To the editor: The battle between development and conservationist factions of the California Coastal Commission reminds me of what went on with a piece of property our family was involved with in a consortium of would-be developers. ("The pristine beauty of California's coast shouldn't be for the few," Feb. 10)
Beginning in the early 1960s, we were in a partnership that owned Tuna Canyon in Malibu. At one point the partnership was in negotiations to participate in the "Causeway" project, a proposal to grind down the Santa Monica Mountains and create a peninsula off the coast.
The attraction for our group was that grinding down the mountains would have saved lots of money in grading mountains that were otherwise too steep to build on.
Years later, our group was approached to turn Tuna Canyon into a landfill. There were other "deals" that came and went. This was at a time when these kinds of projects actually happened.
The partnership sold the property in the mid 1990s. The California Coastal Commission was the reason that it remained undeveloped by our group, and for that I am thankful. None of the projects that the partnership had in mind would certainly have served the public good.
Carl Jerris, El Cajon
To the editor: Fired Coastal Commission Executive Director Charles Lester and his predecessor Peter Douglas have worked tirelessly on my behalf.
In this space a few years ago I took U2 guitarist Edge to task for trying to be king of the hill in Malibu, and I praised the Coastal Commission for fighting him. Recently we saw the results — a greatly downscaled development. Perfect? Not in my mind, but without Lester the outcome would have been an enormous affront to all of us who treasure California's spectacular viewsheds.
Unfettered development despoils our resources, burdens our public services, and takes away our beaches and mountains. We need a countervailing balance, in this case a strong, conservation-minded Coastal Commission.
Jack Fenn, Montecito Heights