This week on Wavelength, host Ian Butler interviews Pacifica's tunnel-visionary Mitch Reid. Mitch tells how he used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover documents that Caltrans didn't want us to see. He also shares the story of how the bridge leading up to the Devil's Slide Tunnels came about, and lessons that this might teach us about the present highway-widening battle.
(Above: Mitch poses next to his "Tunnel-vision glasses" at a recent People's Tunnel exhibit at the San Mateo County History Museum. Photo by Ian Butler.)
Jake Sigg writes in his Nature News: "Recently the south of Pacifica Highway 1 tunnel opening was celebrated. There is a long and dramatic story connected with this, and those involved--primarily Pacificans--lived through a tense and fearful time when confronted by the seemingly impenetrable Caltrans bureaucracy. I was emotionally, intensely involved, as the bypass proposed by Caltrans was so horrifying and so destructive of Montara Mountain and the city of Pacifica that it is difficult to envision the kind of mind that would even think of such a thing. This video is an interview with the person who, through the Freedom of Information Act, caught and exposed Caltrans in its lies, thus setting the stage for activists to defeat it. Why do I make so much of this? First, the topic is of major importance from an environmental standpoint and quality of life. Even more important, you may have no idea how much we owe to individuals or small groups of people who changed the course of history. Often, the person or persons involved sometimes stumbled onto their course of action accidentally. There are so many good things we have nowadays that we shouldn't take for granted--and the battle goes on forever. Become informed and become an activist."
Watch this "Tom Lantos Tunnels at Devil's Slide" episode of Pacific Currents on your home TV on Pacific Coast Television (PCT), cable channels 26 and 27, where Pacific Currents airs in primetime Saturdays and Mondays. Watch it on YouTube at your convenience:
Devil's Slide Tunnels are finally open. So that people won't forget the tremendous citizen movement that defeated the bypass and replaced it with the tunnel solution, my friend Carol Berman posted my video Thinking Tunnel: The Devil's Slide Story on YouTube.Thanks to Chris Thollaug for funding this documentary, and to all who contributed their time and energy!
We are all excited about the opening of the new tunnels that bypass Devil's Slide, but let's remember that it is also the end of an era for locals who grew up braving this treacherous stretch of Highway 1. The Curios have released a song "Last Ride on Devil's Slide" as well as t-shirts and hoodies with original artwork (above) by Andrew Leone. T-shirts from youth size small up to 3X are $18. Add the CD and it's $23 with shipping. If you are local, you can just arrange to pick them up. CD-only is $5. Call 650-359-2073 to get yours while they last. (On March 24, dozens of coastsiders drove the "Last Ride on Devil's Slide.")