Seeing Red (Rock)

Recent “Canyon Beat” reportorial efforts at encouraging civic literacy, identifying candidates in area assembly, state senate and U.S. House races, celebrating local improvements and inviting readers to take courage appear trumped by developments in the areas of, well, development (Red Rock Gardens), and emergency homeless housing policy.  We persevere, emphasizing the “try” in Sentry but your humble scribe finds himself in a funny place at press time, and not funny ha-ha.  Hard to know what’s real, satire or only the collaborative fever dream of elected officials and canyon apocalypticists. Political leaders appear to have fixated on our politically underrepresented unincorporated canyons.  Silverado residents Left and Right resist encroachments, big or small.  But, considering our political vulnerability, perhaps better to welcome homeless residents and register them to vote here? 

Follow the Do
Best quote evoking philosophy from a supervisor: “In this case, property rights outweigh the philosophical impact of the specific plan.” --- Andrew Do. 

Curious about what it is and how to quantify “philosophical impact,” and anticipating the next sups meeting might agendize Stoicism, Renaissance humanism, Rationalism and the Enlightenment, I asked about Do’s explanation of his vote violating the County’s General Plan, Silverado-Modjeska Specific Plan and zoning code.  More Do:  “The specific plan has merit, but my philosophy is that the specific plan is not sacrosanct. In this case, property rights outweighed the specific plan.”  Sacrosanct, for those reaching for a dictionary, means sacred or holy; inviolable.  So, fellow parishioners, the triumph of the holy (property rights) over the profane?  Perhaps Do will debate how many supervisors dance on the head of a pin with Todd Spitzer, who you’ll notice is running for DA, as we are reminded by all the Re-Elect Rackaukas signs on Chapman.

The “scam” in SOCAM 
The location of the mid-April meeting by the South Orange County Association of Mayors (SOCAM) --- a luxurious beach club! --- where they voted to recommend (one against) transporting impoverished, hungry homeless people to our otherwise beloved boonies may be ironic enough for most, but not brave canyon folk.  We’re accustomed to benign or purposeful neglect, as the closing of our elementary school and generally infantile press portrayals as charming rural belligerents concerned about, well, highway deaths, traffic and environmental destruction.  Now our limited political representation and unincorporated status brings attention at last with SOCAM responding to Judge Carter’s demand for an emergency shelter by suggesting, sincerely or not, that the county use “Lyft, Uber and Yellow Cab” to relocate 200-400 people to a functioning public library and community room miles from commercial or social services, adjacent a nature trail and large animal evacuation (watch where you step) site but out of sight, and, no, those hillbillies won’t mind.

Yet Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Parks District Director Deborah Johnson shared the following on social media the day after the vote:  “Tara Saraye (SMRPD president), myself and Children’s Center Director Laurie Briggs, spent an hour with Jim Gardner, the Mayor of Lake Forest who cast the sole dissenting vote over moving the homeless to our library site. He wanted to see the Children’s Center for himself. He told us that mayors who voted for it thought the center was across the street from the library, not right behind it. He also said no one mentioned the fire hazard of having 200-400 people, many of whom smoke, living on the site.”  

One prominent SOCAMer is Irvine’s Don Wagner.  His anodyne video messages contradict his record of public service, or one sector of it.  Readers might welcome a short review of his political curriculum vitae as trustee of South Orange County Community College District, and Assemblyman, including a long association with developers (‘natch) if not developers of, say, affordable or low-income housing!  Endorsed by notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio, as trustee he successfully halted the colleges’ memberships in that group of “liberal busybodies” known as the American Library Association and took donations from anti-gay rightwing religious extremist millionaire Howard Ahmanson, Jr. through his Fieldstead Institute.  Just sayin'.

Don’t call them horny
Alas, development and habitat destruction is likely killing off horned lizards, nicknamed horny toads.  Naturalist for You’s Joel Robinson, who speaks for the forest, reports an apparent decline in numbers based on fewer sightings within their “known distribution area,” a name so far not applied to the temporary homeless shelter.  Those observing one of our favorite reptiles should report full details (location, photograph, date, time) to Adam Backlin with USGS: abacklin@usgs.gov.

No throwing!
Anticipate an announcement of a regular Friday afternoon ceramics group, tentatively beginning in mid-May, and led by Roger Seeman, who will teach basics and do the firing, with help from organizer Cindy Donham.   

Ed. note:  The Board of Supervisors unanimously ruled April 24 that Silverado Canyon is not an option for a homeless shelter. The county will notify the mayors of South County that a $6-million library site is not suitable.