I urge you to email East Bay Regional Parks District directors and ask them to vote for either Bruce Beyaer or Neil Tsutsui to replace the recently retired Whitney Dotson on the EBRPD. Board. These two individuals, Beyaert and Tsutsui, are the best qualified, the most experienced and most attuned to the principles that Whitney Dotson brought to the board.
The board will vote on January 7, 2020.
The directors’ email addresses are as follows:
firstname.lastname@example.org; Beverlywlane@gmail.com; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Of the two, I know Bruce Beyaert better, a tireless and remarkably successful advocate for parks, open space, conservation, preservation and especially the Bay Trail. Bruce founded TRAC (Trails for Richmond Action Committee) and has chaired it for the past 20 years, working with the City of Richmond, EBRPD, the private sector and other regional government agencies to complete 24 miles of new Bay Trail linking a necklace of 12 local, regional, state and national parks along Richmond’s 32-mile shoreline.
Bruce currently serves on the Board of Directors for San Francisco Bay Trail Project and the Advisory Committee for SF Bay Restoration Authority. He previously served on the boards of Save The Bay and Marin Discoveries outdoor environmental education program. He has also served on many City of Richmond committees including as chair of the Environmental Subcommittee of Point Molate Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee, General Plan 2030 Advisory Committee, Shoreline Advisory Committee, Point Molate Community Advisory Committee and U.S. Navy Restoration Advisory Board for Point Molate.
For his volunteer work, Bruce has won many awards, including the Bob Walker Open Space Conservation Award by Bay Area Open Space Council for "an individual who has used creative partnerships and alliances to make a demonstrated contribution to issues relevant to Bay Area land conservation, " the Cox Conserves Hero Award from Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, the Clearwater Award for Citizen Efforts from Waterfront Center, Excellence in Motion award from Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission, California Nature Conservancy Outstanding Service Award, City of Richmond Historic Preservation award "For Preserving Richmond's Shoreline and its History" and Association of Bay Area Governments, and other awards to TRAC.
Bruce Beyaert is, like Whitney, a Richmond resident and has the following overall goals:
- Being nimble in seizing opportunities to acquire land for open space, recreation and natural habitat, especially to connect existing public lands for trails and wildlife migration corridors,
- Improving maintenance of existing parks and trails, including control of invasive non-native vegetation and
- Providing public access to District lands within five years after acquisition with removal of signs saying "Closed Until Made Safe for Public Access".
For Ward One, which includes West County:
- Providing a visitor center for West Contra Costa County residents,
- Establishing Point Molate Regional Shoreline as envisioned by the Master Plan,
- Completing the Bay Trail between Point Pinole and Point Wilson,
- Acquiring land and planning to establish North Richmond Regional Shoreline as envisioned by the Master Plan and
- Continuing the District's excellent outreach programs for disadvantaged youth.
Bruce is very familiar with EBRPD's mission, issues, needs, parks, preserves, trails and management personnel by virtue of:
- Serving on the Park Advisory Committee for 16 years,
- Participating as a member of the District's Environmental Round Table since its inception,
- Working with staff to help acquire easements, as well as design, approval and funding of trail and public access projects,
- Visiting almost all Regional Parks & Preserves and hiking most of their trails, including years of Trails Challenges and
- Membership in Regional Parks Foundation
I don’t know Neil as well as I know Bruce, but his qualifications are impressive. He is Professor and Michelbacher Chair of Systematic Entomology Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management, College of Natural Resources, University of California, Berkeley. He already serves as a member of the Parks Advisory Committee for the East Bay Regional Park District.
He has shared with me his enthusiasm about exploring and preserving our Bay Area open spaces, expanding outdoor education using science-based parks management, protecting biodiversity, and improving safety and cleanliness of our parks.
I would specifically ask the board not to consider Norman LaForce, a former El Cerrito City Council member who could not get along with his own City Council. When LaForce served in El Cerrito, his colleagues refused to appoint him mayor in the traditional rotation because he was so unpleasant. According to a contemporary story in the Chronicle, La Force was passed over due to his abrasive and confrontational style.
“Abrasive” is a term used by many who have worked with him to describe the unpleasant and litigious LaForce. He has not made any friends in Richmond since he went against the will of Richmond voters (Measure U in 2010) and cut a deal for the Sierra Club and Citizens for Eastshore Parks to back the casino at Point Molate in exchange for $55 million.
There's a big battle raging in the little town of El Cerrito over the largely ceremonial job of mayor, with council members having blackballed the leading candidate because he rubs too many people the wrong way.
Norman La Force lost out in his bid for a one-year term on a 3-to-2 vote Monday night. Opponents said it was the 45-year-old lawyer's "abrasive" style that did him in.
"There was a feeling in the community that we needed to stop being confrontational and that his attitude was more confrontational than anybody else's," said Councilwoman Jane Bartke, whom the council elected instead. "What's best for the city sometimes isn't the easiest thing to do."
La Force angrily described the move as the result of backroom dealing and blind political ambition.
Recently, and old political ad has been circulating aimed at this appointment (http://www.laforceofcourse.com/support.php#endorsements) showing me and many others endorsing LaForce, which is not accurate.
Elizabeth Echols is a CPUC lawyer who lost to Tony Thurmond in the 2014 State Assembly election, following a negative campaign with personal attacks on Tony as reported in the article Once-courteous 15th Assembly campaign turns negative:
"In a blog post on his campaign website, Thurmond wrote that Echols had broken a campaign pledge “and launched negative and false attacks.”
“I am deeply disappointed and saddened because the attacks were personal — she even went so far as to include."
Being associated with the CPUC is not a desirable qualification. The CPUC has enabled and defended PG&E for years, failing to enforce safety standards and encourage safety-related investments that could have avoided the San Bruno fire as well as subsequent wildfires in northern California. The CPUC has not encouraged sustainability and other actions to fight climate change by, among other things, thwarting the efforts of Consumer Choice Aggregation agencies to move to fossil fuel-free electricity. All Contra Costa and Alameda County communities now belong to Consumer Choice Aggregation agencies, like MCE and East Bay Community Energy, These agencies and the state organization, CALCCA, continue to spend significant resources fighting the CPUC’s efforts to reduce their effectiveness and make it more expensive to operate.