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).
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.