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Musings from O’Brien Hall / Save Trestles

September 22 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

THE FACEOFF
At some level the fight for Trestles comes down to this picture. Commerce versus community. Corporate lies versus citizen logic... sheep mentality versus individual thinking.

A State Park exists in California alongside a land conservancy (set aside as mitigation from previous development) and there is a proposal to put a toll road right down the center of it. The orange shirts are laborers and in the simplest terms, are looking to preserve their jobs. For us, this fight doesn't have anything to do with jobs since the alternative solutions also create jobs. During the last hearing, Commissioner Steve Blank took this argument apart... if I remember correctly he teased out the admission (from TCA's CEO) that widening interstate 5 (the most obvious alternative) would actually create 5,000 MORE jobs. Regardless, the jobs-created argument is shallow.

This issue actually goes deeper. In my opinion, the American people are sick of being fed lies. We are sick of lending our trust to institutions (financial, healthcare, government) and getting burned... or worse, bailing them out with our tax dollars. This photo works so well for me because it's a backlash at paid placement. There were lots of signs with the words "LIES" on them... and hundreds of people holding up dollar bills during the politician TCA board member's comments.


Photo: Michael Goulding, The Orange County Register

THE BLACK BOX
This woman, Jane Luxton of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration,-- an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, had a hard job. Kudos to her for her marathon abilities.

She was flanked by two anonymous individuals. In an era of demanded transparency this didn't fly. Thousands of people committed twelve hours to hear and see testimony given to this panel and were never told who two of the people were nor their roles in defining this larger question: Does the proposed toll road through a State Park warrant national involvement? Their black box approach feeds the public's lack of trust in the process.


photo: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

THE NEWLY-MINTED ACTIVISTS
It was Marco Gonzalez who said it so well. (Paraphrasing) It takes a lot to make activists out of the general public. It takes something that rises beyond everything else in their life and simply reeks of injustice or wrongdoing to make someone take time off work, get a babysitter for the kids and spend twelve hours sitting in a fly-infested room with the worst acoustics ever. It takes an atrocious project to accomplish that. It's ironic how the TCA's venture is backfiring. Their arrogance has ignited thousands more activists than we had before.

The American spirit cannot be suppressed indefinitely. A few may be bought off but the masses won't be as we know it's simply not right. All of us will rise up and act when we're pushed far enough. The man pictured below, I'm guessing, is such a person.

We will not back down. We will fight to preserve our State Parks for the rest of our lives.

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