Debra J. Saunders

 Loarie's brief argued that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ultimately approved a plan for the development because of politics -- not science. But it should be noted that a federal judge familiar with the dispute disagreed with Loarie and refuted his claims in an 11-page opinion before the 9th Circuit issued its breezy injunction.

 On Thursday, Lewis explained that he supported a nearby project because it provided "a good balance of housing and open space. What we've been trying to do is arrive at a similar compromise with the Blue Rock project."

 So how much of the land is the Blue Rock developer supposed to give away in a similar compromise? "Eighty-six percent in open space," Lewis answered.

 Blue Rock consists of 1,609 acres. Miller has agreed to give 995 acres to the East Bay Regional Park District. That ought to be enough.

 It was enough for the federal wildlife officials. It was enough for the city of Hayward. It only wasn't enough for people who don't represent the voters.

 When the school district announced that the new school was in jeopardy, the environmentalists crafted a "compromise." They asked the developer to join them in petitioning the court to allow grading for the school and homes, while keeping the golf course on hold. It's like saying the developer has already cut off two fingers, why not one more? Miller has agreed to a mediation hearing with the enviros. But he argues that a new plan would require another round of permitting and environmental review with federal and local officials -- which could scuttle the new school.

 On the anti-growth Hayward Area Planning Association's Web site, Lewis complains that, "The people hurt the most by car-ism are those least able to understand and do something about it, the poor and uneducated."

 I wouldn't want to parrot his patronizing language, but the somewhat un-tony town of Hayward is most hurt by this brand of activism. Countless hours and dollars have gone into wrangling over this property. In the end, the negotiations will result in fewer six- and seven-figure homes to enrich Hayward's tax base -- and fund a new school. All that angst and all those years, just to produce a beautiful development for 600 affluent families, instead of 2,500 families, who will happily drive their SUVs through acres of open land -- perhaps bereft of a golf course.

Debra J. Saunders

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