On Sunday, April 29, 2007, delegates at the California Democratic Party 2007 Convention in San Diego voted unanimously to oppose the alignment of the Foothill South (241) Toll Road through San Onofre State Beach.
With this vote, the CDP joins with the Democratic Party of Orange County, over a dozen city and county governments, and hundreds of individuals and businesses in opposing the plans to drive a toll road through one of Californias most popular parks and beaches.
The wealthy can go to Hawaii or Europe on their holidays, but camping at a state park is a low cost vacation for middle class Californians. "It's not enough to ensure jobs and healthcare for working Californians -- we deserve access to affordable recreation as well", said Gila Jones, a Democratic delegate from Orange County who has been lobbying her fellow delegates on the issue for months.
So why is this matter so important? Why is it so important to save Trestles? Why should we we care so much about a toll road cutting through this state park?
Let me tell you why...
So why does all of this matter? Perhaps because this is the last great undeveloped stretch of coast left in Southern California:
San Onofre State Beach was dedicated as a State Park in 1971 by then-Governor Ronald Reagan. Surfers from all over the world come to surf at Trestles in San Onofre while over a hundred thousand campers visit the inland campground. Several endangered species live within the confines of the parkland. There is also a National Register Archaeological District within the boundaries of the park as well as sacred sites for the Juaneno/Acjachemen people.
The proposed extension of the 241 Toll Road would endanger all of that and more. Runoff from the proposed road could damage the San Mateo Creek, declared just last month to be one of Americas Most Endangered Rivers by the national organization American Rivers. Construction of the toll road would ruin the campground, located a mere 200 feet from the planned path of the toll road. Endangered species in the area would find their habitats destroyed or severely impacted by the toll road.
And worse yet, all this ecological destruction would be for nothing. We know that this toll rod extension would do nothing to ease traffic congestion in South Orange County. We know that this toll road extension is dead on arrival once it reaches the courts. We know that the Coastal Commission could not legally allow this project to proceed, as it violates the Coastal Act. We know that the Foothill-South 241 Extension to Trestles is destined to become a miserable failure.
So now that the California Democratic Party is on record for saving San Onofre and stopping this boondoggle, we can proceed. Hopefully, this will encourage our Democratic lawmakers in Sacramento to stop this disaster from happening. And hopefully, this will encourage our Democratic lawmakers in Washington to prevent any more of our federal tax dollars from being wasted on this mess.
Hopefully, what we did is the first step toward saving Trestles for good. : )