In a vote of 4 to 3, the San Diego City Council opted not to ratify a resolution supporting California’s State Parks, by opposing a proposed toll road project in northern San Diego County.
Dozens of San Diego residents packed the City Council chambers yesterday to show their support for a measure put forth by Councilwoman Donna Frye. The measure would have allowed the City of San Diego to join the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oceanside, Del Mar, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo and others, in formally opposing a plan to build a toll road through the heart of the San Onofre State Beach Park. The crowd, which was comprised of surfers, environmentalists, businessmen, students and servicemen, held signs and surfboards reading “Save Trestles” and “Support our State Parks.”
Despite an impassioned speech by Councilwoman Frye and informative arguments by Surfrider Foundation Executive Director and Solana Beach resident Jim Moriarty, San Diego activist Todd Cardiff and others, the motion failed to pass. Councilwomen Frye and Atkins, and Councilman Peters voted for the resolution. Councilmen Faulconer, Young, Madaffer, and Hueso voted against the resolution. Councilman Maienshien was absent.
“While we are confident that this will not change the eventual outcome of our campaign to save San Onofre State Beach Park, the Surfrider Foundation was nonetheless disappointed in yesterday’s decision by the San Diego City Council to not support California’s State Park system,” said Surfrider Foundation’s Jim Moriarty. “If constructed as planned, the proposed extension to the 241-FTC toll road will have undeniable and adverse impacts on the lives of San Diegans, including the loss of a valuable recreational resource, increased gridlock and congestion along Interstate 5, and health risks associated with the degradation of coastal water quality.”
Despite the measure’s approval as consent item in June of this year, several of the dissenting council members commented that they were not familiar enough with the issue to support the resolution.
“The council has had nearly three months to review this resolution,” said Moriarty. “San Diego voters should absolutely hold council members Faulconer, Young, Madaffer and Hueso accountable for their failure to familiarize themselves with this issue, and acknowledge it as a legitimate area of concern for their constituency.”
Opponents of the planned toll road project did receive some good news today, with the news that a resolution identical to the one presented to the San Diego City Council was pass unanimously by the Berkeley City Council.
The Orange County based Transportation Corridors Agency, a “public-private” agency seeking to build the toll road, still faces several lawsuits in association with the project; including a lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental groups including the Surfrider Foundation and a separate but similar lawsuit filed by California State Attorney General Bill Lockyer.
For more information on the Surfrider Foundation’s campaign to protect San Onofre State Beach Park and the surrounding watershed, go to SaveTrestles.org