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ROGER E. BÜTOW, San Juan Capistrano

I attended the first of two workshops hosted by the city a while back. I was blown away that such a simple gesture, such a minor act of reparation for a just, worthy and long overdue purpose, could be met with citizen’s disdain.

Crass promotional commerce like “glamping” on sacred land? This is a form of social injustice, a denial of ethnic rights that should be remedied.

My preference, as stated, was that the Native Americans merit the entire parcel, not a token portion. They know how to be non-abusive eco-stewards. The (Putuidem) Village proper should be surrounded by indigenous, drought-tolerant plantings, thus re-creating high value Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA). The fauna will repopulate what the former owners plowed under.

Couldn’t that natural habitat/environs around the village be used as credited mitigation for other land-use projects in the city? Maybe require future developers of modest-to-monolithic- sized projects pay earmarked fees to whittle down the self-imposed debt incurred originally by the city voters?

Grade the land slightly concave. What rain or onsite watering using recycled supplies takes place will be retained, percolate downward if settling depressions and swales are created, lessen erosion and recharge the area’s groundwater. Eventually, any excess will drain sub-surface into the lower San Juan Basin, modestly recharging the city’s wells.

The Village should seek LEED certification, a designed green installation. They could do onsite reclamation for irrigation purposes, thus avoid wasting precious imported supplies of both potable and reclaimed water supplied to the facility. The plants contiguous with the Village could be watered using this so-called “greywater.”

Tall, native shrubs and trees in a modest perimeter around the Village would also act as light screens so that nocturnal fauna feel safe in their nesting, foraging and migration corridors at night. They’d act as windbreaks, too.

Couldn’t solar panels be cleverly disguised/shielded from sight? If there are carports so that shade for visitors is created, use the roofs of them; they’re great energy collection devices. These panels with attendant batteries could power lighting, as well as heat and vent.

This doesn’t require rocket science; the technologies are existent, not science fiction. This would be a showcase learning center, an example of collaboration. Blending, melding the cultural history, the old ways with the new, plus significantly reduce maintenance/utility costs.

If designed properly, food and herbs grown there could be on display, used for both Native American rituals but also periodic feasts for visitors. This would be a great educational and promotional opportunity, an attraction that allows non-Native Americans to experience what “living off the land” actually looks and tastes like.

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comments (1)

  • Well said, Roger. I could not agree with you more. The City Council’s Action’s constitute a continuation of the cultural genocide initiated centuries ago.. The land rightfully belongs to the Acjachemen Nation, and we .would all benefit from the Cultural Center.

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