Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007 | I have a question: What is wrong with Fiesta Island, and why does this Bob Ottilie fellow want to attract more people to it?

Where else can your dog chase bush bunnies, or the occasional jackrabbit? Where else can kite boarders, anglers, land sailors and birdwatchers mingle? Where else can a falconer fly their hawk in the city?

What is going through Bob Ottilie’s mind that he thinks Fiesta Island would benefit from homogenization and additional crowds and traffic?

If people want lawns, cement picnic benches and overused public facilities, there are plenty of places for them to go in the parks that ring Mission Bay. Aside from two tiny, sad lagoon remnants, there are no places left for wildlife and people who enjoy undeveloped open space!

On Fiesta Island, horned larks and a few burrowing owls can still be seen. Bulldozed, grassy parks attract only pigeons, coots, and the usual urban suspects.

I’ve been going to Fiesta Island since I first got a driver’s license in the early 1970s. I have flown red-tailed hawks at the jackrabbits; not too many people may recall the population of albino jacks that were once found there. I used to run my borzoi around the island, and my friend would sometimes bring her whippet so we could chase bunnies with our dogs. No, we never caught any, but it sure was a lot of fun!

I don’t get this “development is good” attitude. No, it isn’t always good. The plan to build yet another golf course on the island was shot down. An amphitheater would broadcast noise which would interfere with residents on the hill and cause interminable traffic jams.

This is the last piece of open space in Mission Bay. I say we leave it that way, so that the people and wildlife that aren’t compatible with the ‘parkland and grass’ crowd still have a place to play and live.

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