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Surf and Turf Battles

June 04, 2005

Your May 28 editorial, "Sore Winners," regarding the Coastal Commission, I believe missed an important point. The commission was voted into existence to protect the coast. Protecting the coast is the commissioners' job. The commission has a fairly strong law to carry out that mission.

However, if the commissioners ignore the law, then I feel that they should not be on the commission. This is where I part company with your assessment of the commission's actions. We have one coast to protect. Once we let it go there is no other. It requires strict adherence to the Coastal Act. That is what we need from all 12 of the coastal commissioners. I don't believe Toni Iseman fits that need.

Nancy Donaven

Huntington Beach

*

The Times argues that environmentalists are asking too much in their efforts to protect our few remaining parcels of coastal open-space land, such as Bolsa Chica and the Dana Point Headlands, and therefore are setting the bar too high for Coastal Commissioner Iseman. All environmental groups struggle to find a balance between standing for their principles and being realistic about future growth. That said, it is obvious to anyone who tried to surf or swim this rainy winter that the Southern California coast is suffering a death from 1,000 cuts (compromises).

While the Dana Point Headlands project has come a long way, it still does not conform to the California Coastal Act. We are not willing to compromise the very law that protects one of California's most valuable assets -- the beach.

Iseman lost the support of environmentalists because her overall voting record on the Coastal Commission represents a pattern of disregard for the coastal environment.

We believe it is our duty to take a stand so that California will continue to be famous for clean water, healthy beaches and rich and diverse marine ecosystems. That isn't worth compromising.

Chad Nelsen

Surfrider Foundation

San Clemente

*

Thanks for bringing the environmentalist jihad against Iseman to the public's attention. Without Iseman and the Coastal Commission, our last remaining coastal open space would likely be paved over, lost forever to the urban sprawl that has swallowed up the rest of Orange County.

That the Sierra Club and others see Iseman's votes as a punishable offense confirms their growing irrelevance in a 21st century environmental movement that requires pragmatism, not suicide bombers.

William W. McKinney

Laguna Beach

*

The Times' editorial attack on conservationists paints a diverse assortment of groups and individuals with one broad, negative brush. This is not only simplistic, but shows a surprising ignorance of the values underlying the positions it condemns as well as of the particulars of some of the examples the editorials cite. This isn't a game. It's not about winners and losers. Our planet is a limited, fragile resource.

Environmentalists believe we must exploit the resource in a way that is mindful of the consequences to all human and other life forms -- current and future -- that also depend on it for survival. To do so is not only a moral imperative, but is in our own enlightened self-interest.

Over 95% of California's wetlands have been lost, and Southern California coastal headlands are virtually wiped out. It would seem that preserving intact the very few of these ecosystems would be a no-brainer, in spite of the disappointment of those hoping to make a short-term profit on permanent destruction.

Sandra Ducoff Garber

Los Angeles

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Re "And Now the Coast Is Here," May 27: I cannot help but feel a twinge of sympathy, mogul or not, for David Geffen's recent loss.

Losing anything, especially property rights, to the public is just another act of a nonprofit group assuming that it knows what's best. Geffen will still enjoy his evening sunsets overlooking the Pacific. They will, however, most likely be tainted with views of trash, mixed in with a multitude of cellulite.

The supporters may be celebrating this time, with glasses held high, however -- beware!

When "Access for All" decides that "it's for the best" or "the public has a right" that, for instance, a neighborhood must be moved or destroyed to make way for a much needed freeway, a shopping center or even a park, we all will get to see what Geffen must feel like -- rich, but helpless.

Elisabeth Chatfelter

Lake Hughes

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