A few weeks ago PBS SoCal asked that as many opponents as possible of the Saddle Crest development in Trabuco Canyon congregate at Cook's Corner for a newscast. The story would focus around the recent lawsuit that conservation groups have brought against the county. Yet it wouldn't have mattered if five or 50 people showed, because SoCal Insider host (and Orange County Business Journal executive editor and Weekly pal) Rick Reiff would've still characterized them as hippy-dippy interlopers opposed to capitalism's Long March.
The segment begins with a brief background into the Saddle Crest development, a 65 home master-planned community on 113 acres just north of Cook's Corner. Then it offers both sides of the debate. Two members of the Saddleback Canyons Conservancy, Gloria Sefton and Rich Gomez, explain how the development would increase traffic, have negative environmental impacts, and cut into the land's recreational use. In order for the development to go through the county made amendments to the Foothill – Trabuco Specific Plan, which dictates how the land may be used.
Next Bill Campbell, the Orange County Supervisor who oversees the canyon area, gave his side of the story, which was basically saying that everything is A-OK. He believes the amendments made were good changes to the Plan, that the area's environmental health is not at risk, and that the petition the conservationists handed in was shoddy–mainly because it contained signatures from people living out of California.
This part of the newscast was done well–balanced, and with a good overview of the issue for people just learning about Saddle Crest. It's the last third of the story that became silly with Reiff dismissing the anti-development canyonites as Nimbys.
“I've gotta believe that most of these folks that are opposing it haven't lived there very long,” Reiff said. Funny, because that's actually a reason why it's not super-easy to buy a home in the canyon–people live there for fucking ever! Reiff follows this statement by then saying that, not too long ago, Cook's Corner was the last stop before the wilderness. Does he know anything about OC history? The communities in Silverado and Modjeska were first established over 100 years ago and are some of the oldest in the county.
It does, however, continue with Reiff addressing the compromise of Saddle Crest containing fewer, but larger homes. He claims that only elite, rich people would be able to move into these. And middle-income families would have been able to afford a plot in the 65 home spread? Doubtful. No matter what, if any, sort of community is built on that land it is going to be expensive to join. Why else would the developers be fighting so hard? They wouldn't be doing this for a plot in Stanton.
Last, Reiff ends on a high note by mentioning how un-nimby he is. He lives in an old home in Laguna Beach and doesn't ask people to stay out. Totally the same thing.
Anyhoo, here's the clip: