Schwarzenegger dumps parks commissioners for opposing highway through state beach


Posted by on Fri, March 21, 2008

Our governor has dropped a couple of his (ultra-prominent) appointees to the State Parks Commission for their opposition to running a toll road through a state beach, reports the LA Times.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has dropped his brother-in-law, Bobby Shriver, and fellow action hero Clint Eastwood from the state parks commission after their vigorous opposition helped derail a plan for a toll road through San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County.

The decision not to renew the commissioners’ terms, which expired last week, surprised observers and sent a strong signal that the governor expects loyalty from political appointees.

"This is a warning shot from the governor’s office to all of his appointees: Do what I say, no matter how stupid it is," said Joel Reynolds, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Los Angeles. "And I know of no project more destructive to the California coast than this toll road project."


“This is a warning shot from the governor’s office to all of his appointees: Do what I say, no matter how stupid it is,” said Joel Reynolds, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Los Angeles. “And I know of no project more destructive to the California coast than this toll road project.”

Mr. Reynolds must be speaking of the moment. Some would have the California Coastal Trail be, in essence, a one-lane paved road for almost its entire 1100+-mile length. This includes some influential individuals at the state’s Coastal Conservancy and in the major CCT advocacy group, Coastwalk. Even if the CCT is such a road for half its length, its cumulative destructive impact will equal, at the least, a four-lane expressway for more than 140 miles along the coastline.

Bad as the unnecessary tollway through San Onofre State Beach is, the paved CCT would be, cumulatively, much worse. No CCT at all would be at least as good for our state’s coastline, given that part of the coastline would not have to be destroyed in order to access it. (Similarity to the famous Viet Nam era quote intended, “We had to destroy it in order to save it.”

For a local perspective on this, consider Half Moon Bay’s wide, paved portion of the CCT and the segment of the CCT proposed by the county for Mirada Surf West.

What is going on? There is a lot of money for certain industries and governmental bureaucracies in creating new paved roads. Doing so in the name of coastal access required by the Coastal Act provides excellent cover for the damage that will occur and “environmental credentials” to boot.

One wonders what the atmosphere at the dinner table was like when the Annihilator’s wife found out a member of her family had been shown the door.

Carl May