I am a big believer in using the web to further dialogue and democracy. One of the worst things about the web is how people hide behind their anonymous opinions. Please, if you have an opinion, why be anonymous — especially if you are a lobbyist who is paid to promote a project.

But I digress and thank Coronado Mayor Pro Tem Carrie Downey for her thoughtful and not anonymous comment,

As Coronado’s representative to the SANDAG Shoreline Preservation working group I voted for the updated sand replenishment study. It saddens me that true discourse is always hidden behind personal interests “surfers vs. beach homeowners”. This is proactive maintenance to preserve our beach lifestyle.

First, it was great to hear Mayor Pro Tem Downey acknowledge in her comment that Coronado does not need beach replenishment (since much of their sand comes from Imperial Beach). But I am not clear why an economic and ecological argument about the futility of sand replenishment got turned into a “surfers vs. beach howeowners” argument. As if somehow my motivation is only maintaining the quality of the surf at Cardiff Reef.

Nowhere in my article did I mention surfing. I would argue that as someone whose entire life is dedicated to maintaining a beach lifestyle, I should be the first to agree with sand replenishment projects. But let’s substitute the word ocean for beach. The beach is not what makes San Diego unique. Our location adjacent to the Pacific Ocean is what makes our region a worthy place to call home. If it is sand you crave please move to Glammis or Yuma. But the reality is that these dredge and fill projects are purely welfare pork for beachfront property owners.

Reader Larry wrote:

How about we return the manmande Children’s pool to the use for which it was intended, and make Imperial Beach the next seal sanctuary? Pull the surfers out of the water and let the seals in. Might actually make Imperial Beach someplace people would want to go to.

First of al, the coastline around the historic Seal Rock should be returned to the seals. So let’s make a deal: Let’s tear down the ridiculous and dangerous wall at Casa Beach, restore the beach to its natural state, and if the seals migrate to Imperial Beach, we’ll welcome them with open arms. However, let’s just not ask the generous and decidedly blue-collar and middle-class residents of IB to pay for protecting beachfront homes in Del Mar.

But instead of having SANDAG raise funds to protect the property of the world’s wealthiest people, why doesn’t the agency collectively raise funds to help decrease the murder rate in Southeast San Diego, or reduce childhood asthma in Barrio Logan. Or I know, how about working together first to solve the transportation crisis, the housing crisis, the education crisis, and improving the quality of life for the majority of people in the County who are not worried and never will be about the “beach towel crisis.”

Is maintaining the “beach lifestyle” really the best we can do? Is that what we want to be remembered for —while San Diego burned, at least we provided the sand for the endless beach party (or in PB the beach riot).

Meanwhile, reader Get a Clue wrote on,

It’s easy to say things like “there is scientific consensus” that sand replenishment projects are a waste of public funds, or that they “have a devastating impact on fragile marine and coastal ecosystems,” but neither statement is true.

The only people who are stating that these dredge and fill projects have no impact on coastal and marine ecosystems are the consultants, lobbyists and public officials who get paid to promote them. In fact an article in Bioscience (Peterson and Bishop, Asessing the Environmental Impacts of Beach Nourishment October 2005/Vol 55: No. 10) reaches just this conclusion:

Such beach “nourishment” can bury shallow reefs and degrade other beach habitats, depressing nesting in sea turtles and reducing the densities of invertebrate prey for shorebirds, surf fishes and crabs…Monitoring is typically conducted through project promoters, with no independent peer review, and the permitting agencies exhibit inadequate expertise to review biostatistical designs..Reform of agency practices is urgently needed as the risk of cumulative impacts grows.


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