This letter, by long-time berther Bob Griffiths, is in response to the Council's adoption of the new marina fee schedule on January 25, 2000. It was distributed to the Waterfront Commission at the August 9, 2000 meeting, and is reproduced here with permission.

Response to new Marina fees, City Council Meeting, January 25, 2000**

Fifteen years ago Marina Staff proposed renewal of Docks A through E, to take advantage of low interest Cal Boating financing, and anyway, in their professional opinion, and that of a hired diver (who never went in the water) these docks could not withstand the next big storm and would be blown away. These docks are still performing yeoman service despite years of no maintenance due to their impending replacement. Outraged by such unnecessary and ill conceived wastefulness, the Berkeley Berthers Association became involved and at their urging two independent consultants were engaged (at a cost of over 100 K) to study and report on the condition and viability of the Marina*. A City audit* was then conducted (cost unknown) which confirmed the consultants' conclusions that unless something was done, the many million dollar Marina reserve fund would be depleted in a few years. It's a few years folks and the Marina reserve fund is history.

Rather than take action to stem the inevitable by installing a responsible, effective, and accountable management structure, the City has continued to manipulate and micro-manage Staff to the point where there has been a "musical chairs" turnover of upper management* concurrently with a reduced level of maintenance and declining occupancy rate.

There has always been the contention that City taxes are continuously and surreptitiously supplemented from Marina revenues and resources, rather than these being contained within the Marina Enterprise Zone* as mandated by the Cal Boating loan agreements. There are many who would agree with this* and many (City taxpayers) who would not. Unfortunately Cal Boating appears to be with the latter. If the contention is that Marina revenues are not siphoned off then why...

…does the marina provide and maintain hundreds of parking places for automobile visitors to a City park, that at its inception was agreed to be serviced by foot, cycle, or public transportation?

…did the City instigate construction of a 12,000 square foot building, under the guise of fostering uptown entrepreneurial programs, which has been 90% vacant since before 1985, and remains so, to be leased as a "fixer upper"?

…is the Marina Enterprise Zone's major tenant allowed to circumvent the letter and spirit of the loan agreements, by sending 1.5 million annually bed tax directly uptown. This (non union employer) tenant contributes only .5 million to the Marina. It's clientele enjoy World Class location, ambiance, and unsurpassed views. The Marina is the foreground of this visual feast. Without the Marina, who would build such a facility on bay fill, overlooking refuse, trash, garbage and scavengers?

The high bilge water alarm came on three times fifteen years ago and is still sounding and rather than fix the leaky boat, the passengers are being asked, again to pay a surcharge to buy more pumps. The reality is that these passengers can take another boat! The reserve fund is in negative territory, somebody says we can balance a 400K shortfall with 150K, a multi-million dollar Marina enhancement plan is taking shape, A through E docks still are to be replaced, before or after the next dredging?

How about going back 15 years, recapturing the bypassed bed tax, and charge the Marina management with the responsibility, authority, and accountability of operating what was once a first class Marina, TOTALLY and clearly isolated and insulated from debilitating, demoralizing, financially devastating, bureaucratic, politically correct, interference and meddling. Is this the impossible dream???

**Not for media publication without the author's permission
*Details upon request

Respectfully Submitted, Bob Griffiths, F-310, (925) 254 9467