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Paradise lost: No where to go but down.

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
December 23, 1999


We have to articulate what we mean by change, define what we perceive as essential to our way of life. We have to refuse to accept blindly other's perceptions of progress. — Patricia Locke

O.K. sports fans, this is it, the end of the 20th century, and we are literally in the drivers seat. Human population is now 6 billion plus, with no signs of slowing, and here in Southern California we are are doing our utmost to fulfill our breeding quota. It doesn't matter that we have no place to put all the babies we are making, unless you count the freeway, and the small percentage of open space that has escaped the bulldozer as of yet.

This column was to be an environmental year in review, where I looked at all the positive things that took place here in Coastal North County. For the life of me, I can think of only two, the California Coastal Commission denying the Encinitas Country day Schools request to build next to the San Elijo Lagoon, and the same commission saying no to the city of Oceanside's request to pave over 8 acres of beach. That's it. In other words environmentalists are running to stand still here in the land of the sport utility vehicle.

As for environmentally sensitive elected officials, there are two in Encinitas. Sheila Cameron is for the most part ineffectual due to her inability to charm the snakes she is surrounded by, and Dennis Holz is such a centrist, his course down the middle of the road leaves him equally impotent in terms of protecting the environment. Does it pain me to say this? Of course it does. Will I continue to champion Sheila Cameron and Dennis Holz? Of course I will. Because like Al Gore, these elected officials are the only hope we have.

This is not to say we can not do better. What we need is environmentalists to execute Guerin style stealth campaigns, and instead of being a developer in environmentalist clothing , we need to flood the up-coming elections with environmentalists in developer clothing. Christy Guerin has proven how successfully one can misrepresent themselves to voters for personal gain. Considering that local politics is as corrupt as it gets, I feel if we are to save any of the remaining native habitat we must stop taking the high road and start playing the game by the rules used by the the greedy money boys and girls in power.

If the people of Oceanside really want a say about what there city looks like ten years from now, they need to throw all the incumbents out on their ears. And it is not as if they haven't shown themselves to be in direct violation of the peoples trust. If Dick Lyon had been successful with his Alamin scheme, he could have possibly bankrupted Oceanside, thereby requiring the city to accept any Doug Manchester proposal, regardless of how damaging to the environment it was. And then there is Colleen "conflict of interest" O'Harra and Carol "5 is 4" McCauley drooling over the prospect of giving away millions of dollars to the aforementioned developer.

In Solana Beach, Marion Dodson and Joe Kellejian should also be put out to pasture, primarily because as local shills for NCTD and SANDAG they have major issues when it comes to conducting environmental impact reports. This is not to say they wouldn't place freeways and freight trains in every coastal neighborhood, given half the chance. What we need from elected officials is vision, not submission. We need representatives who are willing to say enough already.

And then there is the Carlsbad City Council, not a sensible one in the lot. At the rate that city is developing, one would think they are conducting a going out of business sale. Within the year one can expect their entire coastal corridor to be developed. A community since 1886, a city since 1952, Carlsbad thrived without the development of it's coastal resources. But since the arrival of Bud Lewis to City hall in 1986, this quaint little coastal community has transformed itself into a city of sprawl and interchangeable developments.

Not to be outdone by their neighbors, Del Mar has joined the development bandwagon, deciding that open space can no longer be afforded. In other words the game is over and the environmentalists have lost. Or more to the point, the environment has lost, our children have lost, and the species that share this part of the planet with us have lost. The tragedy is these species continue to loose ground on a daily basis. Extinction is now inevitable, possibly postponed, but defiantly unavoidable.

Maybe be for christmas I should have asked for a lobotomy, then none of this would matter.

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