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Business as usual: Going nowhere fast

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
May 16, 2001


"I'm all for water quality...but" — Joe Kellejian

Recently I've noticed most elected officials have really big buts. Not the lazy, twinkie-eating, couch potato type, I'm speaking of the pandering, nothing is clear, "I need to be reelected" sort of but that is as big as the ego of the good ole boy who possesses it. It is the indecent display of these buts that continuously undermine public trust in the system.

Last week it was a virtual moon-fest in Oceanside as a collection of but masters gathered to justify their complete lack of environmental integrity in regards to transportation planning. I knew what to expect out of this so called summit because Supervisor Bill Horn was chairing this exercise in lip service. Billed as a Transportation Summit, what it really was a "Lets build more roads" summit.

There was a shining light in this meeting, one that actually gives me hope. Wouldn't you know the only women sitting on the dais, Encinitas City Councilwoman Christy Guerin, was the only one unwilling to separate transportation policy from environmental policy. Watching her gracefully expose the propaganda used by her male counterpoints was a wonder to behold. The good ole boy network is now on notice that she is a player that should not be taken for granted.

Speaking of good ole boys, this summit was my first opportunity to watch San Marcos City Councilman Hal Martin in action. Talk about arrogant. This man could teach Ramona Finnila a thing or two. But since Carlsbad was not represent at this regional traffic summit I should follow Ms. Finnila's lead, and leave her out of it. Showing his true colors Mr. Martin, in no uncertain terms accused those who oppose building roads through sensitive habitat of being parochial.

Now I realize Councilmember Martin was in no way mistaking Encinitas for a parish, it was the other definition that he was implying. Without saying it outright, Heir Martin was accusing Encinitas residents of being narrow minded for successfully protecting rural county lands, which after a long process, have been designated as vital habitat worthy of conservation. Narrow minded are those who think laying down more asphalt is the answer to horrific traffic congestion and our lack of transportation choices.

Watching Mr. Martin spin is pro-development agenda it became quite clear that he is targeting the rural communities of Harmony Grove, Elfin Forest, and Olivenhain for destruction. Sadly he is not alone, Supervisor Bill Horn, and Solana Beach councilman Joe Kellejian are other members cadre of cluelessness and they are on a mission to build roads where none should be as to open up these area to sprawl they as of yet have escaped.

Thankfully the residents of Encinitas are just as committed to protecting our quality of life from those that would destroy it to keep their benefactors in the building industry happy.

Other topic taking center stage was the discussion of extending the Transnet tax, something San Diego Association of Governments advocates as to fund the continued sprawl currently laying waste to what open space remains. Some say that if this tax is to be extended it should also be tied to funding water quality protections required by the addition of more non-permeable surfaces that preventing bio-filtration and fast track pollutants into the ocean.

It should come as no surprise that supervisor Bill Horn, and the aforementioned Hal Martin and Joe Killjian say such stewardship is unacceptable. Suggesting that regional leaders support the vacuum thinking that has brought us to the precipice we now face. A major problem is the fact that SANDAG planners believe that traffic congestion is due to lack of funding not overpopulation and a lack of sensible planning.

Now is the time for residents of Coastal North County to start leading. If our quality of life is too be maintained, let alone improved, we must demand mass transit from our elected officials. North County Transit District must accept 24 hour rail service as the future of transportation and make it happen as soon as possible. They must also make sure all future development includes access to mass transit. Failing to do so will only compound the problem to the point of complete environmental breakdown.

The era of big buts is over, now is time for all of us to get off our collective ass and find a way out of this mess we have created.

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