Letters published with permission, or are in the public record. Typos are probably our fault, and we apologize for any we missed (corrections appreciated). If you'd like to send us a letter to post here, please send it to [email protected] and include permission for us to publish it -- Thanks!
Here's a response to the 1-Dec-95 Chronicle EDITORIAL -- A Devil's Slide Challenge.
From: Stuart Weiss
To: [email protected]
Subject: Montara Mtn. story

Your Web page is fantastic! If you would like to post this story, or send it on to appropriate officials, please feel free. I particularly like your presentation of both sides of the issue, even if I am an opponent of the bypass

I would like to share an experience I had on Montara Mtn in the late 1980's. I was working on a survey for the San Bruno Elfin butterfly and was sitting on the rock outcrop immediately above the saddle where the bypass is planned. It was one of those crystal clear April days - I could see from Pt. Reyes to Ano Nuevo, hawks were circling, and flowers blooming. As I was watching a butterfly perched on a manzanita, a man and his son (about 10 years old) had hiked up from Pacifica and we started talking. I told them about the butterfly, showed them the Sedum (the butterfly's larval hostplant) nestled among the rocks and the fantastic display of wildflowers. I then told them about the bypass. The son became quiet and obviously distraught, and his father looked at me, shook his head and said "My son was just saying 'At least they have't ruined this place, yet'" We sat quietly for a while imagining a wide roadbed, cut and filled slopes, and a stream of noisy smelly traffic at our feet. We said goodbye as they headed down the hill to Pacifica and I continued up to the summit for more butterfly observations.

Having hiked over much of Montara Mountain both for biological fieldwork and for sheer pleasure, there is no question in my mind that the proposed bypass would be a tragic mistake, especially when a feasible tunnel alternative exists. Maybe they won't ruin Montara Mountain, yet.

Stuart Weiss
Center for Conservation Biology
Stanford University

Was the MDA dropped? Here are some thoughts.
LOTS of letters from HMB Review Letters to the Editor, April 26. Don't miss these!
April 26 letter from San Mateo County Supervisor Mary Griffin to the Pacifica Tribune.
April 10 reply from Chris Thollaug of the Sierra Club to State Senator Quentin Kopp.
March 31 letter from State Senator Quentin Kopp to Peter Drekmeier of the Sierra Club.
From: [email protected]
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 1995
Subject: www site

As a long time Coastside resident, I am glad to see some dedicated committment to a suitable "fix" to Devils Slide. I applaud the efforts of Citizens for the Tunnel and of Dr. Grant Weiss who informed me of this great organization. Please continue your work and I will continue to write letters to our legislators and representatives.


Letter to the Editor

From: Shaun Deane
390 5th Street

Date: April 21, 1995

Re: Devil's Slide

On April 4th, I attended the San Mateo Board of Supervisor's meeting. I have always felt a sense of awe in the chambers of democracy and I could not help but think of the architects who made meetings like this possible; people like Thomas Jefferson, who in this instance would most likely have been in the audience and not part of the predisposed Board.

Specifically, I remembered a set of essays I had read by James Fenimore Cooper upon his return to this country in 1838 after a long absence overseas. He was disheartened by what he saw as sweeping changes invoked by the Jackson administration at that time and wrote a book called The American Democrat. One essay in particular, "They Say," came to mind immediately. It seems relevant in light of the Board's rejection of citizen requests for information in this important struggle for a viable coastside road. I present the article here, in its entirety:

"They say," is the monarch of this country, in a social sense. No one asks "who says it," so long as it is believed that "they say it." Designing men endeavor to persuade the public, that already "they say" what these designing men wish to be said, and the public is only too much disposed blindly to join in the cry of "they say."
This is another consequence of the habit of deferring to the control of the public, over matters in which the public has no right to interfere.
Every well meaning man, before he yields his faculties and intelligence to this sort of dictation, should first ask himself "who" is "they," and on what authority "they say" utters its mandates.
Shaun Deane
390 5th Street

Received: 4/12/95 12:19 AM
From: Allan Foster, [email protected]
To: [email protected]

So, just some thoughts from someone from way way far away.... Looking at the picture of the proposed road thru the hills, I find the visual effect quite disturbing. It seems, that with a 6.5 % grade, it is going to be quite some drive.

When I look at the pros and cons of each, the tunnel bypass, and the winding road bypass, and knowing that this part of the coast receives more than its fair share of fog, I feel that the tunnel is not only the more visually attractive, but safer as well....

Do we really have to make the hillside ugly with another winding road? The montara mountain is one of the few unspoiled areas left, so close to the city...


PS: Hmmm Just a question....

Doesn't anyone see the weirdness?

Tunnel bypass -- 30-60 Million
steep winding road bypass -- 70-100 million

I find it hard to accept the stand of: 30 Million is not funded, but 70 million is... and if we try to find funding for the 30 million, we may lose the 70 million.... Heck, we have the money, why not spend the whole lot... maybe we can get more for next time?

Date: Sat, 1 Apr 1995 07:35:03 -0800
To: [email protected]
X-Personal_name: Robert B. Gelman
From: [email protected]
Subject: I live here, and I'm LIVID

I just read in the Review that CalTrans has summarily dismissed the concept of a tunnel, having not reviewed costs and technologies advanced over the last ten years. It doesn't matter how many times they may have looked at tunnel decades ago, they are duty bound to consider the will of the people NOW. Does anyone doubt that they have other priorities than those of the residents? Doesn't this response to the outcry for a tunnel evaluation PROVE that they are not concerned with OUR rights and interests?

Democracy is about compromise, or it's supposed to be. This blatant stance may actually make it easier for us to expose them for their true motives. Count on me to work to do just that. I'm not a Sierra Clubber-but the environment is a priority to me. I'm a businessman, but I'm not interested in irresponsible development either. Let me know what I can do.

R.B. Gelman
PO Box 2
Moss Beach, CA 94038
[email protected]

March 16, 1995

P.O. Box 371304
Montara, CA 94037

Mayor Naomi Patridge
Half Moon Bay City Council
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Dear Mayor Patridge,

We, concerned citizens of the Coastside, support the spirit of compromise set forth by San Mateo County Board Supervisors Ted Lempert and Ruben Barrales requesting that CalTrans study a tunnel as the permanent solution to Devil's Slide. We are requesting that you take the time to review the documentation and video enclosed which have helped us formulate our position that a tunnel is a far superior alternative to the proposed Martini Creek bypass. In addition we are formally requesting that the Half Moon Bay City Council make a motion to delay a resolution on a long term recommendation for a permanent repair solution until all members have had an opportunity to examine evidence in support of the tunnel option thoroughly. We feel it is important for all city council members to make an educated decision on this matter.

The primary reasons we support the tunnel over the Martini Creek bypass are as follows:

1. Experts have disclosed that a tunnel would be safer than the bypass for the following reasons:

2. Experts agree that construction of a 4,600 foot long, 45 foot wide tunnel would cost between $30 and $65 million, less than conservative construction cost estimates of the bypass. In our consultation with representatives of the Colorado Department of Transportation regarding the award-winning state of the art tunnel systems constructed as part of their Glenwood Canyon project, one 4,000 foot long, 45 foot wide tunnel cost approximately $43 million, 3,500 feet of it bored through hard rock.

The tunnel maintenance consultants on the Glenwood Canyon, CO project are local to the Bay area and we have received information that tunnel maintenance costs are unique to each situation depending on traffic volume, proximity to emergency services, etc. We would like the costs of tunnel maintenance in our particular situation examined closely by experts and compared to real figures of long term bypass maintenance. We would like public access to this information.

3. The proposed Martini Creek bypass and the tunnel have similar projected construction time estimates. We, Coastside citizens who drive these roads daily, want the most expedient permanent repair solution possible. We feel that if the environmentalists are willing to make a compromise, elimination of further litigation could speed up the process for all of us. The tunnel could actually be completed in a much shorter time for this, among other reasons.

Again, we respectfully ask that you consider all of the facts, some of which are not yet available, prior to making any decision on this matter. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Don Johnson
and Other Concerned Coastside Citizens

We appreciate the mail you send in. Please send your comments to [email protected].
Montara Mountain Free Press