It might sound selfish. It might sound unscientific. It might not sound economic. It might sound "environmental." But let me be clear ---- because we live here and because we are united ---- Liberty Quarry will never happen.
Granite Construction needs to cut its losses now and forget about this community-killing quarry. Get out before you lose more money. We will not stand for it. Go home, Granite Construction!
"Not in my backyard" is a powerful social phenomenon. United communities can prevail over politically well-connected and powerful business interests. I have seen it before.
Prior to moving to the Temecula Valley in 2002, I witnessed firsthand how a united South Orange County fought and defeated North Orange County in the epic El Toro airport battle.
Newport Beach and other North Orange County elites wanted to cram a major international airport into the middle of a thriving suburban area. Through it all, South Orange County remained united. They remained undeterred through two devastating and narrowly lost county measures. They won a third measure, but it was overturned in the courts. The Orange County Board of Supervisors opposed them at every turn for 10 years. But in the end, it just took one victory to slay the Goliath Newport Beach elites.
In 2002, voters passed a fourth initiative, Measure W ---- called the Orange County Central Park and Nature Preserve Initiative ---- and the El Toro airport was defeated.
To defeat this quarry, we must stand united and not be discouraged by setbacks. We must be prepared to take the fight to the Board of Supervisors. We must be prepared to sponsor ballot initiatives. And we must be prepared to fight in the courts.
I think that it is time to organize and draft a county measure on the zoning of the site. The measure would be short, well-written, and possibly would say that the zoning of the site shall be rural residential, or that the Liberty Quarry site shall not be zoned for mining. Activities to put the measure on the ballot would be postponed until after a loss at the Supervisory level.
I think there would be both short- and intermediate-term advantages to drafting a measure at this time. I agree with others that this will also go to the courts, but I do think that the quarry opponents will remain more vibrant and intact if they have a county measure to rally together behind, now.
It may tip the balance of any uncertain supervisors who are undecided as to how they are going to vote. And importantly ---- if on the ballot in June 2012 ---- with the new local-centric political boundaries, the quarry could easily become a litmus test for local candidates.
If the planning commission and the Board of Supervisors approve the quarry, we could be in for a long battle. But because we are united and will not give up, in the end, we will prevail. Liberty Quarry will fail.