Costa Mesa Troll menu .pdf

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To Costa Mesans,
A lot of internet text space has been used here and in other pages to “discuss” the current state of Costa
Mesa development, where it has been and where it is going. Unfortunately there has been a lot of
polarizing tactics and propaganda expounded by certain individuals that has created an atmosphere of
antagonism and lack of clarity. These tactics stifle true discussion. Although many of the long term
denizens of this page recognize the individuals and the bias they bring, I am concerned that newer
members may be fooled by the so-called “facts” expounded by these same individuals. In that light I
have come up with a handy menu guide describing these tactics to shine some light on the issue as that
is the best way to counter the tactics of obfuscation and trolling.
Main course – opinions masquerading as “facts”. (examples may be paraphrased. Sometimes arguments
arise using these as initial, unspoken premises).
1.“Costa Mesa needs more housing.” This gem is classic propaganda. This is when a very complex issue is
reduced to a simple, easily remembered slogan that can be repeated over and over again. Individuals who
hear/see the message often enough tend to just assume it is true without looking into the details. Also
commonly used as a foregone conclusion to erect the false argument in support of more housing.
2.“Higher density housing is more affordable.” Again – classic propaganda. A reductio ad absurdium response
would be, “A pressboard shack in the slums of Rio De Janeiro is affordable.” In general high density housing IS
more affordable AND the quality of life is less. Of course there are many more factors involved that mainly have
to do with the three most important characteristics of Real Estate – location, location and location.
3.“The high density housing being built in Costa Mesa is affordable.” This one is a real zinger. One individual
went so far as to proclaim that two individuals making $17 an hour could afford to buy a house in CM. A look at
Zillow confirms that most family size houses in CM are over $600,000. A couple earning 75,000 (if they could
find the $30,000 down payment) would be paying in the $2600 range monthly. That would be roughly 40
percent of their gross income. The “recommended” percentage is 30 percent and even that stretches credulity
as to do-ability. The OC is one of the most expensive places to live in the State and this level of mortgage
would leave zero margins for exigencies. There are a lot more “ifs” that destroy this factoid.
4.“New housing would not have significant impacts to local traffic.” An utterly baseless assertion. There are
studies conducted by firms to measure the impacts of development on local traffic. One of the studies I saw
had this as it’s opening, “Understanding the demands placed on the community’s transportation network by
development is an important dimension of assessing the overall impacts of development. All development
generates traffic, and it may generate enough traffic to create congestion and to compel the community to
invest more capital into the transportation network, whether it is in the form of new roads or traffic signals or
turn lanes. Traffic congestion results in a number of problems, including economic costs due to delayed travel
times, air pollution and accidents. As one roadway becomes congested, drivers may use others not necessarily
intended for through traffic. As a result, traffic impact analyses are becoming more common as a planning tool
to fore-see demands on the transportation network and to mitigate any negative impacts. Understanding traffic
impacts becomes even more important as budgets for public facility and infrastructure improvements become
increasingly strained.”

Side dishes – tactics to stifle true debate.
Logical fallacies – there are too many to count. The list is here. I will let the reader do the research as
to which ones fit. The big problem is that the
proponents of development want to invent justification for building more houses while ignoring the
real reason – which is that they or their friends have a vested interest in building them. There is no
other good reason to make Costa Mesa any denser than it already is. None. Zero. Zip.
Red herrings – this (logical fallacy) deserves special recognition. Any time the poster puts up an
internet meme pic, trots out vague statistics, makes long-winded posts or otherwise throws loosely
connected issues into the “discussion” it is really to distract from the main issue. Over-population is
a good example. Costa Mesa is under no obligation to house anyone else. Worse, this red herring
ignores the fact that many people wanting to live here could not possibly afford the stuff being built
(see #3).
Ignoring externalities – This is one of the toughest tactics to immediately identify. Externalities are

the short and long-term impacts development has on the environment, resources and quality of life.
The proponents willfully ignore, minimize or discount them. Traffic is one of the largest and most
obvious impact (hence its own menu item), but there are many, many more. A partial list would
include an increase in use of utilities (the most important one being water), public services (garbage,
schools, police, fire, ambulance, etc) and pollution. Some of these costs to local quality of life could
be calculated and charged to the developer, but many of them are unable to be priced. Long term,
none of the contractors will stick around to pay for the degradation of the quality of life that the
denser population brings.
One of the most monstrous tactics used is willfully ignoring the really big picture issues such as
Global warming and homelessness. Building expensive houses accelerates our destruction of the
earth and just exacerbates the homeless issue by removing space where true housing for the
homeless could be built and making the density higher which raises the bar. No city lives in a bubble,
and these issues have international reverberations. Obviously the Global warming issue trumps all
else in this regard.
Next: how to mitigate these tactics.

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