The media turned to EHL on topics ranging from agricultural preservation to litigation we filed to land use policy to an unfriendly take over of wildlife habitat.
The North County Times
examined how the town of Valley Center is doing (“Rich with history, rural town celebrates 150th anniversary,” May 19, 2012). For a perspective on preserving threatened farmland, EHL Executive Dan Silver was contacted. Dan Silver, who has fought for the preservation of land in Valley Center as head of the Endangered Habitats League, said farmers have options for retaining their orchards. Silver said the county's agricultural conservation easement, for example, will pay farmers in exchange for giving up development rights on their land. Other programs could allow property owners to transfer their density rights to other owners in exchange for money, he said.
EHL’s lawsuit against the City of Murrieta was covered by the Riverside Press Enterprise (“Murrieta: Environmental group sues city over habitat policy,” June 1, 2012). Endangered Habitats League CEO Dan Silver said in a phone interview that Murrieta’s policy violated the habitat plan, which his group helped advocate for in the early 2000s. Silver said the city was bending to a small group of landowners and risking its membership in the plan, which not only creates open spaces but speeds up the environmental review process for multi-million dollar infrastructure projects. “It’s the tail wagging the dog,” Silver said. “They’re jeopardizing benefits to the entire citizenry for a very unwise policy aimed at a small group of properties.”
EHL co-authored a powerful opinion piece in the U-T San Diego on how the Board of Supervisors was subverting the new General Plan at the behest of property owners asking for exceptions from the planning rules – and asking the taxpayer to foot the bill. (“County planning: Private gain at public expense not right,” June 13, 2012). Read the op-ed here.
Radio station KPBS reported on the General Plan issue during its broadcast of June 25, 2012, and interviewed EHL. Dan Silver of the Endangered Habitat’s League said it’s a misuse of public money for private gain. “If there were some errors that had been made, that would be a good reason to go back at taxpayer expense,“ he said. “But staff has said there were no errors. The plan was passed in 2011. From that point on, it’s up to private property owners, if they want to have financial gain, to increase their development potential, to process their own general plan amendments."
The Laguna Beach Independent ("FBI Hunts for Wildlife Habitat,” June 17, 2012) brought to public attention the threat to wildlife posed by the FBI takeover of former El Toro Air Station property in Orange County– land that was supposed to become a national wildlife refuge. “Basically we have the government of the United States falling down on all its commitments and breaking all its promises,” claimed Silver, an M.D. whose first efforts in conservation preserved the Santa Rosa Plateau in Riverside County in 1989.