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Morgan Hill
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October 25, 2021

Letter: City has wasted millions on downtown MH

Over a decade of waste and millions of dollars spent by the City of Morgan Hill for Downtown….

The City of Morgan Hill and elected officials continue pushing a biased, agenda-based ideology onto unwilling, skeptical residents and business owners with their “Visioning” of Downtown Morgan Hill. 

Many downtown businesses and residents asked the city to stop this madness repeatedly, only to be ignored and mocked with public comments and flawed surveys the city later admitted had no statistical merit.

The food district in Downtown Morgan Hill (led by a cabal of power brokers along with tourism and inclusivity advocates in the City Council and Staff) is the smallest percentage of taxation revenue citywide as a district. The city knows this and openly admitted that fact. Yet, the city places grossly more expenditure and attention on downtown than any other district.

It’s completely upside down. Contrary to the downtown Morgan Hill food district, our other local retailers, car dealerships and locally owned small-medium businesses are the city’s largest contributors of tax revenue. There’s also more than just food businesses downtown contributing services and products who also have a voice in this.

In 2008, the city took on the ambitious Third Street Promenade project that was defective from the beginning. Nearly $4 million spent, with heavy staff involvement and repeated fixes since construction ended, only later bulldozed and scrapped. No return on investment to the taxpayers at all. Read about that here: https://morganhilltimes.com/36-million-street-a-damaged-mess/

With reckless spending by the defunct Redevelopment Agency in 2013, another $25 million “invested”. Read more here: https://morganhilltimes.com/oversight-board-approves-25-million-downtown-improvement-plan/

Moving to 2015, the city continued its spending spree with another attempt of the “Complete Streets” project which seemingly never ends. It’s estimated another $3 million of taxpayer funds were spent. See this article:

As construction and changes occurred, a primary flaw surrounded pedestrian safety and traffic moving without congestion. By resident outcry, it was recognized safety was never considered in any iteration of “improvements” by the city. During that time, pedestrians were struck by a car trying to cross downtown. The city reacted by placing self-service orange flags at crosswalks. Here’s their reaction to “safety” then:

It’s estimated the costs involving planning, road construction, materials, city staff time and numerous outreach efforts are greater than $15 million dollars expended downtown between 2006 to 2020 for this one street during a 14-year span of taxpayer funds wasted. Add the purchase of real property by the city in excess of $10 million, which was sold at a loss as part of their “Visioning Plan”, that puts us in the range of $25 to $30 million wasted downtown in that same period.

Does this concern you? Demand our city staff and elected officials DO NOT spend one more dollar downtown on further ideas or experimental improvements until this city has completed all infrastructure repairs and improvements not involving downtown. We must place residents’ security with guaranteed public safety, infrastructure, broadband, water, waste and streets management above all until 2050. This frivolous waste, agenda-based spending and pandering to special interests must end.

Contact your City Council with your concerns: https://www.morgan-hill.ca.gov/147/City-Council

Copy all correspondence to the City Manager / Clerk:

City Manager – https://www.morgan-hill.ca.gov/61/City-Manager

City Clerk – https://www.morgan-hill.ca.gov/60/City-Clerk

Last, I propose that no topic outside of infrastructure is discussed in any future city council meetings. It is not the job of city staff or our elected officials to pander to special interests, heel to national politics or create/invent theater in our local government any longer. The only job of our local government is to run this city, end of story.

As a resident and local taxpayer, this is your city, you pay for it, they work for us, don’t be afraid to speak up!

Steve Chappell

Morgan Hill

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