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Bill Horn: The bottom line for a leader

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
February 13, 2002


"In politics nowadays, it's about as big a crime to be dumb, as it is to be dishonest." — Will Rogers

As an environmentalist I look at things from a distinctly biocentric perspective, because of this I understand without a healthy and intact ecosystem, life as we knew it will cease altogether. Please notice how I didn't say "Life as we know it." Semantics, to be sure, but a vital distinction if residents want to prevent the politics of pavement from continuing the destruction of Southern California, and our tenuous quality of life.

When I speak of life as we knew it, I am directly referring to life before Bill Horn, brought his Boss Hogg act to the County Board of Supervisors . Missing only the white suit, this self appointed Duke of Hazard has decided there is no amount of graft he is unwilling to entertain. Bloated with ignorance and campaign "contributions," Bill Horn now seeks a third term. The question is can North County survive another four years of Bill Horn's gravitas.

We are quickly running out of space to mitigate. Our estuaries, rivers, creeks, and beaches are conduits for human waste and other pollution. Native habitat is being squeezed out by golf courses and parking lots, tract homes and shopping centers, and still business as usual subverts public will in favor of a feeding frenzy that can only end badly. Supervisor Horn has done nothing to protect the environmental sustainability of the region he was elected to represent.

Last year as the Chair of the Board of Supervisors, Bill Horn was successful in his efforts to gerrymander redistricting efforts as to bring unincorporated and undeveloped areas of the third district into his sphere of influence. If elected to a third term Bill Horn would be free to continue his jihad against the native environment. Something of which that has been publicly noted for years.

In 1997, during his State of the County address, Supervisor Horn stated that he would fight to stop the County from preserving one more additional square foot of open space. And although he claims the Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP) committee as one of his accomplishments, he has repeatedly try to stop and delay the County's open space habitat plan, and was the only Supervisor who voted against it. Bill Horn has also tried to repeal the County Resource Protection Ordinance. Currently Bill Horn is trying to place a freeway east of Escondido and connect it to Poway via San Pasqual Valley. The politics of pavement have never been so obvious.

Perhaps Bill Horn is the culmination of the growth and greed philosophy that overwhelmed the region in the early eighties, in keeping with Ronald Reagan's Contract on America. From coast to mountains our once rural communities have been transformed into a stagnant suburban wasteland where the road rules and everyone sits in traffic. As I write this municipalities are calling for water yet the development continues. Where a wise man would see this to be the evidence of poor planning, Bill Horn sees only progress.

At a time when sound environmental policy is seen as a commitment to economic stability, Bill Horn is advocating the opposite. Firmly committed to the "Growth at all costs" mentality he is paving a road which leaves little room for anything other than a mad dash forward. Through his leadership Bill Horn has been an advocate for the destruction of protected open space and agricultural land, placing landfills on aquifers, and highways in floodplains, and the build up of population at a time when water availability is in question.

Much to the detriment of the region, Bill Horn's lack of ecological wisdom will be the undoing of what little open space remains. Supervisor Pam Slater has shown a commitment to economic well being and environmental stewardship need not be mutually exclusive. Yet, Bill Horn sees undisturbed habitat as a threat to his libertarian sense of property rights and due profit. Currently on Supervisor Horn's shopping list is the resurrection of Highway 680, the expansion of rail freight through coastal North County, decreased public participation, and a seat on the U.S. Senate.

Thankfully, voters of the Fifth District now have a chance to remove this private servant from the public trough. On March 5th voters will be given a choice between a self serving status quo, and a return to wise civic governance. Currently on the ballot with Bill Horn are Kevin Barnard and Patsy Fritz. For more information go to www.kevinbarnard.com or www.patsyfritz.org. The question is; which one of these two people should replace Bill Horn?

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