Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beautiful day, beautiful site ... !

Parchester Village resident and local environmentalist Whitney Dotson, (moi on mike), Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, and Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia participating in the ribbon-cutting grand re-opening of scenic Point Molate on the long-neglected northern shoreline of Richmond.

It was a glorious day that was almost windless -- and the city showing off its seemingly endless natural shoreline for all to appreciate.

Many who attended had worked tirelessly toward this day, and the smiles were expansive and frequent.

I'd been invited to "say a few words" along with others, and -- since I'd not been completely faithful to the dream of discouraging development as the really dedicated local environmentalists may have wished -- I'd not known in advance just what those "few words" would consist of.

Only when handed the mike did I have any idea what would spill out -- but in those few seconds I opted to use the limited time to promote my personal vision of a national park that may exist only in my mind; a national park that -- though owning no lands or structures -- will serve to loosely connect the related sites that define the existence of Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park much as the string from which precious jewels are suspended.  In my vision, MY Rosie the Riveter Park will extend from the emerging new industrial campus of the Lawrence Laboratories that will soon rise on the old University of California Field Station land on the south end of the city's 32 mile shoreline to this, historic Point Molate, with its picturesque old castle-like Winehaven winery; the WWII Naval Re-fueling station with its still-standing long abandoned buildings that carry 70 year-old "Air Raid Shelter" signs, still, on their siding.

My 2-3 minute speech was shamelessly aimed at attempting to stir the imaginations of other dreamers in that outdoor audience, and to stretch the vision beyond current limits.

I heard myself say, "I expect that someday this national park will rival Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, or, Central Park in New York."  It is a grand experiment in urban national parks, and, in my wilder moments -- that's precisely as I anticipate it's development.

Now all I need to do is convince my superintendent, Tom Leatherman, that I haven't lost my mind!

... but maybe such grand ideas will shake loose some of the recalcitrant small thinking that is so evident in those council chambers every week.

We'll see ... .