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Studying the Coast to Death

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
April 8, 1999


There are some experiences that are truly unique to southern California. One is watching the sun set through the silhouette of a satellite dish. Last week, while war raged in Kosovo, I sat and contemplated the aesthetics of a cluttered suburbia. Sunsets are profound like that.

Clutter is something we should get used to. This is a fact of life that is going to be with us for a very long time. Sometime, when none of us were looking, The development interests infiltrated our communities, and faster than you can say "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" everyone remotely connected to municipal government in North San Diego is stumbling over themselves to cover everything in concrete.

Of course some forms of concrete are prettier than others. Take for example the artist renderings for the proposed Pfleger Institute. These high gloss drawings go a long way to distract viewers from the fact that this development will not only result in 8.3 acres of the beach being paved, it will also wants to convince Oceanside residents that this glorified aquarium is going to draw tourists with the promise of seeing giant sea bass up close and personal.

Much like the Manchester Resort project, the Pfleger Institute for Environmental Research is nothing more than the dream child of a non-local who thinks that the coast looks better obscured by tourist traps, residents be damned. Also resembling Manchester, this project continues to reduce beach access by placing a hefty price tag to those wishing to visit the beach.

I have to admit that I am totally against a scientist that feels his research can not go forward without "creating an entity that could give back to the sea the gifts it has given." What? Again I do not understand how trapping squid in little tanks are going to help stop the raping of the worlds oceans.

When asked how a such an unknown entity could succeed where Scripps has not, Executive Director, Dr. Michael L. Domeier said that they were the only ones to focus on threats to fisheries. When asked to comment on the proposed Pfleger Institute, a staff biologist from Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, could only say that Dr. Domeier was a "total flake" who talked a great game, but lacked follow through.

Now, before we chalk that assessment up to professional competition, I should point out that PIER's first choice to do a economic analysis was an accountant from Massachusetts. Unhappy with this report, a second report was prepared for the City of Oceanside. Not surprisingly, the original estimates provided by PIER were inflated 20 percent across the board. Talk about fish stories.

Last week I met Mr. Doemier during an episode of Journalist Roundtable on KOCT, and although I found him to be very personable, whenever he talked I couldn't help picturing him eating a huge plate of Calamari. It was also my belief that his interest in protecting Southern California fisheries had little to do with protecting fish. Anyone who would refer to squid as market squid should not be trusted to speak on their behalf.

Now, unlike Oceanside's desire to rape it's coastline, the residents of Leucadia actually fight development at every turn. It seems this quiet beach community has no desire to prostitute itself to the john offering the most in projected tourist dollars. In fact Leucadians know the best way to relate to the ocean environment is surfing or swimming, not paying to walk through a sanitized aquarium. We can not save oceanic species by locking them up in glass boxes.

Speaking of Leucadians, we are rapidly approaching the deadline for the "How to Spot a True Leucadian T-shirt Contest. To clarify the contest's rules I will state them once again. To enter your T-shirt design all you have to do is drop off your camera ready art work to Papa Gus before May 1st. It's that simple. If you need a copy of the "How to know if you're a True Leucadian Quiz" to help inspire you, they are available at Papa Gus, Shatto & Sons, and Environgentle.

You can also request one at [defunct email address].

The winning entry will then be produced as a T-shirt that will become part of the legend of Leucadia, if not a part of Encinitas history. The winning artist will also receive over a hundred dollars worth of prizes provided by Leucadia merchants. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Individuals who pass the "How to know if you're a True Leucadian Quiz" with a score of 25 points or more will be able to purchase the T-shirt at some ridiculously low price. I should also point out that this T-shirt will be a limited edition, and is destined to become a collectors item.

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