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Fighting Desert Development

February 11, 2001

In "Saturation Point?" (by Ann Japenga, Jan. 14), I have to object to the term "visionary" in describing developer Kevin Loder. Perhaps "shortsighted opportunist" would be more appropriate. How else to describe a man whose "vision" is limited to the construction of half-million-dollar mini-mansions around a resource-draining artificial lake? It's also nice to see that his "vision" is spreading among other developers--oops! I mean entrepreneurs--in the planning of even more lakes nearby. Water shortage? According to Loder, the scientists of the future will figure that one out. This project is nothing more than what we are accustomed to in Southern California: impractical development. How much longer are our natural resources going to last at the hands of for-profit developers and land speculators? Show me a project that takes into consideration the environment in which it exists and respects the limits of our resources, and I'll show you "visionary."

Steven Edwards

Sherman Oaks

*

Having lived in the Coachella Valley for the past 14 years, I enjoyed Japenga's article for the things it did not mention. 1) We're out of electricity here. Last summer, on the hottest day, we were shut off for more than six hours. Our house was like an oven. 2) The water used by golf courses, decorators and lawns is a small fraction of that used by agriculture. But it is seeping back into the aquifer, loaded with fertilizers, insecticides and fungicides. 3) All of the building is blowing the desert away. Sand moves around a lot more with builders digging, scraping and piling dirt to make houses, golf courses and waterfalls. The folks who buy into Loder's dream can expect to do a lot of dusting. 4) Loder's ShadowLake Estates is built very close to the San Andreas fault. The phrase "suspension of reality" is a wonderful description of the mind-set here among government, business, builders and residents. As a result, rats and pigeons have replaced coyotes, bighorn sheep and roadrunners on the desert landscape. We need to remember that this is a desert, and it's been here a lot longer than we have.

David F. Middleton

Palm Desert

*

Physicist Stephen Hawking recently predicted that as the world's population continues to soar unabated, disastrous effects on the environment will force mankind to establish new habitats in outer space 100 years from now. This could explain my odd sense of foreboding as I read about Loder's plans to attract thousands of people and other developments to the Coachella Valley.

Germaine Baur

Ojai

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