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Where's Dorothy When you Need Her.

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
April 15, 1999


"There is nothing wrong with Oceanside, it is beautiful." — Lynda Newton

One of the bummers about Southern California is that we don't get enough tornados. Oh, sure, we occasionally get little ones that inflict damage to a shed or awning, but nothing major. What I am looking for is a huge twister, the kind that picks up houses and drops them on unsuspecting witches. Goddess knows the mental midgets at Oceanside city hall need something to save themselves from the current incarnation of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Usually I am going off on Doug Manchester, but considering I am a staunch supporter of equal opportunities for women, this week's column is being directed at our very own Miss Gulch. If I had false teeth they would have fell out of my head when I read the statements made by Manchester's spokeswomen in the cover story of last week's Coast News. If Dougie was thinking of giving his project a kindlier and gentler face when casting Lynda Newton as spokesperson, it is obvious he has spent way too much time in the poppy fields.

Considering that the comments of Miss Newton are patronizing,  and border on an unadulterated "Up yours Oceanside," I would like to address her comments point by point. Most telling was the spokesmodel's rumination that the loss of Councilman Terry Johnson on the California Coastal Commission means that Manchester has lost a advocate on the commission (read political insider).To continue with the Wizard of Oz analogy, it seems Coastal Commission Chairwoman Sara Wan, is shaping up to be Oceanside's Glenda the Good Witch.

As official spokesperson for Manchester, Ms. Newton stated that "We cannot compromise closing Pacific Street and abutting the strand. The plan requires that we go to the strand." It is at this point that I have to ask, "What plan?" As if this so called plan was set in stone. Did I miss something, or is the eleventh commandment, Thou shall develop at all costs? I think it is very revealing that Manchester is not willing to compromise.

Recently San Diego has had a bad case of the inevitables, meaning that when developers want to destroy something they first launch a campaign stating that it is inevitable. A million more people in the county? Inevitable. Widening freeways to handle traffic? Inevitable. Four, twelve-story, towers eradicating the view and access to Oceanside's municipal beach? Inevitable. Sorry Lynda, nothing is inevitable. More fitting of a phrase is self-fulfilling prophecy, don't you think?

Now I realize I am not a high paid planning consultant, but how does placing an expensive resort in front of a public beach improve access? In the April 8th article Ms. Newton states "We certainly feel that by building Pier View Village and a promenade it will enhance access." What? If I am not mistaken Pier View Way already serves that purpose. The loss of access comes by the eradication of the steps to the beach at the end of Mission Dr.

When I called Ms. Newton to confirm the loss of this beach access, she wanted to assure me that these steps would be replaced with an elevator at the end of the promenade. She also pointed out that this would double as handicap access to the beach. When I reminded her that existing ramps already served this purpose, she  she said that the ramp was difficult for people in wheelchairs.

I'm sorry if Manchester was really concerned about the recreational needs of Oceanside residents in wheelchairs, they would not be so cavalier about removing the community center which is utilized by the Wheelchair rugby league. Ms. Newton also stated that the elevator could be utilized by families with children. Again this need is already met by existing access. In other words there will be, in fact, a net loss of beach access.

The most arrogant statement made by Ms. Newton was that the property in question was the last stretch of undeveloped beach in the county. Not only is that not true, it also assumes that the people of North County want all their beaches developed. If it were true, the fact that it is the last piece of undeveloped coastline should speak to the importance of preserving it as an open space public park.

Ms. Newton goes on to say that this beach front property will eventually fall into the hands of developers, and that "There is just so much coastline. If it is not us, it is going to be someone else." That's like Bill Clinton saying "Sooner or later someone is going to bomb Kosovo, it might as well be us."

What do you think the chances are of Ms. Newton being doused with water meant for a mayor currently being burnt at the stake by his political rivals?

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