Opinion: Measures M, N and O are about your family and neighbors future
The effort to stop about anything in this state began about 40 years ago, by Jerry Brown, who promoted who promoted the philosophy of “small is beautiful” (except when it came to government). That is why he stopped building roads and dams. The theory being, if we don’t build roads and dams, people would not come to California. Yet, they still came, to the tune of about 15 million more in California than before. That philosophy included a long-range plan that continues to impact us and our economy, today.
About that time, Jerry Brown aligned with Friends of the River (FOR) to stop the construction of the New Melones Dam. This became a major loss for the rafting community and Bill Center, one of the founders of FOR. Unfortunately, many from that battle ended up in El Dorado County, filing lawsuits to stop the SOFAR Water Project on the South Fork of the American River. Bill Center, representing American River Touring Association, won the case. FOR and other non-profit organizations waged a long war against the Auburn Dam, and in later years, against other county water projects and EID — even 81,000 acres of land on four forks of the American River. These non-profits continue to use other methods, continuing to acquire land and river frontage, more often than not paying no property taxes, as with properties owned by the state and federal governments. Lawsuits went against 59 highway projects, five in El Dorado County. Litigation went against the county General Plan, in the 1990s.
One of the mother ships of the environmental groups is the Sierra Nevada Alliance, with 50-plus member groups, and Bill Center, one of those at the helm. One of their members, Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation, filed appeals against 61 timber harvests. One cannot help but think that if healthy management of our forests had continued to be allowed, the recent fires would not have exploded to the extent we have witnessed, drought or not. Their claim that fire is nature’s way of cleansing the forest does not play well for the wildlife they claim to protect.
Bill Center also sits on the board of the Planning and Conservation League, which, along with the Sierra Nevada Alliance, claims to use the initiative process, in rural counties, to control land use. The Planning and Conservation League, Sierra Club and League of Women Voters have already threatened lawsuits against the proposed dams included in the State Water Bond.
Once again, voters are faced with three initiatives, M, N and O, just because a few kingpins in this county did not get their way, when in 2005, voters approved the county General Plan. Voters really need to question the constant effort by those who put out erroneous information and inflated numbers about development projects that haven’t even been approved. In fact, it has been years since the Board of Supervisors approved any major development projects. Think about the dollars lost over the last 30 years, or so. Would there have been money to fix arterial roads? How about county facilities — the Sheriff’s Department, Health Department — that serves all ages? Would we have had to pump water uphill from Folsom?
Please give some serious thought about the potential consequences if you support this continued effort by these litigants and initiative proponents who keep this county in a state of disruption while deterring business growth, jobs and reasonable planning. We have an updated General Plan — the guide for land use, mandated by the state of California. It’s a plan with a process that allows for public comment, a plan that the agricultural community supports, a plan that supports an improved business climate. We can no longer afford to be looked at as the county that is in constant turmoil, that pumps water up the hill and sends jobs and sales tax dollars down the hill.
This is about your family and neighbors future. Are you willing to put your trust in these litigators and petitioners or the small business owner and those community members who support local schools, sporting programs and service clubs? These are the individuals who are urging you to vote no on Measures M, N and O.