Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi has just fragged Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger over the 241 (Foothill-South) toll road. The road, proposed by the Irvine-based Transportation Corridor Agencies, would cut through the Donna O'Neill Land Conservancy, itself mitigation for the Talega development, and the inland portion of San Onofre State Beach, not to mention disturb a site sacred to the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians.
In Vietnam, it was not unheard of for unhappy soldiers to toss a fragmentation grenade into the tent of, or "frag," the lieutenant or commanding officer. The enemy could always be blamed, and while it did not guarantee superior leadership in the future, at least it made for a nice change of pace.
Garamendi, along with State Senate President pro tem Don Perata, Senate Natural Resources Committee Chairman Darrell Steinberg and Senator Christine Kehoe, signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez. (Download file)They made three simple demands:
1) You reject TCA’s appeal and uphold the California Coastal Commission’s legitimate authority to deny consistency certification for the Foothill-South Toll Road; 2) Should you take up the issue, hold a public hearing in Southern California and extend the public comment period accordingly; and 3) You prohibit federal agencies from meeting or negotiating with the TCA on this matter while the appeal is pending.
The last politicians who vocally opposed the toll road, Santa Monica City Council Bobby Shriver and his former colleague on the State Parks Commission Clint Eastwood (that's right, Dirty Harry fights to protect dirt), were not asked back to their seats on the Commission. But luckily these new politicians are not the Governor's appointees, and cannot be unjustly sacked in such a fashion.
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Governor Schwarzenegger remained publicly undecided about the toll road for years before sending the Coastal Commission a letter of support for the project in the run-up to their February meeting in Del Mar, at which they soundly vetoed the project to the tune of an 8-2 vote against as well as a ruthless grilling and embarrassment of the TCA's new Grand Poo-bah, Tom Margro.
Margro recently penned a Sacramento Bee editorial purported to be a response to the Bee's criticism of Schwarzenegger's replacement of Shriver and Eastwood, but in fact it amounted to little more than the same tired old lines TCA hacks have parroted for decades.
What is much more intriguing is the request that the TCA not meet or negotiate with federal agencies until this is all over. Watch for more on THAT juicy piece of meat.
(Digg this post HERE)