Bodega Bay Navigator Online



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Bodega Bay, Jan 31, 2009 –––––––––– Bodega Bay participated in the defense of the homeland during WWII. The current edition of the Tomales Regional History Center recounts a few of the events after Pearl Harbor. Units of the Army arrived to establish lookout posts. Later units of Coast Guard arrived to replace Army units. They began exercises to bring the residents and the troops into heightened readiness. Tanks arrived, with repeated artillery practice. There were dog patrols on the beaches from Point Reyes to the Russian River. Planes from the air station in Santa Rosa practiced shooting at targets in the dunes. Huge kites were towed behind planes offering targets for other planes.

Dillon Beach housed 400 soldiers and Coastguardsmen. A 40 mm antiaircraft gun emplacement with some heavier artillery pointed toward the sea.

Three days after Pearl Harbor a Japanese submarine surfaced outside the entrance to Tomales Bay.

The shoreline region level of volunteerism included Red Cross bandage rolling, USO cookie baking, civil defense drills. Everyone dealt with rationing, blackouts and the rumor mill. Rumors of Japanese landing were frequent along the coast. A few rumors became almost real with shelling from land at perceived invaders.

Tomales Regional History Center Bulletin, V. 30, No. 1, 2009.

Sights along the Shoreline Highway

Bodega Bay, Jan 31, 2009 ––––––––––– Though the name Shoreline Highway officially only applies in Marin County. Our Highway One saw some unusual sights on the shoreline portions last week. A loosely formed caravan traveled from Petaluma through Bodega Bay up to Mendocino County. The caravan was about 20 brand new Volvo SUV’s All sported New Jersey manufacturer plates. All were milk chocolate brown. Most had a passenger. Following them were an assortment of Mercedes, Nissan, Lincoln, Ford, GMC SUVs. All were the largest of that class of vehicles. A driver of a milk chocolate Volvo stopped at Valley Ford Market. He bought a lottery ticket and a chocolate bar. He said the cars were driven by automotive writers for assorted publications from across the nation test driving the SUVs.

This story moved Wednesday evening on Reuters:

WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama may order a hold on a proposal issued in the final days of the Bush administration to expand offshore drilling in previously banned areas, an Interior Department official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Shortly after being sworn in on Tuesday, Obama ordered all federal agencies and departments to halt pending regulations until they can be reviewed by incoming staff.

An Interior official said the department is waiting for clarification from the White House on whether a proposed draft of a five-year plan to lease areas in the Atlantic and Pacific waters for oil and natural gas drilling can go forward.

The preliminary plan would authorize 31 energy exploration lease sales between 2010 and 2015 for tracts along the east coast and off the coasts of Alaska and California.

Both presidential and congressional bans on drilling in most U.S. waters ended last year.

Separately, the Interior official said the department's plan to develop oil shale fields in the western United States may also be stopped by Obama's order. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe and Tom Doggett)


Spot fire on Bodega Head

Bodega Head Monday January 19, 2009 --------- A spot dune grass fire near Mussel Point was extinguished by firefighters Monday afternoon, The five acre fire slow-moving was quickly brought under control by Dept of Forestry helicopters making water drops. Bodega Bay firefighters were first on scene and established a command post and dispatched hand crews stop the fire. Helicopter water drops went on for 30 minutes about 3 pm. A coast guard helicopter also joined operations briefly. Smoke drifted over Bodega harbor for an hour after the blaze stopped.

Jamie Archer retires after 30 years

January 11,2009 -------- After a time as a letter sorting machine operator Jamie Archer found she couldn’t play the piano anymore. The machine’s keyboard had retrained her hand muscles and changed her sense of timing.

Thirty years later Jamie wonders if she can recover her piano skills. Her retirement will give her the time to finger the keys and find out. Jamie grew up playing the piano and cherished the time she spent at the keyboard. She also played flute and painted. She admits readily her working years have developed a thick layer of rust on those skills.

Jamie has retired from the postal service. She had been the postmaster – even though she is evidently female – at Bodega Bay since 1993. Her previous post office jobs were at the larger mail handling facilities in the North Bay.

Jamie grew up in Fairfax. Her mother moved from Marin County before passage of Proposition 13 in 1977. She moved to Arizona, motivated because at the time property taxes became a burden. Jamie’s younger brother and two sisters were still living at home. Jamie is the “big sister” who was part of her sibling’s upbringing.

Jamie and her husband, Thomas (Tom), married in what she calls the “fall of love,” the fall of 1967.They have one adult daughter, Irene, who lives in Forestville. Jamie’s two grandkids are 18 and 14, a boy and a girl.

Mary Cook, Jamie Archer, Sue Wedel

Jamie Archer


Jamie’s decision to retire had a dramatic beginning. Jamie says she was in her office at the Bodega Bay post office doing paperwork. She had the radio tuned to the Republican National Convention. Rudy Giuliani speech about the effort to open up the ocean to drilling, was so upsetting Jamie thought she had been punched in the gut. The “drill, baby, drill” rhetoric was and still is troubling. But the hurt in her stomach was her gall bladder. By the end of the day she was barely upright. The next day she couldn’t stand. Tom rushed her to Kaiser’s emergency room. She was directly admitted to the hospital. After her surgery Jamie reconsidered her work. She was eligible to retire and the post office is undergoing a dramatic reorganization. Retirement became her path.

The post office is “the last of the great dinosaurs” Jamie said. New postal rates for bulk mail, competition from UPS and FedEx, declining first class mail due to email popularity changed the entire organization. Jamie said that this year the Christmas season rush lasted only two days, the rest of the time it was like summer volumes. Large mail sorting facilities like Petaluma will probably close. Like General Motors the post office lost $2.8 billion last year.

Jamie hopes that her retirement might save the jobs of the Bodega Bay post office’s two clerks, Mary Cook and Sue Wedel.

When Jamie was on medical leave officer-in-charge Sharon Lemas replaced her at the post office. Lemas will probably stay in Bodega Bay until a postmaster from another downsized locale is named. The process could take several months. Lemas was a clerk at Penngrove for 14 years. Her move to Bodega Bay is a step up.

Retirement for Jamie has been a bittersweet endeavor. She looks forward to the free time but at the same time feels guilty about leaving her friends and fellow workers in Bodega Bay.

Today’s retirement celebration is the result of the efforts of several dozen folks who all deserve credit. Some deserve special mention: Shelia Swan Laufer, Jill Tarves. Local businesses also contributed generously: Pelican Plaza Deli, The Boat House, Diekmann’s Bay Store, Spud Point Crab Co., The Tides and Lucas Wharf.

The state of the coast

January 11, 2009 -------- The prospect of oil well rigs visible from Bodega Bay returned last year with the catch phrase “drill, baby, drill.” The campaign slogan worked its way into Republican presidential candidate’s rallies. Gasoline prices hovered at $4 a gallon, frustration was high. The combination was irresistible.

The drill campaign, though visibly spontaneous, was an agenda written by the petroleum industry says coast activist and consultant Richard Charter. Charter was the most visible leader in the fight 27 years ago to put protections in place for the California Coast.

A small notice in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat in 1981 announced the federal government would be auctioning oil drilling exploration leases off the Sonoma Coast. Charter – not a regular reader but looking for a house to rent – responded to the notice and showed up at the meeting at the County Administration center with a handful of friends. Charter’s alarm bells brought out activists and coast lovers. Within two years the stop the oil wells – “Not on our coast!” – managed to get Congress to agree to put a one-year moratorium in place. That moratorium has been renewed annually since then.

Along the way the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary became the mechanism to protect the Sonoma and Marin coastlines. But the Sanctuary’s northern border is an east-west line running from Bodega Head. The drilling leases off Bodega Head run north from there at three to 27 miles out. Dozens of platforms could line the coast of Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt counties. Drilling rig platforms reach 300 feet tall, making them visible from the beach. The probable reserves in the potential leased area off the Northern California coast are 2.1 million barrels or about 3-1/2 months of the national consumption.

Petroleum lobbyists point out that oil drilling off shore is far safer than the state of the industry in the 1969 Santa Barbara ocean drilling platform blowout.

Last year’s gas price crisis and the “drill, baby, drill” campaign were made for each other. Republican Presidential candidate John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin pushed to make drilling on American shores a campaign issue. President-elect Barak Obama during the campaign offered some solace to the drilling proponents by linking drilling to a national comprehensive energy policy. President Bush lifted the ban on drilling. Congress let the annual moratorium lapse. The battle was joined. The petroleum lobby had successfully moved its plan to the national spotlight.

Several Republicans took up the rallying point. But the election changed the landscape. Those candidates – with few exceptions – that joined the drill crowd lost their contests. Charter said, “every congressional member on the coasts is mortified that the limit is now three miles. The result was “lose, baby, lose.” The new Obama administration and the reconstituted congress face a free-for-all on coastal protections.

Charter sees some hope that the current protections from drilling in the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will extend up to the Oregon border this year. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey had carried a bill that has passed the House to include the north coast in the Sanctuary protections.

Charter is also hopeful the protections could extend beyond that. The Schwarzenegger administration joined the Governors or Oregon and Washington opposing off shore drilling. Charter could see some confluence of events extending the protections up to the Canadian border.

Short update from the Bodega Bay Fire District

January 11, 2009 -------- Successful Board candidate in the contested November 2007 election George Sage has resigned his board seat effective the end of 2008. He cited health problems that interfered with performing board duties.

Sage has been on the Fire Board for six years. He also served a term on the board in 1994 that ended in a recall. He subsequently served on the citizen’s committee that oversaw the construction of the Fire Station.

The Board will begin the search for a replacement director. A public call for candidates will announce deadlines for filing nomination papers. The remaining four members of the Board have the authority to appoint a replacement to fill the remaining year of Sage’s term. The replacement’s term – as an appointee – cannot run past the next regularly scheduled election. An election is scheduled for November 2009 for two board members seats, Barbara McElhiney and Tony Anello. With the replacement board member filling Sage’s seat there will be three vacancies to fill. Candidates for the positions would have to file for the elections in August. If no opposing candidates file those who filed in August would be automatically elected.

Recent papa and Fire Chief Sean Grinnell now lives in Santa Rosa. He commutes to Russian River Fire and Bodega Bay. Both districts share the costs and his services.

The board in the past year has negotiated a continuing union contract. Increasing retirement and health care costs have impacted the district significantly.

What 'Gorgeous' Bodega Bay Is Missing
BusinessWeek reader Peter Laufer says BW's recognition of his California community failed to mention that it's lacking one

By Peter Laufer

This article appears in full in Business Week at this location: Business Week

A resident of Bodega Bay, Calif., Peter Laufer is an avid BusinessWeek reader and a veteran journalist and published author whose next book is titled The Dangerous World of Butterflies.


Item: BusinessWeek names Bodega Bay, Calif., one of the most expensive small towns in America.

Item: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat responds to the news with the headline, "Worth the Price."

Plenty of bumpers in Bodega Bay sport the too-cute sticker that reads, "Bodega Bay—a quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem." In fact, one of the most serious problems with Bodega Bay is neither fishing nor drinking. It is that this jewel on our coast—the place I call home—lacks even a remote sense of community.

Part of the problem is geographic. Bodega Bay stretches for a few miles hugging the coastline and its few streets are just offshoots of its main drag: Highway One. Summertime and weekends, Highway One is jammed with tourist traffic, and its lack of sidewalks and shoulders makes walking treacherous. There is no focal point or crossroads. Bodega Bay offers no main square, village green, natural or traditional gathering point.

Since the Tides remodeled, there's no saloon featuring the type of atmosphere that attracts tourists and locals alike. . . .

. . .

But as a journalist, what I miss most of all is a local newspaper. Despite all of these challenges to community, a viable weekly Bodega Bay newspaper would serve a vital purpose: It would bring the 1,423 of us who live here together on its pages. It would introduce us to each other and tell of what's happening in our midst. It would unite this disparate collection of strangers who for whatever reason chose to settle here and it would help explain us to ourselves. Or as my wife says, "I live in a vacation paradise. May I go home now?"

Last year the Bodega Bay Navigator stopped printing and moved its operation to a minimal Internet presence. "Not enough advertising dollars," is the reason cited by editor and publisher Joel Hack (a great name for a newspaperman). "Bodega Bay is a small retail market, and the merchants in Sebastopol and Santa Rosa don't need us." Hack shifted his attention down to West Marin, joining with a handful of reporters and editors to start up a newspaper in Point Reyes Station to compete with the now infamous Point Reyes Light.

The Light was owned and operated for more than a generation by iconoclastic David Mitchell. . .

But a newspaper war an hour south down Highway One does nothing to fill the void here in Bodega Bay, and the slap-dash Navigator Web site is no replacement for a running commentary on local life produced with ink on paper. A hard copy weekly newspaper sits on the kitchen table for days and is read and reread. . . .

We can't know what's going on in our midst if no one is lurking around, asking questions, and compiling reports. . . .

Case in point: We are still reeling from two recent, unsolved murders. Without a newspaper, who is providing oversight of the sheriff's investigations? Our fishing economy is in crisis—what is being done to restore the fishery? Construction started on a long delayed and controversial housing project. Who is watching to make sure the developer adheres to his permit? What's going on at our Coast Guard station? Who's tracking the results of our Fire Board and Utility District meetings? What goes on in the windowless Grange Hall? Who is preaching what up at the Union Church? Where is the communal record of our births and deaths, our marriages and high school graduations?

A town without a newspaper is a town in crisis. A community newspaper, as Hack laments when he talks about closing the Navigator, "teaches a community how to talk to itself." He cites California's car culture, the hours we spend in front of the television, and our tech-enabled tendency to exist in personal cocoons as examples of our growing isolation and alienation. "There are a gazillion things that work against community," he says, "and a newspaper is one of the things that offsets lack of community."

A town's character is influenced by its physical location and its architecture. But its mythology and sense of self develops as events occur. And we can't all be everywhere talking with everyone about what's going on around here. We need a witness to chronicle those events, to put them into historical perspective. Newspaper reporters and editors perform those critical community-building roles. We need a curmudgeonly editor-in-chief poking around and commenting on other people's business—someone who loves Bodega Bay and prints stories that help us question and understand ourselves.

BusinessWeek may praise Bodega Bay as "a gorgeous town" and a "very good spot for wine aficionados." But without a local newspaper, we're just another pretty spot on the road.

A resident of Bodega Bay, Calif., Peter Laufer is an avid BusinessWeek reader, veteran journalist, and published author whose books include Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq. His next book, The Dangerous World of Butterflies, is slated for publication in 2009.


Link to West Marin Citizen Breezy blog about the Business Week article.


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