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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
September 21, 1998


O.K everybody. I am having an issue. I could be wrong, but from where I'm standing it appears that knowledge is no longer power.

We seem to study everything to death. When I say "we" I mean those with a financial interest in feigned ignorance. Now as far as I am concerned, I've got all the information I need to make the statement that diesel exhaust is not healthy alternative to clean air.

Although excess is not exclusively an American phenomenon, we seem to be most fluent in it. How many studies have to be done before change is enacted. For years coastal cities have been studying sand loss, although the reason and solutions have been known for decades. At this point the only thing left to study is how long can someone study something before it is no longer relevant.

In the news recently was the report stating that offshore sand will migrate onshore. Talk about revelations. I wonder how many tax dollars went towards that stunning piece of science? Maybe their next discovery will be that rivers carry sediment to the ocean. Personally I think that money could have been saved by enrolling the researchers in Oceanography 101 at one of the local community colleges.

Come on folks we all know why there is no sand on the beaches, in a word, overdevelopment. With inland dams stopping the flow of sand to the coast and jetties and groins preventing sand from moving along it's natural course the result is cobblestone beaches There, I just saved us millions of dollars. Now we can spend that money on a study on why people insist on ignoring the truth until a more convenient one comes along.

To be fair, some elected officials don't ignore their findings, they just fund more studies. "Inconclusive data" seems to cover a host of unknowns. I mean, can we absolutely rule out that it is not alien visitors stealing sand in the middle of the night to take back to their home planet? Or maybe it is a communist plot enacted by environmentalists in an attempt to undermine property rights.

Everyday in this paper you read where one of the coastal cities is addressing the sand issue in yet another meeting. If I am not mistaken the only people not being paid to attend these meetings are citizens. Everybody else is on the dole. High priced consultants will always ask for more meetings and more studies, it's their bread and butter, as will city staff. Elected officials will ask for more studies as a way of not having to be responsible for implementing solutions.

Then there are the studies designed to justify bad policy. Traffic studies fall into this category. Millions of dollars have been spent to to reach the conclusion that the infrastructure is overburdened by current traffic levels. So with this, not so new, understanding roads are widened, new ones are built and the current system is perpetuated. Interpretation is everything. When I see a study that states roadways have reached their carrying capacity, I say time to provide alternative ways of transportation, not more roads.

How many studies have shown automobiles are partially responsible for the build-up of greenhouse gases, the hole in the ozone, and the growing rate of respiratory diseases.

It is a shame there is no money in common sense. If that were the case maybe we could then do away the professional feet draggers and get on with repairing what we have nearly destroyed.

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