Page 11

Santa Monica Daily Press

Friday, July 23, 2004 ❑ Page 11

NATIONAL

Environment important to Californians BY TERENCE CHEA Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Worried about air pollution and related health problems, most Californians want lawmakers to make protecting the environment a top priority, even if it hinders economic growth, according to a poll released Thursday. The poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found wide support across racial, ethnic, regional and political lines for environmental protection programs to reduce air pollution, reduce auto emissions and develop alternative energy sources. “As our state becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, concerns about environmental issues are being seen across a broad spectrum of the population,” Mark Baldassare, the San Francisco-based institute’s survey director, said in an interview. The poll, which surveyed 2,505 residents in five languages, found that 54 percent of likely voters believe the environment should be a top policy priority, even at the expense of the economy. Fifty-five percent want funding for environmental protection programs to remain at current levels. Among environmental issues, Californians ranked air pollution as their No. 1 concern, with 35 percent saying it was a big problem in their region and 59 percent saying it posed “at least a somewhat serious threat to themselves or their families,” according to the poll. Blacks and Latinos were most likely to see air pollution as a serious threat. Concern about it was highest among residents of the Central Valley and the Los Angeles County, where smog remains a major complaint. Air quality worries may be linked to growing public support for laws and programs to reduce pollution. The poll found that 81 percent of res-

idents support requiring automakers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in new cars by 2009. About 66 percent back a $6 increase in vehicle license fees to pay for cleaner engines on older diesel vehicles. The poll also found that 63 percent of residents would seriously consider buying or leasing a hybrid vehicle, which runs on both gas and electricity, because of rising fuel prices. About two-thirds favor allowing hybrid cars in car pool lanes when driven alone. Californians support Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposals to encourage development of alternative energy sources such as hydrogen fuel cells. But despite interest in his programs, only 37 percent of residents approved of the governor’s handling of environmental issues, even though he enjoys a 64 percent approval rating among likely voters. “They just don’t see him as showing leadership on environmental issues at this point, even though they like some of his proposals and ideas,” Baldassare said. The survey found Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry holding a sizable advantage over President Bush on environmental issues. About 56 percent of likely voters said they trusted Kerry on the environment, while only 32 percent said they approved of Bush’s handing of environmental issues. More than 80 percent of likely voters said a candidate’s environmental positions were at least somewhat important to them in deciding for whom to vote, and 37 percent said it was very important. Some environmentalists said the poll’s findings should remind state politicians about how strongly Californians feel about the environment. “The one big takeaway for lawmakers right now, especially during budget negotiations, is that voters and Californians really care about environmental protection,” said Craig Noble, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “They want them to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the environment in general.”

Golf developers dream big, gamble bigger BY TIM BOOTH Associated Press Writer

ROSLYN, Wash. — Towering pine trees, empty mine shafts and rising slag piles serve as reminders of this town’s history, while finely trimmed fairways and greens embody a dream of its future. A mere 90 minutes east of Seattle and little more than a driver off Interstate 90, developer Lowe Enterprises and manufacturer Jeld-Wen are banking that this sleepy foothill town can become a glossy golfer’s resort destination. “When you go into a project like this, there is a lot of risk involved,” said Bill Hunt, the onsite Managing Director of Suncadia Resort. “But it’s a risk well worth taking.” In a dream that echoes in small towns around the rural West, developers hope to reap a share of the affluent Seattle vacationers who now travel to golf-oriented resorts in Oregon, California or British Columbia. The resort opened to the public earlier this month with the first nine holes of a planned 54-hole golf complex. All 18 holes of the first course, Prospector, designed by the Arnold Palmer Development Co., are scheduled to open around Labor Day. It’s stage one in a multi-development plan that could include more than 3,000 residences, a hotel, village, conference center and numerous other recreational activities. Developers are investing $80 million into the project just this summer alone and by 2014, Suncadia officials expect the property to be worth $1 billion in real estate alone. The model for this dream is nearly 300 miles south: Sunriver, Ore., a hugely popular resort community with world-class golf courses, fancy boutiques and high-end restaurants. “This place has the land and the landscape to be the next Sunriver,” said assistant golf pro Jeff Gay. “But on our scale.” The resort sits on a massive 6,000-acre plot as the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains begin their decent into the high desert of the Columbia Basin. Yet, Roslyn and its neighbor 5 miles south, Cle Elum, would hardly be considered resort fodder. Roslyn’s claim to fame is its stand-in role as the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska in the television show “Northern Exposure.” The two towns’ combined population was less than 3,000 according to the 2000 census. Streets are lined with gas stations and small family restaurants that serve mostly as pit stops for passing travelers. Most shopping aside from groceries requires a trip over the mountains to the Seattle area or 30 miles southeast to Ellensburg. Sunriver, meanwhile, is filled with stores, restaurants and recreational activities aimed at the non-golfers in the family. In winter, it’s a popular base for downhill and cross-country skiers. Suncadia will try to capitalize on winter as well, with cross country skiing on the property and downhill at Snoqualmie Pass 30 minutes away. Upping the ante for the developers is the glut of golf courses in the country. More courses were built during the 1990s than any other time

except the 1960s, according to Pellucid, an independent golf research company. That was good news for players, who get more golf for less money, but it’s put some developers out of business. “In this region, we have an overabundance of golf courses; to the players’ benefit but the operators’ detriment,” Pacific Northwest Golf Association executive director John Bodenhamer said. “Most times, it’s the second or third owner that ends up making a profit.”

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Santa Monica Daily Press, June 23, 2004  

The newspaper of record for the City of Santa Monica and surrounding areas.

Santa Monica Daily Press, June 23, 2004  

The newspaper of record for the City of Santa Monica and surrounding areas.

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