Coastal Post Online


March 2002

Wake Up To Mudflat Bay

By Judy Borello

In the February 21, 2002 edition of the Point Reyes Light, Jeanette Pontacq's letter to the editor titled "The Point Reyes Oligarchy" hit the nail on the head. She was referring to the Point Reyes Village Association not being the voice of Point Reyes Station as the county planners and supervisors have wrongfully perceived and acted upon.

Judy Arnold founded the Point Reyes Village Association and became its first president. This happened when I was president of the Business Association of Point Reyes Station. I used to attend all the meetings of the Village Association and it always had a crowd of people. This was due to Judy's spirit of inclusion with the community and her very democratic way of running the organization. Jeanette Pontacq and I were attending the Village Association meeting along with quite a few others when they decided to have a vote amongst its membership as to whether it was for or against the EAH housing development proposed for the center of town.

The vote turned out to go against the project, but the Village Association ignored its memberships' decision. The members became angry and disgruntled, disappointed and disrespected to the point that they all quit attending the meetings.

Many people in our community are afraid to speak up because they are in business and the intimidation they would have to face. I can speak to this personally because when I first started writing columns against the project, I began receiving very ugly notes personally threatening me and my business. The person would sneak into the Old Western Saloon and, when nobody was looking, would tack papers to the walls on which were written disgustingly lewd words of treachery. This went on for a month or two until one of my bartenders identified the man as he was sneaking out the back door. Once he knew we were on to him, he stopped his obnoxious, underhanded ways. I would love to give you his name but because it would be a great embarrassment to this man and could start another flurry of such seedy, negative activity and wouldn't serve any positive purpose.

There are cliques in this town that, should you oppose their point of view, will resort to various methods of "punishing" you by stealing your petitions, no longer supporting your establishment, refusing to talk to you, or just the bad attitude they have toward you. If you want to talk about liberal minds completely closed to any other point of view, this goes beyond that. I can understand why people in business and just Pt. Reyesins at large feel that they have to go underground with their true beliefs to avoid being intimidated or harassed.

The only way to turn this around is to expose these cliques for who they are and start speaking up. There are many more of us who feel this way than these culprits of "democracy" -- their way is no way at all. Listen, people, come out of the shadows, stop whispering for fear the intimidators will hear you. This is your town, you have the right to freedom of speech just like the next person, and you would definitely have more self respect and respect from others if you handle these absurd intimidators through strength not weakness. That is the only way to turn this around or be the victims and lose your town to the few when you are the many. Don't cry about it later when you've had the opportunity to change the course and never took it.

You can no longer be the "silent" majority and set back and just let things happen. You can't afford the price of losing this town that we have all grown to love. It's too important!

On another level, over 30 years ago when I had a home over in Inverness, the Army Corp of engineers offered to dredge the Bay for nothing. The environmentalists, mostly from Inverness, turned it down, arguing that it would hurt the "itsy-bitsys" you see along the shoreline. At that meeting I thought to myself, what about the "largey-bargey" mammals underwater that you don't see that are being suffocated. Well, in 1982 we had a 100 year storm and Redwood Canyon dumped thousands of tons of silt into the Bay from the Inverness side. After that there was a big meeting of environmentalists held in Point Reyes Station. They had gotten a grant of approximately $100,000 to have an engineer-biologist study the Bay. This goes back about 15 years ago, and do you know what the opinion of this very well-paid biologist was? That the Bay should be dredged to the tune of $10,000,000. Now some of the common sense folks around here could have told the environmentalists the same thing for nothing, but as long as these people want to throw other people's money around - they probably would have charged $10,000.

If they would have listened in 1971 or 1972 to the Army Corps of Engineers, we wouldn't have the problems we now have with this Bay that we all love and care about -- not just those self-appointed few who claim to be the bay's protectors.

Have you seen the Bay lately at low tide? It's definitely "Mud Flat Bay" and the environmentalists are concerned that the cows are the enemy of the Bay, or that its East Shore is another enemy.

Look at it, its obvious, all it takes is eyesight and a reality check-the Bay is suffocating and all big mammals and other bay creatures under that water are gasping for air. Dredge it!

The environmentalist groups are good at hitting the feds and state up for money. Let the really do something for the Bay that will have a long-lasting positive effect on Tomales Bay!

P.S. At one time, the Bay went as far as the Farmhouse Restaurant in Olema where the schooners unloaded their products. The bay is filling in folks, and if left to fill in, you'll either have more grazing land or houses on it at some point in the future.




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