Michael Weinbaum, San Clemente
With emotions running high concerning the toll road extension, it is important that those who purport to educate the public do so accurately and with intellectual honesty, particularly as relates to the lawsuit San Clemente has filed against the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA). Unfortunately, the letter to the editor in the Sept. 7-13 San Clemente Times by Council member Chris Hamm contains information that does neither.
Hamm stated that the lawsuit “does not challenge the Save San Onofre Coalition (SSOC) settlement agreement (with TCA); it challenges the agreement that binds Caltrans to the settlement agreement and removes all traffic solutions except a toll road through South Orange County.” Huh? A lawsuit that challenges an agreement binding a party to a settlement agreement is a challenge to the settlement agreement; that’s a tautology. Moreover, the protective agreement to which the quoted statement opaquely refers is provided for in the (not being challenged) SSOC settlement agreement. To pretend these are two unrelated agreements or phenomena is disingenuous. Residents are footing the bill for this lawsuit; we at least are entitled to clear, accurate explanations about what this lawsuit is about and seeks to accomplish.
The same can be said about the SSOC’s full-page ad in the same SC Times edition. The SSOC says that its settlement only says where a road cannot go, through San Onofre State Beach, and that a range of other options can be explored with full community participation. But the SSOC then states that the city’s suit attempts to force a destructive toll road through the state beach. That is as untrue, as the city’s overheated claims about what the settlement does; the city’s suit simply does not seek to have the toll road go through the park.
The toll road and the lawsuit are two different issues. One can quite rationally object, as do I, to a toll road that either impairs San Onofre State Beach or bisects San Clemente, while also being disappointed that San Clemente has filed yet another dumb lawsuit it appears its own City Council either does not understand or can’t clearly and accurately describe. And the SSOC owes a special obligation not to overstate its position in opposition to that suit. It’s hard enough to become informed on complicated issues without all the hysterical rhetoric and misinformation.