In 1993, I donated my property in Ramirez Canyon to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy because they had an excellent reputation in protecting the environment and were seen as excellent stewards of the habitat of the Santa Monica Mountains.
It was my understanding that the property I donated would be used for environmental education and research. The only public purpose that I was aware of was the intention to create a small conference center for scientists, academics and environmentalists.
From the start, when I donated my land, I was concerned for my neighbors, the neighborhood and the traffic situation. Accordingly, I specifically had the following language inserted in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties: “Donor’s intent in making this gift is to provide a location and facilities for the establishment of the Streisand Center for Conservancy Studies (“Center”). Donee and its affiliated nonprofit, the Mountains Conservancy Foundation, will plan and operate the Center as a place for advanced academic and applied studies directed towards solution of the most pressing conservation and natural ecosystem management problems, and will carefully evaluate all relevant issues related to its use, including vehicular access and impact on the neighboring community.” It recently has come to my attention that the conservancy has petitioned the California Coastal Commission to use sections of the property as a public park. I join with the concerns of my former neighbors that the land will now no longer be used for its original intent.
Since the property was donated in 1993, the conservancy has decided to set up an administrative office on the property and has conducted events to help defray the costs of administration and upkeep of the property. My former neighbors have contacted me in the past to keep me apprised of their feelings and points of view. I have had my staff contact the conservancy and inquire about the issues at hand. However, while the center has historically carried my name, I have had no control over its ongoing activities and operations since the time the land was donated. In addition, I have requested and the conservancy has agreed that the center will no longer carry my name.
In summary, I am not in agreement with the proposed use of the land, my name will no longer be affiliated with the property, and I ask you to give every consideration to the concerns of my neighbors and the community that are before you today.