CAMP holds Modoc Road rally ahead of vote by Board of Supervisors
The Community Association for the Modoc Preserve held a protest rally over the weekend, ahead of Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors vote on the Final Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Modoc Multi-Use Path.
Santa Barbara County is considering removing trees to allow for a multi-use path, which would be used by bicyclists along Modoc Road. But as of Sunday morning, CAMP had collected nearly 4,900 signatures in support of preserving the popular trees.
On Saturday, “people gathered on Modoc Road with their homemade signs, saying things like ‘Preserve the Preserve’ and ‘Save the Trees,’” CAMP volunteer Eva Inbar told the News-Press. “Cars driving by honked in approval, and people walking by stopped to chat. We were in high spirits, feeling like David fighting Goliath.”
About three dozen people attended the rally, which took place at the intersection of Modoc Road and East Encore Drive. (The area is outside Santa Barbara city limits.)
“We were able to educate a few cyclists that stopped by,” CAMP co-founder Warren Thomas told the News-Press. “It seemed like seven out of 10 were positive, a lot of thumbs up. It seems like they appreciate what we are doing.
“There are hundreds of comments on our petition, and dozens of those comments are from cyclists who ride Modoc Road everyday,” Mr. Thomas said.
Cyclists have indicated that they have never felt unsafe and actually look forward to that section where the lanes are wider, there is shade and a low accident rate, according to Mr. Thomas.
“An equal number of vehicles that drove past our rally were supportive,” said Mr. Thomas.
Ms. Inbar agreed that Saturday’s rally went well.
“These events are always fun,” she told the News-Press. “It is very much fun to hang out with the neighbors and wave signs. People support us as we raise awareness, and people love us with our hand-painted signs.
“With the vote coming up, it draws attention to it one more time that we are still here,” she said. “It was kind of festive. We were very upbeat and are hoping for the best as we go into the vote on Tuesday. These are really lovely people coming out with handmade signs. They are very enthusiastic and into it. ”
Mr. Thomas described the rally as upbeat and noted two special guests stopped by, News-Press Co-Publishers Wendy McCaw and Arthur von Wiesenberger. “They were supportive and up to date on ins and outs of the issue and (the details) which changes by the day.
“There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm from the neighborhood and the folks that live in neighborhoods that line the preserve, are as committed, if not more than committed, as when we first heard of what was proposed,” Mr. Thomas said. “There was lots of conversation with the elderly folks that drove by. One couldn’t even get out of the car, but wanted to give a statement. He knows the history and what’s happening with the county is exacerbating.”
Ms. Inbar said CAMP members will be at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors, wearing their CAMP T-shirts.
“We don’t quite know what to expect,” Ms. Inbar said. “We are taken aback by the quality of MND and response to the comments. How they could submit that to the Board of Supervisors is beyond me.”
Mr. Thomas expressed CAMP’s determination to save the trees.
“The county wants to dismiss the historic nature of roads and trees. We aren’t going to let that happen,” he said. “These are heritage trees, and they need to be protected.”