Monday, Oct. 29, 2007 | After the smoke clears, there will be a flurry of debriefing as to the performance of San Diego’s regional leadership, et. al. In sum, it will be shown that the county on the whole did better in 2007 than it did in 2003. However, it’s still not good enough.

We need to start thinking of our land, water and air as something other than real estate, import, and the stuff we inadvertently and involuntarily breathe. We can no longer be passive, naive and bound to old systems. We need to think big, we need to act on those big ideas, and we need to do it now.

Here are the knowns:

We know we have a history of being drought vulnerable. We know that the most treacherous Santa Ana winds come during the fall. We know our imported potable water supply is subject to age-old California water wars. And we should know, by now, that nature isn’t going to change her ways anytime soon, certainly not in our lifetimes.

Hello, is everyone awake now?

Can we start thinking about dual land uses? For example, why couldn’t we have a series of slender water reservoirs that would encircle the foothills between wilderness and urbanity? Like a necklace of water canals that could be used for potable water, firefighting, recreation, and wildlife.

Shouldn’t all golf courses, city and county parks be using non-potable effluent water finally? Most abut nearby housing clusters which could deliver an ample amount of resources (with built in fertilizer no less!).

Shouldn’t we finally put an end to the raw-land development sprawl that we are most known for in post-war American land planning? Can’t we stand up against the overly aggressive development community that insists on building housing as per their profit models?

Can we expect panels and commissions that will soon be pulled together to consider our future not be stacked with developer-dependent consultants and reflect true visionary community and environmental systems representation?

To think in more progressive terms will mean to go against the staid political landscape and the everlasting chant “it will cost too much,” as well as pernicious development entitlements. Should we allow that to nullify our response to this last series of events? Can we afford not to act in a new and improved way?

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