Basking in the afterglow

by Robert T. Nanninga

I am spent. After months of tension, climax came at 12 am on November 4th. The election results were in and I had once again found myself on top. A roller coaster of sensations, this campaigning season has left me wanting more.

It is nice to have the environment on the winning side for once. What a work out, I even broke a sweat. Oh sure, there were a few lost battles, major losses that will impact San Diego's quality of life in ways we can't even begin to imagine. Victory and defeat entwined in a nasty dance where you know someone is going to get hurt.

But hey, this is what chaos is all about. We all take our chances when we enter the game. The question is, can you always respect yourself in the morning? I know I can, because I refuse to find validation by cozying up next to every sugar daddy that promises me with a hotel with a ocean view. Prostitution is, after all, the world's oldest profession. Not that I'm judging.

A long time ago I realized that nothing is free in America, and more importantly, that everything has it's price. Most things go cheap, some go cheaper, because our idea of worth is limited by our lack of understanding.

Price and cost are rarely related as we continue to withdraw from the planetary ATM. I mean, who in their right mind would complain about having money to burn? Things are perfect just the way they are.

Private property is now considered legal tender, and because of this open space is seen as a wasteful use of resources. Prop B failed because it makes no economic sense to leave land alone. To afford your piece of property you have to exploit it. Things need to shift 180 degrees. Development should be taxed, and open space should get the tax breaks. How is that for a concept?

Considering that profit is a human construct, to expect nature to pay it's own way is rather like asking humans beings to take only their share. The reason I supported the Rural Heritage and Watershed Initiative was because I felt that we should make do with the space we already inhabit. If our populations continue to grow, it is time to start stacking. As odd as this may seem, there are other species on this planet, and they too need a place to live. And I'm not talking about zoos.

So, now that I am done wallowing in my upset, let's look at the positive outcomes of the recent election. Barbara Boxer was returned to the Senate. Gray Davis saved us from the cluelessness of another Republican Governor. In the races for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the Green Party candidates came in third with 3 percent of the vote. Not bad for a bunch of tree huggers. The German Greens are proof of what we can achieve. It is just a matter of time.

Here in coastal North County we had the sense to elect individuals such as Dennis Holz and Christy Guerin to the Encinitas City Council, and re-elect Mark Whitehead in Del Mar. As for Oceanside and Carlsbad, all the pro-development incumbents were re-elected so we can assume those cities will continue to build their tourist traps at the rest of our expense.

At least in coastal North County south of Carlsbad, that is we are beginning to rethink our priorities. That is a good thing. By concentrating on improving our quality of life, instead of the quantity of lives, we will save ourselves from the discomfort that always follows gluttony. Manchester Resort and Lego Land are temples of consumption that the rest of us will have to live with. Oh sure, they look good on paper, but with the profit comes the pain. I just hope Del Mar, Encinitas, and Solana Beach can be spared the indignity of Anaheim, which Oceanside and Carlsbad seem to be courting.

In the City of San Diego, Prop C will change the face of downtown. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what high density can offer. Padre fans are going to have to take mass transit if the don't want to spend the first three innings looking for a place to park. I also applaud the work of those who worked on getting Props K, M, and N passed. This just goes to show what can be accomplished when environmental and development communities come together.

Now that we have made some gains, we have to make sure our momentum stays focused. We have a lot of messes to clean up. We must continue to work at shifting the paradigm, and to do this those of us who have been denied a place at the table must come forward to help those we elected to office. First up, there is a meeting at Encinitas City Hall on November 19th at 7:00 PM in the Poinsettia Room. On the agenda is the daylighting of Cottonwood Creek. Here is a chance to make sure environmental restoration is part of the new status quo.

Hope springs eternal, now if we only can get Cottonwood Creek to spring back to life.

  Robert T. Nanninga is a Leucadia resident currently working on a degree in Environmental Communications at CSUSM. You can reach Robert by sending email to or by writing to the San Diego Earth Times.