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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lagoon Project Manager Says LAC Dems Resolution ‘False’

• Alleges Critics Capable of Physical Harm

                                  BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN

Political activist Ted Vaill, who was instrumental in obtaining a resolution from the Los Angeles County Democratic Party opposing the controversial State Parks’ Malibu Lagoon construction project, spoke during public comment at the Malibu City Council meeting on Monday about the LACDP resolution and the response he said it received from State Parks’ biologist and official project spokesperson Suzanne Goode at a recent meeting of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.
“Suzanne Goode started the demonization process,” Vaill said. “I’m going to fight back.”
At last week’s SMBRC meeting, Goode stated that “three statements in the resolution were irrelevant to the project, one statement was half true, the rest of them were completely false.”
“State Parks does intend to rebut this resolution because it was completely based upon false statements. The Democratic Party’s resolution committee never contacted State Parks to ask questions about issues that were raised by the author of the resolution.”
The resolution states: Whereas, the State of California has used public funds to fund the ‘restoration’ of Malibu Lagoon to begin starting June 1, 2012, and a primary reason for undertaking the project was to eliminate pollution allegedly caused by human fecal waste and high bacteria counts, and whereas, numerous conditions have changed since the 2006 EIR, including upgrades of onsite wastewater treatment systems and enforcement of Tapia wastewater discharge allowances and there are less destructive alternatives which might be pursued to accomplish the desired result; and whereas, the destruction of the Lagoon will have the following impacts: endangered species, including the Tidewater Goby fish and the California Least Tern, will be killed or dispossessed of their habitats; according to the EIR the dredging itself will lead to a decrease in water quality and may uncover septic system leach fields, possibly  leading to pollution in the Lagoon; 88,000+ cubic yards of Lagoon soils will be bulldozed out, some carted away at the rate of one truckload per hour, with resulting disruption of PCH traffic during Malibu’s summer tourist season; beach access will be made more difficult for the public  by the elimination of three bridges which currently allow for close up nature observation; the Third Point waves, a world-famous surfing spot, could be altered by dredging work and resulting interaction with the ocean; and the project will continue during the summer tourist season for an unspecified period which negatively impacts local businesses.”
The LACDP resolution concludes with a request to John Laird, California Resources Agency Secretary “to place the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project on hold until further studies, including a new EIR, are completed regarding whether the Lagoon destruction is necessary.”
“There has been a lot of false and inflammatory statements that have been made at public forums that now are rising to the level that give a lot of us great concern,” Goode stated at the SMBRC meeting. “At the Malibu City Council meeting last week, people who came to support the project were threatened by other members of the audience. One person who came merely to observe was told by someone who was a project opponent, ‘We’re going to get you for what your friend testified to,’ from someone they were just talking to in the audience.
“I myself was pointed at and called out by name by a Malibu City Council candidate in a very threatening manner, and other people have reported threats to me as well,” Goode said.
“I believe that this arises from false and inflammatory statements promulgated by people and demonization occurs, and I certainly hope that no person comes to physical harm because of these emotions that have been aroused,” Goode said.
“The anger and outrage from the project opponents when confronted with the truth that contradicted their almost religiously held beliefs was palpable and audible,” Goode said. “I would urge the project opponents to adopt a much more objective form of public discourse. I would certainly be very sorry if anyone came to personal harm as a result of the emotions that are being continually stoked up by these outrageously false statements.”
“Suzanne Goode said [that the LACDP resolution] made false statements,” Vaill told the Malibu City Council on Monday, rebutting Goode’s statements. It’s not false. It’s all true. More prominent Democrats will join you in opposition,” Vaill said.
Lagoon opponent Athena Shlien described Goode’s SMBRC diatribe as “gaslighting”—manipulative behavior used to make opponents appear to be overreacting or unbalanced. “This is an extremely important issue. Democracy is perfectly healthy. Stand up for what we believe in.”

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