The Coastal Post - February 2000

To Be Or Not To Be
The Spirit of Pt. Reyes' Past

By Judy Borello

Thirty years ago the little town of Pt. Reyes was virtually a mecca for a person wanting to live in a small but tight community. When you walked down the street you knew everybody and they knew you. It was a one-horse town with the one horse belonging to the Giacomini family. You couldn't go anywhere or do anything without hearing the name of Giacomini. The family had the foresight to buy land, own businesses, and turn on the switch that guided the town to its destiny of today. There was Toby and Waldo, two brothers of sturdy stock with a gleam in their eyes and kindness in their hearts.

Toby would outfit all the sports teams and sponsored many a one. Even built a somewhat baseball stadium over in White House Pool equipped with lights and stands 'til a few old cranks kept complaining and out it went. When Toby had his basketball team, Waldo was called "the doctor," and he would come to games with his illustrious black bag and nurse the tired players back to health with a quick shot of schnapps. With Waldo singing and Toby smiling, it was a very nice, cozy town to be in, surrounded by God's beauty and warm neighbors.

Then, the Giaco's got their cousin Gary Giacomini elected as supervisor in 1972, and one of the first things he did was to change ag land from A-2 to A-60. Even some of his own family out here in the ranch business were downright mad at him because it devalued their land. All was forgiven in time, and Gary served on the Board of Supervisors longer than any other supervisor in the state of California (a whopping four years longer). I observed the forming of the Pt. Reyes Business Association at the Bunce's Olema Farmhouse by the then town fathers, consisting of Toby, Larry Marks, Ed Vascha, Don DeWolfe, etc. This Association was a very strong one in its time, and I fought many a battle alongside Toby and served as President of it for two terms some years later.

I watched a very knowledgeable and gracious lady named Judy Arnold establish the Pt. Reyes Village Association. She formed it to help Pt. Reyes Station's citizens get recognition at the County level, because in that day and time, we were lost in the shuffle and had guidelines that the County used for over-the-hill projects, such as curbs and gutters and lots of pavement, and we wanted to stay rural.

I also observed Jerry Friedman, who helped establish the Environmental Action Committee.

A lot has happened along the way, and my column is too short to go into it, but awhile ago, the Pt. Reyes Business Association went defunct, and the Village Association is in dispute, and the EAC rents a room in the Old western building, and I have yet to meet the lady who runs the EAC now. The spirit of Pt. Reyes' present

Right now the town is torn over the EAH's low-cost housing project smack dab in the middle of town, and the same person who is behind the project is trying to build "trophy" homes in the town also. Many businesses have changed hands over the years, and when you walk down Main St., you barely know three-fourths of the people.

The times they are a'changin'. The people have grown somewhat mean-spirited and very cliquey. There is no real leadership because every time you open your mouth on an issue, there's the chance you will be intimidated by others, and it gets pretty down and dirty. The business people of the town are afraid to speak up because of reprisals from their patrons. So where does this leave Pt. Reyes Station? In a chaotic state of anarchy, or worse yet, not controlling the road of the future in a sensible and kindly manner even if we disagree. We can always agree to disagree and respect each other's opinion and right to say it.

Right now, more than any other time, Pt. Reyes Station is under siege. The prices of the land are going up every week, and there is a lot of pressure to turn our town into a wealthy little suburb like Tiburon or Carmel.

Sally Stanford said it in her book Madame of the House, that when San Francisco was flourishing under Mayor "Sunny" Jim Rolph, the men who came to San Francisco during the Second World War fell in love with it and brought their families out from other states to settle, and then they started changing the laws of the City, making it just like the cities they left, and changed San Francisco from a great, open city to a more closed one.

The spirit of Pt. Reyes' future

If we don't get a handle on our town and guide it diligently into the new millennium, we have nobody to blame but ourselves when this town collapses under its own weight. Progress isn't to just shake your head and let our town go down the tubes. Progress is guiding its future and keeping it quaint and pristine and reasonably small. We fell in love with it the way that it was, and it is progressive to retain the quaintness and small-town community that was so appealing to all of us. Fight for the town, it's worth it. You owe the future inhabitants 100 years from now to leave a beautiful thing still beautiful.

P.S. Happy Millennium.

Coastal Post Home Page