Coalition to stop Sunrise Powerlink has 78,000 members, organizers report; protest song implores Cleveland National Forest supervisor to save forest, block Powerlink
By Miriam Raftery
May 31, 2009 (Lakeside) – Mountain Echo gave a debut performance of their new Powerlink protest song during a fundraiser at the Hazy Meadow ranch yesterday. East County Magazine has the exclusive videotape of the song performed at the event, where more than 350 people gathered in opposition to the high-voltage powerlines proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. View it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mwSZZ9zzxg
The protest song calls on William Metz, supervisor of the Cleveland National Forest, to “stop this shameful mess.” For the project to be built, Metz must first approve the final segment of Sunrise Powerlink through Cleveland National Forest.
"We have groups and organizations that together represent more than 78,000 San Diegans,” Laura Cyphert, co-founder of the East County Community Action Coalition, told East County Magazine in an exclusive interview. “We raised over $30,000, and have been receiving calls and e-mails from many San Diegans who missed the event but wish to donate to the legal fund.”
All funds raised will be used for legal fees. “Many things are in the works, including a free legal workshop for property owners impacted by the lines,” Cyphert said. The community service will be provided on June 11th. “Also we are excited to announce that Joan Embery has offered to host a fundraiser at her ranch, so look for an event announcement soon.” Embery is best known for her service as the San Diego Zoo’s “Goodwill Ambassador,” featuring many appearances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.
|Linda Hays, owner of the Hazy Meadow Ranch|
Guests at the Hazy Meadow event were treated to a tram ride up El Capitan Mountain to view the sites where Powerlink is slated to be built. “Many people were seeing this part of the proposed route for the first time,” said Cyphert. “I heard people comment that it was almost as though SDG&E had systematically picked the most pristine and scenic areas of San Diego to destroy.”
SDG&E contends the line is necessary to meet future power needs for our region and prevent vulnerabilities from a single line. Two state administrative law judges, however, have ruled that the line is not necessary to meet power needs. Local residents fear Powerlink would spoil scenic views and create a serious fire hazard in this fire-prone backcountry community. The line has been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, but requires federal approval to complete a final portion through Cleveland National Forest. Opponents are also waging legal battles to block the project in court on several grounds.
Cyphert said highlights of the fundraising event included the protest song as well as a performance by fiddler Celia Lawley. “I almost must admit I was delighted each time someone `dunked SDG&E’ in the dunk tank,” Cyphert said. “Special thanks to Milton Cyphert who endured four hours of dunking `for a cause’ while reminding the crowds what was at stake, including threats against golden eagles and decades of renewable firestorms.”
Members of the coalition are now working to influence federal officials to weigh in and halt Powerlink’s approval to avoid the need for a court battle. “We have met with Congressman Hunter, and we would welcome a meeting with Filner,” Cyphert said.( Fiilner has previously announced his opposition to Powerlink, which he has termed `Deathlink.’ ) “Congressman Hunter was very opposed to any plan that would increase our country’s dependence on foreign fossil fuel, and was concerned that this particular route exposed San Diego to significant fire dangers.”
Coalition members have not yet delivered the protest song to Metz. But Cyphert concluded, “We do have members of our coalition working on a Cleveland National Forest rally.”
POWERLINK PROTEST SONG (Lyrics)
Well you can take my hand
And together we will stand
Arm in arm against the towers
That threaten our forest land
And when united voices shout
“We won’t let you burn us out!”
Then together we’ll defeat this shameful plan.
SDG&E wants you to pay
For a line to pave the way
To bring fossil fuel up from Baja to LA
Renewables they cry
But we found out it’s a lie
And you can’t believe a single thing they say.
Their future isn’t certain yet
So they’re hedging every bet
They can snow the politicians
And get what they want to get.
So please do what you need to do,
We know you love the forest, too;
You can stop them if you want to, William Metz.
When you realize at last
We don’t want your foreign gas
You can take your stupid towers
You can shove ‘em up your...
Ask for support from every friend
So the fight will never end
Never falter never waiver never bend.
CHORUS (Sing it loud!)
(Repeat CHORUS a capella)
This land is your land, this land is my land,
From California to the New York island
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
MEDLEY OF PROTEST SONG & THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND--TWICE
END IN UNISON:
Then together we’ll defeat this shameful plan!