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Ahmanson Opponents Join in Rally

Environment: Earth Day march in Santa Monica includes those fighting the Ventura County project. Speakers decry loss of open space.

April 19, 1999|PATRICK McGREEVY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Opponents of development at Ahmanson Ranch and in the San Fernando Valley rallied Sunday with environmentalists seeking to preserve the Ballona Wetlands, warning that Southern California is losing valuable open space on many fronts.

More than 100 environmentalists converged on Santa Monica City Hall for the rally organized by the Earth-Water-Air-L.A. coalition as part of events in advance of Earth Day.

The group held a similar rally Saturday, when residents and environmentalists marched from El Escorpion Park, just across the border from Ventura County, to Pierce College in Woodland Hills to protest the proposed Ahmanson development and a golf course planned on Pierce College farmland.

The events were aimed at drawing attention to the need to save open space threatened with development, said Elizabeth Johnson, a spokeswoman for the coalition.

Susan Genelin of the group Save Open Space attended Sunday's rally to voice opposition to Washington Mutual's proposed development of Ahmanson Ranch with 3,050 homes, 400,000 square feet of office and commercial buildings and two championship golf courses east of Thousand Oaks.

"The Ahmanson Ranch project will destroy the air-shed and water quality in Malibu Creek," Genelin said, voicing concern about how the development may use creek water and pollute the watershed.

Speakers linked the many projects in calling for a regional approach to preserving the environment.

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