An open letter to Jack Dilles from the 1440 Foundation.
We were disappointed to see the statements in your recent City Council campaign mailing to the people of Scotts Valley, regarding growth in Scotts Valley and the 1440 project on Bethany Drive.
Several misrepresentation were made in describing the 1440 project which we feel are important to correct.
1. Under the heading of 'Runaway Growth', the mailer groups the 1440 project with several other new developments approved by the City Council in Scotts Valley. We don't believe this is fair or accurate.
The rights to operate a school on Bethany Drive in Scotts Valley were not approved by this City Council. They were granted six decades ago, before most of us were born, when Bethany College was approved for development and began operation as a school in the 1950s.
What was approved by this City Council was that the 1440 Foundation would invest tens of millions of dollars to renovate and reopen the campus at a student level below the capacity and number of students that were previously attending the school when it was owned by Bethany College.
As a former city official for many years, you surely know the difference between a renovation of existing property for the same use, and the construction of a new enterprise.
2. The mailing further describes the "giveback of fees" to the 1440 project and accuses the City Council of "giving away" money. We don't believe this is fair or accurate.
As you know, because we discussed it in detail when you accepted our invitation and visited the campus last month, the city of Scotts Valley did not give back any fees. In fact, 1440 has paid 100 percent of all fees and costs charged for the project – currently over $600,000 and counting.
What 1440 and the city did agree to, as we discussed, was that the 1440 Foundation would, in addition to paying all fees, loan Scotts Valley an additional $200,000 so that the city could adequately staff its planning and building departments to support citywide activities. This loan is to be repaid, without interest, out of future city revenues generated by the existence of the 1440 project. The cost to the city is zero.
As a former finance professional, you surely know the difference between an interest free loan and a "giveaway" of city funds.
What is true about the 1440 project is that it has been a difficult undertaking as there have been many homes built in the immediate neighborhood since the school began operations.
We have inconvenienced many of our neighbors with the construction activity, and not everyone agrees with every aspect of our plans. However, one thing we have always done is to be honest and upfront about what we were doing, and the challenges we are facing.
Today there seems to be more than enough dishonesty and mistrust in politics at the national level, where bending and breaking the truth in order to get elected has become more and more common.
It hardly seems that we need the same practices brought here to our community as a proposition for better government.
Scott Kriens, Director, The 1440 Foundation, Scotts Valley