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Coastline Must Not Become a Boardwalk

April 28, 1991

You may have seen the recent story in the Los Angeles Times Travel Section (March 27) about that jewel of a California city, Carmel-By-The-Sea. "The little village that wouldn't change," read the article, " . . . no drive-by shootings here, no crack houses, no smoggy days." The beauty and charm of Carmel was maintained by stubborn residents and city managers who refused to bow to the bulldozers and developers offering millions of dollars of profits from giant hotels and housing projects.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula now stands at a crossroads . . . one leading to a little peninsula that wouldn't change (much) . . . the other leading to hotels and innumerable golf courses . . . to wedding chapels and hamburger stands and banquet halls and conference centers . . . to repeated helicopter flights and traffic tie-ups and bumper-to-bumper traffic along inadequate roads that are now at maximum capacity.

Unlike Carmel-By-The-Sea, however, the (Palos Verdes) Peninsula does not have stubborn residents and city managers who refuse to bow to the bulldozers. Instead we have the "gang of three" on the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council. Councilpersons Mel Hughes and Jacki Bacharach and Mayor Douglas Hinchliffe have clearly and persistently stated their dream of bringing giant hotels and millions in bed-tax profits into (Rancho Palos Verdes') empty city coffers.

Mind you, this drive to install huge hotels and golf courses and outsize housing tracts on the coast is in the face of a five-year drought and desperate water shortage, where most peninsula residents are forced to cut back heavily on toilet tanks, baths, showers and tap water use. These hotels will be built beside the Palos Verdes Drive South highway that is badly eroded and creviced and damaged where the Portuguese Bend landslide continues to disrupt asphalt and concrete. Worst of all, this drive to overdevelopment flies directly in the face of the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan which clearly states that major commercial activities (like 500-room hotels) are not permitted anywhere in Rancho Palos Verdes.

A recall petition is now being circulated in Rancho Palos Verdes that will hopefully remove Jacki Bacharach from the City Council. Council members Hughes and Hinchliffe have said that they do not plan to run again for City Council in November.

If these three hotel-happy individuals can be removed from the council in 1991, then there is a good chance that responsible citizens can be found who will take charge of the City Council and Planning Commission, carefully follow the General Plan and Coastal Specific Plan, and turn the Rancho Palos Verdes coastline into a place that will retain the required low-density tranquility. Our coastline must not be turned into a carnival-like boardwalk of hotels and entertainment centers that will severely impact the entire peninsula and surrounding cities.

GAR GOODSON, Save Our Coastline 2000, Palos Verdes Estates

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