Stab Magazine | The Orange County Development Project That Just Won’t Die

The Orange County Development Project That Just Won’t Die

Trestles and the Toll Road: Redux. 

news // Jul 18, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

At what point does the American public rise-up and throw the money changers out of the temple? Now? Never? Whenever? Anyway, it’s no surprise that Republican Congressman Darrell Issa feels it’s an opportune time to revive the toll road through San Clemente and Trestles–we’re already stripping back any sort of environmental progress. Why stop now?

“I am disappointed that some communities and elected officials have chosen to either remain on the sidelines or literally throw roadblocks in the way of transportation alternatives, but I hope you understand that the vast majority of South Orange County residents want and need traffic relief solutions and that we strongly support the unrelenting efforts of TCA and its transportation agency partners,” reads an excerpt from a letter Issa released earlier this month.

The toll road is Trestles’ hydra. You cut its head off but you just can’t kill the beast–give us pavement or give us death! Environmental groups have been spearheading a fight against the six-lane 241 Toll Road for over 15 years now, and even though they’ve come out on top in five lawsuits and numerous public hearings, the greed of Issa’s pals at the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) is unquenchable. In November 2016, a lawsuit established an “Avoidance Area” that would permanently protect the San Onofre State Beach and Trestles area (a part of the California State Park system currently leased from the U.S. Department of Navy). Issa seeks to undo this, regardless of that fact that over 2.5 million people use the Park annually.

“Clearly, Mr Issa forgot about the thousands of people who fought for years to protect this Park and that the Bush Administration and Coastal Commission denied the road in 2008,” reads a clarion statement released by the Surfrider Foundation. “Building a road through State Park is an outdated way of solving traffic.”

The Surfrider post goes on to urge people to send Issa a letter, asking him to “ditch his far-fetched plans” and further protect San Onofre and Trestles. Last week, when I got the email from Surfrider, I started to craft a letter to Issa, figuring it my civic duty as a mad-as-hell surfer. Then I thought I’d articulate my feelings in a more public setting. So here’s my open letter:


Dear Mr Issa,

I am disappointed in you. As a representative of the people, you are supposed to take their best interests and wishes into consideration. Instead, it appears you have sided with the for-profit TCA to continue to push for a toll road that the people of my community seriously don’t want. We’ve made that fact abundantly clear for years. Collectively we’ve been making our voice heard about this disaster of a plan for over 15 years and now you’re the one that’s “disappointed” with us? You don’t get to be disappointed with us.

If you cared about your district you would be considerably more outspoken when it comes to protecting it. Every day in San Clemente I look at a decommissioned nuclear power plant that, for all I know, is leaking toxic waste into our land and water. And what have you done? Nothing. Zero. And now you want to build the toll road right through the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station? The toll road idea has already died a thousand deaths in the court of public opinion. Listen to the people. It’s not even a regular highway that everyone can use, but one that charges the citizen of your district simply to drive on it. How is that a “transportation alternative”? Can you understand this disappointment, Mr Issa?

It’s no secret, we both know you don’t give two shits about the traffic in Orange County. You live on an estate in Vista. You’re worth over $400 million. Don’t talk to us about being a man of the people or concerned about everyday Californians. You’ve made your fortune on our backs. I was okay with that because you left our beaches alone, but advocacy for the 241 Toll Road demonstrates exactly how greedy and two-faced you are.

Mr Issa, stop being such a kook and put an end to the 241 Toll Road already. Your constituents will thank you…maybe.

Send your own letter to stop the 241 Toll Road here.


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