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In The News

Cargill asks critic: What's your plan?
Both sides debate on KQED's Krasny show

By David DeBolt

Daily Post, 3/5/10

A Cargill representative told KQED-FM audience yesterday that opponents of a massive housing project on the Redwood City salt ponds have no plans to restore the area if they were to stop the proposal.

John Bruno, a spokesman for Cargill, questioned where Save The Bay would come up with the funds to restore the 1,400 acres to wetlands.

The comments came in an interview yesterday with Michael Krasny on KQED-FM's "Forum" program.  Bruno went head to head with Save the Bay's political director, Stephen Knight.

Knight dodged the question, instead saying the project's developer is using an age-old trick: saying they have to destroy part of the Bay to save another part.

Cargill is planning to build up to 12,000 homes and five schools on the site as well as provide commercial space, but has promised to restore 400 acres of the lands back to wetland.  Save the Bay wants the entire site restored.

Connect the dots

Bruno jumped in, asking Knight to "help him connect the dots."

"It is evident from those questions that Save The Bay does not have a plan," Bruno said.

Knight then added that the plan would be similar to a proposal for Bair Island, which was eventually purchased by Peninsula Open Space Trust and is now part of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Given the economic climate, Bruno doubted funding could be produced to purchase the Saltworks site and said Cargill will restore 400 acres at no cost to taxpayers.

The discussion displayed the chasm between Save The Bay and Cargill.

Factory without a roof

For Knight and Save The Bay, the salt ponds are considered part of the Bay.  Bruno and Cargill say "It's a factory without a roof."

During the interview, Knight continued Save The Bay's call for Redwood City council to stop the project in its tracks.

Knight said, "We don't build on the Bay anymore."

Bruno touted the developer's "50/50 plan," which will bring parks and athletic fields to the site along with homes, businesses and commercial space."

The two had different ideas about sprawl.  Knight said urban sprawl has reduced the Bay by one-third.  Bruno said the proposal will help reduce sprawl in the suburbs.

 

 

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