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A City employee, whose name Campbell won’t divulge, told him, “We ought to do a route slip. It gets a number, becomes an action, and can be tracked.” So they approached Councilman Madaffer’s office. When Campbell later asked about the route slip’s progress, an official in the office told him not to worry because Bill Anderson claimed to be “on top of it.”

The Navy might get lucky if the City takes no action against the encroachment on the west side of the golf course, but that’s not so likely on its east side. That’s where the course also encroaches on property of the Superior Ready Mix’s Mission Gorge plant. By phone, I reach the company’s attorney, Arnie Veldkamp, who says he can’t discuss negotiations that are now under way with the Navy. But Campbell says that, in conversations with company employees, he’s learned that Superior wants to build on the land, which is near the river.

At a meeting of the San Diego River Park Foundation in early November, Campbell ran into Bill Anderson and bent his ear over the encroachment problem. The encounter resulted eventually in Anderson’s instructing the City’s Real Estate Assets Department to investigate.

On November 20, real estate assets’ Lane MacKenzie wrote to Chris Zirkle, director of the Park and Recreation Department’s open-space division. The letter indicated that in two actions, one in 1944 and another in 1968, the federal government deeded to the City approximately 444 acres that now include the driving range and one hole on the golf course. But the exact boundaries of the land are unclear. MacKenzie indicated that he had spoken with Navy officials. “The Navy acknowledged,” he wrote, “that if the question persists about this possible encroachment, the only way to resolve it, to everyone’s satisfaction, would be to have the entire area fully surveyed. Such a survey could possibly exceed $20,000.”

Tierrasanta Community Council members do not want to spend that much on surveying. On January 22, the council’s open-space committee decided to buy from a “photo bank” in Mira Mesa old aerial shots of Tierrasanta that might clear up the encroachment issue. One such photo currently hangs on a wall of the Tierrasanta Branch Library. After the photos are obtained, the committee plans to pursue negotiations further with the Navy over trail access from Tierrasanta to the San Diego River.

“I do not want to evict the Navy from the golf course or the driving range,” Campbell writes me in an email. “The golf course is a great asset to Tierrasanta. Besides providing recreation for our military families, it also provides a wonderful view, a quiet zone, and a buffer area…that helps define Tierrasanta as the ‘island in the hills.’ ”

Still, Campbell feels that his community deserves a trail to the San Diego River. The river park foundation wants as much public access to the river as possible. “And the foundation’s plan,” says Campbell, “encompasses little tributaries like the creek we followed halfway down the hill last spring.” Friends of Tierrasanta Canyons hope to participate in River Days again this May. This time, they hope to walk all the way to the river.

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