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In The News

Occupy Saltworks Protests Outside DMB Offices
Senate candidate Sally Lieber attended the rally in solidarity with the anti-Saltworks sentiment.

By Stacie Chan
Redwood City Patch, 4/24/12

Standing aside the parking lot outside DMB Offices, the Occupy Saltworks members’ protests echoed throughout Seaport Centre. But this time, a local elected official was present to show support of the protests.

In support of this “political protest,” Senate Candidate Sally Lieber, campaigning heavily on an environmentalist platform, made an appearance at 1700 Seaport Boulevard to show her support for the Occupy Saltworks movement.

“Once we build this project, we’re stuck with it forever,” Lieber said. “There’s no chance of restoring the area to wetlands.

She spoke of the bay’s powerful ability to naturally restore itself, without the use of human hands. The wetlands also act as natural shock absorbers in smaller earthquakes.

With imminent sea level rise of nearly five feet by the end of the century, according to the San Francisco Bay Conservation Development Commission (BCDC), Lieber said unreliable concrete levies may not protect homebuyers.

“When people are desperate to buy homes, they could end up in a bad situation a few years down the line,” Lieber said.

Occupy Saltworks recently formed to directly protest the irreversible environmental impact the 12,000 home development would have on the Bay, Occupy Saltworks spokesperson James Lee said. Though many environmental groups, such as Save the Bay and the Sierra Club, have opposed the project for the same reasons, Lee said Occupy Saltworks is targeting this one specific project that would drastically affect the quality of life in Redwood City.

“This is one of the last diverse cities along the Peninsula,” Lee said. “And this development with 12,000 luxury homes would destroy that.”

Lee, also a member of Redwood City Neighbors United (RCNU)—a group formed to similarly protest the Saltworks development--, said Occupy Saltworks differed from RCNU by employing a more direct opposition approach. Occupy Saltworks is using similar tactics to Occupy Redwood City by staging in-person protests to raise awareness and gain media attention.

“It’s good to have different groups involved to hit this from all different angles,” Lee said.

Occupy Saltworks members had additional concerns about the 12,000 housing units that they label as “luxury homes” that the average Redwood City resident can’t afford.

A speaker at the rally said that the Saltworks already provides housing—to numerous species of birds and other creatures.

“We can’t take their home away from them,” said San Francisco resident Lyn Stein, who rode the Caltrain to attend the protest.

Lieber suggested that everyone take a stroll by the bay, enjoy a paddle board event, or host a picnic to truly enjoy the “local treasure” in our backyard.

“We can’t let this giant Arizona corporation take away part of the San Francisco bay,” she said. “And once one developer is allowed to build, it’s open season for all of them.”

Members also expressed concern about corporations Cargill and DMB spending money in Redwood City to influence the city council and residents, Lee said.

"At an Earth Day event at the Marine Science Institute, it was ironic to see the Cargill logo right on the shoulder of everyone’s t-shirts,” he said. “It just shows the reach of the corporations.”


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