Editor, Index-Tribune:

I am writing in response to the Friday Valley Forum piece, by Yannick Phillips, on Drakes Bay Oyster Co. The legal battle will continue – the oyster farm has made no secret of their desire to take the battle to the U.S. Supreme Court, and they can afford to do that because their team of powerful attorneys are working pro bono. On that, both sides likely agree.

With strong support from Chairman John Burton, at the California Democratic Party’s November executive board meeting, the CDP wisely chose to stay out of an issue that is in the courts and is highly divisive in both Marin and Sonoma counties. Indeed, to some observers with long standing in our community, it appears that the fight to create the National Wilderness along the California coast is being re-fought.

At the CDP’s July E-board meeting, I moved that the CDP postpone consideration of a resolution that Ms. Phillips was attempting to rush through the statewide body without allowing time for the two counties most aware of the issues to consider the merits.

I made the motion to postpone, as chair of the Sonoma County Democratic Party, and Paul Cohen, chair of the Marin County Democratic Party, seconded the motion so that both county parties could consider the issue. After deliberations, the Marin Democratic Party voted to take “no position” and the Sonoma Democratic Party reaffirmed our long-standing support for protecting the environment.

I strongly support local, sustainable agriculture. I also strongly support federal and state efforts to protect wilderness areas. The oyster farm is embroiled in a lengthy legal battle that is well supported by attorneys who have a record that speaks for itself. Democrats wisely chose to sit this one out – no matter how Ms. Phillips seeks to “spin” that outcome.

Stephen Gale

Santa Rosa