years of waiting for the Navy to convey the former Point Molate Naval
Fuel Depot to the City of Richmond, City staff is now recommending that
the U.S. Government, instead, simply sell it to the highest bidder. This
recommendation comes after months of secret meetings among the mayor and
senior City staff members with the Navy. Despite several requests for
information over the past few months, I, as a member of the Reuse
Authority, was never made aware of the substance of these secret
meetings until two days ago.
without any public discussion or input, the matter is on the Agenda of
the City Council (Reuse Authority) executive session for tomorrow night.
from Don Gosney, Chair of the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) on this
subject follows, and attached files include the memo dated February 25,
2003 (curiously, it is dated three days from now) from City staff making
the disposition recommendation and a letter from the U.S. Navy to Mayor
BRAC Environmental Coordinator
Point Molate Naval Fuel Depot
As a part of the informational packet delivered to the Richmond City
Council members on Friday afternoon there was an agenda item for this
coming Tuesday evening regarding Point Molate. The session is set up as
an Executive Session which means that it will not be open to the public.
It does not even appear on the City's web site which tell us what's
happening at the Council meeting on Tuesday.
Included along with the agenda was a copy of two letters. The first was
from the City's Redevelopment Agency explaining their recommendation to
have the GSA sell the site to the highest bidder. The other letter was
from Wayne Arney to the Mayor delineating some of the highlights from a
recent meeting he had with the City's Redevelopment staff. [Transcripted
copies of these two letters are attached.]
What has so many member of this community up in arms is the speed with
which all of this is happening. It was only three weeks ago that the
RAB was made aware of the possibility of a third party sale and now
we're told that all will be a fait accompli in less than three months.
Strangely enough, this all comes as a great surprise to most of the
While we had been aware of the Navy's interest in an Early Transfer of
the site, it now appears that the Navy prefers and is trying to force a
third party sale of the site. This is the part we can't understand.
There is a great fear that Chevron/Texaco will make every effort to
secure this property to use as a buffer between their refining
operations and any potential for a lawsuit the next time they blow up or
spit something into the air. As you can imagine, should Chevron make
the deal, there will no longer be a need for the Navy to continue their
cleanup activities. Furthermore, there will be no redevelopment of the
site other than bigger and stronger fencing to keep the public off of
Many of us fail to see how this will be in the best interests of the
City or the community.
The actions by City Staff and our Mayor are our concern and the Navy
should not be expected to answer for them. we hired them and we elected
them and we can work with them. The actions by the Navy, however, are
not of our doing and, since we neither elect or hire the Navy, they are
not responsible to this community. As you might imagine, we have
questions and concerns about what's happening and just why it's
happening to us now.
Since it will take the Navy at least a year to seal the USTs and
remediate IR Site 3, why is the Navy applying such pressure to rid
themselves of Point Molate in the next few months? The Navy has done
such a fine job of dragging their feet these past six years and all of a
sudden things have to happen right now. Had this project been a private
enterprise, the amount of time it would have taken would have certainly
been but a small fraction of what the Navy has taken and the costs would
have been significantly smaller. At the very least, the cost of
overhead would not have been the driving factor in the total budget.
The manner in which this is being shoved down the collective throat of
this community, the Navy is making all of this such a financial burden
on the City that their only option is to walk away. There is no way
that the City can bring on a developer for the 85% "clean" part of the
site when the heart of the property is still more than a year away from
possible remediation. In the mean time, the City would be liable for
the maintenance. upkeep and security of the site. For a financially
strapped city like Richmond, this is a cost they cannot be expected to
Perhaps you can explain to me why the Navy has finally made their move
and is forcing this issue now. I can guarantee you that this will be a
hot topic at our next RAB meeting and we all will be anxious to hear
what the Navy has to say on the subject.
More than anything, Michael, we need to know just what's going on. The
City has been less than forthcoming with information and appears to be
negotiating deals without keeping all of the principals informed. Since
the communication between the City and the RAB leaves us not as well as
informed as we would like, and we have such a wonderful rapport with the
New Navy, we're hoping we can learn from what you have to offer.
Perhaps you and I can discuss this on Monday. My schedule is pretty
loose and I expect o be at (925) 686-5880 almost all of the day. If you
have a few spare minutes, perhaps you can give me a call.
Point Molate RAB
929 Lassen Street
Richmond, CA 94805-1030
fax: (510) 234-8912