On June 21, 2005, South Orange County Chapter activist Ed Schlegel presented a surfboard with hundreds of signatures to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger urging him to protect San Onofre State Beach and Trestles Beach from the proposed Foothill-South Toll Road.
Without hesitation, when I was asked who should present the board to the Governor, Ed Schlegel was my man. This was the person whom for well over a year has helped gather signatures, the guy whom I never heard complain about volunteering his time, the guy who called numerous legislators to help set up meetings for our Sacramento trip and has always remained positive throughout our Friends of the Foothills Campaign.
Of course I realize that he hasn’t done it all alone and we wouldn’t be here without activists such as Wendy Morris and Jerry Collamer who have been spending endless hours volunteering their weekends at Trestles and community events, as well as the countless other activists and staff, all contributing at different levels.
Sure, Ed presented the board, but he presented it on behalf of the 40,000 members of the Surfrider Foundation and 60 chapters. When he spoke to the Governor he spoke for all of us and that’s the power of our grassroots movement- we speak in a unified voice. We’re effective because we achieve national victories on local levels through this integrated and nationally coordinated direct action campaign driven manner.
I left Sacramento the next day with a renewed excitement about our Friends of the Foothills Campaign. I had walked the halls of the state capitol with some old friends as well as made some new ones. We came from different organizations- some paid staff and some volunteers, but we all shared a common objective in true grassroots fashion- to protect San Onofre State Beach and the Yosemite of surfing: Trestles.
There will be plenty of more trips, community outreach, campaign planning meetings (in fact we have one on Monday night) and a host of other things to do, but as Martin Luther King, Jr. said; “A final victory is an accumulation of many short-term encounters.” Thank you to everyone who participated in this encounter toward final victory.
Director of Chapters