Save the San Francisco Baylands: Stop Cargill

Please consider voters’ wishes

June 06, 2011, 03:30 AM By Judy Kirk. San Mateo Daily Journal, June 6, 2011

I need to emphasize how grateful I am to city leaders for our “new” Redwood City. I have thanked you before, but as we continue to enjoy our downtown and facilities, and as our friends from neighboring cities remark to us about how they also come to enjoy Redwood City now, it needs to be said again. So, thank you for all those hours and hours of time, for your thoughtful planning and for the outcome of that planning.

Yet once again I need to ask — implore isn’t too strong a word — that you heed the latest poll of Redwood City voters, the input of the cities around us as wells as the input of conservation groups, unions, the Port of Redwood City, Bay Area politicians and involved regulatory bodies: Please put a stop to the Saltworks project.

We already know how distrusted and disrespected Cargill is. We know that they are not going to build the promised schools as they imply, that their plan to provide water is so tenuous as to be laughable (if it weren’t so frightening, considering how oversubscribed we already are with the water we use), and that traffic would be unmanageable with all those added cars. Then there is the default of Cargill’s developer, DMB, on a huge project elsewhere. There is also the issue of rising sea levels, with future generations at risk for having to maintain ever-higher levees.

Most important, the site of the proposed project is not industrial wasteland; it is part of the San Francisco Baylands and can be restored just like similar parcels around the Bay. The council’s support of Cargill/DMB has always seemed to contradict what you stand for: wisely located housing close to the center of town, your valuing of our parks and open spaces elsewhere and your forward-looking leadership.

Please pause to consider what voters have said in the latest poll: They don’t want the Saltworks to fill what is left of our already scarce Baylands. The saltworks development would be such a terrible legacy of your stewardship and would tarnish and diminish all of your other stellar accomplishments.
I ask this of you as a 62-year resident whose grandfather was justice of the peace in Redwood City and who was brought out from Chicago to be a leather-splitter at the SH Frank Tannery. My father was born here on Fuller Street in 1912 where, I believe, the county parking lot is now.