Today I listened to a State Senate Budget Subcommittee meeting on Transportation. Slightly more fun a C.I.A. interrogation. But as long as the TCA keeps trying to build a time/money-wasting toll road that might not even relieve traffic, when they haven't even done ANY studies on weekend traffic because they were only concerned w/ the nine-to-fivers who can afford to fill their coffers, when it's illegally close to an Indian burial ground, when it'll wreck the only inexpensive beach campsite left south of Crystal Cove – as long as they continue flaunting common sense, then I shall be there.
The TCA often cites the fact that the toll road has been on the books since 1981. In fact, the idea of an artery connecting to the I-5 near the county's southernmost border has always been on the books. But if the TCA is to be believed (that they diligently studied every alternative available and only then did they decide to build a toll road through a state park), then the final alignment, their 'preferred alignment', the one they color-coded “green” and then just coincidentally happened to choose and label the most environmentally sensitive alignment has only been on the books for a coupla years. And we never expected they'd be stupid enough to pick it, so when they did we only had a few months to prepare. Whereas they've had years. My entire lifespan, in fact.
Brittany McKee (Friends of the Foothills) made a very salient point in Sacramento today when she spoke in opposition to the Foothill-South toll road. Toll road proponents claim the road's been on the books for decades. But Brittany said that was “backwards-looking”. And she's right. Guess what, people – California has changed in the past 25 years. Would you be comfortable in hairstyles that were comfortable in the early 80's? Sweet christ, I hope not. What about bands? Piano-key neckties? When I hear people suggest that a 25-year old idea take precedence over more current thinking, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. The Foothill-South is the Flock of Seagulls hairstyle of Orange County transportation: outdated, ridiculous, far too costly to maintain, and utterly pointless. With wings.
But Bill Campbell has no problem jumping up there right after Brittany and citing not only the road's existence on the books since 1981 (which we just demonstrated is a slight misrepresentation), but also that there is a provision for a road in the state park lease (San Onofre State Beach is the only park not owned by the state but leased from the military). Ignoring the fact that the military views endangered species as encroachment threats (see pg. 53), what they ACTUALLY did in the lease was allow for the possibility of a road. That is, if for some reason the federal government decided a road was desperately needed, they would at least have the option. One assumes this works in conjunction with other language in the lease, demanding the lands be maintained as a state park.
Obviously, you can't maintain the 5th most popular state park with a 6-lane toll road running through its heart. Obviously, changes in a state's population, development and environmental laws could render 25 year-old plans irrelevant. But it's not obvious to Bill Campbell.
p.s. The Committee held the item on the toll road, meaning it needs further discussion. Not if I were up there…
UPDATE: In the afternoon, the Senate Subcommittee voted to take no action – in other words, they will not try and insert language that would prevent federal funds from going to the Foothill-South toll road. Except the TCA always whines that the roads are privately funded, without taxpayer dollars. So what gives? They sent lobbyists and a County supervisor up to Sac-town to ensure they contradict themselves as thoroughly as possible?