America the Beautiful - Thanks to Volunteers with Vision
By Shirley Dettloff

America the Beautiful . . . I think we can all agree that we live in a beautiful country. Any of us who have traveled across our country by car or train, are totally aware of its beauty. We have a wonderful National Park System. Our monuments, the reserves, a coastline on both coasts which surpass any in any part of the world, the wetlands, and so many others publicly owned spaces that their mention would fill this page. Why do I bring this up when there is so much chaos in the world destroying so much beauty? Because if we just look around our own community we have much to be thankful for right here at home.

In Huntington Beach we have a magnificent coast, the Bolsa Chica and Huntington wetlands, a park system that can match any city with a 350 acre Central Park, and the Newland House reflecting our city’s early history. And of course we are all familiar with the 40-year fight to preserve and restore the Bolsa Chica. I bring this up because none of this would have been achieved without the passion and hard work of hundreds of citizens like you, people who believed that a resource was important and were willing to fight for its preservation.

All of the areas have been saved because of YOU! You fought at every governmental level, and the resources of a private developer and WON! It was ordinary people who achieved extraordinary things. It took committed individuals to ensure 350 acres right in the middle of Huntington Beach had been saved for a great park. This was an extraordinary achievement. The Newland House would now be a part of a shopping center had it not been for dedicated people, and the Huntington Wetlands would have been developed into homes and shopping centers as well. Within a state where great achievements happen frequently, these greatest of achievements took place right here in Huntington Beach!

The coast of California was saved because of a ballot measure protecting the coast, the Coastal Act. Many of you stood on street corners, day after day collecting signatures. What would the coast look like today without it? As a former Coastal Commissioner, I can tell you the coast would have a solid wall of housing and commercial development from Oregon to the Mexican border. And so give yourself a big THANK YOU for being a part of a wonderful movement that set out to save invaluable resources and WON many of the battles because you never gave up! You are what makes America the great nation it is: PEOPLE AND THEIR PASSION, FORTITUDE, PERSEVERANCE, AND COMMITMENT!