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San Clemente Journal

Mother, Mother Ocean

Apr 02, 2014 01:29PM ● By Don Kindred
By Don Kindred

What can anyone say about the ocean that hasn’t been said. It is probably the most referenced word in American Literature, a country surrounded by ocean. It is hailed as the mother of life, painted with bright and sunny memories of carefree days on the shoreline. It is colored with the captain at sea, chasing adventure, or just some guy contemplating eternity in the endless horizon. Some would paint it dark and mysterious ... as the keeper of secrets, the boneyard of history. The very expanse of it allows writers an infinite supply of analogies.

For San Clementeans, the ocean is our front yard. It’s where we play, where we surf and fish and swim. It’s where we go to meet up with friends or where we go to be alone. We go there to exercise, we go to relax. It’s the smell we wake up to, the sound we go to sleep to and, more than likely, it’s the reason we’re all living here. The ocean is in imbedded in our lives.

The irony is that by all of us living here, we have taken a toll on the very coast that we came here to enjoy. We have a human responsibility to mitigate our collective damage when we can. The spread of  citizens and concrete to the south coast over the last 40 years has made a measurable impact on our shoreline, how could it not? More people, more pollution, more trash, more ... stuff. And having less open space translates into less sand flowing to the shore. 

It is not news to our citizens. Eleven years ago, when the city first put forth the Clean Ocean Fee, it passed 3 to 1 with our voters. I believe it was the first time we ever voted in favor of a tax. I hope we do even better as we return our ballots this December. 

It’s a worthy investment. For most of us, the fee will be going up one dollar to $6 a month, but taken together it gives us the resources to help diminish the effect of our own urbanization.
Researching the articles in this issue, I have seen first hand our city’s efforts to keep our beaches healthy and the staff anticipating our needs in the future in order to allot 
the time for the layers of bureaucracy that must be traversed to make progress on the simplest of tasks. They have been good stewards of the fund.

In a community where just the ability to see the ocean from your patio can be worth $100,000 on a mortgage, where the beach is the center of our recreation, where its 
resources are vital to our existence, we must be diligent as we care for our little piece 
of the most precious resource in the world.