Last year Redwood City government staff created an Inner Harbor visioning process (IHSP) for the express reason of gathering citizen input about what to do with the inner harbor but when the citizens start to coalesce around a park and floating community for the area the city decided to fight back. The city that is after all responsible for not dredging Redwood Creek and allowing a floating home community to grow and prosper for over fifty years reported the floating home community to the California State Lands Commission. This forced the California State Lands Commission that has also been complicit in allowing the community to grow and prosper for over fifty years to issue a letter to the city stating that the floating home community is in violation of the Public Trust designated use of the granted lands and therefore needs to be moved. The letter contains only broad statements. Just right here in Redwood City at Pete’s Harbor residents were allowed and in a 1983 law the legislature expressly stated it was consistent with the public trust – and so it could be at Docktown.
Not only did City staff report their own city but they also misrepresented the situation regarding the upland property owners’ willingness to work with the floating home community and the IHSP task force visioning process. The upland owners’ representative to the task force, Mr. Mike Brown, at the last task force meeting presented a proposal to swap some lands so as to allow a floating home community to stay. Then he invited a group of floating home residents to meet with him and some representatives of a future potential development. When he was asked about extending the existing lease to the city he mentioned there was some discussion of a one year extension. But instead the tenants have just received a long detailed letter from city staff telling them that the City cannot guarantee utilities past June 30th within a package that also included copies of the State Lands letter and a live-aboard contract that covers the period of July 1st 2013 to June 30, 2014. Yes you did read the dates correctly it is basically retroactive and ends less than four months from now.
Given the complicity of both the City of Redwood City and the California State Lands Commission let's assume for the moment a very worst case scenario for the tenants - a significant sunset period negotiation. Or maybe it is time to sunset the State Lands Commission. And even maybe revoke the charter of the City of Redwood City. In a much more likely scenario we are just doomed to repeat the Sausalito Houseboat Wars even including the bit where the City cuts off the residents’ utilities. They already cut my sewer. Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Are we witnessing the beginning of the Second Houseboat Wars?