On September 22, thousands of citizens attended yet another hearing on the proposed "Trestles" toll road. The hearing was held by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, who promised to make his decision between October 24, 2008 and January 7, 2009. As we begin the official waiting period for the verdict, let’s get a recap of the hearing itself from Patagonia Cardiff’s environmental coordinator, Kaley Swift.
T-shirts emblazoned with the baffling slogan, “Live Better, Build Roads” were worn by supporters of the Transportation Corridor Agency’s (TCA) proposed extension of the 241 toll road. The slogan reeked ironic of the same irrational characteristics of the development plan itself: incongruity and flawed logic. The slogan left toll road opponents perplexed over its blatant contradiction, and roused the crowd’s opposition to the road which is charted to run straight through San Onofre State Park and come all too close to world-class surf break, Trestles.
Leading up to the proposed toll road extension hearing, jazzedSurfrider Foundation members and adamant Cardiff community localsgathered in front of the Cardiff shop Sunday, Sept. 21, to raiseawareness of the next day’s hearing. With signs, banners and flagswaving strong, they took to the streets to make their stance known: Notoll road … not now, not ever!
[Photo: Cardiff Storefront, let the masses know! Photo: Kaley Swift]
The next day, Monday, September 22, an estimated 3,000 people gatheredat the Del Mar Fairgrounds to make their voices heard in front of afederal panel representing the National Oceanic & AtmosphericAdministration (NOAA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Dueto the strict procedures (no haggling, no booing, no cheering … nofun!) and stringent time constraints, about 150 people were given theopportunity to speak.
Along with my fellow Patagonians from the Cardiff, Pasadena and SantaMonica stores, we sat in awe as many elected officials, organizationsand individuals implored the Secretary of Commerce to uphold theCalifornia Coastal Commission’s (CCC) previous (smart!) ruling againstthe toll road. Back in February of this year, the CCC denied the TCApermission to extend the toll road in an 8-2 vote. Unfortunately, theTCA just wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and appealed the ruling on afederal level to the Secretary of Commerce.
[Photo: Patagonia Santa Monica crew show their support: Bryan Hayes, Sergio Campos and TK.]
The hearing went a grueling 10 hours, from 10:30am to 8:30pm, whilespectators gave thumbs-up or thumbs-down to express their feelings onwhat the speakers had to say. Stand out speakers who voiced oppositionto the destructive toll road included: Jim Moriarty, CEO of theSurfrider Foundation; Bobby Shriver, Former Chairman of CA State ParkCommission; Donna Frye, San Diego City Councilwoman; Bill Lockyer, CAState Treasurer; Larry Agran, Irvine City Council member & formerTCA board member; Rebecca Robles, United Coalition to Protect Panhe;Steve Pezman, publisher of The Surfer’s Journal; Richard Baker,President of Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association; and finally, 9-yearold Jake Marshal, speaking on behalf of the Future Generations.
[Photo: All in favor to STOP the toll road, thumbs up please!]
Jake’s profound speech amazed most, and sent chills down spines andtears to many eyes. Referencing Dr. Seuss’ classic environmental story,The Lorax, he painted a picture not to be forgotten. Describing theTrestles experience, this brave child spoke of surfing epic waves andspending time with his family down at the beach far removed from thehustle and bustle of the freeway. Just as the Lorax spoke for thetrees, Jake stood up for his generations’ right to enjoy this wildplace that’s been loved by many past, present and, hopefully, futuregenerations.
[Photo: All generations were represented at the hearing.]
The Secretary of Commerce could make a decision on the issue as earlyas next month. The decision will come in between October 24, 2008 andJanuary 7, 2009.
The same weekend was also host to another enviro event at the Cardiff shop.The 24th Annual California Coastal Clean-Up Day, Saturday, Sept. 20, wasanother success. The Cardiff Crew co-captained a site at San ElijoLagoon with the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. Along with82 volunteers, we collected over 600 pounds of trash throughout 250acres of the ecologically sensitive lagoon. Needless to say, thevolunteers and park rangers were extremely excited to have made such asignificant dent in the debris.
[Photo: Kevin Akers (Cardiff) weighing in the trash finds.]
I shall leave you with the old saying reiterated by toll road opponentand San Diego City Councilwoman, Donna Frye, at Monday’s hearing: “Wemust be wary of people who know the cost of everything and the value ofnothing.”
Thank you to Devon Howard and Jon Peck at the Cardiff shop who workedwith Robert Cohen to have the shop open at noon so that some of ourcrew could attend the hearing. Also, thank you to Sean Carter andJason McCue (from Pasadena) and Bryan Hayes, TK and Sergio Campos(from Santa Monica) for driving the distance to show your support!!
[All photos courtesy of Kaley Swift. Point your RSS reader at the Save Trestles blog to stay in the loop.]