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Ventura County Perspective

Opposition to Lang Ranch Dam

March 12, 2000

Re "If Plant Halts a Dam, Can It Stop Flood Too?" Ventura County Perspective, March 5.

Beverly Kelley's column on the Lang Ranch dam is suffused with an aura of reasonableness. Gosh, doesn't it seem silly to halt an important public works project for a little plant?

Like all good propaganda, Kelley's piece is also suffused with a hint of us-versus-them and character assassination. Note the subtle disparaging of Lang Ranch residents and their "Monopoly game piece" homes. Councilwoman Linda Parks is "crazy" about trees. Kelley attacks our "NIMBYism"--although one notes that Kelley hasn't volunteered her own backyard for the dam, despite her protestations of concern about flooding.

And, good propagandist that she is, Kelley offers a dire scenario to set up her coup de grace: What if an entire season's rain fell in a few hours? Why, those poor folks west of Erbes Road would have mud in their living rooms! How unreasonable! I've got news for Kelley: If nearly a foot of rain fell in a few hours, everyone would have muddy living rooms.

And, finally, Kelley offers her scenario without troubling herself--or the reader--with useful data that might validate her argument. When was the last time a season's worth of rain fell in a few hours? How much rain fell during the last El Nino year? And how many of those poor folks west of Erbes suffered as a result?

The Lang Ranch dam is being sold on the basis of half-baked doomsday scenarios and critics are reviled for their unreasonableness in protecting silly old plants. But there is no standard of reasonableness for environmental protection. For Kelley, a milk vetch is an unreasonable obstacle to progress. For others--say, the developers of the dam--a plant, a tree, a hill, a canyon are all unreasonable obstacles to their progress (and profit).

Unfortunately for Kelley and her fellow development-crazy allies, there is always someone willing to lower the bar in the name of progress. Just take a drive down Van Nuys Boulevard one day for proof.

RUSSELL BURGOS

Thousand Oaks

*

I thought this article was very trite and not factual at all. I also didn't think too kindly of columnist Beverly Kelley's bashing of Thousand Oaks Councilwoman Linda Parks. This problem of the Lang Ranch dam preceded her service to the city.

I have long opposed the dam on the grounds that it is not needed and would destroy a very scenic and unspoiled part of our environment. I have read all of the reports, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers document, and concluded that the whole plan is flawed and should not be implemented.

To take issue with this article, I would note that the area can easily be reached by several paths that are nowhere near perpendicular. In the past four years we have had many very heavy rains and the stream bed has not overflowed. In fact, the presence of all of the trees is a natural preventive to flooding. Destroy the trees and you set the scene for flooding.

So milk vetch is not the issue but only another ploy to try and save a beautiful area of our community. It's a pity people can't see it that way.

JOHN L. BENSON

Thousand Oaks

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