By Yannick Phillips
Delegates of the California Democratic Party (CDP) met in the Bay Area this past weekend and entertained several resolutions, one of them addressing an “Oyster Cultivation Rights” resolution and one a “Wilderness/Support Salazar’s Decision” resolution.
The CDP took a “no action” vote on both.
Speaking at the Environmental Caucus, in support of California’s shellfish aquaculture leases in Drakes Estero, were 86-year-old Phyllis Faber, California’s first coastal commissioner, who has been defending our coasts for more than 45 years, and Jeff Creque, co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project. They are residents of Marin and Sonoma county, respectively, and are both vocal supporters of the oyster farm.
The Wilderness resolution was supported in a majority vote. Amy Trainer, representing the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, and Lynn Hamilton, from Sonoma County, spoke in support of the Wilderness resolution.
The CDP Chicano Latino Caucus, on the other hand, voted unanimously to support the oyster farm resolution after hearing from the oyster farmworkers.
Marin County resident Placido Salazar, former CDP Chicano Latino Caucus Chair, and his wife, Bobbie Salazar, former Northern vice chair of CDP Latino Chicano Caucus, live in the vicinity to the oyster farm. They released a statement saying, “Doing away with the oyster farm will have a detrimental impact on the Latino community, some of whom have been there for almost three decades. The unanimous sentiment of the CDP Chicano/Latino Caucus membership was that we will monitor the situation and strongly support the employees and families. In addition, we will also continue to encourage our elected officials to take a strong stance in keeping the oyster farm open for the sake of the farm workers and the entire Pt. Reyes community.”
The Marin County Democratic Party took a “no action” position weeks prior to the CDP “no action” vote. The neighboring Sonoma County Democratic Party brought forth the “Wilderness” resolution.
Pt. Reyes residents Michael Greenberg and Donna Yamagata, board members of the Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture (ALSA), have been working to save the oyster farm since 2006.
They were prepared to argue in support of the oyster resolution, but Greenberg said he was especially prepared to argue against the Wilderness resolution. “It is riddled with inaccuracies and misstatements.”
He said he is happy that the CDP took a “no action” position. The CDP decision shows that the oyster farm issue is not a done deal and that, although some elected officials of the district (all Democrats) who represent the farm might continue to state that “it’s in the courts,” the CDP decision of “no action” clearly demonstrates the party’s recognition that there is much more to this issue than meets the eye.