Letter to the Mayor and Council from Norman La Force, February 5 2003

From: Norman La Force [mailto:n.laforce@attbi.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 9:56 PM
To: Spring, Dona; Wozniak, Gordon; Worthington, Kriss; Maio, Linda; Hawley, Miriam; Shirek, Maudelle; Olds, Betty; Breland, Margaret; Bates,Tom
Cc: jscobb@californiaoaks.org; J.C. Staneko; norine38@cs.com; smackhouse@aol.com; Jerome Wiggens; Zelda Bronstein; David Stoloff; David Tabb; Gene Poschman; Harry Pollack; John Curl; Rob Wrenn; Susan Wengraf; cheastylaw@netscape.net; Sarah Ginskey; Russ Wilson; Corinne Greenberg; Kristin Ohlson; Peter Rauch; Kitty McLean; Ed Bennett; Teddi Baggins; Traci McCollister; n.laforce@attbi.com; info@larryorman.net
Subject: Response to Paul Kamen Letter.

Dear Mayor and City Councilmembers:

Former Waterfront Commissioner Paul Kamen's email of 2/4 requires a response. I hesitate to enter into this arena, but his mischaracterizations of fact and the "environmental" position make a response necessary.

First, the Sierra Club, CESP, Golden Gate Audubon, and others in the environmental community are not opposed to watercraft recreation as Mr. Kamen states. We support responsible water recreation consistent with protecting wildlife. The area under discussion, the North Basin Cove, happens to be on the Pacific Flyway and is an identified area where migratory waterfowl rest. It is critical habitat for that reason. We need to respect the needs of the waterfowl as much as we want to respect human needs to recreate. We agreed to the Eastshore State Park Planning Process proposal to have this issue studied responsibly and scientifically before constructing any faciltiies. Mr. Kamen and others in his camp shoudl support that same scientific approach.

Second, public comment has NOT blindly supported Mr. Kamen's position as he claims. The Sierra Club, CESP, Golden Gate Audubon, and Save the Bay have consistently raised the issues of impacts on waterfowl. We spent a year and half thrashing through this issue in the Eastshore State Park Planning Process and arrived at a policy that seemed acceptable to all, but a few like Mr. Kamen.

Third, Mr. Kamen and others, who were disappointed by what happened in the State Park Planning Process elected to do an end run around that process and the State Park by putting a dock, jutting out into the Park, along with other facilities on Cesar Chavez park, depsite the fact that the Master Plan for that park NEVER had such a dock or facilities in its plan!

Fourth, the proposed dock and facilities are not "just some steps to the water" as Mr. Kamen represents. The dock was shown as a major facility extending out some 20-30 feet into the State Park. The Marina Plan states that the other facililies in Cesar Chavez Park would include boat launches, boat houses for long term storage of boats, and other associated facilities. Indeed, initially, the dragon boat advocates said they want a dock large enough to launch their 30-40 foot boats at this point. This is a major recreational development. It will require more access than just the pedestrian perimeter walkway that currently exists. It will also require automobile access because boaters will not want to carry boats, kayaks, canoes, etc. any farther than they have to. Again, dragon boat users originally called for auto and trailer access. None of those associated infrastructure improvements are shown on the plan, or mentioned or discussed, despite the obvious need for them.

Fifth, despite the fact that the Cesar Chavez Master Plan and Park is separate and distinct from the Marina, the Marina Plan proposes to put this wholly new recreational development in Cesar Chavez Park. In planning terms this is improper and probably illegal.

In any case, why is the Berkeley planning staff planning putting uses in Cesar Chavez Park when it is supposed to be a separate entity for planning purposes? All of this highlights how out of control this so-called Marina Plan process has become.

Sixth, the proposed dock facilities in the Eastshore State Park are consistent with the Berkeley Waterfront Master Plan policy Mr. Kamen quotes. We really don't need to go beyond that at this time.

Finally, let's call a spade and spade. Mr. Kamen tried to get two docks into the Eastshore State Park. One on the North Basin Strip and the other, originally, on the Meadow. When the dock on the Meadow was rejected by the State Park Planners, he then used his influence as the then Chair of the Waterfront Commission to do an end run around public planning and needs to be seen as such. Surely the Council should not condone this action.

Sincerely yours,

Norman La Force, Chair
Sierra Club East Bay Public Lands Committee