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Mr. Sandman is this a Dream?

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
February 4, 1998


Just when I thought nothing could out weird the doings in our nation's capital, Oceanside's city leaders are proving that it could always get worse. First the Manchester thing, then the SANDAG squabble, and now the closing of the Strand. Does anyone else see a trend here?

Politics is a strange business, and those that are involved have agendas that rarely exclude personal interests. What I don't understand is why does the City Council want to pave over eight acres of beach. Not only is this completely foolish, it is also an insult to cities to the south. Cities who have continually seen their beaches erode away since the Oceanside Harbor jetty was built.

Mayor Dick Lyon assures people that eight acres is not as much as it seems. What? The sand that the City of Oceanside is planning to bury belongs on North County beaches, not trapped behind Oceanside jetties. To bury it under asphalt is an outrage.

I realize that the city of Oceanside has a bad case of tourism envy, and they would do anything to attract tourist dollars. But then again so would your average prostitute. What is so annoying is that Oceanside's total disregard for the San Diego's coastal ecosystems is a major part of it's the ecosystem's decline.

As things stand now, it seems that the powers that be will not be content until their coast is completely covered in concrete and stucco. The harbor is man made, as is everything in it. Recently the California Boating and Waterways Commission awarded the Oceanside Harbor District a $2 million grant. With this money they plan to more the double the size of the current boat ramp, as well as other projects designed to develop this tourist destination.

Now if the new and improved harbor parking lots are not enough, fear not. Also planned for the Harbor is the The Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research Marine Interpretive Research Center.I'm sure the building will be as awkward as it's name. Concession stands are also being planned, as is a host of other amenities.

Isn't it odd that Oceanside is doing everything it can to disguise the beach. While other municipalities struggle to keep theirs intact. Soon visitors will be able to come to Oceanside with out ever having to be bothered with experiencing the ocean. At this moment a Joni Mitchell song is running through my head, because as far as I am concerned they are paving paradise to put in a parking lot.

Speaking of paving, what is up with closing the strand? Wasn't it less than 3 months ago that Oceanside residents were told that the Manchester Resort would not block beach assess? I guess they were right. It seems the city council has done that without any help from Doug Manchester. For a place that fancies itself a tourist destination it sure is making all the wrong moves.

I shouldn't be surprised with this attack on the coast. Oceanside has never been one to care about the environment, in fact they seem to pride themselves of existing in spite of it.  Case in point is the fact that Oceanside has allowed for the strip mining of the San Luis Rey river bed, the polluting of the Alta Loma Creek, and the widening of every road in sight.

Here's an idea. Instead of bickering like preschoolers on the playground over the SANDAG appointment, perhaps if the city council could spent their time worry about a sustainable future. At the rate the City Council is going, the only thing that will get done is more sucking up to the agents of sprawl.

I wonder if the Coastal Commission has given the go ahead on all the development along the city's coast. It seems to me that such  extensive projects would cause some concern among those who have been trusted with protecting the California coast from the greedy boys who have no problem filling in a wetland, or paving the pacific.

When it comes down to it, the true injustice is that Oceanside has built a jetty that will support the harbor's economic viability, while placing an on due burden on communities such as Leucadia, Cardiff, Solana Beach and Del Mar. I my opinion the if we want to restore the areas beaches, regional entities must demand that jetties and groins be removed so that the sand can return to it's natural course.

While things are being removed in Oceanside, perhaps the voting public can begin to mitigate the damage done by the current "development or bust" council, with the simple act of replacing Terry Johnson, and the pro-growth lobby that has taken over City Hall. Once that is done they can start a billion dollar project that will give Oceanside's beaches back to it's residents. Now that is progress.

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