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Despite this grim observation, there is always the chance that various governmental agencies in Ventura County, including the City of Simi Valley itself, could hold up the development by delaying grading and building permits. Or the residents of Simi Valley could put a measure to a vote to prohibit the scheme, much like what was done last year in Hercules. “We started a grassroots, community effort to inform our residents and get them to realize that even without a lot of money we could win the election because we had the vote,” says former GreenPark opponent Kirby. “The developers, no matter how much they spent on the campaign to fight the initiative, did not even have one vote in our community.”

Strontium is Forever

Strontium-90 doesn’t just go away. Dr. Dodge is committed to spreading the news about Runkle Ranch development because, in the event that Sr-90 does get airborne from the construction, he doesn’t want any other child to endure the nightmare that has afflicted his son, David. Three months before his 18th birthday, David looked rather pale. “I told him to come down to the office and do a count and he had no white cells – it was back,” recounts Dr. Dodge. “He was applying for college but we put everything on hold,” continues Dr. Dodge. After another three and a half years of chemo, the only recourse was a bone marrow transplant. Ventura residents responded and 833 people volunteered to be tested. Eventually, the City of Hope hospital found a match, and David has now just passed the six month mark after the procedure.

“It’s like planting the most delicate rose bush after you’ve cut off the roots and then trying to get it to grow,” the proud father continues.

He turns serious as he considers the Runkle Canyon development. “When it’s your child, there’s no such thing as an acceptable risk,” he says. “One in a million is our lower level of risk. I can say as both a parent and as a physician, that it is not acceptable. There is no such thing as acceptable losses.

“If these are the known numbers and they are going ahead like they don’t exist, that is appalling. They need to take a step back and say ‘wait a second, put the brakes on, let’s re-look at this.”

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November 1, 2006 UPDATE: EnviroReporter.com has just learned that after a valiant battle with leukemia, David Abraham Dodge passed away on July 2, 2006 at the age of 24. David’s three battles with cancer began when he was just six years old when he was diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia and he was courageous and hopeful to the very end.

While the disease was traumatic to this active young man, David knew how to live life to the fullest and was a surfer, deep sea fisherman and had a love of Porsches and business that he shared with his brother Steven. David majored in Global Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara and traveled to places as diverse as Africa, Costa Rica and Paris in pursuit of knowledge and his zest for living life to the fullest.

Our condolences go out to the Dodge family. We thank them for allowing us into their lives in order to report on this important story. David’s life is a continuing inspiration to us.

The David Dodge Memorial Fund has been established at the Ventura County Community Foundation. Donations may be made to the David Dodge Memorial Fund/VCCF at 1317 Del Norte Road, Camarillo, CA 93010. For information about credit card donations please contact VCCF at (805) 988-0195 ext. 115 or visit VCCF’s website at www.vccf.org.

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