There is nothing more terrifying than watching a wall of flame sweep toward one’s home and family. My family and I were at Ground Zero in our Alpine home as the Cedar fire devastated many of our neighbors and friends property.
It was only a miracle of God and the incredible courage of our firefighters that prevented our house from being one of the over 2200 homes destroyed in this devastating disaster which killed 15 of our East County neighbors including a fire fighter.
During and afterwards I thought of those most vulnerable to these fire-storms; the elderly, disabled and housebound. Is there access to escape routes? Can our first responders access someone in need quickly?
As our region develops with more homes to meet our growing population, various East County road improvements, expansions and safety enhancements have been promised to meet these needs. As taxpayers, we have been paying a 1/2 cent sales tax increase for 15 years to pay for these promised roads.
Now downtown politicians and planners in the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) a board chaired by Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, have proposed diverting much of our road funds to additional trolley, transit and high speed rail projects. Not only will this place additional traffic on our already clogged roads and not meet the needs of East County’s future growth, but it will increase ambulance response times and the danger wildfire emergencies pose to all of us, especially for the elderly, disabled and housebound.
I don’t know about you but I am tired of paying taxes with the promise of road expansions, repairs and safety improvements to only be disappointed when I hear that SANDAG’s downtown elites have, yet again, decided to steal our money for trolley projects and new public mass transit “vision plans” we didn’t ask for.
It’s time for East County to stand up and fight for our roads.
Joel Anderson is a former state senator and a 35 year resident of Alpine.