West Marin Sheriff’s Logs

West Marin Sheriff’s Report

Monday September 16

Forest Knolls 6:16 am Caller would like to speak to deputy about a suspicious person who has been in the area lately. Person is not is there now.

 

Olema 8:34 am Caller was leaving work and exited the gate heading west when tires began to go flat. When caller changed the tire he noticed 15 screws in the right front tire and believes it was done deliberately.

 

Stinson Beach 9:06 am Civil dispute between residents and neighbors. Contractor is on scene about to tear down fence. Reporting party is resident’s attorney. Advised construction manager about legal complaint.

 

Lagunitas 6:07pm Blue Ford has 4 flat tires, and so does the vehicle of the landlord of the reporting party. Caller believes an old friend vandalized vehicles.

 

Bolinas 9:08 pm Caller saw someone walking in the center garden of her home. She searched the home and found no one. Property checked out, report taken.

 

Bolinas 10:09 pm Caller described man walking down the street yelling “Stop following me.” Caller says subject did this the other day. Calling activity abated prior to arrival of deputy, area checked out and all appears in order downtown and at Smileys.

 

Tuesday September 17

Bolinas 2:11 pm. Reporting party is calling again about his uncle who refused earlier transport. Uncle is 78 years old and the main complaint was that he was down for three days. Breathing is fine, no chest pains and he has calmed down.

Olema 4:03 pm. 14-yr old girl with school group on Bear Valley trail hit her head and is light-headed. Laceration to head that is very deep and bleeding. PRNS is responding.

 

Forest Knolls 6:07 pm 17-yr old son is at a “drug house’ without permission. Reporting party is standing outside waiting for a deputy. Son was visiting a friend that mother doesn’t like.

 

Forest Knolls 8:45 pm Caller says the house next door is supposed to be vacant but saw a light moving around the yard and thinks the light was shining into the vacant residence. Deputy saw no flashlights or anyone in the area of the house, lights were off and no one appeared to be inside.

 

Wednesday September 18

Inverness 5:56 pm Smoke coming from windows of two-story brown house and fire alarm sounding.

 

Thursday September 19

Bolinas 1:35 am Person swinging a sword. This in an ongoing issue and is affecting downtown visitors and businesses. Reporting party advised to seek restraining order if business is affected.

 

Lagunitas 12:41 pm Caller says County worker was talking on his cell phone in the middle of the road and would not let cars go by. Caller would like to file a complaint. Advice given.

 

San Geronimo 11:14 am Caller has had his life threatened and is on his way to subject’s house. Was advised not to go there and instead to wait for call from deputy. Parties have had a verbal altercation but there has been no crime committed at this time.

 

Bolinas 4:51 pm Subject with four other “shaggy” looking people is downtown drinking from an open container and wearing a large velvet purple hat with tassels, Subject unpopular with locals. No crime has been committed.

 

Stinson Beach 10:03 pm Fireworks on beach.

 

Woodacre 11:01 pm Caller not sure what he heard, but no one else heard it. All people in surrounding apartments were fine.

 

Friday September 20

Point Reyes Station 11:06 am The Razorback Hawk sign was taken away by unknown person (s) sometime during the night.

 

Forest Knolls 12:01 pm Woman called to report that man had taken her cell phone and was refusing to give it back. She called deputies from neighbor’s house and man was subsequently arrested on charges of domestic violence.

 

Forest Knolls 12:40 pm Reporting party states that a neighbor has been making lots of noise while working on cars. Another neighbor confronted car tinkerer about noise and they have been arguing for past 30 minutes.

 

Stinson Beach 5:59 pm Woman called deputies to report that people came into a residence stating they were staying at that address. Woman called homeowner and who said that no one was allowed in their home. Woman confirmed with deputies she had the correct address and then quickly hung up on the dispatcher.

 

Stinson Beach 6:59 pm Homeowner, who is currently in New York, reported that she had received notice from her security detail that people were staying at her house without her permission. She demanded that deputies conduct a walk through to ensure that no one was on her property.

Tomales Bay 10:02 pm Man reported a lot of loud noise, possibly a fight, in front of a local bar. Man is very upset about the noise and would like it addressed.

 

Saturday September 21

Tomales 7:14 am A man was found in a pasture, apparently very confused but cooperative. Man does know how he got there and lives in Fort Bragg. Man was subsequently returned to his wife for safe keeping, via the Fairfax police department.

 

Stinson Beach 11:54 am A woman called deputies reporting a domestic altercation and quickly hung up. According to her parents, woman has severe PTSD from the war and will be taken to the VA hospital for follow up treatment.

 

Inverness 7:06 pm Woman had just taken a shower and come out of her bathroom wearing only a towel to find a man in his 50’s-60’s walking around outside her bedroom door. Man was reportedly heavy set with white/grey hair.

 

Sunday September 22

Point Reyes Station 9:43 am A man reported his wallet missing and was subsequently reunited with his property.

 

Stinson Beach 10:24 am Two men became engaged in a heated verbal argument after the dog belonging to one man urinated in public.

 

Bolinas 1:54 pm Reporting party stated that there were three broken windows in their rental property. Previous renter, who they report as very destructive, moved out and is living next door.

 

Forest Knolls 6:14 pm Reporting party states that a man is outside and threatening to burn the town down. Man allegedly is schizophrenic and subject would like him taken in for a mental health evaluation.

 

 

 

 

The Refuge for Realists

 

Cap and Trade or Dividend is an old idea, an old Republican policy, and I am told an updated version of this Trojan horse, presented as a great gift by Peter Barnes, is creaking on its wheels as it rolls into West Marin from the darkest corners of 20th century economic philosophy for us townsfolk to gawk at. Cap and Trade solves thorny problems for the timorous thinker. First, you don’t have to blame corporations. It isn’t their essential activity that is destructive to nature, and must be stopped. It is that markets have not been created to account for their behavior and “price-in” their destructiveness. Once they pay the right price for carbon, they will correct their behavior.
And who is going to enforce this new market? Well, the same politicians who are presently beholden to the corporations who pollute. Cap and Trade asks the corporations and the government to go into a room together and solve the problem. Of course, because the intellectuals refuse to take a stand directly against the corporations themselves, attempting only to modify corporate behavior over time, the politicians don’t even have the basis of resisting them. As Paul Fenn put it, “It is like putting the tobacco companies in charge of the strategy to stop people from smoking.”
Where these Cap and Trade schemes have been tried, various tricks are used, often built into the markets themselves, to allow polluters to evade the cap – to not reduce carbon emissions. These markets have failed repeatedly in practice. But how is it supposed to work in theory? Well polluting corporations, like power plant owners, have the amount that they pollute grandfathered into the scheme. Then starting from year one the cap gets lower, polluters must emit less carbon, until say 2050 when carbon emissions will be at a level that, based on the enormity of the problem, they need to be today. It is a proposal on a timeline so long that only people who believe in cryogenics won’t find themselves utterly dismayed.
That last bit, sadly, isn’t entirely a joke. Hedge fund founder and Googleian Ray Kurzweil eats 150 pills a day in a bid to live until technology will make him immortal. The grand old man of the convenient fantasy California-style Stewart Brand has his own Long Now foundation, which asks us to look forward to the year 10,000 and start planning on that basis. No wonder he is so untroubled by the half-life of nuclear waste. Not to be outdone, Peter Schwartz, business partner of Brand, both longtime consultants to Shell Oil amongst others, once told an audience in San Francisco that he wasn’t concerned about climate change because through the advances of bio-technology his son would live forever, giving him ample time to deal with the problem. Does it bother anybody that our intellectuals sound like a group thirteen year-old boys in a tree house trying to write a Star Trek script?
Cap and Trade does not even rise to the level of tragedy because either foolishly or shamelessly it serves the powerful interests that are destroying the world.  It is no compensation to be paid $5,000 a year by polluters in exchange for the loss of our future as a species. Even with this addendum of a dividend scheme, where will this money be spent in the climate change conditions that Cap and Trade cannot halt?

These ideas, like Cap and Trade, flowed from people like Friedrich von Hayek and Ronald Coase (who ultimately disavowed it) through Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, though the locals who tout them seem not to know it. They are predicated on a worldview that believes there is no such thing as a society, that only when we make a market out of the whole earth, including the air we breathe, can our problems be solved. In an effort to be “realistic”, Barnes and the serious men have become, perhaps unwittingly, dominated by the ascendant ideology of our time: Neo-liberalism. Though they probably think they are just helping the Democratic Party – thought to be a force for good – the Party leadership beginning with Bill Clinton has moved in earnest to adopt the economic policies of the right as well. I am reminded of the line from a terrible early 80’s fantasy film, “It used to be just another snake cult, but now, it’s everywhere!”

Remember that these thinkers talk to some extent about the forces that govern our world, but not about the structures that holds all of these interests in place. Those underlying structures they think of as a natural and immutable ecology of power in which we need to find the right balance between participants – a balance, for instance, between the interests of the coal industry and the people whose water and air are poisoned. This false ecological view of the world causes blind spots in their vision, narrowed further by fears they confuse for wisdom. Many of them, of course, are simultaneously rich, distracted and unevenly educated, and the combination of these cardinal West Marin qualities often compels these men and women to speak, with great confidence, opinions that are useless, trivial or demented (sadly for those dependent upon their patronage, the service population in its various forms are often compelled to listen to them).
What are these fears that pervert the minds of our intellectuals? The first and most obvious is the fear of the empire itself. Take the craven leaders of our institutions of higher learning; although universities usually allow each department a token radical, they too are increasingly entranced by “free market” ideas and are endlessly constructing new buildings that require wealthy, often corporate, donors and federal funding. To jeopardize either patron would be fatal to the growing university bubble, and their chancellors dare not alienate them. Energy corporations, like BP and PG&E, are notorious (or should be) for constraining the debate on politics and policy within universities in favor of technological research–which when it comes close to showing promise–is often defunded.
And older fears possess our thinkers when writing about changing the world for the better, based in memories of the political upheavals of the 1930’s. Remember FDR was a compromise; he was going to protect businessmen from those they more deeply feared like Huey Long. But the ultimate and to some inevitable danger of political unrest is represented by figures like Stalin and Hitler who remain bidden or unbidden in our political memory. If, like those two, a leader says he has the formula for a new and better society, to achieve our dreams of freedom and prosperity, what then will he do to those who oppose it, or whom the leader has designated as the enemies of the dream?
The consequence of these persistent half-remembered memories is an unwillingness to speak out in opposition to either corporations or the government. These are the “realists”, and their sober and stable managerial approach to crisis explains the poverty of the solutions they present to climate change or the “Great Recession.” Writers like Peter Barnes refuse to directly confront the sources of climate change or declining living standards in America for fear, I believe, of arousing political ideas. Ideas that say you can change the world by disallowing through law the abuse of the planet or its people, and that simultaneously our governments can provide investment in infrastructure to replace the burning of fuel, etc. Such direct actions are considered, “unserious” or “unrealistic”, because if we identify corporations as the culprits of global and domestic decline, the realists fear we will march toward Communism. If we identify the government as the cause of failure, we will unwittingly bring to power fascists and a greater tyranny. And let’s pull away the curtain for a moment, lurking in the shadows is the god that the portfolio men really fear, the capricious Index, like the NYSE, to whom they must make endless sacrifices in an effort raise share prices ever higher, because without those particular dividend payments, survival in West Marin is truly unimaginable.

West Marin is nestled in the center of American empire, not at some rural margin. That is why what we think, and still more to know who we truly are, is very important. Some of us believe we are really out in the country and receive the terrible events on TV or the Internet as fragments from a distant world. Our lives feel stagnant as climate change, war, government spying and declining prosperity demand serious collective answers to the question of how we and our children will survive.

Unfortunately for us, our local intellectuals are proposing answers to the big crises of our time, which in their pursuit of the “real” are ironically more utopian than any Bolshevik dream. The realist says, “Ask the polluters not to pollute, ask them instead to pay the poor.”

 

West of the One

 

Strange beach visitors

Is it global warming, odd ocean currents or goodness-knows-what that is causing all the creatures to wash up on the beach in the last three or four months? Full size crabs have been washing up since February of this year, the vellela (little sailors) have been washing up since June, and now odd little creatures, maybe an inch long, resembling teeny tiny crabs, odd looking bugs with eight legs or even trilobites, I kid you not, have been washing up all week. Our correspondent in Monterey, Adam Niehuser, says he’s been seeing the same little guys washing up on Monterey beaches as well. A little googling leads us to creatures called mole crabs or sand fleas (http://fishingdestinguide.com/baitSANDFLEAS.html) and apparently they are great fishing bait. Judging by the great catches made all summer, as noted in Lawsons Landing’s excellent fishing report, Pacific fish love them too! http://fishlawsons.blogspot.com

Tomales mourns Phil Williams

Saying goodbye to another long-time Tomales resident is hard. So long to Phil Williams, a talented builder, carpenter, hard worker, storyteller and all-around person of good cheer. News of his passing made the rounds on Facebook in late August and many of his friends and former neighbors mourned his loss. Former Tomales Deli owner Sally Parks wrote, “So sad to read this. I loved it when Phil would come into the deli. Yes, a lovely man.” Lee Mehlman said, “He was my first neighbor and he showed me what it was like to live in such a special place. Thank you! For being my Tomales face I will always think of you as my neighbor.” Roger Brink offered, “Our prayers to the girls and his grandchildren. Phil had a good ride, may he RIP. He will be missed.” Williams is survived by his two daughters, Sarah and Rebecca, and his grandchildren.

  Annual Dillon Beach Road Cleanup

Every year the fine folks of Lawson’s Landing host a great way to spend the day, by cleaning up Dillon Beach Road and having lunch afterward. This year, Friday, September 19, is the day chosen for this fun get-together. Lawson’s Landing says, “Meet at the Boat House at 10 p.m., lunch will be served at noon.” Call 707-878-2443 or see www.lawsonslanding.com for more information.

 

Two Rock fund raiser

The Two Rock Valley Presbyterian Church is hosting their 68th Annual Harvest Festival Fund Raiser on Saturday, September 20, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Come shop for handmade quilts and crafts and home-baked goods. Fresh produce, potted plants and flowers will be available along with interesting silent auction items and a drawing for other hand-made treasures. Stay for the delicious BBQ chicken lunch served from 11 -2:00, with home-made potato salad, beans, fresh tomatoes and lemonade.

Tomales Elementary PTA drive

News from Tomales Elementary School PTA: “Tomales Elementary School PTA is having a membership drive! The first primary (K-3) class and the first upper grade (4-8) class to get at least one person from each of their families to join PTA gets a party! Support your student by joining PTA. Keep an eye out later this week for our posters that show the progress made by each class!”

West Marin Sheriff’s Logs

West Marin Sheriff’s Report
Monday September 1
Dillon Beach 9:39 am Campground owner reported that a person who stayed the night before had left without paying

Woodacre 10:28 am Caller threatened by neighbor with a chainsaw while the neighbor was cutting trees down in an adjacent property. Chainsaw was reportedly on and in sawing motion.

Tomales 9:28 pm Owners of a local store were reportedly yelling profanities at a passing couple. The couple reports this is an ongoing issue.

Stinson Beach 10:55 pm A woman reported that her husband had threatened her. This was not the first time he had done so, but she believes she is safe for the night since he has left their property.

Tuesday September 2
Inverness 11:12 pm A mysterious knocking was reported behind a closet wall. Reporting party is concerned that this may be in some way hazardous. The fire department was sent to investigate, in lieu of a ghost-busting agency not available at this hour.

Wednesday September 3
Point Reyes Station 1:46 am Woman reported her iPhone stolen an hour ago. She used her husband’s iPhone and tracked it to “where the lagoon begins”. She believes it was stolen by a patron at the local watering hole.

Woodacre 1:47 pm Man received death threats from an unknown person on his phone via text message. Man suspects it was his neighbor.

Forest Knolls 6:55 pm Woman called to report that her mother had come to visit her and her six year-old daughter in Humboldt county. Woman’s mom had picked up young daughter at school and then disappeared. Woman believes her mother has taken daughter back to a house in Marin.

Thursday September 4
Woodacre 2:34 pm Reporting party states there is an ongoing issue with a barking dog in the area.

Bolinas 2:50 pm Reporting party was approached by a man and asked to spread a rumor for him. This has been an ongoing issue with this individual.

Friday September 5
Forest Knolls 9:32 am Subject arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Forest Knolls 8:44 pm Caller reported screaming male and female adults coming from a house. Deputies found two adults at the residence had been severely bitten by a dog the previous night and there was an argument about the dog bites. Man at house yelled for everyone to leave, and everyone eventually did.

Nicasio 9:35 pm Caller reported a “commercial drug dealing” going on at a stated property. This was not their first call to report alleged misdeeds.

Saturday September 6
Forest Knolls 12:24 am Caller reported a loud party

10:45 am Woman reported a problem with a patron who also gave her trouble last night when she was closing.

Forest Knolls 4:42 pm Subject contacted and arrested on an outstanding warrant
Woodacre 7:17 pm Woman reported that her boyfriend and her father had beaten her up. She had a split lip and had lost a lot of blood. Deputies at the scene decided she had fallen in the bathroom while she was alone. Report filed for public intoxication and violation of probation.

Olema 9:12 pm “Ruby Tuesday” was booked for standing in the roadway and almost causing an accident, and for giving a false name.

Inverness 11:44 pm A complaint came in regarding a loud party. By the time the deputy arrived it had already broken up.

Sunday September 7
Tomales 3:46 am A group of loud patrons were reportedly outside of a bar. Bartender was contacted and was able to keep allegedly loud patrons quieter for the rest of morning.

Stinson Beach 8:42 am Reporting party stated that another man just hit him in a dispute over recycled cans. Man also acted as if he would run him down in his car. Reporting party agreed to stay away from threatening man.

Inverness 12:32 pm Last night there was a loud party at a house in the area. This house is reportedly rented out weekly and is always hosting loud get-to-gethers. Reporting person would like advice on how to deal with this pattern.

 

Power to the People

In federal district court yesterday, Judge Yvonne Gonzales-Rogers made clear her disdain for the legal arguments presented in the lawsuit being brought against the Department of the Interior by some of the people who will suffer the most if Drakes Bay Oyster Farm is closed.
Those who are familiar with the very real harm that is being done by the closure of the oyster farm have a hard time understanding why that harm doesn’t carry more weight.
It seems that the legal system is, in a certain sense, a separate world. What matters in court is deep knowledge of the complexities of the law. There is no guarantee that a legal remedy can be found even in cases where there has clearly been a moral injustice.
Outside the courtroom, things are different.
Readers of the Citizen are likely to know the truth: That the Lunnys have been superb stewards of the land and water; that they have always conformed with every applicable legal and regulatory process, policy, and permit; that they cleaned up the oyster farm at their own expense; that they created a beautiful, prize-winning oyster that the local food community and the national oyster community is exceedingly upset at the prospect of losing; and that they did all this not simply for their own benefit but because they care deeply about this historic community resource.
And in the face of all this positive action, another known truth is that the Park Service has leveled false charges of environmental crimes against the Lunnys—false charges that are still being echoed by government lawyers as they argue in court.
These truths are known well beyond West Marin, as I learned firsthand yesterday.
A few blocks from the district court in Oakland is a lovely old section of town that features a number of interesting restaurants. The Lunnys and I stopped at the 1917 Swan’s Market, now restored as a casual food destination, with an open-air feel (one wall is open to the sidewalk), two fine restaurants, and an impressive artisan sausage maker.
We had drinks—and some absolutely perfect hand-cut Kennebec fries—at the lovely and lovingly named The Cook and Her Farmer, where the stated mission is to “seek to enhance the quality of food, strengthen the fabric of community, and to celebrate the beauty and vitality that is present in the city of Oakland by cultivating a needful spirit of generosity and gathering around the table for honest foods. We desire to foster a creative environment that supports the growth and development of future cooks and farmers.”
When the owners found out that it was Nancy Lunny ordering a glass of wine, they refused to let her pay for it. A little while later they brought us a bottle of prosecco and a big plate of oysters on the house. The chef/farmers, Steve Day and Romney Steele, were delighted to meet the Lunnys. They have followed the story of their ordeal, and are shocked and upset at the moral injustice perpetrated against them. They asked, as most everyone does, if there is anything they can do to stop the shutdown.
But here in the midst of the artisan food revival in Old Oakland, the emphasis was not on the legal battle or the controversy. The cook and her farmer were genuinely excited about meeting these kindred spirits. Like Steele and Day, the Lunnys have shown that they care deeply about improving the quality of food, sustaining the fabric of community, and promoting the growth and development of future farmers. The cook and her farmer were honored to shake their hands.
The same thing happened when we stopped at Taylor’s Sausage on the way out—the founders got excited when they realized who their customers were, and insisted on cooking up some of their finest product, on the spot, for the Lunnys to try. They beamed with pleasure when their artisan sausage was met with approval.
In the farm-to-table movement, the Lunnys are rock stars. That is one truth that can never be erased, no matter what else happens.

 

A day in court: personal reflections and DBOC legal proceedings

By Marc Matheson
On Tuesday, September 9, I attended my first court hearing on the Drakes Bay Oyster Company issue. What follows is a hybrid essay of fact and personal perspective.
I have, until recently avoided the conflict of this ongoing community conversation. My concern, rather, has been the effect that the often times bitter and angry debate has had on our neighborhood and our friendships. This article provides both a first-hand report from this week’s ruling as well as my subjective opinion.
It was an interesting excursion into downtown Oakland on a busy weekday. I passed through the security checkpoint of the Federal Building, named for former African American mayor Ronald Dellums.
Upstairs, outside Courtroom 1, gathered several dozen Anglo men in suits, many of them lawyers; a handful of ladies, many also in suits and among them several women of color; a few familiar faces from Point Reyes National Seashore, in civilian clothes; and a passel of sundry West Mariners, whose faces I know and whose hands I shook in greeting regardless of their affiliation on this debate.
Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers, the judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California who ruled on Tuesday and had ruled on this case in early 2013, was born Maria Yvonne Gonzalez in 1965 in Houston, Texas. She was appointed to her current post by President Obama, and had earlier been a judge of Alameda County Superior Court, appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
She is the first Latina to serve on that court.
The case before Her Honor was a request for a preliminary injunction filed by a group of businesses, individuals and advocates to set aside the Interior Department’s decision to let the special use permit expire on its own terms for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company that operated in Drakes Estero wilderness.
The suit had been filed in mid-July by Tomales Bay Oyster Company; Saltwater Oyster Depot, in Inverness; Osteria Stellina and Café Reyes, in Point Reyes Station; Hayes Street Grill in San Francisco; the Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture; and individuals Margaret Grade, Loretta Murphy, Jeffrey Creque and Patricia Unterman.
Judge Gonzalez-Rogers began the hearing with some clear and unambiguous language: “What you are asking is extraordinary and rarely given. I am concerned, as this looks like a repeat of the February 2013 case over which I presided and which ultimately proceeded to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
(For anyone unaware of this ongoing fight, Drakes Bay Oyster Company had sued the Interior Department in December 2012, after former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided to let the 40-year lease expire on its own terms. The effect has been that the temporary emergency injunction put in place by the 9th Circuit in February 2013 was lifted and the Department of the Interior set in motion a timeline for the company to remove its oyster operation from Drakes Estero).
On June 30th of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for review filed by the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, affirming the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal’s denial of the Company’s preliminary injunction lawsuit.)
“All of these issues were vetted years ago,” Judge Gonzalez-Rogers continued. Your lawsuit, “strains credulity. There is no indication that it has any reality. I have wondered whether Rule 11 sanctions aren’t appropriate given the complete lack of merit of your claims,” said the judge.
(Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which govern civil lawsuits in United States federal court provides for fines or punishment against attorneys and clients who file lawsuits based on frivolous arguments and that lack of factual investigation.)
For those legal beagles who relish precise language, Judge Gonzalez-Rogers unpacked her decision by emphasizing that a preliminary injunction is an “extraordinary” remedy, repeating that word several times, and which could only be granted if the plaintiffs satisfied each and every one of four required tests:  (1) that they had a strong likelihood of prevailing on the merits of their claims (i.e., that they could convince the court that federal government had violated some law); (2) that they would suffer “irreparable harm” if the injunction were not granted; (3) that balancing the harms to plaintiffs from denying an injunction against the harms to the National Park Service’s interests of granting the injunction favored granting the injunction; and (4) that an injunction would be in the public interest.
On the issue of whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring claims seeking relief for DBOC, which was not a participant in July’s lawsuit, Her Honor invited attorney Stuart Gross to explain why they had standing…but she frequently interrupted him, saying that he was wrong, he wasn’t convincing her, and so forth.  He made arguments about the Coastal Zone Management Act and then the National Aquaculture Act, but no headway with the judge.
Judge Gonzalez-Rogers made clear that in denying the motion for an injunction, she found that the plaintiffs had not met a single one of the four tests for an injunction, noting with regard to the balance of harms and the public interest that she’d already ruled on those in denying DBOC the injunction it sought in early 2013.
“Your proposition is nonsensical. It makes no sense. A permit has lapsed. It has lapsed. The only relief is to issue a permit,” the judge said.
“Your motion is denied. Not only do I have doubts about the sustainability of this cause of action, but the law is clear that a reduction in the supply of a product can’t constitute irreparable harm because a monetary remedy is possible; as this court has indicated in other rulings, there is no fundamental difference here with the issues raised [in February 2013;] this motion is incredibly untimely. It is not as if parties who brought this action didn’t know it was happening; these issues have been debated in public and in the courts for years. I don’t know if you’re corresponding with Drakes Bay Oyster Co. or what is your strategy for bringing this kind of action so late in game, and I understand your claim that it only became an issue after the Supreme Court ruled, but I find that to be unpersuasive. The motion for a preliminary injunction is denied.”
The judge then said that she assumed the federal government would be bringing a motion to dismiss (i.e., to toss the case out for failure to state any viable legal claims and because the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring these claims).  The government attorney replied that that was their intention.
Two amicus “friend of the court” briefs were filed in this case, but the court accepted only one; the other was rejected by the court. The amicus brief submitted by the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin and other environmental organizations was filed by attorneys at Earth Justice and was accepted by the court. The brief argued that the “Plaintiffs now, at the eleventh hour, rehash the same arguments this Court and the Ninth Circuit found unavailing in Drakes Bay, while utterly ignoring the environmental harms that are resulting from continued operation of the oyster farm and the public interests in favor of securing wilderness protection for Drakes Estero. Further, the speculative economic harms they assert are not harms cognizable for the purposes of granting an injunction.”
EAC’s amicus brief included two new court declarations explaining the harm to Drakes Estero from continued operations as evidenced by the underwater video footage taken by Richard James (available online at the You Tube channel, Coastodian.)
The amicus brief filed by Judy Teichman on behalf of Phyllis Faber, Robin Carpenter, Laura Watt and others was rejected by the court and not considered credible. The attorneys for the federal government opposed the amicus brief because it made “the same arguments as Plaintiffs and used similar authorities to support their identical interests,” did not “provide unique information or perspective to the Court,” and because the amicus applicants [Faber, Carpenter] “are “friends of the plaintiffs” and not “friends of the court,”” resulting in “a highly partisan attempt to influence the Court to find in favor or Plaintiffs by repeating the same arguments advanced in Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction.”
The judge apparently agreed with the federal attorneys reasoning since she rejected the Teichman brief.
And here’s where my personal perspective and concern for community goodwill come in. While nothing in this long legal battle and community controversy might have been predicted, one hopes that this latest chapter will close the book, finally, on the divisiveness and heated, personal acrimony that has strained West Marin residents – and others – and poisoned the common well of amity and collegiality.
The special permit issued to Drakes Bay Oyster Co. to operate within Point Reyes National Seashore expired almost two years ago. The federal court and Supreme Court have upheld that expiration. It’s truly time to let go of this fight, heal the community wounds, and heal our marine wilderness at Drakes Estero.

 

My First Year in the Country : now available

An urban woman moves to the country and falls in love with a horse—an embodiment of nature, wisdom, and living in the moment. She is not exactly a spring chicken, as the village people are quick to point out, and she hasn’t been in the saddle since she was a child. Her tireless quest for the world’s most beautiful horse makes her look like a fool. That’s OK with her; she knows it isn’t far from the truth. But will it stop her?

 
MyFirstYearintheCounrty

Letter to editor and Sarah Rolph’s piece August 26

 

Finds Sarah Rolph’s piece enlightening

 

Editor,

Anyone who thinks the Park Service did the right and legal thing by pushing DBOC out of Drakes Estero should read Sarah Rolph’s Opinion Piece in the August 28th edition of the West Marin Citizen. If ever the facts of this debacle were clearly laid out, it is here in her column.

If you are one of those folks cheering the Park Service on, please read this piece.  It should open your eyes!

Malcolm Ponder, Bolinas

Opinion

An Illegal Taking?
by Sarah Rolph

As most Citizen readers know, a new lawsuit has been filed to prevent the closure of Drakes Bay Oyster Farm. The Lunnys are not plaintiffs in the suit, and have no involvement in it. The suit is being brought by a group of businesses and others that would be harmed by the oyster farm’s closure, including Tomales Bay Oyster Company, Saltwater Oyster Depot, Osteria Stellina, Hayes Street Grill, Café Reyes, Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture, and Dixon Marine Services, Inc.

An amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief has been written in support of the suit by Phyllis M. Faber, Robin Carpenter, Elizabeth Hill, Andrew R. Olmsted, Laura A. Watt, and Reverend Dr. Robert L. Weldy, Jr. The government defendants have filed a brief opposing the filing of this amicus brief, and Judy Teichman, attorney for the amici, has filed a reply to that opposition. It remains to be seen which documents will become official, but they are all on the record.

Reading through these legal briefs provides a good reminder of why it is a bad decision for the Park Service to seek to remove this oyster farm. That action will harm the community, the environment, and the economy. The Park Service’s own Environmental Impact Statement admits that removal of the farm will result in “long-term major adverse impacts on California’s shellfish market.”

Why is a major adverse impact on the state’s shellfish market considered acceptable? Why is it considered acceptable to eliminate an important source of jobs? Why is it considered acceptable to eliminate an exceptional recreational opportunity for the over 50,000 visitors each year to the DBOC oyster farm? These visitors cherish the opportunity to join with friends and multiple generations of family for a picnic while enjoying fresh oysters from the waters they see and in a setting that has existed for over 80 years. Why is considered acceptable to eliminate the ecosystem services provided by oysters?

How can it be acceptable to eliminate the last oyster cannery in California? The cannery has not only provided a premium shucked-oyster product enjoyed by thousands, but also provides a valuable byproduct in the form of empty oyster shells. These shells are used in efforts to restore native oysters to the San Francisco Bay and to help the survival of the endangered Snowy Plover. Why is it acceptable to eliminate this important aid to conservation efforts?

These losses are themselves major cause for concern. What’s arguably worse is that in its zeal to remove the oyster farm, the Park Service apparently broke the law. The new lawsuit spells out a number of procedural failures that led to the interests of the community not being adequately analyzed or considered in the context of the Interior Secretary’s decision to close the DBOC oyster farm. The decision deprives the citizens of California of their retained rights to lease the waters of the Estero for shellfish production. Since 1934, the State of California has continuously leased the water bottoms of Drakes Estero for the purpose of cultivating shellfish, and shellfish have continuously been cultivated thereon. In 1965, the State of California conveyed the water bottoms of Drakes Estero to the United States but reserved the right to fish, including the right to lease the State water bottoms for aquaculture. The Park Service does not have the authority to negate this right.

The decision violates the National Aquaculture Act, which was enacted to promote and support the development of aquaculture and domestic aquatic food supplies, and to ensure coordination among the various federal agencies that have aquaculture programs and policies and those that have jurisdiction over activities that affect aquaculture.
The decision violates the Coastal Act, which requires that oceanfront land suitable for coastal dependent aquaculture shall be protected for that use, and it goes against the specific policies of the Marin Local Coastal Plan, which confirms the public interest in mariculture as “an important economic activity” in the Coastal Zone.

Several of the topics that illustrate the respects in which the closing of DBOC is inconsistent with the enforceable policies of the California coastal management plan and other interests of the community were raised during scoping or in comments on the Park Service’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement and were subsequently dismissed—on shaky grounds. For example, in response to the concern that replacing the local oysters with imported oysters will enlarge the area’s carbon footprint, the Park Service wrote: “While some who commenters (sic) assert that as a result, oysters would need to be flown in from international areas, no concrete data has been provided to the NPS to support this assertion. . . .”

In response to the concern that the elimination of the historic oyster farm constitutes the destruction of an important cultural resource, the Park Service wrote: “The oyster-growing facilities lie within but do not contribute to the significance of the Point Reyes Ranches Historic District…” In response to concerns about the loss of this important source of local food, the Park Service wrote: “Any change in DBOC’s contribution to the local food supply would likely be negligible.”

These are poor excuses for setting aside these serious concerns. The Park Service does not seem to have seriously considered the impacts of its actions. The process by which Interior is attempting to remove the oyster farm closely resembles an illegal taking. It must be stopped.

 

Shoreline School District discuss budget options

With a September 30 deadline looming, a well-attended ad hoc budget committee meeting was held on Monday, September 8, at Tomales High School. As Superintendent Stubbs explained in his opening remarks, “Tonight is an opportunity for the Shoreline community to deal with the structural deficit….. Concrete ways of dealing with the problem must be presented to the county by September 30, or we will lose control of the process. The board will make the ultimate resolution about the budget, but all comments will be considered.”
A comprehensive handout included a list of possible budget reductions generated at an earlier meeting, multi-year budget projections, enrollment history and average class size, and many more items. At the next board meeting on September 11, the board will review budget reduction proposals for the last time, and at another special board meeting to be held the week of September 15, the board will take action on budget restrictions.
There was much discussion about combining classes because Shoreline has the smallest class size in the county. Most of the parents who spoke want to keep it that way. Those who had been in districts with combined classes felt that it improved the quality of education. An online survey, which was posted on the district website in both English and Spanish, garnered 114 responses

A long list of suggested budget reductions was discussed in addition to combining classes with low enrollment. With staffing costs and benefits at 85 percent of the total budget, reductions in staff must be considered. Although the number of students has declined from 660 in 2004-5 to 509 currently, the staff has increased. Some additional ideas generated by the survey and during discussion at the meeting include:

*Sell property that the district isn’t using

*Eliminate the hot breakfast program at the elementary schools

*Reduce spending on office supplies

*Cut the superintendent position back to 50 percent

*Eliminate/reduce counseling and intervention teachers

*If staff reductions are not achieved through attrition, issue layoff notices.

 

 

 

West Marin Sheriff’s Logs

Monday August 18

Woodacre 2:32 pm Reporting party states that someone is dumping dry brush off the top of a hill. They are concerned about a fire hazzard.

Tomales 7:19 pm Woman reports that employees of a local establishment are verbally harassing her. Woman works alone and is concerned over this continual harassment.

Inverness 7:48 pm Mom screaming in the background of phone call. Mom and dad at home when deputies arrived, but son had already left. Apparently son was the reason for 911 call.

Tuesday August 19
Inverness 8:34 am Reporting person stated that ex had broken a restraining order via email.

Point Reyes Station 9:53 am A woman who doesn’t live in Point Reyes Station reported that she is receiving harassing texts and emails from a man with a history of stalking.

Bolinas 11:44 am A man with a red cape, baseball cap and a large stick was reported standing in the street. Man was moved along and is now standing in the park.

Wednesday August 20
Point Reyes Station 10:14 am Reporting party stated that there is a man outside selling jewelry.

Inverness 2:10 pm Reporting person called on behalf of non-English speaking coworker whose car was broken into and cell phone and wallet stolen.

Thursday August 21
Tomales 12:16 am Man reported sneaking around porch. Deputies intercepted man who had been drinking at nearby pub. Girlfriend confirmed that there had been an argument and he had walked off into the night. Furthermore, she stated that he often looks for porches to sleep on after he having too much to drink.

Inverness 3:33 am Woman called to report a man trying to get inside her residence. Man is holding a flashlight. Deputies arrived and found nothing suspicious. Woman stated that she knew she was just seeing things but felt scared and wanted to call 911 for support.

Point Reyes Station 2:22 pm A 911 call was received and a woman was screaming, “Send Police!” Deputies encountered a family disturbance that was quickly abated.

Friday August 22
Stinson Beach 2:06 am A man was crying out in the wilderness. He stated that his leg was broken while walking around his campsite. Man was transported by the fire department to the hospital.

Tomales 3:08 pm An older couple driving a gold-bronze Ford Taurus appeared to be disorientated while driving through the countryside. The person assisting them was alarmed by their inability to discern north from south on a map.

Stinson Beach 10:21 pm Two brothers were in a physical altercation. When they became aware that the police had been called, one left in a rush. The other brother was not willing to press charges and was generally uncooperative with deputies on the scene.

Saturday August 23
Woodacre 10:28 am Reporting party states that there is a physical fight going on between a man and a woman at the guest house down the street. Both parties were interviewed and indicated it was a verbal dispute.

Point Reyes Station 8:04 pm Three men were suspected of setting up camp on caller’s front yard. Men were in two separate parties and indicated that they were just passing through.

Point Reyes Station 8:48 pm Reporting party called back stating that one of the men does not appear to be leaving, may be talking to himself and also setting up camp. Man was last seen walking north, leaving the area.

Dillon Beach 9:01 pm Caller reports that a woman is at the gate saying the she was in a verbal altercation with her husband. She and her husband have recently separated but share an 11 yr-old son. Son is with dad in his car, and dad has a gun.

Inverness 9:38 pm Husband is at home with his kids and wife is outside. Wife has been drinking and is trying to kick the door in. Man does not want his wife to come inside while she reportedly is in a very agitated and violent state.

Sunday August 24
Bolinas 3:05 am Reporting party states there are 13-14 intoxicated male and female young people walking towards the center of town. Deputies were unable to locate band of drinking teens.

Bolinas 10:04 am Woman found what she describes as a ‘hand launcher’ on the beach. Deputies were able to locate what turned out to be an empty flare canister.

Inverness 12:28 pm A report came in stating that three transients are setting up camp south of the store and leaving trash and piles of debris. Party contacted and advised of complaint.

Bolinas 3:55 pm Caller reported people spraying graffiti on the beach.

Bolinas 10:17 pm Business owner called to report that an unwanted subject had turned up dressed like a ‘Kung Fu pirate’ and also had ‘Kung Fu sticks’ with him. Deputies arrived to find a man with two imitation wooden swords, possibly dressed as some sort of Ninja ocean farer. No crime committed, but man was asked to leave.