The Watchdog Newsletter
2 September 2000


We won!!! Judge Judith McConnell of the Superior Court has ruled that the County of San Diego violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not producing an adequate Environmental Impact Report for General Plan Amendment 96-03. She has ordered the County to prepare a revised EIR that will analyze the expected impacts and actual adverse effects of the project.

In a nine-page, eloquently written, Statement of Decision, Judge McConnell wrote, “The area affected by GPA 96-03 is a vast expanse of acreage scattered across an extraordinarily diverse part of Southwestern California.” “Sensitive flora and fauna in San Diego County are found, or expected to be found, in astonishing array.” She then took the County to task for its failure to properly study and analyze these vast resources. "It has been said -- and sung -- that 'you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone,' " McConnell wrote. "Yet where (state environmental law) applies, the opposite it true: Citizens and decision makers must, in fact, be informed of what they have before, and not after, it's gone." Additionally, Judge McConnell wrote, “The conclusion that there is no feasible mitigation measure that would address the problems posed by agricultural grading is simply not supported by substantial evidence.”

The next step is for SOFAR’s legal team to submit a judgement to Judge McConnell that will ask that the decision to adopt GPA 96-03 and its implementing rezoning be vacated and the certification of the EIR for GPA 96-03 be vacated.

SOFAR would like to thank the California Attorney General, Environmental Protection Agency, Sierra Club, San Diego Audubon Society, California Native Plant Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Baykeeper, California Oak Foundation, Environmental Health Coalition, and the Mountain Defense League for their help and assistance in this important court case. But, most of all, we wish to thank YOU, our loyal SOFAR Supporters, for your continuing support! We promise to keep you posted on this momentous issue.

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