08-01-13 Barrett, EAC Exec. Dir. ’86-’92: EAC HAS LOST OUR RESPECT

Point Reyes Light August 1, 2013, Letters To the Editor:

William Barrett, current resident of Inverness and former EAC board member and EAC executive director, 1986-92, in his letter to the editor stated:

“The arguments against the Drake’s Bay Oyster Company coming from EAC’s executive director, Amy Trainer, have been loud and ferocious. …  Jerry Friedman [EAC founder], who drafted the wilderness bill for Senator Phillip Burton, had also expressed his opinion that mariculture had been included under the broader term of agriculture as a protected entity in the park.

Scientific studies, despite the recognized flaws, continue to be touted by EAC as the truth. Inflammatory claims that the oyster farm is part of a larger Republican effort to gut the environment have been played out in the press. Suggestions that the Lunnys are part of a vast network of Koch-funded corporate evil-doers have been circulated. Really? Kevin and Nancy Lunny? Corporate evil-doers? Sheesh. Character assassination is never a good idea in a small town.

The EAC may not have lost its “vision” … but it has lost my respect, …. If Jerry were alive today, I believe he would be …feeling … disappointment and disgust with the current actions and words of the EAC. If I were a member, I would resign.”

 

 

EAC has lost our respect

 

Dear Editor,

Bridger Mitchell did an admirable job in defending the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin in last week’s issue. As board chairman, he put the best foot forward in claiming that the EAC is still true to its roots. His facts were correct, but they don’t tell the whole story.

The EAC has had a long history of working to protect the lands and waters of West Marin. There is no doubt about that. There have been  victories and losses along the way. The early efforts of the group, namely the banning of motorized traffic on the road to Mount Vision and the further levee construction along Papermill Creek, were losses. And, as Bridger quotes EAC founder Jerry Friedman as saying, EAC “took a lot of flak” in those early years.

The flak was generated, in part, by Jerry’s and EAC’s zeal and focus on saving the environment without consideration for the very residents who just happened to live in the environment. One of Jerry’s favorite cautionary stories about EAC’s early years was his shock and shame when approached by Waldo Giacomini, the focus of the levee protests, who asked him simply, “Why didn’t you ever come and talk to me personally? I would have been happy to work with you.” It was a powerful lesson that Jerry and subsequent EAC directors took to heart: Talk to the parties involved, learn all sides of an argument and look for a solution. Sadly, that lesson was missing from Bridger’s statement.

The arguments against the Drake’s Bay Oyster Company coming from EAC’s executive director, Amy Trainer, have been loud and ferocious. Contrary opinions on the actual meaning of the legislation creating the wilderness have been offered and rebutted as unimportant. Two esteemed legislators who were in office during the Wilderness Act process, former Congressman John Burton and former state assemblyman William Bagley, have both asserted that mariculture was indeed included in the original park legislation, in intent if not in word. Jerry Friedman, who drafted the wilderness bill for Senator Phillip Burton, had also expressed his opinion that mariculture had been included under the broader term of agriculture as a protected entity in the park.

Scientific studies, despite the recognized flaws, continue to be touted by EAC as the truth. Inflammatory claims that the oyster farm is part of a larger Republican effort to gut the environment have been played out in the press. Suggestions that the Lunnys are part of a vast network of Koch-funded corporate evil-doers have been circulated. Really? Kevin and Nancy Lunny? Corporate evil-doers? Sheesh. Character assassination is never a good idea in a small town.

The EAC may not have lost its “vision” as far as Bridger opines, but it has lost my respect, and I believe, the respect of the communities it serves. If Jerry were alive today, I believe he would be joining me in a general feeling of disappointment and disgust with the current actions and words of the EAC. If I were a member, I would resign.

William Barrett

former EAC board member and EAC executive director, 1986-92

Inverness

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