In Tuesday's election, Fullerton voters made their views against the development of Coyote Hills clear, by voting down Measure W (Chevron/Pacific Coast Homes Development Plan). The people have spoken. Despite Chevron's 1.5 million dollar "Yes on W" campaign, which flooded the internet with ads and filled Fullerton mailboxes with glossy mailers, the majority of the voters said a resounding "NO."
The question now arises, what's next for Coyote Hills? All three of the newly-elected city council members (Bruce Whitaker, Jennifer Fitzgerald, and Travis Kiger) were supportive of Measure W. Will they continue to hold this view, despite the fact that the majority of their constituency clearly opposes it? Will they, as Bruce Whitaker did at an August 7 city council meeting, try to subvert the will of the people? Will Chevron sue the city of Fullerton again? I don't know.
What I do know is that Fullerton has proven once again that the will of the people is stronger than the will of corporate interests. I know that the Friends of Coyote Hills will keep fighting for what they have always been fighting for..to get Chevron to sell the land to the city as a permanent nature preserve. All of it. Is there funding avaiulable for this? Yes. Is there currently enough funding available? I'm not sure. But I do know that, in the past, the main roadblock has not been availability of funds, but Chevron's unwillingness to even consider selling.
Nobody is asking Chevron to give away their private property (Although, in light of Chevron's dubious track record of environental damage, it would sure be a nice gesture). What the Friends of Coyote Hills want, and what the majority of Fullerton residents want, is for city council to listen to the will of the people, and to actively and seriously seek funding from the Orange County M2 Environmental Mitigation Program, from the California Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, from California State Parks Grants, from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program Grants, from Federal Grants, from the EPA Pacific Southwest Grants and Funding Opportunities, and from Public and Private Funding for Smart Growth Initiatives.
Fullerton has clearly shown that, together, we want to permanently perserve all of Coyote Hills, this precious local habitat, as open space, for current and future generations to enjoy. We the people have won a great victory, but the struggle continues. I would encourage Fullerton residents to "like" and follow the Save Coyote Hills facebook page, and their web site. Let's keep working together for our shared future!