Public Open Space Is Crucial

I hope I’m wrong. Once again a precious piece of open land is about to fall to development. In this case it’s the San Marcos Foothills property. I went to a “big announcement,” about the San Marco Foothills last Wednesday and, in a nutshell, a contract has been signed with the developer that says he will sell the land for $18 million if it can be raised in 90 days.

It was a little surreal to see some of the people applauding this announcement. There were a lot of officials there who spoke, including Supervisor Gregg Hart and the developer. They all thanked each other for all the hard work that went into this agreement, but they never acknowledged the Chumash and the protesters who were sitting right there in front of them.

Thing is, if it wasn’t for the protesters, the land would already be bulldozed. Eight of them were arrested a couple weeks ago to prevent the road graders from driving in.

They announced it like it was great news, but it seems to me that the only way that kind of money can be raised in that short of a period of time is for some very deep pockets to step up. So, unless something like that happens, it was just a PR exercise to green light the development. I hope I’m wrong.

Oh, they actually need $20 million because $2 million is needed for fundraising overhead. Here’s the thing: If we all did what we were told and followed the rule of law, the whole world will become developed sprawl until it all collapses. Public open space is crucial to making the world healthy and in this case the law is on the wrong side.


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