Nonsensical to pit housing project against forest

By Cosmo Bua

The following was published in the Monterey County Herald on September 6, 2014.

There could hardly be a clearer example of a company – not even a municipality, but a company – shoving people it doesn’t want into an area it doesn’t care about on the edge of town… segregating inclusionary housing away to where it will be less safe and less livable for the residents.

Proposed project site

Proposed project site

The EIR process is already very troubling, because it is starting from a manufactured falsehood – which is the pitting of the need for affordable housing against the survival of a beloved local forest. This is a nonsensical formulation. In reality, there is absolutely no conflict or reasonable connection what-so-ever between this housing and this forest.

There is a moral imperative here and that is the basic issue the County is facing. It is known that it is wrong to destroy a forest. In this case, where there are numerous clear, viable, and even obviously preferable alternative sites for accomplishing this housing goal, it is ludicrous – or even insane.

Slowly but surely, worldwide, ecosystems are being granted legal standing in government constitutions. All the sane people in the world are desperately trying to slow global warming. Is Monterey County going to completely unnecessarily destroy a cherished old growth forest?

This forest has been beloved for generations. Nearby residents were raised going into it to learn about and to enjoy nature. They grew up, had kids and took them there. And these kids had kids… Grandparents are taking grand and great grand kids into this same forest which has always been an important part of their community life. Losing this forest will be losing very valuable ingrained private meaning and pubic heritage – and depriving future generations. People will be different raised without it.

The report of seven hundred-plus trees to be destroyed is inaccurate. Only trees of two especially endangered native species are guesstimated, and only trees over 4 inches in diameter of those (1).  Many hundreds more will actually be destroyed. All of these trees and other plants, this migratory bird stop, and all of this watershed and habitat, and displacing all of this wildlife – just to cram in housing which can easily be better and safer situated very nearby on sites already deforested by the Pebble Beach Company is not just a ridiculous choice, its a very violent crime.

We must have a serious examination and the proposal of reasonable, viable alternate sites from scratch, because this forest is not one of them.

(1) Tree Resource Assessment – Arborist Report, July 29, 2013, pages 6 and 7