Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Another Super Funny Letter from M. Pattinson

The best thing about reading the newspaper is looking for the latest wacky column from my now favorite super rockstar developer Michael D. Pattinson (president of home builder Barratt American and former president of the California Building Industry Association).

NCT link

His latest rant is a good one, a real knee slapper. He is all hot and bothered that developers are not allowed to dump dirt in rivers. Then he heard that there wasn't enough sand at the beach, so he figures that there is no sand at the beach because no dirt is washing out from the rivers onto said beach. The rivers are dirtless, thus the beach is sandless.


This is a common belief, especially by yuppie golfers who only go to the beach on Labor Day.

River sand and dirt is not the same stuff we have on our beaches. A trip to the beach revels this simple if not totally obvious truth.

Our beach sand is pushed up from the deep blue sea by south swells in the spring, summer and fall. There is vast amounts of sand on the bottom offshore. Millions of years worth of the stuff.

The sand gets stripped off our beaches in the winter, usually during big storms with big waves. We lost almost all our beautiful sand after the El Nino winter of '83. It was after this time that most of the cliff trouble started.

Right now we have lovely sandy beaches. If you go down the stairs at Grandview beach at the north end of Leucadia and walk a few steps south you will see some sandstone rocks poking up. These seemingly small rocks are actually huge boulders that a few years ago loomed up a good 8-10 feet. They serve as a good eyeball measure of how much sand we have.

We still don't have as much as we had in the 70's when the beaches were HUGE. But we've come along way and the major dredging project from 5 years ago really helped (although we were experiencing a decent natural recovery at the time).

Even though it rained a ton this last winter the waves were not very big so we did not lose much sand. It was a woeful summer for surf but this fall is looking promising. We may end up with quite a bit of even more sand before the winter storms arrive.

As posted before, the newest multi-million dollar sand replenishment project is somewhat of a head scratcher because we do have a lot of sand now. But by 2008 things could change.

The rivers Pattinson wants to fill with dirt did wash out into the ocean this last winter. This is really good for the quality of the waves. The rivermouth "blows out" and forms a big sandbar and the waves peel along it. The bad part is that the water quality of the runoff is so bad that it is risky to surf these spots.

This north county rivermouth made the May '05 cover of Surfing magazine. I surfed this spot a lot this winter. It looks pretty but the pesticides runoff was so bad that it burned my eyes.

Fill dirt seems to be a real problem for Pattinson considering the drama on Sheridan.

Pattinson is reaching for another long stretch of logic on this river dirt/sand deal. Sorry buddy, nice try though. And thanks for laughs. If you are finding yourself with too much dirt why don't you build some kids some baseball fields or something?

Psychologists would call Pattinson's latest column "whiny little girl syndrome".

*I did a search on "pattinson" on the North County Times website and found his previous letters plus rebuttal letters from the public. It's a riot.


  1. Get your claim formSeptember 07, 2005 6:09 PM

    Thanks for the update, sandman.

    Construction dirt, fill, is not sand. Bond and other council members could have put some of this year's unneeded sand money into the storm drain dilemma. Pattinson's piece was patronizing, inaccurate, as usual.

    People can get a generic claim form from City Clerk; ask for $5 per month refund, about $90.00 per trash bill payer. Better than a payday loan.

    We need the city officers we have to use their brains, and hearts, stop using our pocketbooks to finance pleasure junkets to Japan, with oh-so-obvious political posturing overtones. Too many chefs spoil the sand soup. More common sense, more common ground, less charlatans.

  2. Patterson did not do any homework.

    1) Escondido creek does not provide much in the way of our beach sand budget. It is the nature of the soils/geology/hydrology of the drainage basin. It is a big myth that openning up San Elijo will get us more sand. For the most part that dirt is going to get stuck in the marsh and raise the elevation of the marsh making it less of a tidal marsh and more of a freshwater marsh... that is a problem.

    2) Patterson should explain why erosion controls were put in place... why would people be so silly? How does that reconcile with the contrived conundrum?

    3) our good beach sand in Nor County comes (or came) from the drainage basins in Camp Pendelton. You can almost watch the coarse sand flowing to the ocean in those drainages.

    4) How come the surfrider foundation is not for dumping fill dirt into Escondido creek Mr. Patterson?

    5) The real problem is not do we have enough sand to sit on, but is there enough parking for all these people moving into north county? Life sucks when you choose not to go to the beach because you don't want the hassle of looking for parking!

    Maybe he can dump some asphault in the creek too and we can get some parking down at cardiff.

  3. what is with the NCTimes giving the bad guys of the building industry free range to hoodwink the public every week?

  4. Yes, why do Pattinson's inaccurate, misleading pieces get featured in our local newspapers so often? Is it related to advertising revenues? We are glad NCT publishes a good number of letters to the editor. Some are excellent, although, of course, we disagree with many.

    One thing is for sure. People do care. Many are justifiably upset with the powers that be. If we let our voices be heard, our visions be seen, discussed, we can make a difference.

    Thanks, JP.

  5. I'm waching blogs all day long and I found yours which is really nice :)


  6. The surf is never good in North County.


    No need to visit.

    Not really worth it.

    The beaches aren't really beautiful and full of sand.

  7. North County Times article today:

    Encinitas may use eminent domain.

  8. they're piling it on with a larger shovelSeptember 19, 2005 9:57 PM

    9/20 - Pattinson's latest commentary in NCT - Barf

    Barratt's Pattinson piles the praise on his man Jerome Stocks, the recipient of Barrett employees political contributions.


Thank you for posting on the Leucadia Blog.
There is nothing more powerful on this Earth than an anonymous opinion on the Internet.
Have at it!!!