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In The News

Save the Bay: Elected officials oppose Cargill plan 

by Sean Howell

The Almanac, 2/26/10

Environmental advocacy group Save the Bay held a press conference at Bayfront Park Thursday, Feb. 25, to announce that 92 current or former elected officials in the Bay Area have signed a letter opposing a proposal to build a mini-city on Redwood City salt ponds.

The list of signatories to the letter, which the group intends to send to the Redwood City council, includes the president of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, the mayor of Oakland, a former state Assembly majority leader, and a current Assembly member.

It also draws heavily from local towns, with nine current or former Menlo Park City Council members, nine current or former Portola Valley Town Council members, and one member of the Woodside Town Council. It includes former U.S. Congressman and celebrated environmental advocate Pete McCloskey.

"We have been active in trying to speak to the (Redwood City) council for years on this project, and we are hopeful that they will be open to the voices of their colleagues throughout the region, who realize that their actively encouraging this project is out of step with 50 years of environmental practice," said David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay.

The group collected the signatures over the past two to three weeks through an informal process, relying on public officials to spread the word, Mr. Lewis said.

Pete Hillan, a spokesman for the development company created by agribusiness giant Cargill and Arizona development group DMB, downplayed the list, saying that most of the signers do not currently hold public office, and that the people who signed represent a small percentage of Bay Area officials.

"I can say fairly and confidently that all but a few have ever talked to us, or come to the site," Mr. Hillan said. "We would really like to see a more informed approach by a body that is being suggested as being august."

The Save the Bay letter states, in part: "San Francisco Bay is our natural treasure, and it is essential that we protect and restore it to ensure that the Bay Area is a healthy place to live. ... We urge you to join us in actively opposing this project to develop on San Francisco Bay salt ponds."

Redwood City's council has voted to proceed with the environmental review process on the project.


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