FEBRUARY 5, 2012
Dear Antler Readers,
This is a longer-than-usual UPDATE, but an important one covering two related issues. Details below the line…
1) Supervisors to Vote on Eliminating Local Planning Groups
On February 29, the Board of Supervisors will vote on eliminating all community planning groups in the county. This will remove the only local forum available to backcountry residents to speak for or against projects like the Honey Springs Dog Ponds.  Sign the online petition:
2) Honey Springs Dog Pond Project
 East County Magazine has published the third article covering this issue.  This time it looks like public funds have been funneled to the (private) hunting consortium to pay for engineering, surveying, permitting, pond design, well restoration & water system, 10 HP 90 GPM pump, drip irrigation, tree removal, tree planting. http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/8626
An editorial is a big departure for The Antler.  But this is a big issue, and residents are speaking with one voice to stop the Honey Springs Dog Ponds Project in its tracks.  The Planning Group has provided a forum for residents to speak out, and has communicated citizen concerns to the Dept of Fish and Game.  Now we find that on February 29 the Board of Supervisors will vote on a proposal to completely eliminate all local planning groups– and silence the voice they give to their communities.

Backcountry residents are a special group of people.  City-folk may gripe about rates and limited schedules for watering lawns, but seldom do they face turning on a faucet to hear the sputter of a well that has reached its limit.  Nor do city-folk worry about the tens of thousands of hard-earned dollars needed for a new attempt at a well. No guarantees you’ll get water, either.
So plans to create an artificial wetland out of dry chaparral for private hunting groups has met with stiff, backcountry opposition. Backcountry dwellers immediately realize that pumping millions of gallons of groundwater is foolhardy in the extreme.  What in the world are these city folks thinking?  We worry about and deal with drought conditions year after year… and these city-folk want to create 7 artificial ponds for… training their dogs?
But… residents were able to come together at Oak Grove Middle School, where the Jamul-Dulzura Planning Group meets monthly. One resident after another spoke out against the plan: Why weren’t we notified? Why use public resources for the exclusive use of private clubs?  Why make wetlands where they have never been before?
The Planning Group was the single forum available… the ONLY place these arguments could be heard.
This is not how it is supposed to work.
On February 29, the Board of Supervisors will vote on eliminating all community planning groups in the county. This ill-considered proposal is coming from developers who have stacked the “Red Tape Reduction Task Force.”
Danielle Cook from Jacumba has posted an online petition.  I have signed it, and I urge all of you reading this to do the same.
The Jamul-Dulzura Planning Group may not be able to vote on these projects… but those monthly meetings are where we learn about such flawed projects as the Honey Springs Dog Training Ponds.