Leave the lines alone
By John Haraden
Del Mar should scrub the Sunset and North Hills assessment districts. The districts erroneously assume uniform desires for undergrounding utility lines.
Although some residents harbor a neurotic obsession for under-grounding, other residents maintain a mild indifference or a strong abhorrence.
No arbitrary assessment formula accurately values these divergent preferences and fairly equates costs with benefits. As an example, bird watchers may value the poles as convenient perches and may value bird sightings more than ocean views.
Then the bird watchers actually deserve compensations for losing valued perches instead of assessments for scattering winged friends.
Nothing justifies assessment districts.
If enough undergrounding enthusiasts exist, they can privately underground the utility lines without extorting unenthusiastic neighbors. The assessment districts only force the unenthusiastic to subsidize the enthusiastic. The subsidization resembles an overt Madoff scheme that benefits some at the expense of others.
City Council support of the assessment districts suggests the political influence of the enthusiastic. That places the unenthusiastic against powerful undergrounders and unsympathetic council members.
The unenthusiastic must then unite in one heroic struggle. They must fight knowing that “It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”