Residents of Curtis Park have two choices.
One is a world of blue skies with puffy white clouds. A shopping area of boutique shops with a landscaped parking lot full of cars and well-dressed customers walking about.
The other is under a drab, hazy sky. The shopping center is full, but with a cigarette shop, a check-cashing business and discount stores. The parking lot in this world is empty, except for motionless black figures.
Welcome to the world of threats and scare tactics.
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It’s all on two videos launched into the battle over a commercial center planned for Curtis Park Village, the 72-acre former railyard south of downtown Sacramento. The toxic waste site is being developed by Paul Petrovich, and residents of Curtis Park are challenging his plans for a gas station packaged with a Safeway that would anchor the shopping center.
So, the Petrovich Development Co. posted online a series of questions and answers for Curtis Park residents. The two animated videos linked from the FAQ gave residents a glimpse of stark choices for the future.
If residents fight against the Safeway and the proposed “fuel center,” as it’s called in the FAQ, the Petrovich Development team threatens to bring in a warehouse grocer and other discount businesses to the commercial part of the village.
The future without the Safeway and eight gas pumps with 16 hoses is very, very scary for Curtis Park residents. I live in Curtis Park, but I started laughing when I saw the videos a week ago Friday. However, midway through the second video, I was incredulous that the developers had resorted to this kind of scare tactic.
In the video depicting Curtis Park Village with a Safeway, the scene begins on Sutterville Road with a view of the Safeway and parking lot. You cruise by a Noah’s Bagels and turn north onto Crocker Drive. There’s Peet’s Coffee, Thai Basil, Cookie Connection, Sur La Table and Selland’s. In 3 minutes and 2 seconds you see how good life can be, with a Safeway and gas station with eight gas pumps that can service 16 cars all at once.
The second video opens with a nondescript beige “Warehouse Grocer” and passes the parking lot that doesn’t have one Volvo or SUV. Instead of Noah’s Bagels, there is an auto parts store. Then there is a game shop, a cellphone store, a laundromat and an ABC Check Cashing store. How can it get scarier than that in 3 minutes and 8 seconds? Well, there is a Mongolian BBQ, a tire outlet store, an “El Cervesas” and a “Chicken Wings ’N’ Dip.” Oh, the shock.
The video saves the most serious threat for the finale, aimed at the heart of Curtis Park liberals. Wait for it ... wait for it, yes, a Hobby Lobby. Boom. How do you like them apples, Curtis Park? Surrender to the Safeway and gas station or we’ll inflict you with a Hobby Lobby.
The dramatization by the developers must have traumatized someone. Early last week the link to the beige-world video had disappeared from the Curtis Park Village FAQs put out by the Petrovich Development team.
I guess the world with a discount grocer was a little too scary for them, too.
Follow Gary Reed on Twitter @GaryReed_sacbee.