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Editorial: The right decision on herbicide spraying

Original post made on Mar 22, 2012

Patty Mayall, a La Honda resident who has worked tirelessly for many years to convince county supervisors and Caltrans to stop using toxic chemicals to control roadside weeds finally won a round last week, when the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously, with Rose Jacobs Gibson absent, to stop an abatement program that covered more than 300 miles of county roads.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 12:00 AM

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Posted by Patty Mayall
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Mar 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Thank you for this important and helpful Editorial ! I would like to add some information with regards to Caltrans and DPW Director Porter's comments. Since beginning this effort to end broadcast, roadside herbicide spraying, we have supported the mowing and maintenance work for these roads, as MOWING has always been done with or without the spraying and is MOST effective for visibility and reducing fire danger. Drive on Hwy. 84 now and notice the Scotch Broom growing into the roadway and actually hitting cars and blocking road signs. Spraying would do nothing for this: it needs to be MOWED. We live in a watershed, these chemicals pose serious health risks on the coastside and the bayside where all the roads drain into creeks, the ocean, or the bay. For these reasons that the supervisors supported with their vote, Caltrans needs to end the spraying in San Mateo County now.
With regards to Mr. Porter's assertions of higher costs for mowing, he has claimed that without spraying, the DPW would need to mow 2-3 times more often which we have NEVER requested. The DPW will save thousands of dollars NOT spraying and can continue mowing within the existing budget, as the supervisors have advised. On my road, when it was sprayed and since it has not been sprayed, it has only ever been mowed once a year. Many residents in other areas that were sprayed and on roads not sprayed (Pescadero area) have reported the same: Mowing is done once a year and that is all that is necessary. I commend the DPW for all the crucial road work that they do throughout the year which makes it possible for many of us to live in the unincorporated county areas. I thank the Almanac and the Board of Supervisors for representing all of us working to protect the public's health and watershed by ending this unnecessary toxic risk ! I urge people to contact Caltrans to do the same.

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