With a disregard or ignorance of facts that would make Trump proud, CESP (Citizens for Eastshore Parks) Executive Director Robert Cheasty penned the leading article in the organization’s Summer 2018 Newsletter “Shore Lines,” asking “Why is Point Molate worth caring about?”
Cheasty extolls the magnificent views, the ospreys and the eelgrass, all of which is factual, and with which we heartily agree.
Then he goes off into carpetbagger territory, making up facts and history that never existed.
He starts with Winehaven, “… that spectacular castle-like building at Point Molate that was built at the very beginning of the California wine industry…” Apparently Cheasty does not know that the California wine industry began long before Winehaven was built and in southern California. I would recommend Chesty bone up on the history of the California wine industry. Winehaven was started in 1907, but “Winemaking in California began more than 240 years ago. In 1769, Father Junipero Serra, a Franciscan missionary, brought settlers from Mexico into San Diego. ... To each, Father Serra brought the cultivation of the grape. The first wines were produced for sacramental purposes and the daily table needs of the missions (https://www.google.com/search?q=history+of+the+california+wine+industry&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab).”
Cheasty then ventures into whaling history, stating, “Point Molate was the home to the last operational whaling station in California.” Close, but no cigar, Robert. The whaling station to which Cheasty apparently is referring was located four miles north of Point Molate at Point San Pablo.
Then Cheasty ventures into recent political history, noting that, “…the citizens passed a measure opposing the casino and elected a new City Council which turned down the casino, with Councilmember Butt switching sides and opposing the casino.” What Cheasty neglects to explain is that it was I who authored the measure that put the vote on the ballot, and while I did, in fact, ultimately oppose the casino, Cheasty and his pals at CESP, the Sierra Club and other organizations cut a deal with the casino developers to support it in exchange for millions of dollars. When I ultimately voted against it, Cheasty was lobbying hard to build it.
Cheasty claimed that “Mayor Butt led the charge to settle with the developer,” which is entirely untrue. If there was anyone leading the charge for settlement, it was a Federal judge in a mandatory settlement conference who explained to the City of Richmond representatives what was at stake if the lawsuit went to trial. And by the way, it was the indiscretions of former Mayor Gayle McLaughlin that placed the City in the vulnerable position that made a settlement a tough but prudent decision, ultimately supported by a majority of the City Council.
Cheasty closed by writing, “People will come to see Winehaven, the shrimp camp, the protected Native American sites.” I sure hope they will come to see Winehaven, but there is nothing left to see of the shrimp camps and the protected Native American sites except in Cheasty’s dreams.
Cheasty also hopes people will stay at a “conference center or hotel complex near Winehaven,” but he offers no suggestions about how this will be financed.
Cheasty is part of a newly-formed organization called the Point Molate Alliance, led by out-of-towners who believe they know more than the residents of Richmond what the future should hold for Point Molate. They are on a mission, but unfortunately they are short on facts and short on experience but eager to make up what they need to press their case.