Who will help the turtles?
Who will help the turtles?

Ask Not for Whom the Toll Blows

Forgive San Diegans if they think misuse of wealth and power, arrogance, deceit, and a sense of entitlement are universal characteristics of Orange County. Consider their real-world evidence—The O.C., The Real O.C., Arrested Development, The Real Housewives of Orange County,and now the county's plan to extend our southernmost toll road through San Diego County, a plan no one bothered to run by San Diego officials.

The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) hopes to extend the Foothill-South (241) toll road from Oso Parkway in Rancho Santa Margarita to the 5 freeway at a point across the county line. Fully a third of that proposed extension falls within San Diego County, but that county's officials have had "little to no involvement" in the project, according to Troy Anderson, spokesman for the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).


Simple: San Diego pols didn't believe toll-road officials would really bulldoze the extension through the Donna O'Neill Land Conservancy and San Onofre State Beach.

But we're crazy like that in Orange County. And now San Diegans are growing restless.

"We really haven't had any part in the process," says Bill Horn, a San Diego County supervisor whose district includes San Onofre State Beach. "There've been no public hearings, no notifications; at least District 5 hasn't. If it's gone through SANDAG, I haven't seen it."

Horn and other San Diegans worry that the toll road will exacerbate San Diego's already-hellish traffic by dumping more of Orange County's southbound traffic onto the 5 freeway. "It's already a problem for us," says Horn.

"No one has run it past anybody within our jurisdiction," says Imperial Beach Councilwoman and former Coastal Commissioner Patricia McCoy. "This is an onslaught on our state parks; is nothing sacred anymore?"

(Ironically, a site sacred to local Native Americans lies directly in the path of the toll road.)

"The TCA hates San Diego County and is attempting to ram the toll down our throat without any participation by San Diego County residents," says Serge Dedina, executive director of WildCoast, an Imperial Beach-based watchdog group monitoring coastal development from California to Latin America. He calls the 241 "the most blatant power grab of the 21st century in Southern California" and says it "shows how undemocratic and corrupted by power the TCA is."

Not to mention how impotent San Diego appears by comparison. This is how we do it in the OC, bitch!


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