Tear Down That Fence!

Scripps Ranch residents are generally in agreement that it is time to open the gates at Miramar Lake. What was once a five-mile loop around this tremendous community amenity is now a dead-end trail at the four-mile mark.


Recently, my daughter Rebecca wrote an op-ed piece for her school newspaper. I found it worthy of reposting here.


Beckytn21.jpg By Becky Berg


It is a quiet evening somewhere in the mountains that form the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yet deep in a cave in this obscure and forbidding region, the whispers of al-Qaeda operatives pierce the night. Stealthily, they plan their next attack on the world, hoping to pick a target that will shock the entire globe. Names of locations are tossed about, places that include military bases, well-known buildings, and significant landmarks. Suddenly, a perfect suggestion is made. The terrorists laugh with glee as they imagine nations across the globe being sent into chaos after the attack. The chosen target is Miramar Lake.


To most people, this scenario appears absurd, and for obvious reasons. After all, why would al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the largest foreign attack ever made on United States soil, wish to devote men and resources to such a minor target? Following September 11, 2001, however, the State Department of Health Services thought otherwise, and ordered that a chain link fence be installed on both ends of the dam at Miramar Lake so as to prevent against anyone poisoning the drinking water in the reservoir. The barrier has been in place ever since.


Interestingly enough, according to a report filed by KUSI News, legislation was recently passed that allowed the fences to be removed—with a few conditions, of course. According to the report, a number of safety measures would have to be put in place, such as an 8-foot wall along the interior of the lake, as well as security cameras. Oh, and new trashcans and a port-o-potty, while the city’s at it. Apparently, though, the city won’t be “at it” for some time; the project would cost an estimated $400,000, money that the Park Department and the general fund just can’t afford to spend.


It’s easy to poke fun at the fact that, currently, a single chain link fence stands between the terrorists and our drinking water, or that the “solution” involves another wall and a bonus toilet. The real problem, however, is that this was even considered to be a problem in the first place.


Granted, Miramar Lake is a major reservoir that happens to be situated near a Marine base. If the dam were to be destroyed, all land below 420ft. and within two miles west of the lake would be considered unsafe; if the water were to be significantly poisoned, it is unclear to what degree actual drinking water would be affected in spite of the purification process. Even so, common sense must at some point come into play. Just as it would be unrealistic to claim that Scripps Ranch High School should be on 24-hour alert in case of an air strike, so is it irrational to consider Miramar Lake as a site potentially endangered by terrorist activities. Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations would never consider a target that lacks any significance whatsoever on a global scale; it doesn’t take a national security expert to know that. And in the event that al-Qaeda did become bored one weekend afternoon and wished to wreak havoc on the Scripps Ranch community, no puny fence would hold them back. The only people that the fence has protected against are joggers, bikers, and other people seeking recreation, and those are exactly the people that should be able to enjoy the road around the lake—all five miles of it.


For years, Councilmember Brian Maienschein has attempted to have the fence removed, and Mayor Jerry Sanders supports the initiative. Yet, as is evident in the legislation requiring the removal of the fence to become a $400,000 project, our government officials are fighting the wrong battles. It’s time that the State Department of Health Services and the Department of Homeland Security were convinced of the absolute lack of a terrorist threat to Miramar Lake, or at least exposed as the spineless bureaucrats searching for a quick-fix that they really are. If the Department of Homeland Security wants to make it look like the federal government is doing something productive to fight terrorism, they can find bin Laden. “Saving” Scripps Ranch residents by closing off Lake Miramar accomplishes nothing.

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