RBOC continues its advocacy efforts in support of Westpoint Harbor, with Vice President - North Ray Durazo testifying at today's hearing of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission [BCDC].
The BCDC action today sent the proposed cease and desist order back to the Enforcement Committee for further review and deliberation.
Mr. Durazo's testimony:
My name is Ray Durazo and I am Vice President – North of the Recreational Boaters of California, RBOC.
RBOC is the nonprofit governmental advocacy organization that works to protect and enhance the interests of the state's 3 million recreational boaters before the legislative and executive branches of state and local government. RBOC was formed as a statewide organization fifty years ago and from that date forward has continued its commitment to promoting the enjoyment, protection, and responsible use of our waterways.
RBOC strongly urges the Commission to reject the proposed cease and desist order with regard to Westpoint Harbor.
BCDC’s approach towards the harbor does not further the commission as a national model, does not encourage the responsible and productive use of the Bay’s resources, and does not enable all of the Bay’s communities to flourish.
The claimed violations all suffer from one or more of deficiencies that have been well-documented by the harbor, as well as our November 15, 2017 letter.
The BCDC actions will act as a powerful deterrent to future generations interested in investing and serving recreational boating in the Bay in areas under BCDC jurisdiction. This will be to the detriment of the Bay as boating in California is a $7 billion annual economic engine.
RBOC’s concerns with BCDC’s actions towards the harbor are exacerbated when considered in the context of the commission’s similar enforcement actions against Scott’s restaurant in Jack London Square, and against Sweeny’s duck club in the Delta.
Taken together, the pattern is alarming to the boating community and has also led a County Superior Court judge in a recent case to opine that BCDC enforcement had exceeded its jurisdiction, had inflicted excessive fines, and had displayed vindictive prosecution.
Taken together, the pattern leads the community to have the strong impression that the commission enforcement staff is operating on its own and making important decisions that properly reside with the commissioners.
These issues need to be addressed in a timely manner, and RBOC urges the California State Legislature and State Auditor to investigate the BCDC enforcement actions including the exorbitant fines that are being imposed. It is critical that an independent, fair, objective, knowledgeable and transparent review be conducted.
RBOC has held meetings in the State Capitol with our elected officials regarding the Westpoint situation and our request for an audit. We have found a receptive audience and will continue to push forward in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you for your attention and consideration of our position.