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January, 2010 Volume 35, Issue 1


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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS

(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) -
P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924
mailto:editor@coastalpost.com



  Moo Town News
"Through The Looking Glass"
By Judy Borello


    When I look ahead to 2010, I can't help but feel like I've fallen into some surreal rabbit hole, where everything has become convoluted and logic is way out of whack. Some of the ridiculous situations that we've allowed the federal, state and local governments to get us into, driven primarily by strong-armed environmental lobbyists, have upended people's lives and landscapes with so much inequity and nonsense that it's unbearable! Here are just a few examples:
  
 In Pacifica, where a large apartment building was red-tagged and many people were forced from their homes because the eroding sea cliff threatened to undermine the building's structure, the property owner had, for four years, tried to obtain a permit from the California Coastal Commission to place boulders at the foot of the bluff to prevent further erosion. He'd been delayed and refused by this gang of self-righteous thugs headed by Peter Douglas, up until the point where lives were at risk. And did you notice? When you saw the striking footage on TV of the bluff falling away and boulders finally being placed, did you hear anything from local news commentators about the Commission's obstructionist tactics? No. You only heard a snippet of it if they happened to interview the landowner.
  
Then there's SPAWN, the self-proclaimed "Savior of the Salmon." They hassled Marin County with the threat of a lawsuit, forcing it to put a moratorium on homeowners in the Lagunitas watershed (no remodels, no garages, no sheds, no driveways, no decks) with no scientific facts to back them up. The people along the creeks have suffered greatly as a result of a lack of science-based justification. Just recently, lo and behold, the salmon have returned in droves! Why? Because of the heavy rains we've finally gotten after years of drought. This proves the point that the moratorium was unnecessary and that good ol' Mother Nature and her mysterious power is really what the fish needed. Knee-jerk reactions based on unsound science are very harmful to people, and didn't help the fish a whit. And here's another irony: SPAWN Executive Director Todd Steiner made sure that his creekside property was safe by building an illegal retaining wall. What's good for the goose means squat to the gander here in Wonderland.

Lawson's Landing is another example of fairness being turned on its head. Hardcore enviros and a myriad of governmental agencies have forced the Lawson family to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal and consulting fees to defend themselves through an unfair process, while the enviros' efforts are supported by gargantuan NGOs with gratis legal services or financed with taxpayer dollars. They have almost put the Lawsons out of business, not to mention disrupting the lives of countless families, including those who enjoy low-cost coastal access thanks to Lawsons' business.
   
The trouble started with the movement to "Save the Dunes" on their property. The Lawsons have owned the land since the 1920s, and believe me, if they had been harming the dunes, the dunes would not be there today. Where's the common sense? To add insult to injury, the owners of the permanent trailers at Lawson's Landing have been told by Marin County that they could only occupy them for three months of the year and must rent them out to different people the rest of the year. The Coastal Commission took this a ridiculous step further by stipulating that the trailer owners could only occupy their homes up to 60 days! Can you even imagine being forced to vacate your own home and have to bring perfect strangers into your private, personal space? This is not an environmental issue. It is one of private property rights!
   
As for saving the dunes, there was Audubon Canyon Ranch's executive director, Skip Schwartz, caught red-handed - illegally and without permits - bulldozing sand dunes within yards of wetlands at Tom's Point. When the Coastal Commission was notified, did they slap a fine on Audubon? No way. Another example of the enviros thinking they're above the law and getting away with it.
   
But the Coastal Commission didn't have a problem slapping a huge fine on Kevin Lunny's Drake's Bay Oyster Company, did it? The Point Reyes National Seashore, the Coastal Commission, other governmental agencies and the misguided enviros are nitpicking that man to death! I believe Kevin when he said, "They're trying to put me out of business." They have all the time and money in the world to keep after him while it costs him huge bucks just to defend himself. The bottom line here is, they've never proven that a single harbor seal has ever been harmed. And who are they fooling by trying to turn it back to wilderness? This area has not been wilderness for centuries - certainly many years before it was ever acquired by the federal park system. It was ranch land with animals and ranch houses and an oyster company dating back well before the existence of the Park. DBOC is one of our greatest agricultural resources, not just for our community but for the State of California, as it supplies at least 50% of the state's oysters. You'd think that the Park would be proud of this fact and that the enviros would be supportive of it as being a natural source of organic food, locally grown.
   
Speaking of the Park, I'll never forgive, nor will I ever forget, the savage annihilation of the white fallow deer. Talk about senseless tactics! Why couldn't the Park Service simply have licensed the ranchers residing in the Park to cull the herds through hunting and utilize the meat, rather than the wasteful and brutal slaying of those majestic creatures?
   
And remember NOAA, the federal fish-protection agency, whose 78 foot vessel recently ran over and killed an endangered, 72+ foot, 300,000 pound blue whale off the California coast - its second blue whale kill this year? Why haven't the lawsuit-happy enviros filed suit against NOAA?
   
Speaking of lawsuits, did you know that billions of your tax dollars are being used to fund environmental groups for attorneys' fees and costs? Under the Equal Access to Justice Act, which awards attorneys' fees to prevailing parties in cases against the government, tax-exempt, nonprofit enviros including the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice are reaping billions in federal funds in order to perpetuate their litigious existences by filing suits against the EPA, for example. And when the Coastal Commission gets sued for abusing its power by trying to impose unconstitutional regulations - and this happens a lot - they don't give a hoot because the state Attorney General must defend them using - yes, that's right - your tax money.
   
P.S. More irony: When President Obama came home from addressing "global warming" in Denmark, he arrived back in Washington DC to the biggest East Coast December blizzard on record! Global warming? Only if you're following the Mad Hatter into a spiraling hell hole of unfair governmental regulation and nonsensical spending.
Happy New Year - and watch your back!





 














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