The hypocrisy of the left knows no bounds. So determined and ideologically driven that even using the cliché of wearing blinders isn’t strong enough to describe their behavior.
Most of my adult life I was led to believe that even just having an eagle feather in my possession was a crime. And if I recall correctly, a number of years ago there was a story about a man getting arrested for such a crime. However, if you’re a liberal environmentalist, and your president shares your belief that oil is bad and wind is good, you can now kill all the eagles you want because we won’t allow anything to stand in our way for the advancement of our cause.
And yet this same group, which tries to hide the killing statistics and bury the truth, is the very one that uses the Endangered Species Act to destroy the lives of property owners over a lizard. Or to prevent the public from access to beaches because of a bird. But then, on the other hand, it wants to open up public access to beaches across private property — landowners be damned.
I’m referring to the battle over gaining public access to what is now commonly known as Naples. The do-gooder groups that have banded together (even though they’re all part of the same family) to fight the development because surfers will see roof tops from the ocean or block the open vistas, don’t address the trail they want to build along the bluff, the seal rookeries more public access will destroy, nor the potential threat to the thousands of “endangered” snowy plovers that race across the sand on this otherwise empty stretch of coast.
And when you speak out against these kinds of issues you’re labeled as someone who wants to destroy the environment and has no heart — or worse, a developer. Not unlike when you you're labeled a racist for daring to speak out against President Barack Obama's policies, or you're called a homophobe for opposing gay marriagee. It’s an easy way to counter-attack without factual basis.
About 30 years ago, I ran for the Goleta Water District Board of Directors. I was pretty naïve and had no understanding of politics nor how ugly it could get. In those early days of the local environmental movement, water was the only tool the environmentalists had to try and stop growth in Santa Barbara and Goleta. What was nothing more than a utility company had become the most powerful political weapon in Santa Barbara County.
Jane Fonda came to UC Santa Barbara to speak against me, the students were brainwashed into believing the end was near for Goleta and I was made out to be the evil developer who was going to use state water to build condos on Dos Pueblos Ranch. Ads were run depicting a pipeline on the hills between the avocado trees and houses spilling out.
Even long-time friends were snookered into believing this was my goal. It worked. With the help of Bill Wallace, the supervisor hero at the time and a number of underlings, campaign signs were stolen from Goleta residents by kids who didn’t know a thing about what was going on and in a few years moved away unaware at what they’ve done. I could go into the corruption that took place at the time, but I’ll save that for another day. Suffice to say, sadly it still goes on today.
Now some 30 years later, the same battles continue with the environmentalists employing the same tactics. But after all those years, Dos Pueblos remains nothing more than an ongoing avocado ranch as does the rest of the coastline.
So back to Naples and eagles. The environmentalists truly want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to build a coastal trail that will have no managed control over use, trash, access and erosion of the bluffs and, in the process, devalue valuable property because that part of the equation doesn’t affect them. And they are willing to accept the deaths of animals and the destruction of property that they deem worthy because they just simply know better. Add to the equation the fringe benefit of taking down a landowner, a developer or an oil company in the process.
This injustice and hypocrisy needs to be reversed. You can’t have it both ways. And if you want to dictate what happens on someone else’s land, you should put up some cash and share in the property taxes and upkeep. Environmentalists need to share a little of the pain in maintaining a property in this over--regulated and out-of-control state and county. They should exercise a little more humility and thank farmers and ranchers for all the work they’ve done in preserving the land, not trying to take it away.
— Henry Schulte of Santa Barbara owns and operates Dos Pueblos Ranch. He has been politically active in the community for years. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.