Congratulations to Mr. Fred Sorsabal, Mission Viejo city manager, who took the credit for approving the raping of coastal sage scrub under the guise of "weed abatement" ("City Official Says He Let Developer Clear a Disputed Habitat," July 19). He made it perfectly clear just who runs the city and that the naked abuse of power is just that--naked.
The weed abatement resolution was adopted by the City Council last fall in response to obvious prior abuses, and to show its good citizenship the Mission Viejo Co. cleared two sites less than a week before the resolution took effect!
Now, after obtaining the required Planning Commission approval for a well-restricted permit, they sought Mr. Sorsabal's permission to use heavy equipment and proceeded to destroy the sensitive habitat.
Mr. Sorsabal must certainly have been aware of the sensitive nature of this project. That parcel of land, requiring rezoning to be developed, is the subject of a lawsuit over the shabby quality of the environmental documents offered in support of its development.
The citizens of Mission Viejo have been poorly served by their government. And the wanton destruction of coastal sage scrub, a threatened plant community that defines what we call the native vegetation of coastal Southern California, poorly serves the protection of the large group of threatened and endangered species that exist in it.
This display of power, greed and disregard for the procedures the people have put in place to protect the environment is the best reason for listing the California gnatcatcher as endangered.
RICHARD E. KUST, Irvine