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Speaking Up for Environmentalists, State Parks and Wildlife Initiative

August 01, 1993

* Bashing of environmentalists has become a popular pastime. A case in point is Byron de Arakal's diatribe ("Environmentalists Again Show Initiative," July 9) against the $1.9-billion California Parks and Wildlife initiative.

Mr. De Arakal's distress about "strapping California taxpayers with an additional $2 billion in debt for acquisition and preservation of Orange County's remaining wilderness" appears in the same issue as a story that estimates the taxpayer cost of the savings and loan bailout at $500 billion and the taxpayer cost of cleaning up federal lands at $150 billion. Add these costs to the federal debt of more than $3 trillion, and Mr. De Arakal would have commentary material to move us to tears about the legacy we are leaving his son and my six grandchildren.

But the fact is that CAL/PAW '94 will not result in added taxes. The $1.9-billion bond issue will only be floated if an equal or greater amount of California bond debt has been retired. The 50 cents-per-Californian-per-month cost will not add one cent to our present tax bill, and the return on this modest investment will greatly exceed its costs by providing parks, playgrounds and open space that enhance property values and the quality of life for future generations.

DAVE BLODGETT

Laguna Hills

Blodgett is president of Leisure World Residents to Save the Canyon. *

* Byron de Arakal's negative attitude toward the Planning and Conservative League's efforts to acquire land is lamentable. I found it ironic that he used his son as a metaphor for the whole situation. He'll be the one who, as an adult, will be living in a concrete jungle if some remaining land in Orange County is not preserved.

It is naive to say that environmentalists believe that there are machines "that give you free" money or that we have a "dull feel for economics" and most environmental groups do not have "rich coffers" to tap into. Americans continue to live by a double standard, insisting that poor people, such as those in Brazil, stop cutting down their forests so that we can have continued air to breathe, while we talk about the "fiscal constraints" that keep us from protecting the little wilderness that is left.

What if De Arakal's "better days" do come? My guess is that there will be some new excuse to sideline environmental issues.

Did he read any global environmental reports lately? Try sharing those with his son and maybe his birthday wish list will not be so grandiose . . . a small parcel of land donated in his name might do.

ARIANA N. SELDMAN

San Clemente

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