Should the City of Carlsbad spend nearly $6 million to purchase approximately 53 acres of Hosp Grove via Proposition F? Figuring 6 1/2% interest at 20 years, the true cost becomes $10,890,000, or about $205,000 per acre. Remember, the city receives no deductions for interest paid.
This forest, actually a jungle, has never had any maintenance. It needs to be drastically thinned and an ongoing maintenance program initiated. What are these costs?
For 7 1/2 years I was Carlsbad's fire chief, and prior to that I was a firefighter in Los Angeles for 29 years, serving as a battalion commander. I participated in hundreds of brush fires. Repeatedly I have informed the Carlsbad City Council that Hosp Grove is an extreme fire and life hazard with its ensuing liability. (Normal Heights residents are suing San Diego for $50 million as a result of last year's fire.) Other fire chiefs in this area agree.
Another factor that was not covered in the environmental impact report is that this grove is infested with the eucalyptus longhorn borer beetle, which in just two years has spread from Long Beach to San Diego and inland from Van Nuys to Hemet. Certain species of these trees die quickly when attacked, others protect themselves with heavy sap flow. The beetle is killing trees in South Laguna and is inflicting heavy damage in Lake Forest, where houses are built among what was once an eucalyptus forest. At present, no pesticide or biocontrol method eliminates the beetle. It is recommended to promptly remove a dead or dying tree, to bury or cover with a tight tarp logs cut from an infested tree. How many hundreds of dollars will it cost to remove an infested tree and have it buried at the dump?