CORRECTION: Booze Wants to Sink the Red Oak Victory
From: Butt, Tom
At the July 5 City Council meeting, Corky Booze advocated charging rent, both past and future, for the berth where the historic Victory Ship SS Red Oak Victory resides in historic Shipyard 3. Then he followed up by having the matter placed on the City Council agenda for consideration on July 10.
Providing free berthing for the Red Oak Victory is one of the commitments Richmond made years ago for Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, a unique “partnership” park where the National Park Service doesn’t actually own anything but provides a staff of dozens and millions of dollars for programs. The park’s Visitor Center opened less than a month ago, and annual visitation is expended to be in the hundreds of thousands.
The Red Oak Victory is owned and operated by the Richmond Museum of History and hundreds of volunteers. The Museum’s board includes many of Richmond’s most prominent citizens:
The Red Oak Victory, which is part of the national park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has attracted thousands of visitors to Richmond as well as millions of dollars in grants.
Booze also opposed rehabilitation of the historic Riggers Loft, which is adjacent to the Red Oak Victory, and rehabilitation of the historic General Warehouse Building, which is just north of the Riggers Loft. Neither building rehabilitation would will use money from the general fund and in fact, will result in Port profits that could flow to the general fund.
The Richmond Museum Association sent out the following notice to its members and volunteers this morning:
URGENT NOTICE TO ALL MEMBERS
Corky Booze, a member of the Richmond City Council, has asked that an item be placed on the Council meeting of July 10, regarding his proposed requirement that the Red Oak Victory pay rent for Berth 6A, and if approved all back rent as well.
We must keep in mind that the San Francisco Bay Area, and most of California were highly influenced by the events of World War II. The War changed the demographics and economics of California, and markedly so of the City of Richmond. The preservation and restoration of the SS Red Oak Victory is providing a visual and physical link to that history and has given rise to a cultural tourism long anticipated and planned for in the greater Richmond area. This tourism is recognized as being an important factor in the revitalization of this community, a community still dealing with the impacts of the economic, social, and cultural upheaval of the war years. The museum’s mission for this project includes a strong commitment to service to the community while offering a unique perspective on its history.
It is undeniable that the volunteers involved in the ship’s restoration are providing an invaluable service to the community. And in exchange for that acknowledged service to the City of Richmond, the City agreed in 1998 to free berthing. Now, Corky Booze would choose to ask that the City renege on this no-rent agreement with the museum. What a selfish misguided concept, clearly indicating a lack of appreciation for the museum’s commitment to the project and the City’s commitment as well. This is a commitment involving year’s of fundraising and thousands of hours of volunteer time. Even the suggestion that the council consider such a grievous breech of a thirteen year agreement between one of its citizen groups and its government is the height of immorality. What a slap in the face to these citizens that a man elected to represent them and stand for what is good and best for all would propose such a consideration.
Please attend the City Council meeting on July 10th, make your voices heard – stand up for justice and integrity – make it known that the citizens of Richmond, California will not tolerate even the suggestion that our government is so low it would consider breeching an agreement.
In any event, it’s not exactly like ships are floating in line waiting to pay for berthing in Richmond. Currently, the piers at Terminals 1 and 3 are unused, and the entire pier at Point Molate is empty. The City just contracted to have two tugs that haven’t paid rent for years removed from the basins at Point Potrero marine Terminal (Shipyard 3). Because the Port doesn’t have an approved security plan, it is also restricted in the types of ships that can be berthed at vacant piers.