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

November 5, 2008 | 10:37 am

Trestles_1_1

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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