The Times seems a bit confused by Assemblyman Pedro Nava's recent condemnation of the Foothill-South toll road, and so might you be.
On May 6 the Times told its readers that Nava (D-Santa Barbara) didn't think the road should be built, that he wanted $450,000 spent on a UC study of alternatives to the project, and that a Budget Subcommittee had approved his idea.
Anyone familiar with the Blotter knows that Nava is in fact the chair of Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 5, which did in fact approve his language. However, the recommendation itself came not from Nava but the budget staff assigned to the subcommittee, with years of experience working on transportation as well as budgets. When asked how much time they spent examining the Transportation Corridor Agencies' plan to build a toll road through San Onofre State Beach, Nava said, "Enough to be familiar with the consequences of allowing the project to go forward." Those consequences could include devastating impacts on San Mateo Campground, San Onofre State Beach, Trestles Beach (known as the Yosemite of Surfing) and the sacred Juaneno Indian site of Panhe.
Such familiarity inspired the staff to change California state law. Their stragegy for inserting trailer bill language into the budget is two-pronged: one item would strip the TCA of any authority to build Foothill-South; the other would prohibit the Foothill-South from being built in San Onofre State Beach. "The TCA is a creature of statute," says Nava; "The legislature created it. The legislature can change it—kill it if necessary." Both items, if successfully added to California's 06/07 budget, would specifically affect this toll road, but they would not outright prevent other public works projects down the line.
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Other than noting the study of alternatives, the Times also does little to investigate the implications of Nava's announcement. The budget might not get finalized until June, but citizens still have the opportunity for input. By which I mean this is your chance to stop Foothill-South, save Trestles, protect Panhe, whatever tickles your pickle.
Anyone interested in supporting Pedro Nava and the opponents of the Foothill-South toll road should write to Assemblymember John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), chair of the Budget Committee, expressing your agreement with Nava.
Office of John Laird State Capitol P.O. Box 942849 Sacramento, CA 94249-0027 Tel: (916) 319-2027 Fax: (916) 319-2127