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Bodega Bay Beat - June 2016


Bodega Bay Beat - June 2016

by Joan Poulos

The Fish Fest was successful as always, although the weather cut into the profit margin a little. The community reaps the benefit of the hard work all these citizens put in and the money they earn (and distribute to the community). The annual “success fest” is June 17 at the Grange Hall and a great “success”in and of itself. Don’t forget the Firefighters’ Pancake breakfast July 2. It is always excellent (even if you don’t elect to buy a glass of champagne.)

Bodega Bay voters flocked to the very successful meeting John Dolittle put together to introduce all five candidates for the Fifth Supervisorial District. The Press Democrat estimated that two hundred attended, but for those of us who are more used to counting the house at the Grange, the estimate is a bit lower. Nevertheless, the house was full and the attendees were full of questions. Noreen Evans was late, but the others were all ready to go on time and the public was fully involved in both the questions and the answers. The public was polite, but some questions were not answered to the apparent satisfaction of the attendees. Two questions hung in the air, and were answered by all candidates to whom the questions were addressed. They were: 1: How long have you lived in this district and 2. What is the source of funding for your campaign.

Three candidates had no problem answering the residency question. Tom Lynch said he had lived here many years (he has been on the planning commission eight years.) and Chase was born in west county. The teacher, Tim Sergent has lived here 36 years. The two that the Press Democrat calls the“ front runners” Noreen Evans and Linda Hopkins dodged the residency question.   Clearly Evans had represented another district in the legislature, but she reiterated her commitment to the West county (until she was duly chastened for “re-trying” our Supervisor Efren Carrillo, who is a dedicated representative for the Fifth District as an issue in her campaign) and Lynda Hopkins struggled with the huge contributions she has received from out of district sources (mostly construction/realty folks.) Tom Lynch got the only spontaneous applause during the presentations when he suggested that each candidate conduct a campaign without innuendos or unpleasantness.

Other questions showed that the voters had been thinking about the campaign. They really wanted to know what the experience of each candidate was and what they would use for decision making. All the candidates struggled with the pension question, which Lynch was the first to raise. It is the elephant in the room and there are no easy answers. It was surprising that no candidate referred to the Independent City Advisory Committee on Pension Matters, even though it is a City committee. They are really working to come up with some ideas.  It is a tough issue.

 Evans, who has received the support of the unions, had the most trouble with this, in spite of her legislative experience which should be useful. Lynch, who had broached the issue, had no strong recommendations but did reflect his knowledge of city policies (he has been on the planning commission eight years.) Chase was a popular candidate, with her acknowledgment of a lack of knowledge of public policy procedures but a charming willingness to work hard and give each issue her best effort. Sergent gave reasoned, thoughtful answers but was a little outside his comfort zone. There was none of the hostility we see in the Presidential campaigning.  Local elections can bring out citizenry at its best. We owe our thanks to each candidate willing to do all this work and show their commitment to making public policy as effective as possible. If only the Presidential debates were as civilized (or as informative.

Maybe all our filibustering paid off. The Board of Supervisors has agreed to dedicate a portion of the TOT (transit occupancy tax) to public services. Our Fire Chief Sean Grinnell was very active in this effort and our Supervisor Efren Carrillo worked hard on this. The fire fighters put on an intense effort for a just resolution. It is easier when you do the splendid job our firefighters do, and when you have the support of your grateful community.

One more way we can show our support for our local Fire Protection District is to approve the Appropriations Limit Override (Measure A) which is on the ballot June 7. Although we have previously voted (and approved) Measure E) now we have to re-vote to give our permission to use the money we gave the fire department the power to collect. We need to vote Yes on measure A to assure that we continue to get the fire and emergency service levels we agreed that we needed. Thanks to Sean Grinnell for staying on top of this. Things like this make the nonsense some of the recent Presidential candidates have been spouting almost understandable. The good news: June 7 the Presidential primary will be over in California. Most of us who have mail-in votes got our ballots at the same time as we got official voter recommendations. The latter perplexes me. The Democrats leave out their most visible candidate Hillary Clinton (Bernie has never made up his mind about whether or not he is a Democrat) and name only Thompson and Huffman for Congress.

A tougher issue, for me, is AA, the San Francisco measure. I support the concept but don’t believe the parcel tax is the way to go. The ocean belongs to all of us, not just to the oil industry; not to the shipping industry; not to the hoteliers. We are already financing the restoration of the wetlands along Highway 37, why is this one different? A general tax would be more fair and there would be wider dissemination of correct environmental data.

Regarding the ocean, both salmon and crab seasons are still on, as this is written. The price of crab is high, but the numbers aren’t great. It has been a tough year to be in the fishery industry. We wish them the best. In the meantime, eat salmon (even at $20 a pound in the market.) We pay more; but fishermen also get more.

One last issue, the Mason’s Marina issue has been updated. The gasoline pumps are history (too expensive; too much possible contamination.) The Regional Parks are continuing their still looking into the repairs for the docks and slips and they haven’t foreclosed the idea of a mini-market. They were very active in trying to help out in the recent financial crisis the fishing industry underwent (especially deck hands.) Berthing fees were waived for three months, gift cards were purchased by Regional Parks as well as by church members.  Good job of pulling together, Ms. Hart and Mr. Nantell.

Spring has come. The local school is gathering books for its annual book sale in August; pitch in and help out.  Books can be left at the school after June 14.

The whales are making their way north; the orange crabs haven’t visited us, the token humpback has visited close by; the ocean is a never ending tale. We are lucky to be able to be so close. Make a pledge to take care of it.