Tag Archives: 241 Toll Road Extension

URGENT! Contact Senator Feinstein to Save Trestles (And Our State Parks)

Remember when Susan Davis’ amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill passed the House Armed Services Committee? Remember that this is the amendment that ensures that the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), Orange County’s toll road authority, complies with state environmental laws, which means that a toll road can’t be built through San Onofre State Beach to Trestles? Remember that the bill moved on to the US Senate after it passed the House?

Well, we have a new problem. One of our own Senators, Dianne Feinstein, is undecided on adding something like the Davis Amendment to the Senate’s Defense Authorization Bill. I guess she’s not sure yet whether California state environmental law is important enough to be enforced. Follow me after the flip to find out what YOU can do to ensure that Senator Feinstein votes to enforce the law, protect our coast, and respect the integrity of our parks…

So what can YOU do to convince Senator Dianne Feinstein to save Trestles and urge TCA to extend the 241 toll road legally? Why not send the Senator an email? Why not send a fax to the Washington, DC, office at (202) 228-3954? Why not contact one of Feinstein’s state offices? Let Senator Feinstein know how you feel about preserving the integrity of our parks, and how important saving this unique coastal park truly is.

So what can you say if you send an email or fax? How about saying something like this…

Dear Senator Feinstein:

Please join us in supporting the addition of language to the Senate Defense Authorization Bill that repeals riders designed to exempt the Foothill-South toll road extension through San Onofre State Beach from state and federal law.

In addition, we urge you to repeal the additional rider that authorizes the Marine Corps to grant an easement for the Foothill South Toll Road that permanently encroaches into Camp Pendleton and compromises their mission.

The proposed Foothill South Toll Road is one of the most environmentally destructive projects in California and sets a dangerous precedent for the intrusion into state park lands well beyond Orange County.

At minimum, this project should have to comply with all the same laws as any other similar project – just like those reviewed at the local level every week. Allowing the federal government to override the Coastal Act sets a disastrous precedent, the Marine Corps should use its own professional judgment in how best to safeguard Camp Pendleton from encroachment, without pressure from Congress one way or the other.

Please support Representatives Davis and Sanchez in their efforts to ensure that the Foothill-South Toll Road complies with all laws of the United States and the State of California. In addition, we hope you will go a step further and remove the riders that currently create unprecedented legal exemptions for the construction of the Toll Road through Camp Pendleton.

Thank you for your past support for California’s unparalleled natural resources, and for your willingness to carefully consider the impacts of the Foothill-South Toll Road on our Southern California coastline.

Your Name Here

Or this, if you’d rather not be so loquacious…

Dear Senator Feinstein:

I am a supporter of the Susan Davis amendment to the Senate Defense Authorization Bill, which repeals the legal exemptions for the 241 toll road extension through San Onofre State Park. I’m writing to ask you to vote in favor of this amendment, and also to vote to remove the riders that give the Transportation Corridors Agency so many legal exemptions for construction of this road.

I believe the builders of the toll roads should follow the same laws that everyone else follows and should not be granted special rights or privileges.

Thank you very much for considering this issue, and for your outstanding and long service to our state and nation.

Your Name Here

Now you don’t have to write something like this or the longer letter. Just use these as ideas for whatever you’d like to say to Senator Feinstein about supporting the Davis Amendment. Just allow these to inspire you to make her heartfelt sentiments about Trestles and our state parks known to the Senator.

Susan Davis and Loretta Sanchez did what needed to be done in the House to save Trestles and our state parks. So now, it’s up to the Senate. And right now, Dianne Feinstein can make the difference between preserving one of our most popular state parks for generations to come and setting a dangerous precedent for state and federal environmental laws to be ignored if they get in the way of a new highway and/or toll road and/or residential development. Dianne Feinstein can make a difference in the Senate this week, and she needs to know that we want her to make that difference.

But first, we need to make a difference. I need to make this difference, and so do YOU. I plan to write to Senator Feinstein about including the Davis Amendment in the Senate’s Defense Authorization Bill. Would you like to do the same? Do you care about keeping our parks open for us to enjoy for many years to come? If so, then please ask Senator Feinstein to support including the Davis Amendment in the Senate’s bill.

Senator Feinstein can make a difference for the better this week, but first we need to make that difference to urge her to do the same. : )

How About Some REAL Traffic Relief?

Just when you thought the fight over the toll road to Trestles was wrapping up, another shot is fired! Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates has now entered into the fray, and she has offered a truly bizarre reason for extending the 241 to Trestles in today’s “Orange Grove” column in The Register. You just have to see it to believe it:

The spectacular truck crash and fire that destroyed a freeway overpass leading from the Bay Bridge in San Francisco last month should be a wake-up call for Orange County. Today the Santa Ana (I-5) Freeway is the only major roadway in and out of south Orange County. The lack of alternate routes through this area has long been frustrating. But, as the East San Francisco Bay Area has learned, it can also be dangerous.

As reported recently in The Orange County Register, if a similar traffic accident were to occur at the El Toro “Y,” south county would be virtually cut off. Should a freeway accident occur further south, there are even fewer options. In San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente, roadway options are limited to the I-5 or city streets.

The Orange County toll road system is nearly complete, but the final 16-mile stretch of the Foothill (241) Toll Road, intended to connect with the I-5 Freeway just south of San Clemente, still needs to be built. This roadway would not only offer commuters an alternative to increasing daily traffic, but an escape route during emergencies.

HUH?! How the heck would a toll road to Trestles help South County in the event of an emergency? Follow me after the flip as I try to make sense of Pat Bates’ bizarre “logic”…

OK, so let’s go through all these points that Pat Bates is making. And let’s try to separate fact from fiction here:

Some opponents to this traffic relief alternative say we should just widen the I-5, but, as we saw in the Bay Area, no matter how wide the freeway is, if it ever is shut down, alternatives are needed.

The final section of the 241, known as Foothill South, has been on the county’s Master Plan of Arterial Highways since 1981. It has gone through two separate environmental impact studies and, when built, will be one of the most environmentally sensitive roadways in the state.

OK, I’m getting really sick of having to repeat myself here. I think most of us now want to see the 241 completed. I just don’t see why state law has to be violated in order to build a toll road through a state park. There are clearly better options for extending the 241. How about extending the 241 to the 5/73 Interchange in Laguna Niguel, which would actually take people to where they want to go? And while we’re at it, how about a more comprehensive solution for relieving Orange County traffic that includes more Metrolink and OCTA bus service?

But anyways, back to Pat Bates. Here’s more of what she has to say:

This roadway will have a state-of-the-art water-treatment system that will ensure all the initial water runoff, water that contains most typical roadway pollutants like brake-pad dust and motor oil, will be captured and treated. Once the road is built, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) has even agreed to treat the water runoff along a two-mile stretch of the I-5 Freeway near Trestles Beach. Today that water runs straight off the freeway and into the ocean untreated.

TCA also will build wildlife undercrossings so animals can travel throughout that region safely. Future native-habitat mitigation sites are planned and will be similar to the hundreds of acres of habitat throughout south county that TCA has already worked to restore. TCA’s natural-habitat restoration project has gone so well, that gnatcatchers are pairing in record numbers on TCA sites and various other native plants and animals are making a comeback.

Really? Is this why American Rivers named San Mateo Creek as THE MOST ENDANGERED WATERWAY IN AMERICA? Is this why environmental studies have reported that the habitats of the seven endangered species that call San Onofre home WOULD be threatened? Is that why Coastal Commission staffers are so worried about this toll road to Trestles? But I guess so long as Orange County politicians aren’t worried, every thing’s just A-OK.

But wait, Pat Bates’ “argument” gets even more unbelievable!

Orange County residents, businesses and elected officials all understand the importance of traffic relief and the need to connect the 241 to the I-5, but there are several politicians who have attempted to usurp our local decision-making ability. Last month, Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, introduced Assembly Bill 1457 to stop the building of Foothill South. Last week, Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, introduced an amendment to a congressional defense bill, and a House committee approved it, that would give the state of California authority to stop the toll road, even though it is planned for federal, not state, property.

Since 1991, the TCA has been working with five federal government agencies and six state agencies in addition to local and regional organizations to obtain the many permits and approvals needed to build this final 16-mile connector road. Despite what some politicians think, more government is not the answer to completing our regional transportation network.

Ooh, Jared Huffman! We should be so scared. But really, his legislation can’t even make it through the Legislature, let along get a signature from Arnold. That won’t stop the toll road from being built. And all Susan Davis’ amendment to the federal defense authorization bill would do is require TCA to obey state law in extending the toll road. Now if TCA really were obeying the law on building this toll road, then they shouldn’t be worried about having to comply with the law.

So yes, traffic in South County is horrendous. That’s why we need a comprehensive plan to relieve traffic here, such as the one recently proposed by OCTA. We should enhance the 5, but we certainly shouldn’t stop there. Let’s also expand Metrolink service in the area, and let’s add some more express bus lines to make it easier for South County commuters to access train service. And oh yes, while we’re at it, why don’t we make new communities in South County “smart communities” that are designed for an easy commute to everywhere we need to go?

So yes, South County needs traffic relief… So why not something that actually DOES THAT? : )

CA-47: Loretta Responds & Mr. Republican Insider Attacks

It’s a classic “I’m just…” defense. In this case, Loretta claims she’s “just” ensuring the completion of the 241 tollroad will comply with state law — pointing to the nominal purpose of the amendment while refusing to admit to its real purpose. But that’s a red herring.

The intent of the Davis amendment is obvious. Davis carried this amendment at the behest of the Surfrider Foundation. Surfrider doesn’t want to ensure the 241 completion complies with state law — they want to ensure it is never completed. Period. That’s the purpose of the Davis amendment, and Sanchez is lying if she claims not to know that.

Tell us lies, Matt/Jubal. Keep telling us sweet little lies.

My fabulous Congresswoman actually took time to write a reasoned response to the crazed rant on The OC Register’s editorial page against her vote to ensure that TCA obeys state law as they extend the 241 Toll Road, and this is how Red County/OC Blog treats her. How much more shameless and despicable can they get over there?

Follow me after the flip as I work my way through the right-wing distortions to get to the TRUTH of this matter…

Here’s what Loretta Sanchez has to say for her own action:

I have not taken a position against the toll road […] In fact, I have been supportive of other similar construction projects, such as the 73, which has been of benefit to county residents and was built with sensitivity to environmental concerns.

What concerns me is that the SR241 be constructed with the same care and attention as these other projects. As the law stands now, it permits the “recipient of the easement to construct, operate and maintain [the highway], notwithstanding any provision of state law to the contrary.” If the Davis amendment is adopted it means that the impact on the environment will be fully reviewed, and labor will be paid according to prevailing wage law.

I have been told that those involved with the construction of SR241 have observed every state law that applies. If that is the case, then the Davis amendment will have no effect. There is a concern that future state laws will prevent construction of the road for one reason or the other. I share that concern. I remain vigilant so that Orange County can determine which roads are built in our community. Our democratic process will lead to the best solution.

There. Wasn’t that simple. Here’s an explanation of Loretta Sanchez’s position on the toll road, directly from Loretta Sanchez.

Loretta supports extending the 241, along with me and many other progressives in Orange County. We just don’t want state law to be violated, just so that TCA can build the road through an ecologically sensitive state park. If TCA’s proposed route through San Onofre is truly as legal and environmentally sensitive as they claim it to be, then they should have no problem. However, we know that this road would destroy the great waves of Trestles, along with the habitat of SEVEN ENDANGERED SPECIES. Sorry, but I don’t call that “environmentally sensitive”, and I definitely don’t see how this complies with state environmental laws. Maybe that’s why TCA is so afraid of having to comply with the law.

There are other options for the toll road. How about extending the 241 to the 5/73 Interchange in Laguna Niguel, wher it would actually take people where they want to go? And again, how about a completely comprehensive strategy to relieve traffic in South Orange County? How about expanding commuter rail service here? How about better bus service? Light rail? More live/work communities?

That’s all we’re asking for here. Can TCA please comply with the law, and come up with a toll road extension that doesn’t violate state law? And can OCTA work with TCA on developing a comprehensive plan to relieve South County traffic? We’ve had enough lies, distortions, and complete lunacy. It’s time for some hard truth, and for some real solutions to Orange County traffic.

Mr. Republican Insider Does Us a Favor

And if you’re interested in reading some fine examples of Environmental Left blogging against the 241 in which the level of exaggeration, misinformation and confabulation is matched only by the certitude with which they are asserted, then visit anyone one of young Andrew Davey’s posts on his blog or lefty-blog Calitics. But he tries.

At first I saw Mr. Republican Insider’s latest diatribe against me and against this community, and I was pretty peeved. These folks at Red County/OC Blog can’t even offer up their own facts and engage in honest debate. I had once considered these folks to be rational individuals, and I used to like going there (believe it or not). Well, I guess I was wrong about that.

But then, I started thinking about this. I soon realized that Jubal/Matt Cunningham was actually doing us a favor. Follow me after the flip for more as I explain why we should be thanking Mr. Republican Insider for this…

It dawned on me last night: These folks really do reveal the emptiness of today’s “conservative” movement when they have nothing left but personal attacks and payola as policy. They don’t have any new ideas on how to govern. They don’t have any facts to back up their “vision” of what they want to see in government. They just seem to have lost their way. Now that I think of it, I’m starting to experience sorrow for people like Matt/Jubal. They must feel awfully terrible to be stuck in a “movement” that doesn’t know what it really stands for.

Matt/Jubal might be hurling attacks at me and at the site, but I know that’s not really what this is about. Now that I think of it, it’s about far more than just a toll road to Trestles or a failed war in the Middle East. It’s about the emptiness of today’s “conservatism”. They used to believe that government should stay out of people’s private lives. Now, they want to examine EVERYTHING we do in our homes and in our bedrooms. They used to believe in fiscal responsibility. Now, they don’t mind complete fiscal insanity. Is this what “conservatism” has become?

Maybe this is why even the traditional “Roosevelt Republicans”, “Eisenhower Republicans”, and “Goldwater Republicans” are leaving this party. Today’s Republicans just don’t stand for what people used to call “conservative”. The GOP truly has lost its way.

But in the meantime, look at what’s happened here. Look at all the activism happening here. Look at all the intelligent policy discussions that we have all the time. We progressives seem to have no problem coming up with great ideas, sound policy, and factual arguments to back them up. And yes, people are actually excited about what we have to say and about what we want to do.

I guess that’s why I should be thanking Mr. Republican Insider. He can call me whatever names he wants. I don’t care. I just like the fact that he’s only proving the point that today’s progressives are the ones with the sound policy and grassroots energy. : )

Chris Reed Misses the Point on the 241 to Trestles

Oh, gawd! I thought that Mr. Republican Insider didn’t get it on why a stupid toll road to nowhere isn’t worth destroying one of the last great beaches of Southern California. And then, I thought that nothing could be worse than The OC Register’s wacky editorial attacking my fabulous Congresswoman for doing what’s best for the people of Orange County. But my goodness, it gets worse… Now Chris Reed has open his mouth at The San Diego Union-Tribune’sAmerica’s Finest Blog” (yeah, right)… AND INSERT HIS FOOT!

Driving on Interstate 5 from San Diego to L.A. is completely maddening. Sometimes it’s only a minor ordeal. Sometimes it’s a gigantic ordeal. But especially on the south Orange County stretch of the 5, traffic is ridiculous. So any effort to lessen traffic in that area would be wonderful news for the millions of us in Socal who like to go back and forth between L.A./O.C. and San Diego.

But guess who doesn’t care: Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego. She may pretend she’s just interested in proper procedure, but her congressional maneuvering dealing with the planned extension of the 241 toll road in Orange County to the 5 near Camp Pendleton is clearly meant to kill the project.

So the next time you’re sitting stuck on the 5, save a few of your expletives for Susan Davis. She’s earned them.

Oh no, Chris Reed! I’m savin’ all my love for you. Follow me after the flip as I have to explain to Chris Reed why he’s missing the point on extending the 241 to Trestles…

So where do I start? Oh yes, how about that traffic? We all know that it’s horrendous. However, extending the 241 to Trestles would do absolutely nothing to ease traffic in South Orange County! Did you hear me, Chris Reed? Extending the 241 to Trestles would NOT ease congestion on the 5.

But you know what would ease congestion? Try these suggestions I made back in February:

[…] We can connect the 241 to the 5 AND the 73 at Laguna Niguel, and avoid the San Onofre wilderness while actually connecting South County commuters to where they want to go in OC! Additionally, we can do away with the non-compete agreement with the TCA that only serve to enrich the toll road operators while doing nothing for the people of Orange County. And perhaps if we start putting into practice better urban planning in South County, we won’t have to worry about losing the beautiful wild spaces that make South County living so fantastic.

Now don’t these ideas make more sense? Instead of building a stupid toll road to nowhere, what if we actually extend the 241 to where people actually want to go in Orange County? Instead of allowing TCA to continue fleecing local taxpayers with these ridiculous non-compete agreements, what if we actually put these roads to work for us? Instead of allowing for any more of this endless sprawl encroaching upon our last remaining open spaces, why don’t we start putting some common sense into our plans for growing Orange County?

But anyways, back to Chris Reed missing the point.

Chris Reed complains about Susan Davis’ amendment requiring TCA to obey state environmental laws in extending the 241. What’s so bad about that? So she’s trying to “kill the project” by simply requiring TCA to honor the law? If TCA can actually extend the 241 in an environmentally sensitive way as they claim on their web site, then why should they be afraid of the law?

Oh wait, maybe this is why they are afraid. This plan to extend the 241 to Trestles violates the Coastal Act. It would send toxic storm water down San Mateo Creek to Trestles, polluting the ocean water here. Oh, and speaking of San Mateo Creek, I don’t think the Coastal Commission would be happy to hear about how the 241 would alter the sediment flow of the creek, destroying the world-famous waves that have made Trestles such a great surf spot. And oh yes, how about those seven endangered species that would lose their native habitat forever if TCA were allowed to build the toll road to Trestles? Is there any chance that the Coastal Commission would agree to this nonsense?

So can Chris Reed understand why this toll road to Trestles is such a bad idea, now that I’ve laid the facts clearly at his feet? This stupid toll road to nowhere would do NOTHING to ease South County traffic. This road would destroy one of the last stretches of pristine coast left in Southern California. And yes, this road would illegally cut its way through a public park, and make the park completely unusable! I made sure to make these points clearly, so that Chris Reed wouldn’t miss them? I hope he doesn’t miss the point now.

Who’s Afraid of Obeying the Law?

(Cross-posted at the California Progress Report)

Yesterday, The Orange County Register’s editorial page took aim at Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) for supporting an amendment to a defense authorization bill that would simply require the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), the public-private organization that operates Orange County’s toll roads, to follow state environmental laws as TCA considers plans to extend the 241 Toll Road through South Orange County. Even though this amendment only asks TCA to follow the letter of the law in extending the 241, The Register seems to think that any request for TCA to extend its toll roads legally somehow adds to Orange County’s traffic woes. How does compliance with California state law cause additional traffic in Orange County? And why should TCA be afraid of the law?

Follow me after the flip for more on why TCA might be afraid of the law…

The Register’s editorial begins with outright falsehoods, and devolves into complete absurdity.

The Transportation Corridor Agencies for 20 years have been working on an extension of the Foothill (241) Toll Road from Oso Parkway to the I-5, a route that would skirt through a portion of San Onofre State Park, on Navy-owned land near the San Diego County line. The extension wouldn’t harm the heavily visited oceanfront portion of the park, but it would relieve the increasing congestion that often results in the I-5 resembling a giant parking lot rather than a freeway.

Sorry, but this simply isn’t true. Not only would the “oceanfront portion of the park” suffer huge damage as a result of what happens upstream, but the entire park would be obliterated. It would alter the sediment flow of San Mateo Creek, thereby destroying the world-famous waves of Trestles. It would destroy the habitat of at least seven endangered species, including the California gnatcatcher, the Southern California Steelhead Trout, and the Arroyo toad. Their native habitat would be gone if TCA were to have its way. All of this clearly violates the Coastal Act. Is this what TCA is afraid of?

What would all this ecological destruction do to alleviate traffic in South Orange County? Nothing. All this environmental damage would result in no traffic relief for South Orange County. So what is the point of building a toll road to Trestles if it does not actually do anything about traffic? Is this what TCA is afraid of?

The Register editorial goes on to distort Rep. Sanchez’s views on extending the 241, and distort what extending the 241 to Trestles would actually do to ease local traffic.

Rep. Sanchez said in media reports that she doesn’t want to stop the toll road – although environmental groups on her side said that was their goal. Toll road supporters point to stacks of environmental impact reports and other documents produced over two decades to gain state approval for the plan, thus disputing claims that the toll road somehow skirts the state’s environmental review process.

The Democratic-backed measure Rep. Sanchez voted for is different from the original one proposed by Rep. Davis, which would have clearly stopped the road by rescinding the Navy’s authority to grant an easement to toll road operators. Still, it’s too bad that a local congresswoman would join efforts to add to rather than reduce traffic congestion in Orange County.

Loretta Sanchez has said that she does not want to stop the toll road, and that’s the simple truth. She simply wants TCA to comply with state environmental laws in extending the 241. Is this what TCA is afraid of?

The Register editorial page simply doesn’t get it. TCA should not be allowed to ignore state environmental laws in order to build a toll road to nowhere that does nothing to ease traffic. Actually, TCA should not be allowed to ignore state environmental laws, period. That’s all that Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez were trying to say. That’s all that the House Armed Services Committee voted to say last week. TCA must not violate California state environmental laws by building a toll road through a state park.

This struggle over the toll road to Trestles has been a long one, but it’s actually not just about this one toll road to Trestles. It’s about preserving our public parks for the use and enjoyment of the public. If TCA gets its toll road to Trestles, this park simply couldn’t survive as the campgrounds would be closed (to make way for the toll road) and the beach ruined (due to the toll road). California State Parks wouldn’t be able to renew the lease when it comes up in 2021, and once the military is ready to sell, the developers would be ready to buy. And if this park goes, which one is next? Which park would we allow to be opened next for a toll road, or a freeway, or a few hundred new houses, or a multi-million dollar luxury resort?

This is what TCA is afraid of. Once people realize the threat, they get it. Our public open spaces should remain open for all the public to enjoy. That’s why we have state parks in California. That’s why San Onofre State Beach exists. This parks belongs to us for us to use, not for TCA to abuse. TCA and The Register editorial page simply don’t get it. But fortunately Susan Davis, Loretta Sanchez, and most of their colleagues in Congress do get it. Let’s hope that Congress follows through in requiring TCA to obey the law, and allowing all of us to continue enjoying our open spaces.

CA-47: The Liberal OC Loves Loretta, Too!

Mr. Republican Insider and his GOP insider friends can trash my fabulous Congresswoman all they want, but they won’t ever take Loretta down. I just love Loretta Sanchez too much to ever see her being maliciously attacked by these jerks.

See the extended.

She knows what’s best for Orange County, and for her constituents. They don’t. It’s really that simple. Here’s the always fabulous Chris Prevatt from The Liberal OC:

CA-47 Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez has taken a few hits this past week for her support of Congresswoman Susan Davis’ efforts to save the San Onofre State Park from bisection by the 241 toll road extension that has other routes it can follow.

Andrew Davey, over at Calitics, has a post today lauding Sanchez for her efforts. There is a myth out there that somehow her stance will cost her support from organized labor, thus allowing a Republican (Van Tran) to take the seat.

Oh, we love you too, Chris! The Liberal OC is THE BEST LOCAL BLOG in California! But anyways, back to Loretta:

To our friends over at Red County/OCBlog a word of advice…

Don’t hold your breath! The Democrats and organized labor will never let the likes of anti-worker, anti-environment Van Tran skate to victory in the 47th.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: LORETTA IS OUR CHAMPION! She is doing what’s right for our community, and she won’t let a bunch of right-wing bullies pressure her into doing otherwise. That’s why we’ll always love Loretta! : )

CA-47: Loretta Sanchez, People’s Environmental Champion

(Am I lucky to have her as my Congresswoman, or am I just blessed that I have such great representation in Washington? : ) – promoted by atdleft)

I just love my fabulous member of Congress. Loretta Sanchez has always done a great job for all of us in Central Orange County, really taking into account what’s best for our communities. And yes, she did this again in voting to hold TCA to our state environmental laws as it considers its plans to extend the 241 Toll Road. San Onofre State Park is one of the top five most visited state parks in California, and its beaches are among the few unspoiled beaches left in Southern California. People here love this beach, and Loretta Sanchez made the right choice in deciding to save Trestles by requiring TCA to simply comply with the law.

However, our favorite Mr. Republican Insider at Red County/OC Blog is whining because Loretta did not capitulate to TCA and its convoluted fantasy of a toll road to nowhere. But that’s OK. He’s not Loretta’s constituent… WE ARE in Central OC! And yes, we do care about the natural resources in our area.

Follow me after the flip for more on why Loretta really did vote for what’s best for Orange County this week…

Loretta has always been great on environmental issues. Last year, she received a PERFECT 100% SCORE from the League of Conservation Voters. She knows that people here in Central Orange County care about the quality of air that their families breathe, the quality of the water that their families drink, and the nice open spaces where they and their families can retreat to when they just want to escape the busy city life. San Onofre State Park offers a good retreat, with its pristine beaches and pleasant campgrounds.

Yet Republican insiders and consultants, like the creepy critters at Red County/OC Blog, mistakenly think that we urban voters in Orange County don’t care about our natural resources and our quality of life. They think that if they dangle “JOBS!” and “TRAFFIC RELIEF!” in front of our faces, that we’ll take their deadly bait. However, they are firmly mistaken.

We know that extending the 241 to Trestles would do nothing for traffic. We know that this project would violate the state laws that protect our precious coastline from precisely these types of idiotic attempts to destroy our natural resources for short-term profit. And yes, we know that we don’t have to sacrifice the environment in order to create more jobs. Basically, we’re not the complete idiots that these Republican consultants make us out to be!

So yes, Loretta did the right thing this week. She voted to ensure that TCA follow the full letter of the law. If TCA wants to extend the 241, then they should do it legally by NOT TRESPASSING INTO A STATE PARK! Trestles is just too precious of a place to be discarded in favor of an imbecilic toll road that does nothing to relieve Orange County traffic, and I am glad that Loretta will not allow for state law to be violated in order for this short-sighted and utterly ludicrous Toll Road to Trestles to be built.

And for that, Loretta Sanchez truly is the people’s environmental champion! : )

Call Congress to THANK THEM for Saving Trestles!!

UPDATE: I just got off the phone with one of Loretta Sanchez’s DC staffers, and he gave me the good news. The Davis Amendment passed, along with HR 1585! We’re one step closer to saving Trestles for good. And yes, Loretta DID vote for the amendment! : )

Remember what I said yesterday about Susan Davis’ amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that would require TCA to comply with state and federal laws in extending the 241 Toll Road? Well, the amendment has come up for a vote TODAY… And we won! Now we know that TCA’s preferred route for the Foothill-South 241 Extension would rip through and destroy the last great stretch of coast in Southern California. We also know that the Foothill-South 241 Extension would do nothing to relieve traffic, and it would totally violate the law.

Basically, we know that this proposed toll road to Trestles is a total waste of our time and money… And now, we know that our representatives in Washington do as well. We need to  thank all our Democrats on the Armed Services Committee who voted for this timely amendment. Follow me after the flip to find out how you can thank House Armed Service Committee members for doing what’s best for ALL OF US in Southern California…

Contact these California Democrats to thank them for joining Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) in asking TCA to comply with the law and save Trestles for many years to come:

Ellen Tauscher (D-Walnut Creek)
DC Office: (202) 225-1880
Walnut Creek Office: (925) 932-8899
Fairfield Office: (707) 428-7792
Send an Email

Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove)
DC Office: (202) 225-2965
Local Office: (714) 621-0102
Send an Email

And contact these California Republicans to tell them that there’s nothing “conservative” in wasting any more tax dollars on a project that violates state and federal law, and that goes against the very principles of conserving our natural resources:

Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon)
DC Office: (202) 225-5672
Local Office: (619) 448-5201
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Buck McKeon (R-Santa Clarita)
DC Office: (202) 225-1956
Local Office: (661) 254-2111
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Ken Calvert (R-Riverside, SAN CLEMENTE)
DC Office: (202) 225-1986
Riverside Office: (951) 784-4300
South Orange County Office: (949) 888-8498
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Don’t delay! The future of Southern California’s coastline depends on our action! : )

Will Congress Stop the Speeding to Trestles?

({This is Part 9 of my special report on the proposed extension of the 241 Toll Road to San Onofre State Beach (aka Trestles). If you’d like, you can find the other stories in the “Speeding Our Way to Trestles” series here. As the debate heats up over Trestles and the 241, I’d like to go in depth and examine all the issues involved… And I’d love for you to come along for the ride as we explore what can be done to relieve traffic in South Orange County AND Save Trestles Beach. Enjoy! : ) } – promoted by atdleft)

Oh, my! Will Washington now enter the fracas that is the proposed Foothill-South 241 Extension to Trestles? Look at what I just saw in today’s OC Register:

A proposed toll road through parkland that has become Orange County’s most explosive environmental controversy could be jeopardized – and perhaps even killed – if a small amendment added to a defense authorization bill is approved today.

The Foothill South toll road, which would bisect San Onofre State Beach park and cut through highly sensitive natural habitat, has pitted environmental activists against residents who say the road is vital to prevent south county gridlock as populations rise.

Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, who is sponsoring the amendment, believes she has the votes to repeal a 1999 law that authorized the military to grant the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency the right to build a road on 340 acres of parkland.

Authorization from the Navy is necessary before the toll road, which must clear a variety of other regulatory hurdles, can be built.

So can this mean the end of Foothill-South? Follow me after the flip for more…

The House Armed Services Committee will likely be voting on the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization bill, and Rep. Susan Davis is hoping that her amendment is included in that bill.

“She’s heard from constituents in the district who enjoy the parks and the beaches and have a lot of concerns about the process,” said Aaron Hunter, Davis’ press secretary.

In essence, the amendments would revoke congressional authorization for the military to convey building rights to the toll road agency. It would also erase previous legislation intended to insulate the toll road from state and federal laws that could prevent its construction.

Activists who were aware of Davis’ effort Tuesday said they did not believe her amendment would kill the toll road project but would simply create a “level playing field,” forcing the agency to obey the same laws as other road builders.

“This abuse must stop,” said James Birkelund, a staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Santa Monica. “The agency should comply with federal and state laws.”

Davis’ staff said her action wouldn’t prohibit construction of the road. It would “just have to follow the same rules and regulations that all other state projects do,” Hunter said.

But apparently, TCA is not happy with this. They are convinced that Davis is conspiring to kill the toll road. And they are livid!

“It takes away from the Navy the ability to grant us an easement,” said Rob Thornton, an attorney who often represents the tollway agency. “I think it would kill the road in this location. The state obtained the lease with the understanding that the Navy reserved the ability to approve the construction of roads.” […]

“What she’s trying to do is kill the road,” said Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona. “The millions and millions of dollars that have been spent on environmental studies to advance this would be for naught.”

Well, why did all that money have to be spent in the first place? All Calvert had to do was have one of his staffers read the Coastal Act. It would have been much cheaper, and they could have determined immediately that the proposed path of Foothill-South violates California state law.

And again, isn’t it obvious that the proposed path of this toll road would drive us to complete environmental catastrophe? It would alter the sediment flow of San Mateo Creek, thereby destroying the world-famous waves of Trestles. It would destroy the habitat of at least seven endangered species, including the California gnatcatcher, the Southern California Steelhead Trout, and the Arroyo toad. Their humble abode would be gone if TCA were to have its way. And oh yes, wouldn’t this violate a certain federal Endangered Species Act?

All Susan Davis wants to do is ensure that TCA is following the letter of the law when it comes to this Foothill-South 241 Extension. Why would they feel so threatened by this? Oh yeah, that’s why.