So there’s this idyllic little town in California, with an old farm that someone wants to turn into a housing development. Nobody in idyllic little towns welcomes new development these days, so the residents got all upset until suddenly — imagine this! — someone discovered an officially endangered flower growing on the old farm:
Bob Evans, a 72-year-old retired elementary school principal, says he was walking with his dog last year when he came upon the tiny white flowers of Sebastopol meadowfoam poking from shallow pools of water in a grassy field.The former bean farm happens to be the planned site of the 20-acre, Laguna Vista housing development. Evans and other opponents of the project seized on the discovery of the federally protected species in hopes that it would force the developer to scale back plans calling for 145 houses and apartments.
But state wildlife investigators determined that the flower had been planted there illegally. Can’t cancel the development over that. Then new flowers sprouted the next year. Still, the wildlife department said it didn’t matter:
Schellinger said the new plants grew from seeds scattered during the "original criminal act." Fish and Game agreed and wasn't inclined to reopen the investigation.
Here’s where their logic escapes me: if you assume that this law is necessary, and plants like the meadowfoam need protection so they don’t vanish, then of course you’re not going to be impressed by a flower transplanted live from somewhere else. But these new seeds have sprouted on their own! Why doesn’t that count as a victory — the meadowfoam making a comeback! How are these seeds any different from seeds arrived via a more ‘natural’ method?