By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Illustration by Bob AulDEVASTATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION
If Bill Campbell remains on the Orange County Board of Supervisors (the courts may still nullify the Jan. 28 election), he owes bear hugs to the other four supes for, as one insider put it, "removing a 500-pound gorilla from his desk."
Early on the day he would be elected by a Soviet-style margin of 50 percent, Campbell attended the supes' meeting in Santa Ana. Thrice, he approached the microphone to ask his potential colleagues to postpone a vote to amend the Foothill Trabuco Specific Plan (FTSP) until a Third District supervisor could be seated—keeping a promise he made to environmental and community activists at a previous candidate's forum.
Tough titties: the board voted 4-0 to amend the FTSP, clearing the way for 162 more homes near the entrance of rapidly developing, ecologically sensitive Trabuco Canyon, which is in the Third District. Now word is spreading through the canyon that what came out of Campbell's mouth publicly may not square with what he said behind closed doors.
The first clue something was amiss came at that forum. There, Campbell said he believes development enhances the natural environment and that he didn't see anything wrong with the high-end housing project—despite the fact that it violated the decade-old FTSP. But he added that the people of the Third District deserved representation on the matter and that he'd ask board chairman Tom Wilson for the postponement. Activists claim Wilson's office later indicated that if Campbell asked, Wilson would grant a delay. But Silverado Canyon's Sherry Meddick says when she called Wilson on Jan. 27, his chief of staff, Holly Veale, and another staffer said the vote was still on for the next day and that Campbell had not called seeking a deferment. Meddick called Campbell, whose peeps told Meddick that the former assemblyman did, too, call Wilson. When Meddick called Wilson's office back, the same staffers who had previously told her Campbell never called now said they never said that.
"They all did finally get their lies straight," Meddick told us.
Well, not quite because when Clockwork contacted Veale late last week, she said her bos told her Campbell never contacted him before the vote and that he did not know of Campbell's postponement request until the board meeting.
Wait, it gets squishier: Merrick says Wilson's staffers told her that Campbell publicly endorsed the development—at the activists' candidates forum.
Meddick is repulsed. "All I can say is he slapped the community in the face," she said of Wilson. "Campbell had to eat the dust on that one."
Wilson says postponing the vote until the new Third District supervisor is brought up to speed on the project would have been unfair to the developer. But everyone's gonna wait on this sucker anyway because it's headed for the same place deciding whether Campbell's election was valid: the courts. "If ever there was an inside job from front to back," Meddick says, "this was it."
SPEAKING OF INSIDE JOBS
"The process of clarifying, the process of making clear and making consistency applicable to the specific plan, to make it clear and clarify it requires an amendment. That doesn't mean that you are amending."
NO GREEN THUMB
For canyon enviros who believe Bill Campbell screwed them, we've got some advice: stock up on lubricant. Based on his votes in the Assembly, here are the scores the former Republican leader received from the bipartisan California League of Conservation Voters (which give a score of 100 for a perfect green voting record): 26 in 1997, 0 in 1998-99, 8 in 2000, 0 in 2001 and 5 in 2002. From '97 to '99 alone, Campbell gave thumbs-down to bills to protect bays; prevent oil spills; keep beaches safe; finance solar energy; monitor air pollution; identify toxic hot spots; limit offshore oil drilling; protect children's health; keep rivers wild and scenic; issue air-pollution warnings; keep coastal wetlands clean; issue contamination warnings; monitor coastal water pollution; provide coastal access to the public; keep urban runoff out of coastal waters; provide more parks and open space; enforce California's clean-water laws; curtail releases of hazardous materials; provide clean alternatives to diesel fuel; recycle hazardous wastes in appliances; keep toxins and pesticides away from schoolkids; and protect salmon, other ocean fish and their habitats. "He's on the wrong side of everything," one concerned enviro told us. And now he represents the supervisorial district facing the biggest building boom in OC. Good thing development enhances the environment!
"Be careful, Eleanor," interjected McLaughlin, who worked for Nixon.
"I'd like to have Richard Nixon back, actually," Clift said. "I think he'd be a huge improvement."
Come on, that's better than the library website feature, "The Dog That Saved Eisenhower: American Heritage on RN's '52 fund speech."