Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2022  
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  Bad Judgment and Political Betrayal
August 21, 2022

I apologize in advance, this is a bit of a slog, but it’s important. Bear with me.

On August 17, 2022, Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Clare Maier released her tentative ruling in the case Winehaven vs. the City of Richmond, in which Winehaven sought an injunction barring transfer of portions of Point Molate to Upstream and Guidiville. The following day, August 18, she affirmed her tentative ruling. In her lengthy analysis, Judge Maier was extraordinarily hostile towards Winhaven’s counsel and, in my opinion, injudiciously critical of statements I had made in a declaration submitted by the Plaintiff Winehaven.

In Judge Maier’s denigration, which could be characterized as a rant, she used the term “linguistic froth,” which was new to me, but I got her drift. I tried to find the term in a dictionary, but no luck – not even the urban dictionary or dictionary of slang. I finally found it used by Reiner Stach, a biographer of Hermann Kafka, father of Franz Kafka.

Hermann had no confidence in his ability to muddle through without making faux pas—he wrote his letters on gaudy monogrammed stationery, using an abundance of clumsy phrases copied out of correspondence guides that reflected neither his social status nor his typical behavior: “Highly esteemed Fräulein,” “appreciation of your noble nature,” “your dear, lovely picture,” “your angelic voice”—Hermann figured that these kinds of expressions were befitting to the social standing he aspired to, but he must have been quite relieved when Julie totally ignored his linguistic froth and replied with the simple “Dear Herr Kafka.” From then on it got easier—it was the first of countless times that she helped him steer clear of gaffes, and Hermann realized at that moment that the unobtrusive but reliable pragmatism of his future wife was a godsend. Her social coaching would take a real weight off his shoulders. 

But I digress. I want to expand on one statement from my declaration that Judge Maier selected for particularly harsh disparagement. I stated:

It is also my belief, based on documented actions, that the RPA Four City Councilmembers collaborated with other elected officials in their efforts to undermine the conveyance of the Property to Winehaven and the development of the Project thereon. These other elected officials include, but are not limited to, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, East Bay Regional Parks District Director Elizabeth Echols and California State Senator Nancy Skinner. While the City and Winehaven were working feverishly to meet the deadlines imposed by the settlement agreement, the RPA Four and the other elected officials, confident that their efforts to thwart the conveyance of the property to Winehaven would be successful, were engaged in what turned out to be efforts to obtain funding to purchase the 30 percent of Point Molate designated for development for the purpose of making it a regional park.

Judge Maier ripped into my statement, writing:

The City objects that “the declaration is entirely devoid of foundational facts, and is comprised of speculation, hearsay, and political mudslinging.” The Court concurs with, and sustains, this global objection. More specifically, the following allegations are improper for the reasons stated in the global objection:

In paragraph 13, the declarant speculates that four of his colleagues, who are duly elected members of the City Council, would have rejected unidentified proposals that plaintiff did not make. In paragraph 14, the declarant speculates that these same colleagues would have rejected unidentified documentation that plaintiff did not submit, and unidentified actions that plaintiff did not take. This kind of linguistic froth has no evidentiary value.

An example of political mudslinging is the declarant’s allegation that four of the declarant’s duly elected colleagues on the City Council have “a primary obsession and commitment of trying to undermine” the subject development agreement. (Butt Dec., ¶ 10. See also, ¶ 11 [“serial bad faith efforts”]; ¶ 12 [“fabricated a narrative”]; ¶ 14 [declarant’s colleagues were determined to act “without regard to the consequences”]; ¶ 15 [“continuous efforts to thwart development”], and; ¶ 16 [declarant’s colleagues “collaborated with other elected officials in their efforts to undermine” the development agreement].)

Perhaps I should have written a book, complete with footnotes and sources, to bolster my assertion, and as litigation proceeds endlessly, perhaps I will have that opportunity. But for now, let’s just look at the facts.

A trove of documents produced by the East Bay Regional Park District pursuant to a California Public Records Act request provides exquisite detail how these individuals, including several elected officials, and others, collaborated toward the singular goal of making Point Molate a regional park. And this is just thew tip of the iceberg.

Up until the election of 2020 when four RPA-affiliated candidates were elected to the Richmond City Council, the efforts of Norman La Force, the Sierra Club, Robert Cheasty (CESP), SPRAWLDEF, Golden Gate Audubon Society, and California Native Plant Society were focused on broad advocacy for a regional park at Point Molate and litigation aimed at undoing or at least impeding the settlement agreement entered into by the City of Richmond, Upstream and Guidiville in 2018.

When the four RPA City Council members took the dais in January of 2021, the winds had changed, and so did the strategy of La Force and his band of anti-development advocates.

In a March 3, 2021, email to EBRPD Elizabeth Echols, Robert Cheasty (CESP)  wrote:

I would like to speak with you regarding the opportunity we have to save Point Molate now that the new majority on the Richmond City Council is working to turn the site into a park.

Note that Cheasty acknowledges that, despite an approved development agreement, the City Council majority is “working to turn the site into a park.”

Apparently, Cheasty’s pitch to EBRPD Echols was successful because on March 30, 2021, he emailed her and suggested bringing John Gioia into the fold::

Many thanks to you for getting Point Molate on the Park District priority list.  

A significant step now would be to seek commitment from Sam Schuchat  for funds.

Would you be up for a Zoom meeting with John Gioia if I could arrange it?

Cheasty then moved to organize the Point Molate Working Group, consisting of Norman LaForce (Sierra Club), Robert Cheasty (executive director of Citizens for East Shore Parks), Elizabeth Echols (Director, East Bay Regional Parks District), Colin Coffey (Director, East Bay Regional Parks District), John Gioia (Contra Costa County Supervisor, District 1), Stuart Flashman (attorney), David Helvarg, Mary Small (Deputy Executive Officer, California State Coastal Conservancy), Moira McEnespy (California State Coastal Conservancy). The objective of the Point Molate Working Group was to make all of Point Molate a regional park.

On April 23, 2021, Chesty emailed Colin Coffey:

Attached is the punch list or path forward for our working group.  It is not intended to be the final word, just a quick list of the next steps we see in creating a stronger working group and getting to the funders in a quick way.

The April 23, 2021, memo (“punchlist”) was the roadmap to sidetrack progress on fulfilling the terms of the Point Molate Settlement Agreement and end up instead with a regional park.

Date:    April 23, 2021
To:       East Bay Regional Park District
From:   Robert Cheasty on behalf of Point Molate Alliance, CESP, Sierra Club, the major NGOs, community groups, community leaders and supporters of saving Point Molate below.
Re:       Saving Point Molate
We have the chance to do something great - protect a treasure for the public. Let the public own its shoreline, advance environmental justice by creating a world class park right here in Richmond with recreation and playing fields and protection of sacred Ohlone sites, honoring history. We can give back to the earth more than we take, help stop climate change, defend biodiversity, support 30x30 goals.
GOAL – to Save Point Molate
Short Term Goal – to Resolve litigation over Point Molate to create a world class park.
A Roadmap forward:

  1. Meet with EBRPD Board Members Elizabeth Echols and Colin Coffey and General Manager Sabrina Landreth to create the coalition to lead this effort and set meetings w/ funders.
  2. Meet with Sam Schuchat, California Coastal Conservancy (coordinating  with Supervisor John Gioia as a follow up to meeting October 2019)
  3. Advance the ongoing meetings with Trust for Public Land
  4. Meet with Nature Conservancy contact
  5. Meet with  Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  6. Contact William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
  7. Follow up meeting with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier about Land and Water Conservation Fund and contacts within Department of Interior with its goals of environmental protections of Tribal lands.
  8. Meet with Wade Crowfoot, Calif. Natural Resources Agency
  9. Meet with Governor Newsom
  10. Follow up with Senator Skinner’s staff re putting together meetings & building supporters
  11. Follow up with Assemblywomen Wicks’ staff re putting together meetings & building supporters
  12. Review California Natural Resources Agency Funding Opportunities
  13. Explore Acquisition / Restoration funding promoting environmental justice
  14. Prepare background document about Point Molate
  15. Recruit potential key supporters (leadership Circle) for saving Point Molate

Community Support:
(Partial List)
Point Molate Alliance
Richmond Shoreline Alliance
Sunflower Alliance
Courtney Cummings, Northern Cheyenne, Arikara, Muscogee Creek, Richmond Native American Activist,  A.I.M., Chair of Richmond Pow-Wow*
Corinna Gould, Spokesperson/Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone, Co-founder, Indian People Organizing for Change*
Isabella Zizi, Northern Cheyenne, Arikara, Muscogee Creek, Organizer, Idle No More, S.F. Bay*
Kim De Ocampo, Tuolumne Mewuk, Executive Director, Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPRIT)*
Roshni McGee, Rich City Rides*
Movement Rights
Communities for Better Environment
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP)
Golden Gate Audubon Society
Golden Hour Restoration Group
Blue Frontier
Richmond Outdoors Coalition
GreenAction for Health and Environmental Justice
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Sierra Club
California Native Plant Society, East Bay Chapter
Wholly H2O
Marine Applied Research & Exploration (MARE)
*Organizations with * are for identification only

Whether you call it a “coalition,” as Cheasty did, a collaboration, a conspiracy or a plot is just semantics. While CESP and SPRAWLDEF litigated, and the Richmond City Council resisted from inside, Cheasty’s “coalition” would seek funds to try to buy out some party of interest in Point Molate. Point Molate Working group meetings were occurring regularly, and Gioia, Echols, Coffey and the EBRPD staff were all in. Later, Senator Skinner and her staff became a key part of the coalition, ultimately delivering $36 million.

On June 17, 2021, BCDC took up an application by SunCal for BCDC to consider an update to the San Francisco Bay Plan. The proposed amendment would change the Waterfront Park, Beach Priority Use Area designation at Point Molate in Richmond. If the Commission approves the recommendation, which includes a contract for BCDC staff to process the amendment, staff woiuld initiate the Bay Plan amendment process.

Public Hearing and Possible Vote on Issuing a Brief Descriptive Notice to Initiate San Francisco Bay Plan Amendment No. 1-21 Addressing Point Molate in Richmond and Authorizing the Executive Director to Enter into a Contract for the Costs of Processing the Proposed Amendment
The Commission will hold a public hearing and possible vote to begin the amendment process to consider an update to the San Francisco Bay Plan. The proposed amendment would change the Waterfront Park, Beach Priority Use Area designation at Point Molate in Richmond. Winehaven Legacy LLC is seeking to develop a portion of the priority use area into a residential and mixed-use development project. If the Commission approves the recommendation, which includes a contract for BCDC staff to process the amendment, staff will initiate the Bay Plan amendment process.
(Cody Aichele-Rothman) [415/352-3641;] Public Comment (PDF) // Staff Presentation (PDF) // Applicant Presentation (PDF)
Supervisor Gioia performed as the Point Molate Working Group expected, making a plea to delay consideration because he knew settlement discussions were underway, which was a flat out lie. From the BCDC Minutes:

As some speakers mentioned, and I have also been in contact with several parties who have indicated that there are informal, settlement discussions occurring with regard to the litigation. Now, the Applicant will say there are no official, settlement discussions and that is what Applicants say; but there have been some informal discussions.

Again, an applicant on the record is not going to say, oh, I want to settle this, because, frankly, it also, what we do here may affect the value of the settlement, right? We all know that. So if we are trying to sort of just step back to be neutral we could hold off any initiation until there's more indication.

My point of saying not to say, deny this application today, but to hold off for some number of months, allows informal, settlement discussions to create an opportunity where other agencies, including public agencies, may be helping fund the acquisition of this in a way that responds to all the parties, creates an opportunity for a larger, shoreline, regional park that would otherwise not happen if this project moved forward.

So the question for us is, are we an enabler? So I submit, starting the process, which some people say, oh, it is not making a decision, we are just starting a process — adds value — and interferes with the ability to reach some type of settlement that preserves this. And all I am suggesting is that we can delay a few months to allow that to happen. Because we're not obligated, like the representative for the developer said, with the City or your county processing an application under CEQA. We are here as separate agency looking at broader, land use policies. We have our big regional hat on about the Bay.

So I would submit moving forward is a decision that interferes with the potential. We do not know if it is going to happen, but the potential is for a settlement. Because if there is no identification of funds in settlement this project may end up going forward and we have lost the opportunity for a larger, regional park under East Bay Regional Park District's own General Master Plan and people will look to BCDC and say, you helped enable that. So I am submitting that we at least have an opportunity to allow that process to happen on its own and delay this for some number of months.

Commissioner Butt opined: Unfortunately, this has gone into the weeds. There's a lot of disinformation and erroneous information being put out here today. I don’t know where my colleague Supervisor Gioia, Commissioner Gioia, is getting his information about settlement.

Everybody who is MOTION: Commissioner Gioia moved to have the item put in abeyance four months and for information addressing the questions that have been asked be provided, seconded by Commissioner Peskin.

VOTE: The motion carried with a vote of 13-8-1 with Commissioners Ahn, Burt, Eckerle, Eisen, Gioia, Gunther, Moulton-Peters, Peskin, Pine, Ranchod, Gilmore, Pemberton, Vice Chair Chappell voting “YES”, Commissioners Addiego, Butt, Randolph, Showalter, Wagenknecht, Vasquez, Hillmer and Chair Wasserman voting “NO”, and Commissioner Beach voting “ABSTAIN”.

Ms. Atwell stated: We have 13 “YES”, 8 “NO” and one “ABSTENTION”.

Chair Wasserman announced: The substitute motion passes. That concludes this matter.

Iinvolved in settlement discussions is sworn to confidentiality. So if he's a party to a settlement discussion somebody is breaking the law.

On June 28, 2022, Cox Castle Nicholson, counsel for Winehaven Legacy, LLC, wrote to Teresa Stricker, Richmond city attorney confirming the absence of settlement negotiations:

Unfortunately, the Point Molate Alliance and its allies have publicly asserted, to Winehaven’s detriment, that settlement negotiations have begun. This false narrative has already delayed a vote during a BCDC meeting last week. (See, e.g.,[1]commission-victory/ [“he postponement allows for settlement talks”].) The ongoing public campaign to create the misimpression that settlement discussions are underway must stop.

Meanwhile, I was trying to find out what role the EBRPD was considering, if any, for Point Molate. On July 10, 2021, I emailed Elizabeth Echols:

The anti-Point Molate people are saying EBRPD is offering to buy it and is willing to spend $4.7 million. If it were to be sold to settle lawsuits, the price would likely be $30 to $60 million.

Echols responded obtusely, knowing full well that she was part of an active conspiracy to snatch Point Molate away from development.

The Park District remains interested in developing a true regional park at Point Molate in partnership with the City of Richmond depending on the land that the City makes available to us. 

On August 10, 2021, Cheasty emailed Yolande Barial Knight of EBRPD:


Each of these organizations urges the District to move forward in support of the actions needed to turn Point Molate into a park.  The steps needed will be many small steps but the big step needed is to commit to seeing this park acquisition through to completion.

By September of 2021, Senator Skinner’s Office became part of the plan for a Point Molate regional park, with Capitol Director Katarina Robinson becoming the main point of contact. On September 13, 2021, Erich Pfuehler emailed Katarina Robinson:

Your boss mentioned to our Director Elizabeth Echols the possibility of flagging funding in the state budget which could possibly be used at Point Molate.  The Senator suggested Elizabeth reach out to staff, which is the genesis of this email.  Please let us know if you might have some time to speak with Elizabeth and me.

On September 13, 2021, Pfuehler emailed Katarina:

Hope you are well and maybe getting a chance to be less hectic!  Your boss mentioned to our Director Elizabeth Echols the possibility of flagging funding in the state budget which could possibly be used at Point Molate.  The Senator suggested Elizabeth reach out to staff, which is the genesis of this email. 

On September 15, 2021, Robinson emailed Erich Pfuehler of EBRPD:

Happy to speak with you. I am inviting Joanne as well since this is budget related. Did the Senator suggest this for next year’s budget? Or was she saying there was some money already in the budget  that passed at end of session that might be appropriate for this purpose? Would this money be for acquisition and preservation of Point Molate? This is the Richmond park with significant local indigenous tribal history, yes? Shell mounds, etc? Slated for development, but there was significant local pushback and now developer is open to selling? Want to make sure I’m thinking of the right property.

Pfuehler responded to Katarina via email on September 15, 2021:

Elizabeth said Senator Skinner indicated there was money in the budget that passed this year/summer.   She is also certainly interested in learning about prospective opportunities in the upcoming budget.

Elizabeth is looking for money for the acquisition and preservation of Pt. Molate.  As you correctly point out, it has significant local indigenous tribal history, environmental importance, and could help improve equitable access to parks and open space for under resourced communities of color

On September 30, 2021, Katarina is still looking for money and emailed Erich Pfuehler:

I’m hoping I can just find you the appropriate funding pot for you guys to apply to. Joanne says there was not a direct allocation for Point Molate, but there was funding for local parks. Tracking down the program for you, stay tuned.

On September 15, 2021, Erich Pfuehler emailed Katarina:

Elizabeth said Senator Skinner indicated there was money in the budget that passed this year/summer.   She is also certainly interested in learning about prospective opportunities in the upcoming budget.

Elizabeth is looking for money for the acquisition and preservation of Pt. Molate.  As you correctly point out, it has significant local indigenous tribal history, environmental importance, and could help improve equitable access to parks and open space for under resourced communities of color. 

If we could set up a time for you and/or Joanne to speak with Elizabeth and me that would be great.

Meanwhile, Katarina Robinson continue to look for funding with little luck but was string to focus on funding in the 2022 budget. In a September 30, 2022, email, she wrote to Pfuehler add Echols:

I’m hoping I can just find you the appropriate funding pot for you guys to apply to. Joanne says there was not a direct allocation for Point Molate, but there was funding for local parks. Tracking down the program for you, stay tuned.

On October 19, 2021. La Force emailed Colin Coffey and Eliabeth Echols, noting that the Richmond City Council was doing its job to undermine the Point Molate Settlement:

The Richmond City Council had on its agenda tonight in closed session the decision as to what arguments to file in the Response or Answer Brief in our federal legal case.  This is the case on appeal. We had filed our Opening Brief and the City had to file an Answer Brief on October 27th.  Tonight the City Council instructed the City Attorney that she was not to file the brief she and outside council had prepared which apparently was a no holds bar defense of the city and an attack on petitioners. Instead, the council majority instructed her to file a brief ADMITTING that the City had violated the Brown Act in approving the settlement deal with the Casino Developer and Tribe and ADMITTING that  the city had violated California planning law. In other words, the City was agreeing with us and not defending its own prior action.

And on October 20, 2021, La Force conveyed the news in an email to the entire EBRPD Board:

We have a surprising turn of events to report regarding Point Molate.  As you will recall, there are two legal cases that community groups and individuals (petitioners) brought against the City or Richmond over decisions to approve the large scale luxury housing project at Point Molate.  One is the CEQA challenge to the City’s certification of the EIR for that project.  The other is the federal lawsuit challenging the City’s decision to enter into the secret settlement with the Casino Developer and the Guidiville Tribe.  That federal case is now on appeal.  The court ruled against the petitioners, and we appealed.  We filed our Opening Brief sometime ago. The City and the Casino/Tribe respondents were set to file their Answer Brief on October 27, 2021.  In our pleadings we had alleged that the City entered into a secret settlement that violated the Brown Act and also violated California land use law.  The court had dismissed the case at the pleading stage on the grounds that the City had supposedly cured any Brown Action violation and rejected our claims that any claims regarding California land use were resolved with that supposed cure.

Last night at the Richmond City Council meeting there was a dramatic turn of events.   From what is reported in open session and publicly, a majority on the City Council rejected the City Attorney’s proposed Answer Brief defending the City’s secret settlement and claiming there were no violations of the California land use law.  Instead, the council instructed the city attorney to file a brief in which the City admits that it violated the Brown Act, admits that California planning law was violated, and that the City supports our appeal in the case.   

The Casino/Tribe had not planned on writing its own brief, but instead planned on joining in the City’s brief.  Now they have asked us for a further extension of time to prepare their own brief in the appeal.  They have asked for an additional 30 days.  We are certainly willing to grant them a courtesy of an extension but need to work out details as to when our Reply Brief would be due given the holidays.

This is certainly positive news, but does not mean that we have saved Point Molate as a park. It does give us a bit more time to work on that salvation.

In January of 2022, the EBRPD was reaching out to the California Natural Resources Agency for possible Point Molate funding. In an email dated January 27, 2022, Yulie Padmore, Executive Assistant, General Manager's Office, EBRPD wrote to  eight EBRPD staff:

I am working on scheduling a meeting with the California Natural Resources Agency staff to discuss state funding to buy Pt. Molate and turn it into a park.

The General Manager and Crowfoot plan to meet to discuss as principals. In preparation for that meeting, I have been asked to schedule this meeting for some time next week so that I might begin to schedule the Crowfoot meeting and hand off to Rachel Arbios – who will be acting in my position starting on Feb 14.

On February 3, 2022, Elizabeth Echols emailed Norman La Force and Robert Cheasty:

I was sorry to hear about the court decision in the CEQA case.  Nonetheless, we continue to seek out money to fulfill the vision of a regional park at Point Molate.  Toward that end, can one of you please forward the OpEd piece that you or your colleagues wrote describing the incredible beauty of Point Molate and the many reasons to preserve this land?  I believe you sent it to me last fall but I’m not finding it in my email. 

On February 3, 2022, Elizabeth Echols wrote to Erich Pfuehler:

Has the Advocacy Day meeting with Nancy Skinner been confirmed?  I don’t think I have seen that come through yet.

And Pfuehler replied:

Yes, Sabrina is meeting with Senator Skinner tomorrow.  Not sure about a time with her for the 9th yet.  Will check.

By March of 2018, the City Council was focusing on and picking apart the proposal for a community facilities district as the latest tactic to undermine the Point Molate project. On March 14, 2022, Brady Moss, TPL, emailed Michael Treeves, EBRPD:

You asked about the city council’s timing for a vote on the intent to form a CFD. I just found this item on the City’s meeting agenda for tomorrow night: Adoption of a Resolution of Intent to Establish a Community Facilities District (CFD) for Point Molate. The agenda report on that item is attached. Whatever happens tomorrow night, I’m sure we’ll have plenty to discuss three weeks from now during our EBRPD/TPL coordination call on April 4th.

And on March 18, 2022, David Helvarg emailed Cheasty:

City Council voted against $292 million CFD today!! - 4 against and the 3 other members didn't vote (I'm told). So it's likely the city will now be hit by baseless lawsuit from SunCal, etc. 

We want to move together asap starting Monday - bring in our lawyers like Robert, park district, maybe county supe. I need to reach out to Crowfoot, SF Chron. etc.  TPL should  reach out to the city and some of us will need to help Upstream and other legal claimants past their grief and anger stage and into their acceptance and settlement stage.

I'm in Boston but not flying till 6PM Monday (3PM Pacific) so I could join a call before then. 

Let me know how it goes Pam 

Best news and best regards, 

Cheasty responded on March 19, 2022:

Yes, the news is magnificent! 

The vote to not adopt the CFD is a courageous step by this City Council to undo the dangerous conduct of the past City Council and needs to be backed up by our side.  The vote was four to zero, with Bates absent, Butt not voting, and Johnson ducking out early and missing the vote. The Council majority will come under great pressure now.

We need a quick meeting among ourselves to adopt a strategy.  Zoom is good and this weekend is open for me  - just settled a looming trial - if we could get it arranged. Saturday mid day might work for everyone. I am concerned that if we wait for Monday the blowback will have started and we will be putting out fires.

(Background: Up until now the current  city Council has been verbally supportive of our concerns but has never voted for a position that put them on a crash course with the development. The staff has blocked them from doing that, but this time the cncerns we raised about the fiscal risk to the city carried the day.  It took tremendous effort. Under the leadership of Gayle and Claudia the city exposed the fiscal irresponsibility of the course Mayor Butt has been advocating, successfuly up to now. All that work and research we all did over the past two years, including the two studies done by the economic consultants we hired and the analytic work Jeff Kilbreth did, was finally brought to bear.  It helped that Butt was unable to run the meeting. He was in Yosemite and had connectivity problems so the meeting was run by Vice Mayor Eduardo Martinez and he allowed the public to wieigh in. Lots of letters and many very good speakers.)

I have spoken last eveing with two of the Park Board Directors (and have a call in to John Gioia) and am seeking a meeting between us and the General Manager this week. We need to have their support for a general strategy that involves trying to settle the lawsuits. I have some ideas about the strategy options.  Plus we have the upcoming dedication of the Brickyard (within the McLaughlin Eastshoe State Park) that is scheduled for Saturday, March 26,2022 at 10 a.m.  All the players will be there in person - the Park District Directors and General Manager, Sen. Skinner, Assemblymember Wicks and multiple present and past elected officials, environmental and community groups. We need a full court press of people to lobby them.

The outreach to Wade Crowfoot should be done asap, especially so Andres is available to attend any meeting before he leaves.  The state can put the money together if they like the project, and with this new vote, new direction, the housing option looks grim.  We also need to touch base with TPL to let them know the CFD was voted down and to see if they actually have any donors yet. There are lots of paths to financing a settlement.

We have deadlines looming, May 21, 2022 being one of them. 

I can almost smell the park.

On July 6, 2022, Elizabeth Echols emailed Erich Pfuehler:

I'm very happy about the $36 million in the state budget for Point Molate.  Thanks for your help on this.

Can you please send me a link or scan of the language on the bill?  Also, can you please find out what the likely time line is for the Governor to sign this bill? 

Ultimately, the coalition, collaboration or conspiracy of EBRP Directors Echols and Coffey, Senator Nancy Skinner and Supervisor John Gioia were collective successful in thwarting the final approval by the City of Richmond of the Point Molate project and obtaining $36 million in the state budget to be used towards the end of making it a regional park. The RPA City Council majority played its part by continuously undermining and thwarting final approval.

Meanwhile, there are at least four active lawsuits ongoing. The City prevailed in the Brown Act and CEQA challenges, but both are on appeal. The federal court litigation is still live and could blow up any time. Winehaven Legacy, LLC, has suffered setbacks in its quest for an injunction but is expected to continue to pursue the matter with an appeal.

It is expected that the 30 percent of Point Molate now zoned for development will be conveyed to Upstream and Guidiville for $400 (the deed remains in escrow), and the Point Molate Working Group will continue seeking funding and pursuing acquisition of the property.

The thing that disappoints me the most is that four elected officials, three of whom represent me and have asked for and received my endorsement in previous elections, made a conscious decision to keep all of this secret from me and other City Council members who were not a part of their plan. At least one, John Gioia, flat about lied about the point Molate issue in a BCDC meeting.

As mayor of Richmond, I don’t expect that I will agree with these electeds on every issue, but they failed to even show the courtesy and respect of informing me of what they were up to and explaining where they were coming from. That is unforgivable.