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Point Molate To The Highest Bidder?
February 24, 2003
After six 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.

Now, without any public discussion or input, the matter is on the Agenda of the City Council (Reuse Authority) executive session for tomorrow night.

A letter 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 Anderson.


Michael Bloom
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 Council members.

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 their land.

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 bear.

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.

Don Gosney
Community Co-Chair
Point Molate RAB
929 Lassen Street
Richmond, CA  94805-1030
(510) 233-2060
fax: (510) 234-8912