YL Recall

Craig Young and Tom Lindsay

Craig Young and Tom Lindsay

Shera Brady, Photojournalist

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but signs will never hurt me,” Councilman Tom Lindsey laughs, referencing the countless signs in his opposition throughout Yorba Linda. He and Mayor Craig Young are the two councilmen that were almost recalled because of their adherence to a measure regarding affordable housing.

Measures H and I were voted on and passed by the people of Yorba Linda in order to meet the state mandated affordable housing requirement. This mandate does not require cities to actually build the housing, but simply zone areas to prove that cities had the potential to build them. Yorba Linda had done so, but once they made enough space for over 2,000 new developments, the state lowered that number to 669. Proponents of the recall suggested that the council take the new 669 number and go through the entire process again, in order to continue to lower the number of houses. However, the property owners had already invested in and made plans for the land that they owned and had just been zoned for building. And because these two councilmen voted against downsizing not just the properties themselves, but also lowering their value, suddenly they were eligible for recall.

Holding this election separately from the regular upcoming election, cost taxpayers just below $300,000. Of course, that doesn’t include the $100,000 spent on ethics violations – all of which were declared unfounded. The effort failed, but even if it didn’t, Measures H and I stay intact. They are the law because the people voted for them. That’s how a democracy works. In order to lower the density plan, one would need to vote on new measures, not new council members.

Now that the city is moving forward with these developments, they are doing their best to find a balance between keeping the neighbors happy and protecting the property owner’s rights. There have been some threats from the property owners of suing if the city does not allow them to build on their own land, but all the money would have to come out of taxpayer’s pockets. Since the measures have been passed, Lindsey and Young have been working with the property owners in order to convince them to build at the lowest possible density rate. This relationship with the developers has allowed them to be successful in lowering the original number of housing units down by 35%. They also turned down a project because they felt it was “too cramped.” Not to mention the fact that Yorba Linda is almost completely developed. It would be impossible for this “land of gracious living” to become a city like Detroit, simply because there’s not enough room for it.

These councilmen have proven to be men of their word, and have expressed their love for this town in a way that makes it impossible for anyone to deny that they truly do have Yorba Linda’s best interests at heart.