of Tejon Ranch
November, 09 2003
Excerpted from The Bakersfield Californian
The U.S. military's concern about urban encroachment endangering its mission is not new or shocking. What is new and shocking is a Navy admiral's sudden jump better described as stumble into the political arena. Rather than flexing his muscle with California's incoming governor, the admiral and the military branches he claims to represent should refocus efforts on collaborating with local government officials and landowners.
The dustup is over Tejon Ranch's plans to develop a 23,000-home community just over the Tehachapi Mountains in Los Angeles County. The project is seen as one of several initial steps in developing the largest chunk of privately owned land in California.
The Navy's concern is that low-altitude military test and training flights that use air corridors crossing the proposed housing project may be impeded.
Tejon Ranch President Bob Stine told The Californian he was "surprised and disappointed" at the military's intervention, coming more than a year after preliminary plans for the development were filed with Los Angeles County officials. Stine also complained that the military approached politicians and environmental groups rather than Tejon officials with their concerns.
Californians will be victorious only if competing interests are willing to honestly develop regional plans that balance competing interests.
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