal action against both the city and people affiliated with it several times over several issues in the past two years. In addition, like any city, Scotts Valley is at risk of being sued by developers who consider either specific decisions or processes they don’t like a violation of their constitutional rights. It’s sad that our society is as litigation-happy as it is, but it’s a fact of life no responsible city leader can ignore.
Regarding the 45-day public comment period extension Gallagher noted, the city granted that in large part so that anybody who didn’t comment previously because they thought the store would be a Target would have the chance to do so. Understandably, those who already have their minds made up may call this extension unnecessary, but it’s the right thing to do to ensure everyone’s voices are heard.
Scotts Valley will continue to allow people to be fairly heard from, respect constitutionally protected property rights and ensure everyone is equitably treated in our land-use process, which is the same used throughout California.
Mayor, Scotts Valley