Jennifer Nicholson Geller, San Clemente

If you’re not outraged by the future extension of the 241 Toll Road because you “don’t get involved in politics” or “it will never happen,” it is time to reconsider. This isn’t a game of politics but your quality of living, your children’s health and your home values are at stake. The threat is real and the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) is moving forward.

Toll roads in Orange County have never served the vast majority of motorists, only those who can afford to pay. Did you know we (through Caltrans) are footing the ongoing maintenance bill for these roads that most of us don’t or can’t use? We were duped into paying for the toll roads through development fees, loss of open space and public lands, in addition to some of the highest tolls in the country. Due to TCA mismanagement and faulty projections, these roads may never be free as they were ultimately intended.

Now, the TCA wants to bulldoze through our town. Although they deny having chosen a specific route, there is no denying that their efforts are locked on a proposed route that would wind straight through the center of town. This route would destroy thousands of homes, divide our city and come dangerously close to parks and schools. Most visible would be its encroachment on and over San Clemente High School. The toll road will blaze through miles of the city’s open space. The TCA has been secretive and dishonest in their attempt to push their road through, strategically pitting us against other groups.
Although their 2016 settlement with the Surfrider Foundation and the Save San Onofre Coalition “saved” Trestles, the foundation made a sour deal, agreeing not to take a position on any future proposed routes. This effectively pushed the TCA back to reconsider the San Clemente route that they themselves had rejected years earlier due to the destructiveness of the route.

There has been an amazing groundswell of support from local citizens and public officials to stop the toll road, but it is still very much a David-versus-Goliath effort. Educate yourself, write a letter, display a lawn sign, donate to

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comments (9)

  • Well said. If you want to save the best beach town in California for your kids, get in the fight.

    • Ms Geller wrote a pretty good letter–

      HOWEVER, Surfrider Foundation did not make a “sour” deal at all. For SF to
      have taken a stand on future inland alignments would have been flat unlawful– end of story. SF is a 501 c 3 non profit that is tax exempt and is required by law to stay strictly within their mission statement which is pure surf zone and coastal. If they had of taken a stand on other alignments it would be considered an “unrelated business expense” and have violated fed tax law.

      SF is over a quarter century old and populated by thoughtful and competent lawyers and scientists. They don’t make this sort of mistake— ever.

      • That’s right, Surfrider took into consideration “pure surf zone and coastal” only, not the San Clemente residents. Anyone in these closed-door meetings could have told San Clemente city what was happening, and what was going to happen to them. They didn’t.

        And if Surfrider is worried about the coast only, why does the “avoidance zone” stretch almost to Riverside County? Weak sauce, Rick.

        • Cord— all i can tell you is that the Fed law on the matter is very clear—and a coastal non profit works inland on pol development issues at their peril. SF’s primary mission was to protect the beach, and by all accounts did a magnificent job on saving Trestles! Over the years, different special interests have tried to pull SF off mission, luckily they resist it.

          • Trestles is a hollow victory if San Clemente is ruined. It’s also a hollow victory if radioactive waste continues to be stored at our beach. We want NONE of it. And of course we don’t want Trestles touched. NO MORE TOLL ROADS anywhere, not just near Trestles.

            Think bigger picture…

          • Agree on the nuke waste dump in the Sano bluff! I’m pretty sure SF has taken a strong position against it!
            Hollow victory saving trestles?
            Lmao— hardly.
            These fights are won, one victory at a time, all are important. “Losing” San Clemente is
            Of course bad in the extreme, but none of blame lays at SF’s feet. All they have done is rack up coastal environmental victories for 30 plus years!

            Your argument is similar to Trump blaming the FBI for Russian collusion/conspiracy…. never —- always a losing argument.

            Peter Douglas, the late and wonderful inventor of our Coastal Commission once famously noted that the California coast will always need saving”, SF has been a leader in that fight for 35 years!

          • Saving Trestles by abandoning San Clemente is a hollow victory. If your Trestles victory causes anguish for an entire community, is it really a victory? We need SF to fight against the toll roads for Trestles AND for San Clemente. We’ve got beaches here too, and folks who are extremely concerned about the runoff situation, land re-mitigation, and a host of other items that were swept aside with your settlement. Are you ready to abandon one stretch of coastline for another?

          • Well, I guess you’ve decided not to listen to me? That’s ok. As I’ve said, in order to keep the 501 c3 status and be legal, SF like all non profits, must stay within their federally registered mission and as much as you don’t like it, inland toll roads are not within it. You can hope SF takes on many fights but outside it’s mission and in violation of federal law, it just ain’t going to happen. That’s not for profit mal practice.

            I guess if you want you can promote squabbles among enviro non profits, you’re the TCA’s new best friend amigo.

          • Seriously? SC has beaches too. That’s not within your mandate? That’s why I mentioned runoff and re-mitigation of mitigated lands. Ever see those signs that say “drains to the ocean’?

            Stay within your mandated 501-C3 status. Your actions by doing so have thrown San Clemente under the bus. If you can’t see, then we’re both wasting our time.

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