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New Visions, New Voices, and Hope.

Following My Muse
Robert T. Nanninga
Surf City Times
February 18, 2003


To a large degree reality is whatever the people who are around at the time agree to. — Milton H. Miller

I am very happy to report that the California Coastal Commission denied the Encinitas Country Day School project. This private business was slated to be developed, alarmingly close to the San Elijo Ecological Reserve. To the Coastal Commission, such a project was not acceptable. Kudos to the Commission, the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, and citizen activist Tinker Mills for holding the developers at bay.

As I have stated before, this property is ideal for an open space park due to it's proximity to the aforementioned San Elijo Lagoon. As we all know, native habitat has become a rare commodity, expanding and linking such wild spaces serve all of us in the long run. And if I am not mistaken, this is the reasoning behind the Multiple Species Conservation Program.

Southern California's coastal areas, are extremely beautiful, this is one of the reasons most of us live here. The quality of life provided by natural topography, favorable climate, and access to wild places, makes it a privilege to call coastal North County home. Protecting these things is paramount to the well being of both human and non-human populations.

By denying a private enterprise the right to remove threatened coastal sage scrub, and the taking of a pair of California gnatcatchers, the California Coastal Commission has shown how easy it is say no to infill development. Encroaching on areas that have wisely been set aside makes no sense. It's great when bureaucracy works in favor of the environment.

Speaking of working for the environment I was quite happy to read that the blasting of Carlsbad's Box Canyon has been put on hold. The last thing San Marcos Creek needs, is to be dynamited as part of some unenlightened litigation prevention program. People who kill themselves jumping of rocks in wild spaces, such as Box Canyon, have no rights to sue for their own stupidity. The fact that natural spaces can be dangerous is no reason to eradicate them.

I'm sure creative minds can come up with an alternative to such drastic measures. Establishing a trail system within a dedicated natural preserve makes sense. By planting sycamore trees and other riparian vegetation at the base of the north wall, would prevent recreational jumping. As for the south side of the the pool in question, a well used nature trail, and responsible citizens enjoying it, would help discourage litter, graffiti, and other destructive behaviors.

By including citizens in the process of confronting problems which threaten environmental amenities, preservation of native habitats becomes a personal matter. The members of the Canyon Land Trust is proof that residents are committed to protecting what they see are vital open space. Sometimes city planners just need to be reminded of what is really important. Nature good,explosives bad. The San Marcos Creek feeds directly into the Batisquitos Lagoon. Not clear, is the impact of altering it's course on the regional ecosystem. Birds that have been seen in the canyon recently, include California Quail, Gray herons, Horned Owls, and Gnatcatchers. Some how I don't think our fine feathered friends are going appreciate this senseless destruction. In the words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"

Since I am on the subject of people getting along, another issue that relates to Batisquitos Lagoon has taken a turn for the better. Leucadians are actually making progress in their efforts to control badly planned development in their immediate neighborhood. Adding to their sense of hope is the fact that two Encinitas Planning Commissioners voted to deny the Greystone Homes projecy proposed for 12 acres along Vulcan Avenue in Northwest Leucadia. Problems sighted by residents were community character, flooding and drainage issues, safety, circulation, and parkland deficit. The commissioners who voted to deny stated access, safety, and community compatibility and their main disadvantages. The commissioner who voted to abstain did so because, and I quote, "I'm ambivalent."

How anyone can be ambivalent in regards to an assault on a community's character, or polluted runoff ending up in one of the region's lagoons, is beyond me. That fact that the same person is be sitting on a planning commission would be funny, if it weren't so insulting. Obviously vision is lacking when residents can not be heard over the sly murmurings of hit and run developers. I would say things are looking up in coastal North County. The recent elections have brought new visions and new voices to the table. My hope is that we not get complacent. The majority of us, from Del Mar to Oceanside, know what must be done. and by the look of things we are are finally being heard.

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