Save Panhe and San Onofre State Beach Stop the Toll Road! February 6 Coastal Commission

Posted: January 24th, 2008

Save Panhe and San Onofre!

Take action to save Panhe and San Onofre State Beach and stop the proposed toll road. The California Coastal Commission will hold a public hearing on the toll road in San Diego on February 6, 2008. Show your support to save Panhe and San Onofre!

Save San Onofre and Panhe

The proposed toll road would harm recreation including hiking, camping, and surfing, threaten endangered species, diminish precious coastal open space, pollute the air, and severely impact the local Native American people, who are members of the Acjachemen Nation, and the sacred site of Panhe. San Onofre State Beach is one of California’s most popular state parks, receiving over 2.4 million visitors per year. The proposed toll road would represent the first time in California that state park lands were taken by a local governmental entity for a major infrastructure project. Allowing this project to proceed would set a dangerous precedent, threatening coastal parks, open space, and cultural, historical, and Native American resources everywhere in the State.

Panhe bears a special meaning in Acjachemen — as well as non-Indian — life, culture and history. Panhe is an ancient Acjachemen village that is over 8,000 years old and a current sacred site, ceremonial site, cultural site, and burial site for the Acjachemen people. Many Acjachemen people trace their lineage back to Panhe. Panhe is the site of the first baptism in California, and the first close contact between Spanish explorers, Catholic missionaries, and the Acjachemen people in 1769. The Acjachemen people built the mission at San Juan Capistrano. Destroying Panhe would hurt not only the Acjachemen people but all the people of California and the nation.

The proposed toll road would impermissibly harm the Acjachemen people, impair their access to Panhe, and impair their ability to practice their religion. The toll road will impair their freedom of religion, freedom of association, and beach access rights.

Save San Onofre and Panhe!

The toll road would also discriminate against the working poor with limited or no access to a car, people of color, and low income communities. The toll road would disproportionately deprive them of affordable world class recreation and access to a public beach and park. San Onofre provides such opportunities at the San Mateo Campground, on hiking trails, and through surfing at Trestles. These communities disproportionately cannot afford to pay tolls for commuter or recreational travel. The toll road will not relieve congestion but instead increase development and traffic.

Send a sample letter to the Coastal Commission to Save Panhe and San Onofre!

Attend the public hearing February 6 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California.

We are working with a diverse and growing coalition that includes the United Coalition to Protect Panhe, The City Project, Mujeres de la Tierra, Policy Link, William C. Velazqueze institute, and others. United Coalition to Protect Panhe is a grass roots alliance of Acjachemen people working to protect Panhe. The City Project works with diverse coalitions in strategic campaigns to shape public policy and law, and to serve the needs of the community as defined by the community. The City Project has long fought for equal access to the California coast.

The United Coalition to Protect Panhe and The City Project have submitted public comments to Save Panhe and San Onofre and stop the toll road, focusing on the values and equal justice principles and laws at stake. Part II addresses the special meaning of Panhe and San Onofre State Beach to the Acjachemen people and the people of California and the nation. Part III discusses the history of the Acjachemen people, Panhe, and state and federal actions against California Indians. Part IV discusses how the toll road violates the Coastal Act. Part V discusses civil rights and environmental justice provisions that prohibit unjust impacts against the Acjachemen people through the destruction of Panhe. We have also incorporated the public comments submitted by conservationists including NRDC.

Click on the images above to see more pictures of Panhe and San Onofre.

Read the coverage by David Reyes in the L.A. Times about San Onofre on September 28, 2007, and Panhe on August 20, 2007.