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Barack Obama: Can he, will he, save Trestles?


Will Barack Obama save Trestles?

The environmental group Wildcoast chimed in this morning on the indirect role the next president might play in preventing the highly controversial construction of a toll road through a portion of San Onofre State Beach.

"Surfers everywhere are thrilled that a man who grew up in the global surfing centers of Indonesia and Oahu is to be our next president," Serge Dedina, executive director of Wildcoast, said in a news release. "This victory will have a critical impact on efforts to stop the TCA from placing a private toll road through San Onofre State Beach Park and efforts to preserve the coast worldwide."

Dedina was referring to the Transportation Corridor Agency, which is behind the effort to build the toll road, which critics contend will have an adverse environmental impact and jeopardize the famous Trestles surf breaks.

Wildcoast and other opposing groups, including the Surfrider Foundation, expect Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez to grant the TCA approval to build the toll road.

Subsequently, Wildcoast anticipates a lawsuit to be filed by the California Coastal Commission against the Department of Commerce for violating the Coastal Zone Management Act.

"Anti-toll activists are hopeful that a new  Secretary of Commerce appointed by President Obama would kill the toll road project," Dedina said.

He added: "The election of Barack Obama demonstrates to surfers the positive power of being engaged in the political process in an organized and strategic fashion. Like the Obama political campaign, considered  by presidential scholars to be the most well organized in American history, the `Save Trestles' campaign is a classic example of solid grassroots organizing, legal advocacy and community building that is a template for future efforts worldwide to save threatened surf spots."

Sure, Wildcoast seized this moment to get its name in the press and remind people that this issue is far from dead. Good for Wildcoast. Erecting a toll road through a state park is a bad idea and would set a frightening precedent. Hopefully, a new administration will indeed help save Trestles.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Surfer emerges from a session at Lower Trestles, which some say would be jeopardized by the construction of a nearby toll road. Credit: Chris Carlson/Associated Press

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Comments (4)

Leave your message to President-Elect Barack Obama at:

First of all, toll roads are evil. I presently live on the East Coast and they are a total scam. Once they've paid for themselves, new construction is always thought up with new costs over-estimated so that tolls can continue and line the pocket books of the company that built the roads.

Second, I doubt Obama will do anything about this problem. We have huge national issues to immediately address.

Third, California is the most beautiful state in the country and the most destroyed by over-population. It is crucially important for the future of the state that we save those untouched areas that remind us of the natural grandeur of California's past. If we do not proceed with this emphasis upon protecting nature, than the future of California will be very grim.


First: Trestles and San Onofre State Beach State Park will not be fine. A toll ride will essentially destroy a large swath of the State Park that was not meant to have a highway pass through it.

Second: There are plenty of alternatives to this project that do not include placing a highway through a state park.

Third: I am not attempting to mislead the public. Mr. TRN who is obviously a highway lobbyist or TCA employee is confused about public vs. private. The
TCA is a quasi public agencies that is unaccountable to the public and wants to place a toll road through a state park. In the real world this is called "privatizing" public resources for private profi.

Fourth: I am quite good at math. Secretary Gutierrez has until January 20th to overturn the CCC's decision to halt the toll roadt. He more than likely will wait until January 19th to approve the toll road, just before Obama is sworn in. And Mr. TRN is correct about the courts which I mentioned (as in lawsuit) and then eventual overturning by an Obama administration. I didn't include a detailed timeline.

Fifth: If Mr. TRN is so involved in this issue, why he is afraid to mention his real name and employer.

Serge Dedina
Executive Director


First of all, Trestles is going to be fine. Connecting a roadway a half-mile from the beach will have zero impact on Trestles (a beach named - by the way - for the TRAIN TRACKS running on the sand!)

Second of all, while some seem to believe President-Elect Obama can walk on water, the rest of us get from point A to point B using roads. We need to build this road.

Third, Serge Dedina is intentionally trying to mislead the public. He knows that the Toll Road is a public road and in fact becomes a state highway once it is built. It is not a private road as he states in his quote (and is reported without question by Pete Thomas).

Fourth, Serge has a problem with math. The Secretary of Commerce has to rule on this BEFORE January 20. That means Obama won't be in office yet. Sorry Charlie!

Finally, once the Secretary of Commerce overturns the Coastal Commission's idiotic decision, the appeal does not go BACK to the Secretary of Commerce... it goes to the courts.

This road will be built because it needs to be built. We need the traffic relief NOW!


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