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'Tecolote Twins' Campaign Proved Neighborhoods Can Save Canyons

May 19, 1985|RALPH FRAMMOLINO | Times Staff Writer

"When I came home from that hearing, there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers on my front porch from all the children in the neighborhood, thanking us for saving their canyon," said Battle, who takes fifth-graders on tours of Balboa Park for the school district.

"It was all worth it--the amount of time we put into this, the vacations we didn't take. At times, it was almost a consuming effort," she said.

When the city decided in 1979 to reimburse the residents for their $1.3-million purchase of the canyon, The Twins launched another drive to use the refunds for park improvements.

In addition, Battle worked on an advisory committee to write a master plan for the canyon. "I was the one with pen and paper who wrote the document, over 100 pages," she said. The plan was formally adopted by the city May 24, 1983--also Battle's 32nd wedding anniversary.

Now there must be more vigilance. The Twins are particularly concerned about a City Charter provision that gives the City Council power to put roads through park lands.

"With the pressure of increasing population growth, there may at some time be a discussion of a road in Tecolote Canyon Natural Park, which would be a direct contradiction of the whole purpose of the park," said Miller, 41, a counselor intern at the Navy Hospital.

"Because of the clause in the City Charter, the community must be aware of what is happening with their park," she said.

Battle, who was among the volunteers for Hedgecock during his latest campaign, said that is why people who want to save canyons must seek a political solution.

"The direction has got to come from the bottom to the top, and down through the chain of command," she said. "The voters have to put officials in office that they understand are serious about preserving canyons in San Diego.

"Then, the City Council majority has got to put the word down through the city staff, down through the subdivision board, to the developers, all the way down to the guys on the bulldozers.

"Until that happens, we will continue to flounder along. Some canyons will be saved. Others will not."

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