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Robert and Sherry Clifford, San Clemente

South Orange County and particularly, San Clemente (SC), unite! Be heard! It has become abundantly apparent that some outside communities expect San Clemente to sacrifice itself for the benefit of others and for what others create—whether accepting a devastating toll road being built on top of our schools, homes or open space, or burying nuclear waste in our community. We are Not In My Back Yards (NIMBYs) if we do not do so.

At the Feb. 8 Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) Joint Board meeting, some elected officials and agency representatives spent a great deal of time and public taxpayer funds to imply, and even admonish, so-called illegal activity by our elected SC officials solely because our San Clemente City Council is trying to protect our rights as citizens, be informed of their constituents’ values and ensure that they are represented at the table.

At the TCA board meeting, the TCA’s high-paid strategist put together a presentation in which the PR firm admitted to secretly monitoring private citizens’ Facebook accounts in order to monitor opposition to The Toll Roads. This is a perfect example of why citizens today do not trust government—intimidation by big money and power.

The First Amendment was enacted because our forefathers recognized that our democracy requires the ability of our citizenry to employ advocacy and grassroots movements (“free speech”) as key ingredients in affecting system change.

San Clemente was established by those leaving behind urbanization because they placed value on history, open space, nature and thoughtful balanced development. It is the reason a Presidential Library was rejected from being built over top of one of the last remaining coastal plains on the West Coast.

To government officials who don’t understand these values shared by San Clementeans and many South Orange County citizens who want to come visit the splendors of our community, our voices should not be trampled for the sake of others; this should not be easy, rapid or without controversy. Our challenge to you is to let our voices be heard. As elected officials, you have a responsibility and are mandated to be transparent—to ensure the rights of the few as well as the many that have been considered and valued.

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