Local agencies violate open meeting law

January 23, 2011


Requests to allow public access to meetings of a local committee formed to examine the air quality at the Oceano dunes were primarily ignored until one of the state’s leading authorities on open meeting laws warned the committee that they needed to follow the law or face litigation.

The Brown Act was passed in 1953 because of mounting concerns that government bodies were avoiding scrutiny by meeting secretly. The Act guarantees the public the right to attend and participate in meetings of legislative bodies, to have forewarning of discussion items through posted agendas and forbids a majority of board members from discussing government issues in in private.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley contends that a lack of participation by Bell city residents was one of the reasons that corruption in Bell flourished.

In San Luis Obispo County, some local government bodies regularly fail to properly notify the public of upcoming agenda items or discuss some public issues in open session, as required by the Brown Act.

In the case of the Management Oversight Committee (MOC), created in July by the County Board of Supervisors; the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Board and staff from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the committee chair and head of the APCD Larry Allen and the APCD’s attorney determined the committee did not have to comply with the law.

“It is surprising that the parties or their attorneys believe that a multimember body created by a legislative body can be exempted from the Brown Act’s requirements by use of the term “ad hoc,” said Terry Francke, the director of CalAware and arguably the foremost authority on the Brown Act. “The only ‘ad hoc’ bodies not governed by the Act are committees, populated by less than a majority of the creating body and no one else.

“Those responsible to comply with the law may wish to spare themselves some embarrassment and spare the taxpayers the obligation to pay our attorney’s fees that would result from having to be schooled on this point by the superior court,” Francke added.

Larry Allen

In July, county supervisors, the APCD and staff from state parks and recreation approved a request by local APCD Director Larry Allen to create the MOC to explore options for reducing particulate matter at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. The committee is comprised of a nine member board that includes three members from each participating agency, two of whom are attorneys.

Allen and the attorney for the APCD, Ray Biering, drafted the agreement that created the committee. The agreement says that the committee does not have to comply with Brown Act requirements.

Both Allen and Biering did not return repeated requests for comment.

The committee held two meetings in which the public was permitted to attend, one in July and one last week, the public, however, was not permitted to speak until the end of the meetings, in violation of the Brown Act. During the meetings, both proponents and opponents of allowing vehicles on the dunes and beach spoke out against the committees’ failure to allow public participation.

At last week’s meeting, Kevin Rice presented the committee, the county board of supervisors and the APCD with a letter demanding the committee comply with the Brown Act, disclose actions of prior meetings and discussions and allow the public a meeting in which to voice their opinions and concerns about prior issues.

In his letter, Rice gives the county and the APCD 30 days to comply or face litigation.

Opponents of vehicles on the Oceano coastal dunes and beach point at a recent study by the APCD that reports that off roaders driving on the beach significantly increase the amount of dust blowing downwind to the Nipomo Mesa. Opponents would like to have vehicles banned from the beach in order to protect, wildlife, habits and air quality.

Proponents of vehicle use on the dunes point at the economic impact the park brings to the county, more than 2 million people visit a year making the park one of our counties largest economic generators.

In addition, Rice contends those involved in conducting the survey are biased because of connections to the APCD.  And that if the park is found responsible for poor air quality in the area, the state will have to pay fees to the APCD, an agency that is primarily funded through fees paid by local entities found to be causing air pollution.

“The U.S. Geologic Survey says there is about 500 million pounds of dust that blows on the dunes each year,” Rice said. “Larry Allen complains that his staff hasn’t grown in the past few years and I believe he is looking at the deep pockets of the state to fund his agency.”

County Supervisor Adam Hill said that even though he is unaware of the current conflict, he supports any action that helps to promote transparency.

“I don’t have a problem with anything that will help us conform to public transparency requirements,” Hill said.



  1. SLORider says:

    This discussion has covered everything except the subject of the article–the APCD has created a committee that is meeting out of the public eye in violation of the Brown Act. This will soon change.

    As to the rest of the comments, watch the video. If you have something you feel is factual, then present your evidence. I don’t have time for those that simplisticly and anonymously “know what they know”. Back it up. I’ve done my homework, now you do yours.

    (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
  2. WiseGuy says:

    I looked at the photos from the dunes lake area. If we are to trust the photos, they show us that there is considerably more vegetation in the area now, when OHVS are prohibited from being there, compared to considerably less vegetation when OHVs were allowed to enter that area.

    For OHV enthusiasts to claim that OHVs have not destroyed any vegetation in the dunes is to brand themselves as terribly ignorant, lacking common sense, or plain ol’ liars. If the OHV proponents would stick with the truth, and show some respect for the environmental concerns of our community, then perhaps there wouldn’t be such a backlash against them. Of course, same can be said about government officials.

    I’m not against regulated use of OHVs in a portion of the dunes. But I do oppose expanding the OHV area. And I support proper enforcement of laws regarding OHV use in the dunes. On any weekend you can find vehicles operating in the dunes that are too loud and pollute too much. Some self-regulation by OHV users and a decrease in anti-environmentalist rhetoric would go a long way toward making the situation in the dunes more tolerable for the whole community.

    OHV users efforts to expand the OHV area have bordered on illegality or, if we accept the findings of the Grand Jury, may actually have been illegal. And that activity may be continuing in one form or another as we speak.

    But, getting back to the topic of the original article, I agree wholeheartedly that the government proceedings concerning the dunes should be open to the public.

    (-2) 14 Total Votes - 6 up - 8 down
    • whatisup says:

      Wiseguy – You still have the photos mixed-up. It is clear in the video which photos are which, so I can only assume you are mixing them up to try to spread disinformation. If this is your strategy, so be it. It just seems a little ridiculous when everybody here can view the photos in the video for themselves.

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
      • SLORider says:

        Wiseguy is grossly confused. In 1939 (the old photo), dune buggies didn’t exist. Thus, it is simply impossible that the more sparse vegetation at that time was due to OHV use.

        However, I appreciate that Wiseguy recognizes the importance of open meetings. I’d be happy to meet with him, and even show him the imagery that I paid hundreds of dollars for if he ever wishes to participate in a non-anonymous discussion. Until then, I’d really appreciate if Wiseguy could produce some images or cited sources that back up his views.

        (805) 602-2616

        (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • Cindy says:

      WiseGuy, SLO Riders photo’s go back to the early 1900’s and they include very clear land marks which affords us an easy comparison. It’s obvious to me that the natural vegetation was sparse (if non existent) on the dunes long before the OHV’s became popular. I also watched some other Oceano Dune video’s on u-tube last night and in one of them, I could clearly see nothing but seeded ice plant in the background. Bill Dennium also had an excellent “touchy feely” video out about the wild life that inhabit the area but we are talking about a very small area compared to what is available and preserved as an indigenous habit.
      In short, I believe the dunes have always been a dust bowl and the airborne PM in general is far less intrusive today than it was during the time that early photographers captured it’s form as a pristine wilderness. I know that the local residents would prefer the solitude that ocean front property can afford, I can empathize with them. I grew up living by the ocean during the summer and playing in quiet sand dunes. I would wake up to the seagulls chartering and go to sleep to the combined rhythm of waves and a light house so I really do understand how they feel. The problem is that this small area of the shore is a park where OHV enthusiast have been allowed to recreate for many years. I also have to admit that it looks like an awful lot of FUN. The residents knew this when they purchased their property. They now own land along one of the most popular parks in the state. If it were me, I would take advantage of the traffic by either providing a service or merchandise and I would go to sleep and wake up along some other area of the coast.

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  3. whatisup says:

    In a post below SLOrider provides a video of the Jan, 26, 2011 SLO Air Pollution Control District Board Meeting that may explain part of the reason the SLO APCD Director, Larry Allen, is trying to keep the Management Oversight Committee (MOC) meeting about Oceano Dunes OHV riding area secret.

    It seems Mr. Rice, speaking at the Board meeting has uncovered, through impressive investigative work, photographic and State of California archive evidence that the Oceano Dunes, prior to 1950s, was void of much of today’s plant life. During the 1950s the State of California initiated a plan to seed massive amounts of non-native plant species over the dunes to stop the sand from continuing to blow way inland.

    This allowed the bulldozing of existing sand dunes and many houses that exist in the Ocean Dunes area, that appear to have not been built where sand dunes used to exist, in fact are built on these bulldozed sand dune areas. Over the years the trees and grass grew up around these houses and you would never know they are located in what used to be a huge sand dune field.

    This is an inconvenient truth for the staff of the SLO Air Pollution Control District who either did not know this information or suppressed this information from the Board of the SLO Air Pollution Control District. I can see why Director Larry Allen would prefer the MOC meetings to be secret.

    Wiseguy – I’m not sure when you think I insulted you, but I did not mean to. I do note that in one of your posts you called SLOrider an ignorant, desperate nincompoop and in another post you call him an ignorant thug. Now Wiseguy, I think you might be insulting SLOrider……..Yes, I am quite sure you were trying to insult SLOrider.

    (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
    • Cindy says:

      I’ve got to say that hands down, this has got to be the best thread that I have ever seen on this site! I’m sure the fact that I don’t have a stake in this “war” affords me a bit more enjoyment than usual, but really, it doesn’t get any better than this and some of you are very funny and clever. I’m not sure if other people see what I see but this is just way to good.

      By the way, this is the first time I have seen everybody agree with an article and then fight like hell, LOL

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  4. Moderator says:

    Roads to Romance @ 2;30

    (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      Love it!

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • Cindy says:

        Me Too. I was half expecting the dunes to show up in video. We could have all pointed to where the road was and how much vegetation was or wasn’t there. Then we could have zoomed in to see if it was ice plant or if it was vegetation that is native to the area. We also could have pointed to where the now missing dunes used to be and tried to figure out which houses were the culprits.
        I’m not trying to make fun, I’m having fun. I understand both sides.

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
        • whatisup says:

          Actually Cindy, it now appears that some of the most ardent folks who are fighting to have the Oceano Dunes closed to OHV traffic because the OHVs destroy the dunes, own houses located on bulldozed land that used to be sand dunes. It seems to me they need to consider giving up their homes, bulldozing the homes flat, removing the debris and allow the sand dunes to naturally come back.

          In addition, isn’t it ironic that they live in houses located in the middle of what used to be sand dunes, but complain about blowing sand?

          (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
  5. WiseGuy says:

    Whatisup, you needn’t start your reply with an attempt to insult me.

    May I suggest you reread my comments and notice that, contrary to what you imply, nowhere in any of my postings do I call for reducing the OHV area of the dunes.

    What I am saying is that many OHV enthusiasts who use the dunes have been their own worst enemies and have helped bring this controversy upon themselves. There was no good reason that the OHV users in the dunes needed to destroy acres of vegetation and habitat. And now some even deny the destruction.

    Using your analogy regarding environmental trade-offs in order to build basketball courts, roads, etc., I would say that some of the environmental destruction in the dunes was as unnecessary as sloppy bulldozing of five acres of forest in order to build a facility that only requires four acres.

    The continued use of highly-polluting two-stroke engines that are common in many OHVs is another area that off-road enthusiasts could back off on, as decent, less polluting alternatives exist.

    Unfortunately, a culture has been promoted among many off-road enthusiasts that encourages disdain toward certain aspects of nature and other environmental concerns, to the point that we even see signs on OHVs that tell environmentalists to “go to Hell”.

    Finally, I want to reiterate my objection to SloRider’s claim that historic use of the dunes by Spanish explorers three centuries ago (when they traveled through the dunes just once), or even the occasional Model T Ford or motorcycle that drove along the shoreline nearly 100 years ago, somehow justifies the hoards of vehicles that now converge on the dunes on a regular basis.

    OHV use in the dunes did not blossom fully until the 1970s and with that came problems that simply did not exist decades earlier. In other words, the situation has changed tremendously over the years in the dunes, and so have reactions toward those changes.

    The Oceano-Guadalupe Dunes are unique and beautiful in many ways and are much more than just sterile piles of sand to drive upon. The OHV community would do everyone a favor by acknowledging and respecting that.

    (-4) 12 Total Votes - 4 up - 8 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      I have seen pictures of Model Ts lined up bumper to bumper on that beach. The traffic on the beach started long before the 70s and wasn’t the occasional vehicle as you seem to think. It seems like a lot more because the riding area is much smaller than it was in the 70s. I’m not saying that there isn’t more people out there, there probably is, just as with Yosemite and other parks the population has grown and so has the use of our roads. I have also seen pictures where the dunes were much bigger, they were under the houses that have permanently destroyed them. If you stop driving then the dunes will go back to their natural state in a few weeks. The development on the dunes will never go back to the way it was. The driving on the beach has been around longer than any of us, let them keep their little stretch of land, it’s just a little area. The people that live nearby that complain knew that they were buying near an OHV area, if they didn’t like it then they shouldn’t have moved there. I wonder what was under your home 200 hundred years ago, what endangered plant, what native American sacred land? Have you DRIVEN through Yosemite? Have you not left a large foot print,,bet you have.

      (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
      • WiseGuy says:

        Typo, there were some brief and wild, failed real estate scam/promotions long ago, selling “homesites” in the dunes. There was also a dancehall in the dunes. There were also some “tent cities” set up along the shore in Pismo Beach. Those things probably account for the photos that are being used to promote OHV use in the dunes today. However, you’ll likely notice that most of those old cars were not really IN the dunes, but were closer to the shoreline. In any case, those were brief anomalies for the time.

        The fact is, before the 1960s there was NOTHING in the dunes that comes anywhere close to what is experienced there these days. It was the introduction of VW-based dune buggies in the 1960s that sparked the type of traffic we have these days and the heavy environmental/habitat destruction in the 1970s and 1980s.

        All this B.S. propaganda that tries to tell us that OHV use in the dunes should be protected because of historical precedent that goes back hundreds of years is absurd and only makes the OHV contingent appear nutty or devious. They would do better for themselves if they would simply GET REAL and quit with all the misleading, absurd propaganda and instead deal with the the problems as they exist TODAY while showing greater respect for those who appreciate the rare, natural habitat of the dunes that has an historical precedent that TRULY goes back thousands and thousands of years before motor vehicles, with insensitive drivers, began loudly ripping the place apart and destroying wildlife.

        Again, let it be said that I am not calling for a prohibition of OHV use in the dunes. I’m just trying to set the record straight in the face of a campaign of misleading pro-OHV propaganda

        (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down
        • WiseGuy says:

          After many complaints and many meetings and studies—and AFTER much environmental destruction—more controls were established in our dunes to help prevent further unnecessary and wanton habitat destruction. Unfortunately, little or nothing has been done to lessen the air pollution caused by increased dust and the use of two-stroke engines, as asthma has reached epidemic proportions in our state.

          The noise, of the off-road vehicles, which can frequently be heard MILES away, is also a problem that most OHV fans seem to have little interest in mitigating, even though lessening the noise if fairly easy by way of using muffler systems.

          As far as the miles of dunes free of OHV traffic, noise, pollution and the occasional deadly or crippling vehicle accidents, I’m, at the moment, NOT campaigning to change the way it is. But I do highly OBJECT to the misleading campaign to expand the OHV area. And I object to the malicious and vicious anti-environmentalist rhetoric that is so often spewed by SOME OHV proponents.

          But whether or not you and I are satisfied with the current OHV boundaries is not the entire issue. This involves a lot more people than just you and me.

          Unfortunately so many members of the OHV community seem insensitive to any problems they create and show little or no effort to mitigate those problems. In some cases, they seem to WANT to create more noise and other problems just to irritate OHV opponents. It’s a sad situation.

          (-6) 8 Total Votes - 1 up - 7 down
    • SLORider says:


      Rant on. You are clearly uninformed and I don’t have time to educate you. Please go read the Portola/Crespi diaries. Do more research on the intensive vehicle use (not occasional) that is a part of Oceano Dunes history.

      Please read the August 31, 1909 issue of Automobile Topics Illustrated (New York) magazine, p. 1357. It should be easy for an all-knowing guy like you to find as it is the issue celebrating the opening of the Indianapolis Motordrome.

      Also, go out and obtain some of the 1930 and 1939 aerial images that blow your vegetation theories of out the water.

      Go out and learn about modern 4-stroke and 2-stroke engine technology.

      Go on and make your unbased claims and ad hominems. It reveals who you are.

      (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
      • WiseGuy says:

        I’d like to see those aerial images you speak of, SLO. Would you mind posting them here so WE CAN ALL make our judgements on the matter. And can we then compare them apple-to-apple with aerial shots from 1977, 1984, and today?

        SLOrider, I continually criticize you for your continuous lack of offering productive or positive work on these problems concerning OHVs and the Dunes. Posting side-by-side aerial photos from each of those years would be something VERY productive you could finally contribute to easing the crisis in the dunes.

        One problem though. I have also often stated my opinion that I find it hard to trust you regarding anything you ever say or do. So to be productive, you would have to present your photos in such a way that every reader on this forum would feel absolutely sure you did not use digital photo manipulation to re-write history to suit any selfish needs or desires on your part.

        So I heartily welcome what could be something landmark from you SLO—something POSITIVE AND PRODUCTIVE AND FAIR-MINDED AND HONESTLY PRESENTED to address the problems of OHV use in the local dune habitat.

        (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
        • WiseGuy says:

          P.S. A “proper” study should also include at least a few aerials from the 1950s and 1960s. Being that their were U.S. troops living in the Dunes in 1940s, perhaps aerials are available from that era as well.

          I would LOVE to see someone put all that together in a way that we could trust to be fair and accurate.

          In fact, I might even help fund something like that, if we could find someone other than SloRider to handle the money and verify the provenance of the photos.

          Let’s do something PRODUCTIVE! AND POSITIVE! for a CHANGE!

          (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
        • SLORider says:

          How about you do the research, pay for appointments with a research librarian, invest a few days of your time and travel expense, and pony-up the hundreds dollars that I paid out of my pocket for copies of those COPYRIGHT images?

          For their “scientific” study, the air district expended no more effort from their La-Z-Boy chair than was required to Google two photos from the Internet–the oldest from 1979. So pathetic! And, even at that, they chose an image where vegetation was artificially planted in order to deceive the reader.

          I have GIGABYTES of images and maps from 1879 onward. The air district has two photos from Google. Let them pay for science like I did… as if they were interested in science. Or, they can see my copies when they get sued.

          (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
        • SLORider says:

          You Tube

          (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
          • whatisup says:

            This is an absolutly brilliant piece of investigative work about the history of Oceano Dunes, as well as, San Francisco Dunes. I presume Mr. Rice, who speaks in the video did this investigation and he is to be congratuated for being able to uncover the past history of vegatation, or rather, lack there of, on Oceano Dunes. It is rediculous that he knows the history better than any of the SLO APCD and SLO Health Dept. staff who are trying to close down the Dunes to off road vehicles. The SLO County Board of Supervisors needs to take note of his investigative work.

            (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
            • WiseGuy says:

              Brilliant? What the heck are you talking about? All i see is a complete propaganda hack job as far as the vegetation is concerned. See all that vegetation around the dunes lake area? OHVs aren’t even allowed there these days.

              It’s historically documented that a group of people now known as The Dunites lived in wooded “coves” in the 1930s in what is now the OHV area, but was then known as Moy Mell. There are maps and diagrams and photos of those wooded coves. But today there is NOTHING but sand there.

              I myself have seen large areas of thick chaparral in the OHV area that were being overrun by OHVs in the 1970s and 1980s. What is left? NOTHING but sand.

              I don’t believe SLOrider even set foot in the dunes until sometime after 1985. Am i correct on this or not?

              (-5) 9 Total Votes - 2 up - 7 down
              • whatisup says:

                Wiseguy – Are you claiming the photos are fake?

                (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
                • WiseGuy says:

                  How would I know if they are fake or not? What I am saying is that they are irrelevant and being used for misleading purposes.

                  To deny the vegetation destruction by OHVs in the dunes is absurd. I’ve witnessed it.

                  (-5) 11 Total Votes - 3 up - 8 down
                • whatisup says:

                  Actually Wiseguy there is far more plant life on the Oceano Dunes today than there was in the 1950s because massive amounts of invasive plants were seeded on the Dunes. The video is posted above for all to see. I know this is an inconvenient truth, but it is the truth.

                  In addition, the sensitive environmental areas at the Oceano Dunes riding area have been fenced off for many years and the off road vehicles do not ride in these areas. The plant destruction you claim, if it happened at all, happened many years ago.

                  Finally, Wiseguy, in a previous post you indicated you were not advocating for the closing or reducing in size of the current Oceano Dunes OHV riding area – just what are you advocating for?

                  (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
          • WiseGuy says:

            What a total crock. There isn’t even any OHV access to the dunes lake area these days.

            (-3) 7 Total Votes - 2 up - 5 down
            • whatisup says:

              You’re right Wiseguy. Perhaps consideration should be given to reopening the Oso Flaco Lake entrance to the dunes as a southern entrance for off road vehicles into Oceano Dunes.

              (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
              • WiseGuy says:

                “Consideration” was given, whatisup. And it was found to be totally unacceptable because of all the destruction it would cause. Give it up.

                (-3) 9 Total Votes - 3 up - 6 down
                • whatisup says:

                  My mentioning Oso Flaco was because it was obvious from your post that you actually mixed up the two photos you were looking at which, based on your more current replies on this thread, you now have the timeline of the photos correct. We also now know from the photos that the invasive non-native species planted around OSO Flaco when it was “rehabilitated” did not used to be there.

                  (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
            • Guy_Wise says:

              Do not feed the troll….

              (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
    • WiseGuy says:

      I looked at the photos from the dunes lake area. If we are to trust the photos, they show us that there is considerably more vegetation in the area now, when OHVS are prohibited from being there, compared to considerably less vegetation when OHVs were allowed to enter that area.

      For OHV enthusiasts to claim that OHVs have not destroyed any vegetation in the dunes is to brand themselves as terribly ignorant, lacking common sense, or plain ol’ liars. If the OHV proponents would stick with the truth, and show some respect for the environmental concerns of our community, then perhaps there wouldn’t be such a backlash against them. Of course, same can be said about government officials.

      I’m not against regulated use of OHVs in a portion of the dunes. But I do oppose expanding the OHV area. And I support proper enforcement of laws regarding OHV use in the dunes. On any weekend you can find vehicles operating in the dunes that are too loud and pollute too much. Some self-regulation by OHV users and a decrease in anti-environmentalist rhetoric would go a long way toward making the situation in the dunes more tolerable for the whole community.

      OHV users efforts to expand the OHV area have bordered on illegality or, if we accept the findings of the Grand Jury, may actually have been illegal. And that activity may be continuing in one form or another as we speak.

      But, getting back to the topic of the original article, I agree wholeheartedly that the government proceedings concerning the dunes should be open to the public.

      (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
  6. WiseGuy says:

    You are being absolutely ridiculous. SloRider. Do you really feel the readers here are THAT stupid that they should swallow all your hogwash without thinking?

    The fact that Spanish explorers trudged across the dunes with horses and mules three centuries ago has absolutely NO legal relevance to whether off-road motor vehicles have the right to drive in the dunes today.

    When Highway One was paved it was clearly decided that the highway would NOT be plotted through the dunes.

    I’m not even opposed to vehicles having regulated access to portions of the dunes, but SloRider’s arguments are so ridiculous at times, that one feels compelled to point out exactly why he is such a poor representative for OHV users, as he continually stirs up so much animosity AGAINST OHV proponents with his absurd rationalizations.

    The fact is that because of years of unregulated OHV use in the dunes, massive areas of vegetation have been obliterated, adding to the dust problems that are being argued about today.

    If OHV enthusiasts would spend more time addressing RELEVANT issues, instead of Spanish explorers in the 1700s, maybe they would make more progress. Some self-regulation that would have prevented the decimation of so much vegetation and habitat in the dunes would have helped the situation tremendously. But those acres and acres of vegetation are gone now, and the dust is worse than it would have been.

    SloRider continues to deny that vegetation was obliterated by OHVs in the dunes, but I know for a fact that he is once again misleading the public on this. I drove OHVs in the dunes in the early 1980s and I know what was out there and I saw bonehead drivers driving through all kinds of vegetation as some sort of challenge to their 4WDs, as they totally ripped and ground the life out of forests of vegetation that were homes to a variety of wildlife, finally turning all that vegetation into dust. Where there were acres of habitat, there is now nothing but blowing sand.

    That kind of blatant, mindless off-road destruction was absolutely unnecessary and we are all paying for it today. If OHV enthusiasts would spend more time doing something productive, and showing respect for delicate and beautiful and fragile aspects of our natural world, maybe there wouldn’t be such a campaign to get all the OHVs out of the dunes.

    Guys like Slorider create more problems than they solve and do the OHV community a terrible disservice.

    (1) 13 Total Votes - 7 up - 6 down
    • whatisup says:

      wiseguynot – for many years, since the dune area the OHVs can ride in was substantially reduced to 5 1/2 miles by the State, the environmentally sensitive areas have been fenced off in the 5 ½ mile riding area and the OHVs do not touch these areas. Incidentally, this leaves 12 ½ miles with no OHV riding for those who want dune activities in a non OHV environment, not to mention the over 825 miles of additional CA coastline that is also OHV free. Is that not enough?

      It is true that where the OHVs ride that plants will not be growing, but plants don’t grow under where basketball courts, tennis courts, roads, schools, houses, etc. sit because society has decided that there is a reasonable alternative use for the land. In a country of 320,000,000 people everybody is not going to think like you on what the best use of each piece of land is. That’s why we compromise.

      Wiseguy, is not 12 1/2 miles of dunes with no OHV traffic enough for you?

      (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  7. WiseGuy says:

    Most of us have learned long ago that you can’t trust what SloRider writes. Earlier he claimed that there was a “highway” through the dunes in the 1700’s when Portola and his expedition explored California! That is completely false. There was not even a road of ANY kind. And it is safe to say if Portola had the opportunity to travel on Highway 1, he would have gladly done that and stayed out of the dunes.

    In fact, following the coast through SLO County is to this day considered one of the greatest and most deadly blunders of the Portola expedition. They should have turned inland at San Luis Creek and circumvented the coast, but were so obsessed with believing the coast provided the best route they forged ahead and were mired for weeks on the rugged coast of Big Sur, contributing to the deaths of several in the expedition.

    I’m not even opposed to OHV use in a portion of the dunes. But I am opposed to all the outlandish B.S. that SloRider throws down. He makes OHVers seem like a bunch of ignorant thugs who will say or write anything to support their cause, including trying to portray a Spanish explorer in the 1700s as the Dunes’ first off-road enthusiast!

    (-1) 17 Total Votes - 8 up - 9 down
    • SLORider says:

      The most consistent trait of the anti-beach throng is vileness and hate. Once again, the archetype proves true. Can’t make an argument? No problem. Just resort to name-calling.

      Worst, is the complete and utter ignorance to the definitions of words that have existed long before the automobile that obliterate your vain obstinance:


      road: an open way for vehicles, persons, and animals.

      highway: a public way; especially a main, direct road.

      In England, the “Highways Act 1555” passed which enacted surveyors to keep after the country’s highways. Preceding Britain were the Roman highways built centuries ago, detailed in the 1906 book, “Our Roman Highways”. The 1884 book, “Old highways in China” details the ancient roads there. “The Kings Highway” from Egypt to Syria has existed since biblical times.

      Discounting Oceano Dunes as a part of California’s richest highway–“El Camino Real” (The King’s HIGHWAY”)—is simply pure repudiation of established history and fact.

      Oceano Dunes has been a highway for 241 years. An inconvenient truth, apparently.

      (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
      • Cindy says:

        Yah gotta love it, and yes; of course it’s true.

        (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
      • WiseGuy says:

        SloRider, in case you didn’t notice, “El Camino Real” must have been moved, perhaps for good reason. Regardless of whatever “history” you claim, in 2011 “El Camino Real” is paved and does not pass through the local dunes, nor has it during all the years both you and I have been on this planet. And despite what you write, I really doubt you would like to see that paved highway relocated to the dunes. Am I correct on that?

        (-3) 7 Total Votes - 2 up - 5 down
  8. Catnip says:

    I’m actually disappointed by this story for a couple reasons.
    1.) It doesn’t give me the information I need to form an opinion on how this committee was formed and who formed it. The article says it was created by ” the County Board of Supervisors; the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Board and staff from the California Department of Parks and Recreation”
    Was it created by all these agencies, or is the committee made up of members representing all these agencies? It’s hard to believe that all these agencies would get together to create a committee. On what authority could that happen?
    2.) It doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that Kevin P Rice may have other motives besides just his belief in upholding the brown act. As an OHV supporter, he has a real interest in smearing this committee and it’s findings. If you can’t use facts to make your argument, attack their reputation.

    (-2) 10 Total Votes - 4 up - 6 down
    • SLORider says:


      1) The MOC committee was created by the Memorandum of Agreement between the three agencies. It is also made up of members from all three agencies. Read the “Memorandum of Agreement” on the APCD website to see all the gory details. The authority is with each agency for their participation.

      2) I’m disappointed you would go there so quickly after self-admitting you don’t understand the situation. The article also shares a quote from “arguably the foremost authority on the Brown Act” which you also seem to throw to the wind.

      The people that want to close the beach have every self-interested motive and have smeared California State Parks, OHV users, and individuals constantly and ignorantly. I hope you will question their statements with the same reserve–or do you swallow them whole?

      (5) 13 Total Votes - 9 up - 4 down
  9. DuneDude says:

    A 1994 report on the adverse effects of particulate air pollution, published in the Annual Reviews of Public Health, noted a 1 percent increase in total mortality for each 10 mg/m3 increase in particulate matter. Respiratory mortality increased 3.4 percent and cardiovascular mortality increased 1.4 percent. More recent research suggests that one possible link between acute exposure to particulate matter and sudden death may be related to sudden increases in heart rate or changes in heart rate variability.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared that “tens of thousands of people die each year from breathing tiny particles in the environment.” A recent report released by the nonprofit Health Effects Institute in Cambridge, Mass., agrees with the EPA assessment. This study was reviewed by Science magazine and clearly shows that death rates in the 90 largest U.S. cities rise by 0.5 percent with only a tiny increase – 10 micrograms (mcg) per cubic meter — in particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter. This finding is similar to those of other studies throughout the world. The case is stronger with this study, because it eliminated several factors that could confound the interpretation of the data, such as temperature and other pollutants.

    Please see American Heart Association and Medscape or Medline, etc. for more information.

    (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down

Comments are closed.