Sharon’s West Coyote Hills Preservation Act Passes the Assembly Floor!


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Coyote Hills’ greatest defender, opposite from Doug Chaffee, perhaps its most egregious Council betrayer.

Vern here.  This blog has been in the forefront of the fight to protect Fullerton’s last notable open space of West Coyote Hills from the predations of the bipartisanly shilled-for oil giant Chevron – from Ryan Cantor’s seminal 2012 masterpiece “Chevron Thinks You’re REALLY Stupid” to his (prematurely?) elegiac 2015 “How – Suddenly and Quietly – We Lost West Coyote Hills”  (along with contributions from the Fullerton Rag‘s Matthew Leslie.)

In between those two Ryan articles, a couple things happened:  First, Fullerton voters resoundingly (by nearly 2/3) rejected Chevron’s development proposals (one of the late Gus Ayer‘s last crusades!)  And then, two years later, to their everlasting shame, the entire 2015 Fullerton Council betrayed their city’s voters and gave Chevron what they wanted.  That’s Democrat fake-environmentalists Doug Chaffee and Jan Flory, along with klepto-Republican Jennifer Fitzgerald, wishy-washy Republican Greg Sebourn, and even sometimes-righteous Republican Bruce Whitaker – all (I think) grateful recipients of Chevron campaign largesse.  Shame!

Well, fortunately Fullerton once had a Councilwoman bold and honest enough to fight Chevron on behalf of her town’s last open space, and fortunately she is now in the Assembly, and her name is Sharon Quirk-Silva.  She’d rattled off an incredible list to me a few months ago of issues she’d been working hard on, in the middle of that was “saving Coyote Hills,” and sure enough she is coming through with her AB 510, enabling the state to purchase the property for parkland, and passed yesterday by OVER 2/3 of the assembly.  That means there must have been some Republicans voting yes, but I’m not sure who they were.  As far as OC goes, you can thank Sharon and her fellow Dem Tom Daly, and you can say “Thanks for nothing” to Republicans Matt Harper, Travis Allen, and Bill Brough.  (Assemblyman Steven Choi missed the vote, presumably pre-occupied with carrying FivePoint’s water on the Veterans’ Cemetery.)

Here is Sharon’s press release from scant hours ago:

(SACRAMENTO) – Today, Assembly Bill 510 (AB 510) by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County was approved on the Assembly floor by more than a two-thirds vote. AB 510 would provide funding to the Wildlife Conservation Board to be used for the purchase of land related to the West Coyote Hills Open Space Project.

“North Orange County deserves its fair share of parks. This bill would help save the largest remaining open space in a highly urbanized area of Orange County and Los Angeles County to be enjoyed by over 1 million people as a natural preserve,” said Quirk-Silva.

There is a great imbalance of parks and open space between North and South Orange County. North Orange County is highly urbanized with few parks, and even fewer opportunities for new parks. Currently, North Orange County has 1 acre per 246 people, while South Orange County has 1 acre per 6 people. The National Recreation and Parks Association standard for parkland is 1 acre per 100 people. Within 7 miles of West Coyote Hills, there is only 1 acre per 356 people.

“West Coyote Hills will provide a respite from dense urban living, for underserved areas of Orange County and Los Angeles County,” said Quirk-Silva. “It will also serve as a biodiversity hotspot that will support plant and animal habitats, and be a unique educational resource for the entire region. Let’s not let the opportunity for a West Coyote Hills park slip away from us.”

More information about the bill can be found here.

Thank you Sharon!!!

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PS. SPEAKING of Sharon, and the Veterans’ Cemetery, THIS just flew over our transom as well:

Quirk-Silva Calls Out the Orange County Veteran Cemetery Opposition

SACRAMENTO – On Tuesday, May 30, a day after Memorial Day, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (Fullerton) was the focus of a stealth texting, email and robocall campaign in Fullerton that has been operating in order to mislead public opinion against the veterans cemetery project; saying that Orange County money would be spent on a “pet project” outside Assembly District 65 and given to Irvine.

“A resting place for California’s veterans is not a ‘pet project,’” Quirk-Silva said. “It is a necessary and important project for our veterans in California. The state funds in question were secured for a cemetery that all Southern California Veterans have earned. It’s shameful that some would try to disrupt the funding for a veterans cemetery a day after Memorial Day, and for political gain.”

This year, the state, federal, and local governments have agreed to allocate the money needed to construct the cemetery. It is a combined $30 million from the state budget, $38 million from the City of Irvine, and $10 million in federal grant money. California’s Department of Veterans Affairs estimated the first phase of the project — including the demolition of the site and construction of a portion of the cemetery — would cost $77.4 million.

“As we approach the special city council hearing on the veterans cemetery in Irvine on June 6th, I urge all involved to be reasonable, and do what is best for our veterans,” said Quirk-Silva. “Questionable political tactics, whether overt or covert, have no place in a process that works to memorialize our nation’s beloved heroes. Please, let us move forward, and settle on a site for an Orange County Veterans Cemetery.”

A veterans cemetery in Orange County is seriously needed. When fully built out, the cemetery will offer more than 210,000 gravesites, enough to serve the needs of veterans for the next 100 years, according to the state. Men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this nation deserve proper recognition without further delay, and it remains up to the City of Irvine to decide on an appropriate site.

And for further information, I invite you to visit my website.


About Admin

"Admin" is just editor Vern Nelson or associate editor Greg Diamond sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.