I had the wonderful privilege of
being Government Contract Liaison for the Blue & Gold Fleet. That
meant being Blue & Goldís liaison to all of the government agencies
Blue & Gold works with as a marine operator, including the National
Park Service for the Alcatraz Ferry, the City of Vallejo for the Baylink
Ferries, the City of Alameda and the Port of Oakland for the Oakland
Alameda Ferries and the California State Parks for the Angel Island
Ferries. While Tiburon and Sausalito do not officially sponsor the North
Bay Sausalito/Tiburon Ferry, I also acted as the main liaison between the
Blue & Gold Fleet and those jurisdictions for their ferry services.
I have always loved sailing and
was able to segue into a waterfront maritime position first as a deckhand,
working my way up to captain. Then I was lucky enough to start with Blue
& Gold from year one. I helped deliver one of the first boats down
from Nichols Shipyard, which was just coming into its own. From 1979 on, I
helped the company establish itself as a growing and reputable quality
provider of marine services, to where now it is the preeminent provider of
marine services for the West Coast. It started with one boat and now weíre
up to thirteen.
Iím from a wonderful extended
Italian family in New Jersey. My father was an ardent politician and
community activist in New Jersey and it is from him that I got my love for
community service. I went to college at American University in Washington
D.C. I quickly decided I was not cut out to be a bureaucrat and after
graduating, came out west to work on a political magazine. I was an
idealist who eventually became a cynic.
So I traveled, and when I returned
to California I started my own yacht renovation business in Sausalito
called Brightworks. I wrangled an introduction to the Masters, Mates &
Pilots Union through a very opportune series of events and worked on some
offshore boats for a short period of time. Then, in 1979, Blue & Gold
started and the union sent me to them. I worked there for 22 years.
Now, Iím totally changing tracks
with a career change that keeps me close to the meaningful community work
that means so much to me. Iím working with the Napa County Farm Bureau
and the Napa County Grape Growers Association as their Executive Director,
focusing on advocacy for sustainable agriculture, preservation of
agricultural land and resources and, of course, and advocating for the
best management practices and economic policies for the wine industry.
I live in the North Bay and am
centered on community service and activism about land use decisions and
sustainable environmental and economic policies. I came to Cotati during a
time of explosive growth in the mid-80ís and became involved in the
growth issues and related land use issues. My civic engagement, which
included a stint as Mayor of Cotati, involved a huge learning curve on
sustainability issues. All this will be put to work as I start advocating
for the wine industry in Napa County.
Executive Director, Save The Bay
Save the Bay is a membership
organization thatís been around for 40 years working to protect and
restore and celebrate the San Francisco Bay Delta. We were founded in 1961
primarily to stop the bay from being filled in. By that time, a third of
the bay had already been filled in or diked off and there were plans to
fill in sixty percent of what was left, leaving just a narrow river for
navigation. So we were really the beginning of the modern grass roots
environmental movement, at least in Northern California.
Within a few years, Save the Bay
had mobilized tens of thousand of people to weigh in with legislators in
Sacramento, write letters, make calls and go up there by the busload, and
got the legislature to pass a new statue creating a new agency, the Bay
Conservation and Development Commission to regulate fill in San Francisco
Bay. That singular achievement has been extremely successful. At the time
we were founded, the bay was being filled in at a rate of four square
miles per year. There were some huge bay fill projects planned. Since that
time, over the last forty years, not only has the bay not been filled in
but there has been a small net gain in the size of the bay. There have
been no massive bay fill projects. In fact, several that were proposed
were rejected. The Port of Oakland wanted to increase its land size by
several square miles and the City of Berkeley wanted to extend the city
out on the mud flats and fill those in for about another four miles into
the bay. All of these entities had to learn to make better use of the land
they already had. So the Save the Bay movement was really the first modern
urban growth boundary on the shoreline of the bay.
There has been a strong community
consensus for the last forty years to preserve a blue belt of open space
and more recently, thereís been an excellent focus on restoring what
used to be tidal wetland around the bay that have not been completely
destroyed. Theyíve been diked off for agriculture or salt evaporators
but have not been paved over. Thatís vital because those wetlands are
really the lungs that filter our pollutants, as well as habitat for
endangered species. Ninety five percent of the tidal wetlands in the bay
have been destroyed. That means that some of the species that used to live
here are gone. Others are on life support like the California Clapper Rail
and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse and several species of salmon.
My job and the job of my staff is
first and foremost is to get more people to appreciate, celebrate, see and
use the bay and its shoreline. The more people that value the bay instead
of just taking it for granted, itís really a very small step from there
to why the bay is at risk and why itís threatened and what they can do
to protect and restore it.
There is a wonderful set of
shoreline parks, trails and nature interpretive centers that are under
utilized. There are opportunities for wind surfing and sailing and
kayaking and swimming around the bay. We want people to take advantage of
all these. One of the important achievements of Save The Bay is to
increase the publicís access to the shoreline. There were only six miles
of publicly accessible shoreline in the entire bay before. All the land,
for the most part, was privately owned and fenced off.
We have a staff of twenty. We have
a large student education program that works with the schools and takes
middle and high school students out as part of their science courses in
canoes in the bayís wetlands to learn about them firsthand and up close.
We have a staff of folks that help our membership be active on issues,
participate in public hearings and weighing in with the media and policy
makers. We have a staff that does research on fish and wildlife in the bay
and water quality and current development around the bay.
We have about 8,000 members, most
in the Bay Area, but in fact, we have members in every state in the union.
Our budget is about $1.5 Million per year.
Iím 39, born and raised in Palo
Alto, married with two girls. Iíve been in this job for three and a half
years. A lifelong love for the bay brought me to it. I spent a good deal
of my life, more than a decade, working on environmental and other
policies in Washington D.C., including the US Senate and for some national
environmental groups doing grass roots organizing and campaigning. I had
an opportunity to come back here with my family and got this job.