Change (v.) to make or become different, to arrive at a fresh phase, become new.
The word has become the theme for national politics this election, maybe it always has been. Barak Obama is lighting up the polls with the one word message. Clinton, McCain, in fact I haven’t heard a presidential campaign speech yet without some emphasis on the importance of this evolutionary verb.
But locally, change is not always so welcome. In our February election, we rejected a private golf course plan 2-to-1 that would have brought change to the community’s open space plan, at the toll road hearing a day later, thousands argued against the change that might take place at San Mateo and Trestles if we change the traffic flow off the I-5. In our Shorecliffs neighborhood, many will stand against those who want to add a second story that might change an ocean view. There’s still a pending lawsuit over the change in signage at the outlet centers on the Marblehead Coastal Property. Change the Miramar Theatre? Not on Historical Society President Mike Cotter’s watch.
I’m certainly not against these efforts. As soon as we move into this town, we begin to appreciate the status quo. It’s a rite of passage to becoming a San Clementean that we want things to stay the same as they were when we got here. That was 28 years ago for me. The first place I came to was North Beach. Ironically, it’s the only thing in town that hasn’t changed … but that’s going to change, too.
I’m not against change either. I want it to be better than it was. I believe North Beach is some of the finest few acres in California. In the dreams of a younger man I’ve seen visions of greatness in this special place, where the Spanish Village meets the California shore, where the Pacific Coast Highway meets El Camino Real. With the historic theatres, Ole’s beach club, restaurants, parking, the train station and beach trail, it’s a natural tourist attraction. Its potential has been discussed and drawn many times through the years, but nothing has really happened there … yet.
There are three plans at various stages for North Beach and, as in all things, even as they come off the drawing board, we will be lining up to offer our opinions.
Change is as American as the Revolution. There are things we have to accept.
Nothing stays the same, not for long anyway. In some way or another we must always keep reinventing ourselves. I know that I couldn’t have made it to the 21st century doing photo-typesetting in an old bowling alley. But the secret is to maintain some of the integrity of our past, as we step into the future. Because standing for up for what we believe in, is pretty American, too.
Don R. Kindred