From Friends of the Foothills:

The LA Times have reported that the Transportation Corridor Agencies have requested that the Secretary of Commerce deny the public a hearing regarding the appeal of the Coastal Commission's recent denial of the Foothill-South toll road. Why is the TCA trying to quiet public opinion? Perhaps they are worried that the public can defeat them.

In their letter to the NOAA, the TCA states that the Coastal Commission had a "circus atmosphere" and that if a hearing is granted with the Commerce Department our "objective is to drown out any objective and dispassionate consideration of the serious national interest issues with intimidation and political rhetoric.

However, in a recent TCA meeting Director Bill Campbell remarked that we were not unruly and on how nice we were. And since when is the public not allowed to speak out regarding how their public lands are used?

The TCA also states that the hearing was unfair because not all of the project's supporters received a chance to speak at the hearing. However, they are not the only ones who did not get to speak. Many people, both for and against the project, did not get to speak in order to control the length of the meeting.

The TCA also took exception to the location hearing, stating the "location [was] calculated to maximize attendance by Project opponents. However, the TCA agreed to the hearing location. How can they now say the hearing was unfair? Furthermore, TCA never explains why the Del Mar location was more conducive to project opponents versus supporters.

Finally, in the LA Times article Lance Maclean states "The TCA is not opposed to a public hearing, as long as it's held in Orange County, where the project is located, and as long as it's conducted in a business-like format." However, no where in the letter does it say the TCA would agree to a hearing as long as it is in Orange County. It specifically asks that the Commerce Department deny the Coastal Commission's request for a public hearing.

Don't let the TCA quash your voice! Please write a letter to the editor setting the record straight! {encode="" title="Send your letters to the LA Times"}. Please include your full contact information including your name, address, phone number and e-mail. Also, please keep your letters to under 150 words.

Words: Robin Everett, Sierra Club's Friends of the Foothills