Friday, April 11, 2008

As the Transponder Beeps....

Daytime producers take note - you couldn’t script a bigger soap opera than the hullabaloo that surrounds the TCA’s campaign to extend the 241 toll road…

When last we peeked in on our friends at the TCA, they were commiserating over their defeat at the hands of the California Coastal Commission and already plotting their motion to appeal the ruling with the United States Secretary of Commerce.

Still fuming after not being heard at the Coastal Commission hearing, San Clemente Councilman and TCA Board member Jim Dahl flew all the way out to Washington D.C. to lobby California Senator Diane Feinstein.** Alas, he arrived to find that Senator Feinstein wasn’t actually in. Oops!

**(Senator Feinstein later issued a statement reminding the public that the newly passed Defense Authorization Bill included an amendment by Rep. Susan Davis that mandates the TCA comply with all state environmental law, before reiterating the Coastal Commission’s 8-2 vote to deny consistency for the project)

Then in March, California Governor and recently professed toll road supporter Arnold Schwarzenegger surprised everyone by relieving fellow Hollywood star Clint Eastwood and his own brother-in-law Bobby Shiver from their positions on the California State Parks Commission. Coincidentally both Clint and Bobby had publicly come out in opposition to the toll road due to its impact on San Onofre State Park.

“Looks like someone has a bee in their bonnet,” said Eastwood.

The Governor, whose state is battling economic meltdown, was quick to retort.

"I know the environmentalists are sensitive about it, and they say it is going through a park, but the road has to go through somewhere," Schwarzenegger said, before hopping on his chartered plane he flies daily between Los Angeles and Sacramento (so much for carbon emissions). "We can't stop progress."

Meanwhile, a month of licking his wounds had done little to ease the bitterness of TCA CEO Tom Margaro. Upon hearing that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were considering holding a public hearing as part of the Secretary of Commerce appeal, the TCA had their attorneys pen a letter complaining that February’s Coastal Commission hearing site was 50 miles away from the project location, and that the hearing itself was largely a “circus like atmosphere.”

In his response letter, California Coastal Commission Chair Patrick Kruer was quick to point out that the TCA had, in fact, helped choose the hearing site, and the TCA’s own supporters (several busloads of laborers paid to attend the hearing) had to be reminded to be respectful during the meeting.

Chairman Kruer also pointed out that the location of the venue was not 50 miles, but rather 37 miles away. While this may seem trivial, consider that the TCA over-exaggerated the mileage by 26%. …Just like they exaggerated the amount of homes and business that could be impacted from widening I-5 by 95%.

Of course the all this exaggeration and misrepresentation was bound to catch up with them …which it did big time yesterday.

In a letter sent to the Secretary of Commerce and the heads of NOAA, Colonel Thomas Magness from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, outlined several instances of the TCA exaggerating or otherwise misrepresenting information in their recent appeal.

Colonel Thomas writes,

“With respect to the Appellant’s (TCA) principal brief filed with your office on February 15, 2008, I noted additional statements that are factually incorrect and in my view mischaracterize our agency’s involvement in the state environmental review process.”

Oy vey!

In response to the TCA’s claim that the Army Corps of Engineers unanimously supports the planned route for the toll road, Colonel Thomas goes on to write,

“These assertions are false... Furthermore, my agency has not concurred with TCA that there are no other reasonable of feasible alternatives other than the applicant's preferred alternative.”


Tune-in next month to see what kind of drama unfolds when that happens!

Until then…

Your pals at the Surfrider Foundation


Anonymous said...

The never-ending stream of BS the TCA has spewed over the years is finally coming back to to bite them in the ass! Hahaha! I love it!

Anonymous said...

f'n a!

Did you see the end of the TCA letter.. where they have a page of people that didn't get to speak..

We need to send them a letter with all of us that didn't get to speak.. but chose to walk by in front of the CCC to show our opposition to the project..

Of course.. if the TCA had paid their laborers more money, they could have walked by too.. instead just the forman stuck around.. it'd be sad if it wasn't so evil.

Save San O'!!!

Tracy said...

man o man

John said...

Seeing this as a journalist on the other side of the pond, this situation looks to me like an other attempt of vicious power-mongers to rape the countryside for the sole aim of profit and without the principles of well-being and empathy that make us what we are.
Let us fight on for what is right rather than sell out to what makes us richer!!

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