241 Toll Road Hearing: “Live Better, Build Roads” & Cardiff’s Enviro Weekend
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, jazzed Surfrider Foundation members and adamant Cardiff community locals gathered in front of the Cardiff shop Sunday, Sept. 21, to raise awareness of the next day’s hearing. With signs, banners and flags waving strong, they took to the streets to make their stance known: No toll 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 gathered at the Del Mar Fairgrounds to make their voices heard in front of a federal panel representing the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Due to the strict procedures (no haggling, no booing, no cheering … no fun!) and stringent time constraints, about 150 people were given the opportunity to speak.
Along with my fellow Patagonians from the Cardiff, Pasadena and Santa Monica stores, we sat in awe as many elected officials, organizations and individuals implored the Secretary of Commerce to uphold the California Coastal Commission’s (CCC) previous (smart!) ruling against the toll road. Back in February of this year, the CCC denied the TCA permission to extend the toll road in an 8-2 vote. Unfortunately, the TCA just wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and appealed the ruling on a federal 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, while spectators gave thumbs-up or thumbs-down to express their feelings on what the speakers had to say. Stand out speakers who voiced opposition to the destructive toll road included: Jim Moriarty, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation; Bobby Shriver, Former Chairman of CA State Park Commission; Donna Frye, San Diego City Councilwoman; Bill Lockyer, CA State Treasurer; Larry Agran, Irvine City Council member & former TCA 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-year old 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 and tears to many eyes. Referencing Dr. Seuss’ classic environmental story, The Lorax, he painted a picture not to be forgotten. Describing the Trestles experience, this brave child spoke of surfing epic waves and spending time with his family down at the beach far removed from the hustle and bustle of the freeway. Just as the Lorax spoke for the trees, Jake stood up for his generations’ right to enjoy this wild place that’s been loved by many past, present and, hopefully, future generations.
[Photo: All generations were represented at the hearing.]
The Secretary of Commerce could make a decision on the issue as early as next month. The decision will come in between October 24, 2008 and January 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, was another success. The Cardiff Crew co-captained a site at San Elijo Lagoon with the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. Along with 82 volunteers, we collected over 600 pounds of trash throughout 250 acres of the ecologically sensitive lagoon. Needless to say, the volunteers and park rangers were extremely excited to have made such a significant 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 opponent and San Diego City Councilwoman, Donna Frye, at Monday’s hearing: “We must be wary of people who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.”
Thank you to Devon Howard and Jon Peck at the Cardiff shop who worked with Robert Cohen to have the shop open at noon so that some of our crew could attend the hearing. Also, thank you to Sean Carter and Jason 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.]