Sprawl and roadkill

Krista Baca is a Sacramento stay-at-home mom and neophyte activist

Every day on the way to my daughter’s preschool, we listen to the music from her favorite movie, The Phantom of the Opera. And every day, my daydreams about the Phantom are interrupted by a sick feeling from seeing the carnage on the roads leading to Natomas Park. The 7.3-mile route is filled with dead animals. Yesterday, it was a raccoon. Today, it was a skunk and another freshly killed yet unidentifiable animal, right before we got to her school.

It’s disgusting.

The disgust, however, is not from seeing the blood and gore. It goes deeper than that. The disgusting part to me is the greed of the developers in the Natomas area, who seem intent on gobbling up every piece of land that is left from downtown to the airport. There is new construction starting everyday. I thought there was supposed to be a planning commission for this area, but apparently the city of Sacramento doesn’t care as long as it keeps getting developer’s fees in its pockets. Are designated “parks” going to be the only green left in Natomas?

Our housing complex is six years old. There was a farm next to us across the canal for generations. Apparently, its owners held out as long as they could, probably until the price offered rose to a point where there was no objecting anymore to the idea of selling their family history. Now a construction company is trying to squeeze approximately 650 units onto that piece of land.

It literally brought me to tears when I saw the trees cut down that were on that property. I think they were heritage oaks. OK, I’m no tree expert; maybe they weren’t the exact diameter needed to save them, but I don’t have to be a tree expert to know that it hurts when you cut down trees.

I silently counted the number of animals in varying states of mutilation on the road: 15. Fifteen?! Isn’t this number a bit high? The poor animals have nowhere to go.

After explaining to my daughter why I was upset, she thought about it for a minute. Then she said, slowly and with a face full of emotion, “Mommy, I don’t want the animals runned over.” I replied, “Me either, baby.”