Like most people, I hate being lied to. The son of a Marine, I was raised believing a person is only as good as their word. The ethics of honesty was a lesson well learned. Truth mattered, still does. Once a ethically challenged individual is revealed to be dishonest, untrustworthy, and calculating, can they ever be regarded as anything else?
I think not. Dishonesty is its own form of truth.
Not that it matters. Western culture thrives on the lie, or at least pretends to. From Botox to bankruptcy, the truth, no matter how respected or revered, has become the exception to the rule. Lies maintaining lies, maintaining lies is why Operation Iraqi Freedom is a quagmire of carnage, why homeland security is a joke, and why accelerated climate change is the threat it has become.
While allowing the truth impaired to continue on unnoticed or unchallenged, we lie to ourselves about what's important and what's not. Apathy and ignorance contribute to the culture of mendacity. Without trust of others can a community survive? If an individual proves to be unwilling to stand by his word, given in good faith, can he ever be trusted?
Last week such an individual was exposed by his own duplicitous machinations. In an instant, a man I considered a friend and ally became "one of them." Every ounce of goodwill and respect eroded away like the bluffs of Leucadia, in his attempt to double cross the residents of Leucadia, and the City of Encinitas.
Dan Reedy, the Developer of Surfers Point, a 26-unit resort planned for 1.8 acres on the northeast corner of La Costa Avenue and North Coast Highway 101, attempted to break an agreement with local activists and the City of Encinitas to use only native species when landscaping his habitat sensitive project. Mr. Reedy was thwarted by California Coastal Commission staff concerns over the inclusion of invasive non native plants and palm trees that pose a serious threat to endangered bird species in the adjacent estuary.
My anger does not stem from the actions of yet another developer unwilling to incorporate ecological wisdom and sustainable stewardship in their development designs. My upset relates to being lied to repeatedly, after much time and effort to work with Mr. Reedy to mitigate his construction scheme with native landscaping indigenous to the area he was planning to bulldoze.
It's not like he didn't know better. I personally met with Mr. Reedy and his landscape designer, giving them both a list of plant species native to coastal North Leucadia. It was with that suggested plant palate his project was approved by the Encinitas City Council. Yet somehow, the invasive non natives made it back into the plans.
And people wonder why developers are vilified and environmentalists are so angry.
An agreement made is an agreement made. The last time I checked the whole ideal behind civil and civic government is based on the agreement that everyone plays fair. Without trust in the system, or its players, the agreement in favor of civility begins to unravel.
Is honesty and integrity too much to ask for?