by Elaine Roberts Musser
As I was tabling for Yes on Nishi at the Farmers Market, a woman came up and asked me to explain why I supported Nishi. However, she also wanted me to address the negatives being disseminated by the “No on Nishi” camp. Very quickly I outlined why Nishi would benefit the city:
* Potential of $1.4 million in yearly tax revenue to the city;
* Much-needed student housing;
* $23 million worth of traffic improvements;
* Highly sought-after research and development space;
* New jobs.
I also addressed the supposed negatives of Nishi:
* Developer is not giving enough money to affordable housing fund, even though the developer is not required to give anything;
* Traffic gridlock, even though the opposition concedes there very well may be traffic improvement;
* The buildings are not “green” enough, even though the developer has agreed to a LEED gold standard and LEED platinum where feasible;
* Poor air quality, even though a) New Harmony sits right next to the freeway and b) the Nishi developer has agreed to provide a tree buffer.
The “No on Nishi” folks have even gone so far as to insist Nishi be an all research and development space, at the same time claiming it is unlikely that businesses would locate there. Also suggested by them is an urban forest on the Nishi site, but the city would have to pay to maintain it, a costly endeavor.
In short, I pointed out to this woman that the pluses of the project far outweigh any perceived minuses. I also noted that the opposition to Nishi continually moved the target to another issue whenever any of their arguments were debunked. These points seemed to hit home with her.
Nishi will never be a “perfect” project, or solve all of the city’s problems. It was never intended to, nor made any such claim. But Nishi will go a long way toward mitigating some of the difficulties this city faces by providing additional tax revenue to the city coffers, as well as much-needed student housing, R&D space, new jobs and traffic improvements.
Vote yes on Measure A.