Gnatcatcher, Human Habitats

* In response to "Gnatcatcher Taken Off Threatened Species List" (May 3), I say Bravo! Pave it! Develop it! You missed a spot, there on the coast between Newport Beach and Laguna. Quick! Build houses, fence it off, plant palm trees, hide the view. Now quick, build a freeway across the hilltops, flatten it, mow it down. We will need it so that all those people who buy those new homes have a way to get there. Wow, just look at all that land south of Capistrano! Let's get started!

I was born, raised and have lived 38 years in California. I have systematically watched the paving of Southern California from Ventura to San Diego; from Lancaster to Indio. That is a very short period of time.

Rather than redevelop the interior of our urban mass, we continue to destroy and develop the natural open lands that surround us. The threatened species here is not some bird. It is us, we humans that live side by side for hundreds of miles in an endless suburb without a break. It is nearly impossible to look at our coastline, a sunset, rolling hills, oak trees, the ocean, even little blue birds and the insects they catch, because of endless development. Get a clue to the real endangerment here.

DOUG E. ROBERTS

West Hollywood

* I was struck by the irony when I read the front-page article regarding the fate of the gnatcatcher. It is being decided in court. The developers, perhaps correctly, state that the bird is not endangered. According to the scientific records, the gnatcatcher exists in Mexico and California. If we follow this logic, the developers argue that it is OK to destroy the gnatcatcher habitat in the United States because it exists elsewhere.

Have any of the developers ever taken a walk in a wildlife preserve? Have they heard the quiet "mew" of the gnatcatcher? Have they observed all the other birds that exist in the coastal scrub and sage, the wren, the bush tit, the Say's phoebe? Have they asked us, the taxpayers, the residents, if we want to destroy the habitat of our native birds?

Anyone who has lived and grown up in Orange County has observed the change from paradise to concrete jungle. Let us preserve the last remnants of our natural environment. If it is the call to preserve the gnatcatcher, then so be it. But do not throw away, for the sake of profit, our native heritage.

ROSEMARY ROCHFORD

Solana Beach

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