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In Golden State - Look Norman...the loons

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
January 13, 1999


"There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California." — Edward Abbey

Nothing seems real in Southern California. A culture of contradiction, we pave paradise and invite tourists to enjoy the results. We scramble over ourselves to build beach resorts when we can't guarantee the beach will even be there one year from the next. We complain about gridlock, but never seriously discuss mass transit, and we revel in our good fortune while reducing it with our waste. Pushing ourselves at an ever increasing rate, hoping to put distance between ourselves and a past that once included communities not plagued by the horrors of uncontrolled growth, road rage becomes the norm.

Encinitas is negatively affected by decisions being made by City Councils in Oceanside, Carlsbad, San Marcos, and Escondido, yet instead of fighting to protect the quality of life desired by the residents of Encinitas, the city council in that city is busy fighting among themselves. Firmly in the grip of nearsighted politicos, civic policy has little to do with environmental sustainability, and everything to do with political ambition. Before anyone accuses me of singling out Encinitas, I would remind everyone, that to date, Encinitas has the most environmental conscious city council. Is that crazy or what?

As a region we know we are destroying our environment, the MSCP and MHCP are proof that we are thinking in biblical terms because what little open space that remains is disturbed, disjointed, and inviable in the long run. In other words we are surrounding ourselves with miniature arks, and the flood that is coming is a human one. The first ecological storm will sink these unsustainable remnants of habitat, this may come in the form of a human induced drought, massive sewage spills, or the placement of major roadways in areas that have been set aside for native habitat.

Our beaches are disappearing due to man-made structures, and all local officials can suggest to fix this problem is build more structures. Encinitas Mayor James Bond has decided to take his anti-environmental show on the road, and run for the state assembly. Notice when he starts talking about beach restoration, his purpose is not to restore the natural flow of sand along the coast, of help repair damages to the biotic community adversely affected by storm drain runoff or sewage being pumped into the ocean. Mr. Bond's sole purpose in asking for federal funds to put sand back on the beach, is to encourage tourism, plain and simple.

The Oceanside City Council, save Terry Johnson, is trying desparately to land a big fish that will most certainly devour that city's downtown. Hook, line, and sinker. Doug Manchester is a shark, yet the promise of big money has turned Dick Lyon and the three women on the council into drooling groupies, struggling to gain Mr. Manchester's favor. Meanwhile Bucaneer beach has been closed again because of toxins being delivered there by Alta Loma Creek.The City of Oceanside has known since 1981 that a business not far from the creek has been polluting the water table with toxic metals, yet that business continues to operate. How crazy is that?

When my friends ask me to describe the people of coastal North County, the first word I use is apathetic. Here in "paradise" we are so concerned about looking good and living the good life, we completely ignore our environmental responsibility. We don't plant native species because "they are to messy" or they "don't do what we want them to do." Instead we plant pretty things, to make all the pretty people feel even prettier. We drive huge gas guzzling monstrosties, once again completely ignoring the damage being done to the environment. Hell we are even ready to place a landfill directly on top of an aquifer. How crazy is that?

Now, as if culturely induced insanity wasn't enough, we are now going to start genetically engineering it. At a time when we are struggling to protect native species, The City of Encinitas is leaning towards allowing a genetic engineering research lab to set up shop. The purpose of this lab is to design the flowers of the future. Not content with an invasion of exotic non-natives, now they are toying with the brave new world of Frankeinflower. The Golden poppy is the state flower, but when is the last time you saw those in any magnitude. As we lose native species to the wheels of progress, we can always console ourselves with a bunch of green house grown, genetically enhanced, cut flowers.

Are we crazy or what?

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