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Old Threats and New Beginnings

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
January 1, 1999


This is my first column of the new year, and before looking ahead to what 1999 has in store for us "happy campers" in coastal North County I would like to give you an update on my letter to Santa. If you remember I asked Santa for some open space for the coyote who ate my beloved cat Uni Sashimi.  It is amazing what wisdom comes from Christmas wishes.

Escaping the in-laws who were in town for the holidays I retreated to Joshua Tree National Park, only to have my understanding of coyotes completely changed. As we entered the park my friends and I were stopped by a coyote lying in the middle of the road. My first impression was that it was either injured or just completely confused.

After yelling at him to get out of harm's way, I instructed him to fear all humans, and we continued on our way. Note, coyotes don't listen. Not more than a hour later, after setting camp we found Mr. Coyote laying in the same spot in the road while tourist took photographs. This time I wasn't sure who was more foolish the coyote or the humans intent on a wildlife experience. Flash forward.

 As we left the the park late the next day I witnessed the same coyote approaching cars for handouts while, once again, humans enjoyed a Kodak moment. It was at this point that I realized that we should be should be encouraging eco-tourism in Leucadia, after all we have plenty of coyotes, and all we have to do is teach them to pose for camera.

As for the my wish regarding vegan food, I discovered a gem that had been with in plain sight. Last week I had some appetizers at the a restaurant on Highway 101 that rocked my world. All I had to do was request olive oil instead of butter. Imagine, gourmet Mediterranean cuisine that did not rely on any animal products for nutrition or flavor. Thank you Santa for revealing the Calypso to moi.

So now onto what the next year has in store for us. I know for a fact that on January 13th, the California Coastal Commission will be conducting an appeal hearing in regards to City of Encintas's misguided approval of Kathleen Porterfield's desire to develop a private business recklessly close to the San Elijo Lagoon. The hearing will take place at the Olympic Collection Banquet & Conference Center in Los Angeles at 10 am. If you abhor driving to LA you can wait until the February hearing which will be held at the Hotel Del Coronado. I also know that I will be there.

For those of you who are interested in local government, and wish to play a part in making sure that we begin to move away from the destructive reliance on a pro-growth agenda, currently, local municipalities are accepting applications for commissions responsible for planning, traffic and parks. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that as long as we allow realtors and developers to call all the shots, they will. Let's be honest. Affluence is nice but at what cost?

Now is the time to make plans for the new year. I have pledged to plant one native tree a month, more if possible. I will also continue to ask people and local governments to start removing non-native plants as a way of encouraging local species to thrive. I am also going to be a very vocal proponent of mass transit, bike lanes and pedestrian friendly cities.

I have to admit that this crusade of mine often seems hopeless, and that many in North County would rather I shut up and go away. I only wish I could. The truth of the matter is that I am a native  of San Diego county who finds it impossible to stay away from this incredible slice of earth for longer than 6 months at a time. And believe when I say I've tried.

The reason North County continues to grow is because people from all over the world want the type of life we take for granted on a daily basis. The fact that people are willing to live in the bushes and risk the humiliation of deportation, for a day's worth of work, is proof that our quality of life is worth sacrificing for. Personally I don't see how the men and women that society casually labels illegal aliens can leave their family and friends. Hence the reason I remain. fighting, what I consider to be, the good fight.

So in honor of what America once stood for, and the promise of justice for all species that call this planet home, I raise my glass in thanks to the opportunities provided to me, and to the promise of a green and healthy New Year.

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