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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
December 27, 1999
Sitting down to write this, my last NCT column of 1999, and the century, the question is how profound, or provocative do I want to be. What is the message I want to impart as we move forward on the Roller coaster known as linear time? Truth be known, it's becoming quite clear, that aside from a small percentage of concerned North County citizens, my columns fall on either deaf ears, or ears more comfortable with the mainstream propaganda that continues to tell all the happy consumers everything is right with the world.
Any vocalizations regarding environmental responsibility and sustainability is immediately label as selfish self interest by the agents of the status quo, even as these duly elected developers continue to line their nests at the expense of the masses. When individuals begin to complain about traffic gridlock, the development pimps at SANDAG only propose more roads. Oh sure I could name names, but what good would it do. The perpetrators at Encinitas City Hall are interchangeable with those sitting on the dais in San Marcos, Escondido, and Carlsbad. Nothing changes in North County except the amount of time you sit in traffic.
And then there are the non-elected power brokers who, as untouchables, are responsible for the incredible mess we are in. Deceptively referring to themselves as "mere staff, here to do the bidding of council" these are the good ole boys that hire the same engineers and consultants year after year. It is these same civic mercenaries who will sign on any project as long as city staff continues to pay their fee.
Not surprising is the fact that if one of these professional consultants were to file a negative declaration against some development scheme, they would never work in this region again. Meanwhile, we continue to sit in gridlock while the illusionists of SANDAG continue to invite millions more to share our overburdened infrastructure. It is now a given that California Coastal Commission is the only safety net provided to local residents. It seems local officials don't want to piss off someone who might contribute to their next campaign.
Speaking of career politicians, Gloria McClellan, the mayor of Vista has represented that city as either a city councilmember or mayor since 1972. F.H."Corky" Smith of San Marcos has controlled that city's development juggernaut since 1980, and Bud Lewis, the mayor of Carlsbad, has been in office since 1986. Together these three individuals have served North county's open space as an appetizer to the ravenous appetites of sultans of sprawl, with nothing to show for it but a rapidly declining quality of life, close to complete collapse.
Is it just me, or do things seem to get continuously worse? Reality check. Our beaches are more polluted than they were a decade ago, traffic is a constant nightmare, schools are chronically overcrowded, open space and biodiversity are for the most part history, and reliable mass transit is still a decade away. The majority of jobs being created are low paying service jobs, residents can't afford to be heard by their elected officials, and local media prides itself on being cheerleaders for the growth machine. Granted we have more shopping opportunities than ever before. We also have more hotels, more golf courses, more homeless on the streets, and more parents murdering their children. Don't look now, but paradise is paradox of eroding dreams.