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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
November 30, 1998


I started my holiday giving a little early this year. The day before Thanksgiving I gave my friend Marsha a Coastal Live Oak, I even planted it. The satisfaction that I derived from such a simple act helped get me out of the pre-holiday blues that have visited me since I was a kid.

While preparing the soil for the new member of our community, Marsha almost begged me to wear garden gloves to protect my hands. I had to explain that the touching of earth was the healing part of tree planting, and that I didn't feel threatened in any way.

While standing in her yard she pointed out her veiw looking north, and then she pointed out the area where the City of Carlsbad wants to cover the last of the city's coastal open space, with a west coast version of Miami Beach. What is up with that?

Recently I have been reading disturbing reports on how there are plans to move Carlsbad Boulevard/Highway 101 east to open up 40 acres for more coastal development. One would think the greedy boys and girls would be content with LegoLand. But with talk about the development of a hotel at the end of Palomar Airport Road, and now this realignment between Manzano Drive and Batisquitos Lagoon,it is official. Carlsbad city planners are completely out of control.

Could someone please tell why we as a species are so afraid of open space. Why is it that we must own and control every last piece of earth? Are we programmed to be the despoilers of nature? Or have we cast ourselves in some twisted mellow drama? Kind of like Dynasty, but on a global scale. All glitz and no substance, is this Carlsbad's desired goal?

Boundaries between cities are beginning to merge, and the only thing that is preventing complete sprawl are the lagoons, and even that is in question. What I would like to know is; Are the people who are building all these temples of consumption, actually living next door? Or are they fly-by-night landsharks who leave only death and destruction in their path?

Case in Point: a few weeks ago I was driving home from CSUSM along Rancho Sante Fe Road. Not far from the intersection with Questhaven, there was a large dead raccoon at the edge of the right lane. As if this carnage wasn't bad enough, at the Carlsbad city limit, again at the edge of the right lane, a california mule deer lay dead. I'm sure that deer was fleeing the current San Elijo Hills development under way in western San Marcos.

Last week I took the time to respond to a Negative Declaration in Encinitas regarding a proposed development on a piece of viable open space that is the last chance for a much needed park in Northwest Leucadia. More infill that is not needed, nor welcomed. Must we continuously trade character for commerce? Must we sell our children's quality of life for short term profit?

So...here is my request. This year instead of spending money on the people who mean the most to you, spend a time with these people doing things that really matter, such as planting a native tree, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or delivering food for your local Meals on Wheels Program. These are ways to foster community in a way that thumbs it's nose at the sacred cow of holiday retail sales.

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