The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Bodega Bay Beat - September 2015


Bodega Bay Beat - September 2015

by Joan Poulos

More than 100 citizens, including Supervisor Efren Carrillo, came to the Grange July 29 to try to find out what was going to happen at Gleason Bay. CalTrans was gracious and professional but they had far too few answers to please the crowd. The EIR (environmental impact report) and the documents may be commented upon until August 23. Cards for response were distributed. The crowd was left with the feeling that the meeting was held because an EIR approval requires it. Simple questions like where are the materials going to come from were not answered. The crowd wanted to know how CalTrans was going to mitigate the upheaval which we all will suffer. There were no answers except that the old road will continue to be owned by CalTrans, and that there is no present intention to change Scotty Creek beach to a public beach (apparently now privately owned by Dennis McAlister).

CalTrans has been involved since 1998. After the slide of 2003 they have been fighting a losing battle against slides and erosion. They have tried to avoid damaging the wetlands and have tried to come up with answers. The well-informed crowd reminded the panel that the rolling erosion remains; that the pilings which were put into place apparently at the instance of the homeowners, but paid for by CalTrans, were poorly planned. All evening there were many more questions than answers. California requires the agency in charge to furnish a good faith reply to all valid questions. How can CalTrans make a good faith reply to questions about truckloads of gravel and other substances which would be coming through Bodega Bay when they didn’t know the origin.Since the erosion is coming from the mountain behind us will a French drain be put in? Can we restore the habitat so that Scotty Creek could once again be home to salmon? Other than on the bridge is there any effort to accommodate the bicycles that frequent Highway One? Can CalTrans at least lower the speed limit on the south side of the project so that the limit near the entrance to the Dunes campground and the Fire Department Unit 2 is less than 55 miles per hour? What CAN CalTrans do to ameliorate the effects of this huge project?

 The public was respectful but we cannot accurately evaluate reports without specific information. How can the public intelligently provide critical analysis.? How do you respond to “we don’t know what we are going to do.” The only concrete suggestion was: Fill out your comment cards, and see what good faith answers you get back.” We will.

Summer is over. Schools are ready; parents are ready. August seems to bring more fires and devastation. Lake County is bearing the brunt of this last fire, but the whole area is at risk. Most recently there is much publicity about Fire Prevention; a bill apparently sponsored by the timber industry. After fires there are always bills introduced to “prevent fires” by methods like selective cutting, improved access—but not to the public; (read logging roads) and bills which on their face appear worth considering. What is missing is public input from pro-forestry advocates. It is true that much of the underbrush should be selectively burned, but only on carefully designed sites, with fire fighters running the event NOT those who want to enhance lumber sales.

The bill has not been widely circulated except on Public radio and the viewpoint of loggers and sellers of forest products has not been heard. These are important industries in our county and we want to hear their viewpoint. We hope they will hear ours.

It was a month touched with sadness. A truck crashed on Highway 1 just north of Bodega Highway after apparently coming down Walker Road at 100 m.p.h, The driver died. Fortunately no other vehicles were involved but the road was closed for some time. Then there was the shotgun wielder who shot a witness and then himself allegedly because of a domestic violence issue with his mate. The shooting/suicide was on Taylor Street just east of Diekman’s store. Fortunately there were no other deaths. Sadly it reinforces what many lawyers will tell clients who want to get a restraining order. A straight civil restraining order can be like a red flag in front of a charging bull. Only those TROs which are based on criminal allegations and therefore enforceable by law enforcement, have much chance of success. If you are a victim of domestic violence, get immediate counseling and don’t underestimate the violent proclivities of those who feel so wronged. We need to provide more help to those who suffer abuse and keep them safe and protected.

On a happier note Caryl Hart, the Director of Sonoma County Regional Parks, is helping assure that the marinas in Bodega Bay get a facelift. The major boating marina is being considered to have all operations shift to spud Point. A new manager, Betty Tenret, is apparently working to improve marina usuage. Reportedly of the 250 slips available approximately 30 per cent remain unused. It will be interesting to see what reasons are ascertained.

In response to comments from many workers, the local Bodega Bay Grange put up an ATM through the Grange Credit Union in an effort to provide some service to local residents. If you are a member of the credit union, or of any of the others in the group, there is no charge to use the ATM. Apparently it works at several retail sites like 7-ll. Much credit for the hard construction work goes to Rod Moore, Chuck Gentry and David Lewis. The President, Jim Moore, was active in making the installation happen. Like every new idea, there are some glitches. At dedication, the money had not arrived and the visiting dignitaries (like Efrain Monuco, Tamara Salvato Reid and Sarah Lopez) had to be content with getting acquainted (and sharing the champagne we had set aside to christen the new machine) They heard about the Grange scholarship raffle,( tickets are being sold now thru October), and the success of the Flea Market under the Lawsons. They heard about the family (including a teenager) who came to sell the clothing of the mom who had just died, so they could pay their rent. The other vendors chipped in and made sure everything sold. The family went back to Sacramento able to pay their rent. 

 CERT continues with their training and drills and the First Aid class was full. New dates are October 23, 25 and 31 if you want to brush up your very important skills. Contact Linda Stout ( if you want to stay current.

Over Labor Day weekend, Simone Wilson will do a book signing for Sonoma Coast, the book she co-wrote with John Hershey at Best Vacation Rentals. Stop by. The photographs are fantastic. Makes our coast look as lovely as it is.

The Gazette had a lovely party; we are having great sunsets. Dillon Beach looks bathed in ruby light as I look out over the Bay. In our quiet moments, meditation or prayer, we ask: what did I do today to make it a better world. Asking is a start. Peace.