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The California Coastal Commission’s Kangaroo Court
By Sarah Rolph
For years the California Coastal Commission has behaved as if they think they are above the law. Now they are actually arguing that in court.
Last year the Commission falsely and unfairly accused Drakes Bay Oyster Farm of wrongdoing. When the Lunnys provided detailed evidence that the accusations are untrue, that evidence was excluded by the Commission.
This is a violation of the Lunny family’s constitutional right to due process and a fair hearing. The oyster farm’s legal team has filed a motion asking that the enforcement orders be overturned for this reason.
The Coastal Commission responded with a brief that derisively refers to the exculpatory evidence they dismissed as a “document dump,” and argues that the Lunnys don’t have the right to question the Commission’s orders.
The Commission is wrong.The Commission does not have the right to railroad a family without due process.
In a pattern very similar to the false narrative being conducted against the Lunny family by the Park Service, the Coastal Commission has made a cascading, confusing series of claims that don’t add up.
The Commission continues to claim in public that the oyster farm’s operations disturb seals, citing the Park Service’s FEIS, which relies on falsified data to support that incorrect conclusion. (A scientific misconduct complaint about that falsified data has been filed and is, so far, being stonewalled.)
The Commission continues to claim in public that the oyster farm operates its boats too close to seals, in violation of protocols imposed by other agencies.But as Tom Moore(a retired official the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who helped draft those protocols) wrote in a strongly worded letter to the Commission, Drakes Bay “has not violated” those protocols.Even though the oyster farm is not in violation, it reached an agreement with the Commission in early 2012 that completely resolved the issue.The Commission should not continue making accusations about an issue that’s long been resolved.
The Commission continues to claim in public that the oyster farm pollutes Drakes Estero with plastic.Not true.The farm operates under a “zero loss” policy.It cleans up other people’s debris; it doesn’t discharge any of its own.
The Commission continues to claim in public that the Lunnys are violating the law because they do not have a permit.But the Commission refuses to process the permit application that has been on file with the Commission since 2006.
The Commission continues to claim in public that it has fined Drakes Bay Oyster Company for improper placement of clams (the oyster farm grows a small number of clams in addition to oysters).Yet so preposterous was that fine—the misplacement was the result of the Commission misreading the farm’s lease from Fish and Wildlife—that the Commission has quietly amended its complaint to withdraw it.
Neither the Park Service nor the Coastal Commission has any evidence of any of these claims against the oyster farm. When Drakes Bay Oyster Farm presented evidence disproving these claims, the Coastal Commission voted to exclude that evidence.Since when is it acceptable to prohibit a person from presenting evidence in his or her own defense?
On Tuesday, March 11, oral arguments on this case will be heard in Marin County Superior Court. If the oyster farm’s motion is granted, this will be the first time a Coastal Commission enforcement order has been successfully overturned. Let us hope that justice will be done.
This opinion piece has been adapted from a post at the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm advocacy website. For more details and related stories, please visit www.savedrakesbay.com/core/
Fiona OKelly and Joyce Goldfield, back-up singers at Motown in Our Town last Saturday. Read about the event in this weeks paper.
The West Marin Citizen
March 6 , 2014
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Public Restrooms in Pt Reyes Station, an ongoing dilemma.
Time to sign up for Obama Care. Tax implications explained by Robert Janes.
More benefits for the Porrata/Powell family
The Tardy Hearty Mardi Gras Party at Bolinas Community Center
March 8th 2014
5:30pm Parade (weather permitting) in Plaza
6:00pm Doors Open, BCC Bar & Food by Mirta Guzman
6:45 pm Dinner set of music with guests
7:30 pm The OMGZ
8:30 PM Boa Bunda Dancers
9:00pm Bobo Tempo & Special Guests
$10 Adults / $5 Seens & Teens
Kids under 12 free
Call Magi for more info or to volunteer: 868-0902
Book Release Party at Book Passage - March 9 at 4 pm. 51 Tamal Vista Road, Corte Madera
Rare sea otter images, seldom seen photos of Point Reyes by Edward Muybridge as well as extraordinary closeups of the Lighthouse lens will be included in a book talk by Richard Blair and Kathleen Goodwin at at Book Passage this Sunday afternoon. Reyes of Light and The Point Reyes Lighthouse are the latest additions to the acclaimed series on Marin County by Blair and Goodwin. They will also be signing new editions of their best-selling book, Visions of Marin which has just been released.
The Roneil and EZ Powell Pledge.
Five Brooks Ranch in Olema will donate $1.00 from each paying customer for the whole year to the family. It will be paid out on a monthly basis. I am asking other local business owners and individuals to do something similar.A few of us joining together with this pledge will help make the lives of Alex Porrata and her children a little easier.This tragic twist of fate could strike any one of us. We have to do more than just express our support. We can cut down expenses a little here and there and the impact on our businesses will not be very noticeable but will make a huge impact for Alex and EZ and Lu.
Contact Andrew for information on how to set up your pledge: 415-663-1570 or firstname.lastname@example.org
New Coast Guide available, contact the Citizen for copies. Free
By Mary Olsen
On February 5, some heavenly rain fell in West Marin. More fell on the February 7 and 9.It made for a good soaking, enough to awaken those lazy, snoozing fungi.By February 23, those sleepy heads were wide-awake and standing at attention. Hedgehogs and Yellow Feet and Oyster mushrooms all out there waiting for the knowledgeable forager. There are other species popping up that are interesting to look at, but not edible.
Learn how to identify mushrooms
Patrick Hamilton, the unofficial mycochef for the Sonoma County Mycological Association and mushroom expert, has teamed up with ForageSF to take people into the woods to learn about mushrooms first hand. Tomales Bay State Park and the Point Reyes Seashore are two of his favorite hunting grounds.
There are often anywhere from 12 to 24 people in the group and the cost is $90, not a bad investment considering the cost of a new liver. They meet at the Inverness Store parking lot, rain or shine, on the appointed day.The forays usually begin with Patrick pointing out, in no uncertain terms, the necessity of complete accuracy in mushroom identification before cooking and eating one of the foraged fungi. Patrick’s adventures usually last four or five hours.
Another good way to learn about mushrooms is to join a mushroom club.Consider the Sonoma County Mycological Society.SOMA.org.
And come to Toby’s Feed Barn on April 5, to hear an informative talk by famous mycologist, David Arora. Tickets are $15 online at ptreyesbooks.com.There will be food, beer and wine available for purchase but not included in the price of the ticket. All proceeds will go to the Roneil Powell Memorial Fund.This event will sell out, so get your tickets now.
February 5, 2014
January 3, 1971–February 2, 2014
Ron Powell never went through an awkward stage, according to his father Clarence (Bernie) Powell. He had a natural grace that neither a pre-teen growth spurt nor his adult height of 6’5” could diminish. It’s that quiet grace and his gentle presence that so many will remember about the son, the brother, the husband, the father, the friend.
Roneil Laverne Powell, 43, died suddenly and unexpectedly at home in Inverness on Sunday, February 2, 2014, surrounded by his wife Alex Porrata and their children, Yolanda, 6, and Ezequiel, 4.
Ron grew up in Los Angeles near the Huntington Park neighborhood, an area notorious for gang culture. Watched over by his parents Clarence and Caroyle, adoring younger sister Brandi, and a loving, multi-generational family, he rejected gangs for sports. The Lakers, Dodgers, and Bruins would become lifelong passions. He was a star basketball player at Dominican University in San Rafael where he made enduring friendships and met his future wife, Alex. After graduating in 1994 with a B.S. in business, he coached Dominican’s women’s basketball team between his two seasons of professional play on basketball leagues in Australia and New Zealand.
He and Alex reconnected in 2004 through an online dating service (the first and only person she dated online, she said). After an auspicious introduction to his parents at Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles in L.A. (“Ron didn’t bring too many girls around. We knew she was the one,” his mother recalled), they settled in Inverness in a small house belonging to Alex’s parents, Carlos and Rebecca Porrata. Even in rural West Marin, “people gravitated to him,” said his wife. Their friend Whitman Shenk agrees. “There’s nobody you’d rather see walk through your front door than Ron.”
Ron will be remembered as someone who was great fun, who loved music, who lit up the world with his engaging smile. Ron was cool. Perhaps most importantly, though, he was a dedicated husband and father. In January, son Ezequiel had been hospitalized in Oakland with Embryonal Rhabdomysarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. The family brought Zekie home just two evenings before Ron’s death. That night, he helped arrange a comfortable spot for his little boy to rest. Then he gently tamed his daughter’s hair into a topknot before accompanying her to Alphabet Soup Night/Fideo de Letras, a family literacy workshop and social at her dual-immersion primary school in Petaluma.
Mike Cobb, Director of Engineering at DriveSavers in Novato where Ron worked as a data recovery engineer, had high praise for him. “DriveSavers reunites people with their lost data from hard drives. In the past few years that has mainly been lost photos and memories. Now we will just have our pictures and memories of Ron.”
. Tax-exempt donations benefiting the Powell-Porrata family can be made at www.ezpowell.org, or at any Wells Fargo branch. Reference the Roneil Powell Memorial Fund, and note “gift donation” on your transaction. The federal taxpayer i.d.# for the memorial fund is: 46-4722983.
Citizen launches new column – Birthday Celebrants wanted
If you’ve got a milestone birthday coming up, the Citizen wants to interview you. We define milestone as the following ages: 18, 21, 30, 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, and every year after that as long as you, and we, are still kicking. And if you are a Latina celebrating your quinceanera, you too!
You will be interviewed in a question-and-answer format, your replies published verbatim, free of any spinning by a pesky reporter. Be prepared to reflect philosophically about the
passing years . . . . And of course we’ll want a photo of your smiling – or brooding – face.
Step right up and email Larken Bradley at
LarkenB(at)aol.com. Or telephone (415) 663-8232
West Marin Sheriff’s Logs
Curated by David van der Wal
Monday February 17
Inverness 9:24 a.m. Woman stated that unknown persons tried to enter her bedroom through window. All appeared to be under control upon arrival of deputies..
Bolinas 9:48 a.m. Man reported his registration sticker was stolen from his Subaru Legacy.
Inverness 10:08 a.m. Man lost his wallet at a restaurant the previous night and as of this day, no one had turned it in.
Tomales 11:26 a.m. Landlord frightened by tenant and asked if deputies could send tenant to a psychiatric unit. Welfare check conducted and tenant deemed to be in control of her mental faculties.
Inverness 11:46 p.m. Reporting party complained of loud music coming from vicinity of the church. Deputies investigated and found a boom box playing loud heavy metal music in church parking lot. Deputies located a white male adult inside church who had been drinking. Man was an invited guest of the parish and was asked to keep it down for the night.
Tuesday February 18
Bolinas 6:55 p.m. Deputies made contact with an individual on probation. No charges filed.
Wednesday February 19
Stinson Beach 12:17 p.m. A woman stated that between the dates 12/24 – 2/13 a very valuable opal ring was stolen from her beach house. She has a suspect in mind and would like to file a police report for insurance purposes.
Bolinas 3:38 p.m. Homeless encampment reported but nobody found in area where people were supposedly living.
Olema 8:05 p.m. A solid black cow was reported on the side of the road.
Muir Woods Park 9:18 p.m. A man came across a woman who had run her car into a pole. She said she was fine and did want to call anyone. Man immediately called the police, who determined that she had not been drinking and was fine to go on her way.
Thursday February 20
Forest Knolls 12:49 p.m. Loud rap music was reported coming from apartment below reporting party’s home.
Nicasio 8:57 a.m. In an early morning assault reporting person’s brother took caller’s motorcycle helmet, apparently while he attempted to run him off the road in his truck. Brother arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and driving on a suspended license. Alleged thief had three active suspensions for his driving privileges at time of his arrest.
Inverness Park 11:20 a.m. There is an ongoing issue of a man attempting to buy lumber and other items from property across the street from Perry’s Deli. The problem is that nothing on the property is listed for sale, and property owners would like man to leave them alone. Man contacted and indicated he understood.
Nicasio 12:34 a.m. A man reported that a white BMW sedan was parked with its owner lying down in the front seat. He was concerned that this sleepy person might have something to do with his own vehicle that has recently been broken into. Subject gone upon arrival of deputies.
Point Reyes Station 2:20 p.m. Woman called to report that she believed her grandson had used her debit card, credit card and check book to the tune of $2000.
Bolinas 3:55 p.m. Reporting party is a therapist. Reporting party says that a former patient has been driving by therapist’s house and has made threats to kill herself on the porch.
Friday February 21
Stinson Beach 11:12 a.m. A business was robbed of $1100 in cash and $1400 in checks. The person responsible had intimate knowledge of employee procedures and/or codes. Doors were found locked and safe open and ajar. Money in cash register left untouched.
Stinson Beach 3:27 p.m. A $400 iPod was reported stolen from man’s jacket.
Point Reyes Station 11:55 a.m. Man’s grandson was last seen walking towards Highway 1, wearing something red.
Point Reyes Station 2:58 p.m. Grandson returned home, apparently still wearing red. He was advised that deputies were looking for him. He was seen packing his belongings and leaving the premises. It was not noted what he was wearing.
Point Reyes Station 7:10 p.m. Woman, reportedly a recovering alcoholic, had a few drinks and left her house for a stroll. After an extensive search turned up nothing, woman returned home and said she had fallen asleep on a neighbor’s porch and was doing OK.
Bolinas 8:09 p.m. Man reported that his neighbor drove to his house and was threatening to kill somebody. Subject reportedly has weapons at his house. On further review, deputies determined this is an ongoing issue between neighbors.
Point Reyes Station 7:24 p.m. Subject arrested and booked for driving under the influence.
Bolinas 9:45 p.m. Man reports that his neighbor is shooting a laser into his house. This is an ongoing issue with his neighbor but will still be investigated.
Saturday February 22
Woodacre 1:33 a.m. Someone reported loud electronic music at 1am.
Tomales 9:06 a.m. Someone broke the locks on the athletic field and brought in four wheelesrs. Damage estimated at approximately $1500. The responsible parties drove three vehicles, one of them possibly a Super Swamper.
Lagunitas 1:12 p.m. Teenagers were reported driving around on little motorcycles on the reporting party’s driveway and making what they thought was an excessive amount of noise.
Muir Beach 4:25 p.m. Woman fell 12 feet but suffered only bruises.
Olema 6:05 p.m. Black cow reported alongside of road.
Lagunitas 10:03 p.m. A man who has been sleeping in dark colored Toyota for the last couple of days was asked to move along.
Sunday February 23
Forest Knolls 9:12 a.m. Reporting party found fireworks while cleaning the Papermill Creek Saloon along with the name of the buyer linking buyer to a supplier in China.
Point Reyes Books
TOBY'S FEED BARN
Reliving the Dipsea:
Dipsea Trail - Nomination for national and state historic registries by Dewey Livingston
Welcome to the blog of David Mitchell, editor & publisher emeritus of The Point Reyes Light. In 1979, The Light won the Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service for an exposé largely written by him of the increasingly violent Synanon cult. Mitchell retired in November 2005 after 35 years of newspapering, 27 of those at The Light.
During his newspaper career, he also worked for the old San Francisco Examiner, Sonora’s Daily Union Democrat in the Sierra Nevada, and Council Bluff’s daily newspaper, The Nonpareil. In addition, he edited the weekly Sebastopol (California) Times. Mitchell holds a master’s degree in Communications and a bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University. He is 68 and lives in Point Reyes Station on the rural coast north of San Francisco.
Herd Out West
By Larken Bradley
Couldn’t help but hear.
“Self-knowledge is 70 percent bad news.”
Teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Citizen readers: When you hear or observe something amusing in West Marin, over the hill, while on vacation or a business trip or perusing blogs, we want to join in the fun. E-mail submissions for publication to Larken@obituarywriters.com. Or telephone: 415-454-3552
Also provide your name, town and contact information.