San Diego, CA: Conservation Plan locks up land, costs taxpayers - County supervisor warns about city's plan
By Bill Horn, Chairman,
As you labor daily to make ends meet, your elected officials are stealing your land, your money and your right to vote.
Beware! The Grand New Plan, known as the Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP), calls for an additional 172,000 acres to be set aside to protect endangered plants and animals.
This elitist doctrine demands that your land be locked up and, without your vote, closed to multiple-use activities, all in the name of protection of endangered species. I have some serious concerns about such a plan.
The Multiple Species Conservation Plan sounds like a marvelous idea, but it is a plan that may have little real environmental value, and could economically cripple the region.
The MSCP is a punitive approach to preserving endangered species. In fact, it encourages landowners to make sure they do not have any endangered species on their property. What we need is a plan that preserves property rights, as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and offers incentives to protect species.
When you consider that 75.8 percent of the acreage in our county is already classed as open space, and more than 58 percent of all acreage is government owned, the question comes to mind, when is enough, enough?
The staggering truth is that the current plan calls for an additional 172,000 acres to be set aside as MSCP land. An estimated 56,000 acres will have to be purchased at a staggering estimated cost of $640 million. Who pays this price? You, the taxpayer!
Have you checked your wallet lately?
And you will continue to pay, because removing that land from the tax rolls means the loss of $6.4 million in tax revenue to the County of San Diego. This figure is enough to put 100 new sheriff's deputies on our streets. As more and more private land is purchased by government, your taxes will have to go up to continue to pay for county services.
The Federal Government came to the bargaining table with promises to pay for the land that would be set aside. Now that the plan is complete, they can't provide the funds.
Show me the money!
The plan has also been sold on the basis that setting aside this vast area is like creating a huge park that the public will enjoy forever. In reality, much of the proposed set-aside will, at best, have seasonally restricted use, and at worst will not be open to public use at all. Remember, this land is not being set aside for you. It is being set aside to save endangered species.
It sounds like a wonderful plan, but look closely. You pay the price, lose your land and may even be locked out.
The Multiple Species Conservation Plan has other flaws. Some are very obvious.
Just last week the San Diego Taxpayers Association awarded the Golden Fleece to the City of San Diego for its approval of the MSCP.
Pointing out that this plan could exceed $1 billion in cost, the Taxpayers Association was critical of the City approving the plan before a plan to pay was in place.
It's mind boggling!
The plan grew from a concept of returning land use permitting to a local level. A "one-stop" permit process being the result of all parties agreeing to a plan that would preserve species while defining areas where development could occur.
The process is a joke. With the ink still wet on the plan signed by the City of San Diego, the federal government, despite earlier promises, has already found a new endangered butterfly.
This may have the effect of delaying development in the area for a minimum of two years while the butterfly is studied. This flies directly in the face of promises that no new species would be listed when the plan was approved.
You should be alarmed at what is happening. Your voice is important. But, no one is allowing you to vote!
Two things need to happen.
We must demand that a plan be developed that preserves property rights and provides positive incentives for species preservation. Far more will be accomplished this way than from the present approach requiring eco-police and criminal punishment for violations.
Most importantly you must demand a voice. You have the right to vote.
Elected officials in San Diego have put a plan into place that will cost, at a minimum, $640 million and the taxpayers have had no voice in the matter.
The people must be allowed to vote!
Be bold, loud and persistent.
This is not a sprint, but a marathon. Your rights, your land, your money, your vote and your liberty are at stake!
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