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Inch by Inch; The Turning of the Screw

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
March 11, 1999


I have to admit that I have been very frustrated lately. Having not driven in a while, I know it isn't road rage. It's more like a twilight zone episode. Just picture William Shatner freaking out over some future catastrophe, put a beard on him, and that's me.

I hope readers don't get the impression that I like to be pissed off all the time, I don't. I just want people to stop for a minute and really look at the mess we are in. When they do, they will also see it's not to late to step back from the ledge. Come on folks, life doesn't have to be a TV movie. And we don't have to act like guests on the Jerry Springer show.

I bring this up because I have been fighting the urge to slap some sense into people. Is it so wrong to live someplace nice, and not want to share it with another million people? To make room for physical growth some things have to give way. Action, reaction. More people, and people things, means less animals and plant things. More people also means more sewage, more traffic, and more stress.

It seems that we are smart enough monkeys to figure out that growth does not have to be physical, or even tangible. As a community we could actually live comfortably without having to be obsessed with commerce. Currently the greedy monkeys have convinced the rest of us that this is the only way to be. I say we are choking on it, and taking everything with us.

This knowledge is driving me nuts. Not only are we allowing our quality of life to be threatened, we are actually hastening the process by ignoring all the signs of break down. I know it is easy to be persuaded by the promise of future revenue and the selfishness of property rights, but sooner or later we are going to have to take stock of the damage we have done.

Here in coastal North County, environmental impact reports are becoming as rare as the California gnatcatcher. Apparently because the development industry has decided that neither are necessary.   City halls from Del Mar to Oceanside have been infiltrated by pro-growth bureaucrats who feel that the only balance they need to concern themselves with, is the balance sheet. Numbers over nature seems to be the order. By the time residents find out, developers and their municipal counterparts have all the permits they need to rape, ravage, and pillage the community of their choice.

Currently, emboldened by Solana Beach's allowance of a double track through their section of the rail corridor, NCTD has now set it's sights on Del Mar and the San Diequito Lagoon. Unlike the city to the north, Del Mar residents don't want double tracks over the lagoon,  The Fish and Wildlife Service has stated that double tracking threatens endangered wildlife, and that a comprehensive Environmental Impact Report should be done before the project is even considered.

Asking that an EIR be completed for the entire coastal North County rail corridor public officials such as  Supervisor Pam Slater, Encinitas's SANDAG representative, Dennis Holz have let it be known that they think NCTD is trying to side step environmental regulations by piecemealing a second track through beach communities. Can you say CEQA?

Another case of waived EIR's includes the approval of the Encinitas Country Day School project, planned for a site, recklessly close to the San Elijo Ecological reserve. All entrepreneur Kathleen Porterfield had to do was parade a few mercenaries in front of the City Council to deliver paid testimony, and bingo she had an approval without the need of some messy Environmental Impact Report.

Thankfully the California Coastal Commission had enough sense to say no to this women's crusade to endanger one of California's  remaining coastal lagoons. Word on the street is Ms. Porterfield is planning to stage a hissy fit at next month's Coastal Commission meeting. She thought she was a shoo-in. Boy, do I know how she feels. Usually it's the environmentalists threatening litigation. The times they are a changing.

Last Friday I attended a poetry slam hosted by the 101 Arts Colony. This is the type of growth coastal North County needs. Poets drove up from San Diego to compete in a display of verse that would rival the bards of old. Art not asphalt is a good motto to live by. Don't you think?

Here's an idea. Instead of a development program the threatens the natural environment, how about developing programs that encourage the social environment, naturally. Which, in the long run, is what we all want. Poetry good, pavement bad.

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