Editorial: The right way to preserve open space
THE STATE of California has
a sorry history of government intimidation, harassment and
abuse of property owners who want to do something with their
Nevermind that using your property for an economically beneficial purpose — farming it, logging it or building something on it — is a constitutional right, entities such as the California Coastal Commission, goaded by environmental zealots and enabled by irresponsible legislators, have specialized in grabbing open space for the public without paying for it. If private property is to be left undeveloped, the owner should either do so voluntarily — as Clint Eastwood did, for example, with the Odello property on the east side of Highway 1 — or he should receive fair compensation, as has occasionally happened, as well.
An outstanding example of the right way to preserve open space is the acquisition two weeks ago of a prime piece of residential property on 17 Mile Drive by the Del Monte Forest Conservancy. This land will now remain undeveloped in perpetuity, thanks to the generosity of a handful of anonymous donors in Pebble Beach who ponied up the $4.1 million to buy the land. Undoubtedly some of them acted partly in self interest, because they have views across the property from their own homes. But that doesn’t matter. The point is that the family that sold the property did so voluntarily because they received a fair price, and the people who paid for it must have also received what they considered a fair return, because they acted on their own initiative.
We thank them all, not only for giving the public something precious, but for doing so the right way.