Open space usage debate – Part 2

What’s a voter to do?
by Sheli Ellsworth

Environmentalist Winthrop Staples has also studied the SOAR/Measure F issue. Staples feels that, in general, the open space issues are really a bi-product of over population. The idea of an ever-expanding economy dependent upon immigration and the misconception of infinite resources is always going to be a problem. “Ecosystems have maximum carrying capacities for all species that if exceeded inevitably cause environmental degradation.”

Staples says that our leaders use inconsistent race-card distractions to promote what is essentially alchemy by asserting that, “‘Population is not the problem, inequality of global wealth distribution or the overconsumption of developed nations is the problem.’” But, according to Staples, “An ecological footprint for the population of the world to live politically correct lifestyles would require the resources of many earths to support . . . .Well-intended environmentalists have been involved in the development and promotion of many of these (oxymoron of sustainable growth) as a way to lessen the destruction of what remains of nature.”

Both measures have wording to possibly slow down population growth, however, both “contain provisions that are potential Trojan Horses that could ram environment and quality of life destroying growth down our citizens’ throats, and lead to more mass Exoduses of Californians to not yet totally bulldozed areas in the rest of the country. Again it is highly questionable that anything like ‘smart growth’ is possible in the long term,” says Staples. “However, the early expiration date on proposition F in 2036 as opposed to the SOAR date of 2050 offers agricultural land less long term protection from development into housing projects or malls and commercial buildings.”

According to Staples, “Measure F  does the most environmental damage in the USA to continue to enable the least effective means of producing vegetables and fruits in a nation that has plenty of water in most of the rest of the country  . . . . Hip, politically correct environmentalist literature is full of admonitions to grow and consume locally and rational discussion of the evils of burning immense amounts of diesel fuel in trucks to move produce thousands of miles that can be grown locally.”

Local farmer, Phil McGrath of the McGrath Family Farm agrees that salting is an agricultural problem right now, but it is due to the lack of rain, which would normally keep the mineral in balance. McGrath says that he suffers right along with everyone when the cost of water goes up and that he gets no reduction in the cost of water for farm usage. “Our water costs have gone up by four times in the last 5-10 years.” McGrath says that “change is inevitable and unavoidable” and that SOAR’s extension may sound like a good idea but that farmers need flexibility which SOAR does not offer them. “ The year 2050 is too far out to predict. “Farming is driven by demand. We need to be able to adapt to it.” McGrath wants consumers to know that eating seasonal foods is a good way to reduce the effects of food production on the environment and considering crops like cannabis could make a huge difference in the county’s agricultural survival. McGrath also feels that over population underscores many of the problems associated with food production, and he points out that the Farm Bureau does not support SOAR. “SOAR was confusing to voters 20 years ago and is confusing now. We all want to protect the land but SUSTAIN VC also protects the county’s farmers.”


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