Pete's Harbor Holdouts Evicted Wednesday Morning

Boat owners and Pete's Harbor tenants Buckley and Wendy Stone were evicted from their boat slip on Wednesday, just hours before Buckley was due at the VA for medical testing.

Sheriff's deputies toting an eviction notice banged on portholes and doors to the cabin of the sailboat owned by Buckley and Wendy Stone docked in Pete's Harbor marina Wednesday morning. 

The eviction of the Stones and others comes about a year after Pete's Harbor owner Paula Uccelli and Colorado-based developer Pauls Corporation received approval of their proposal by the city to close down the harbor and build a new 411-unit luxury waterfront housing community. At the time, live-aboard residents were given until January of this year to move out.

Patch was alerted to the Stones' eviction by James Lee Han, secretary for grassroots organization and incorporated non-profit Save Pete's Harbor. Han said today that while the battle might be over for the live-aboards, it is still very much alive when it comes to fighting for public access to the waterfront. According to Han, the development has been kicked back to the Redwood City Planning Commission for further review.

Click on the video above for an interview with Buckley Stone and the security restrictions at Pete's Harbor.
As reported in a January Patch article, Buckley Stone has lived at the harbor for 20 years. Stone says that last year when Paula Ucelli, a friend and owner of the harbor, announced she was planning on selling the harbor, their relationship changed. 

"Their whole attitude toward us changed, to something like we were freeloaders who felt entitled to be here. Since then, we've been used, abused and discarded."

For Buckley, though, leaving is a lot scarier than just worrying about honoring his eviction notice - Buckley receives regular healthcare from the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital. Living on their boat in Redwood City is a necessity as much as a lifestyle choice---being in close proximity to the VA is crucial to Buckley, whose compromised immune system and other ailments mean he has to travel to the VA for treatments sometimes as often as twice a week.

Wednesday at about 10:30 a.m., Wendy Stone said six sheriff's deputies showed up at their boat, which is docked in the Pete's Harbor marina. 

"He told us to get our stuff and to leave. We were trying to decide what was the best way was to get the boat ready to go and we were told to hurry it up because he had other evictions to get to," Wendy said.

They were was told they had little time to gather his belongings and sail away. Buckley was given 20 days to move his other two sailboats that remain on the
water in "G Dock". 

Two weeks ago, contractors descended on Pete's Harbor with no notice to tenants and began removing docks and pilings from the outer marina. 

The Stones have been in and out of San Mateo County Court in recent weeks with their attorney Alison Madden. On Tuesday, Wendy said the judge told them there was nothing he could do to halt the eviction. 

"There goes the marina," lamented Buckley as he watched flatbed trucks haul away docks and cranes suck pilings from the bay.

When you are a live-aboard tenant, as in the Stones' case, being evicted is much more complicated than packing a suitcase, filling a few boxes, grabbing the pets and walking out the front door. The Stones had to prepare their boat, which they own, and find another place to dock on short notice. 

An added complication are the turbidity curtains, which hang below the water at the entrance to the marina keeping any watercraft from entering or exiting. Those curtains are controlled by the harbormaster, Georgio Garelli. 

While Buckley singlehandedly moved the sailboat moved out of the slip, Wendy moved the couples cars out of the marina parking lot. She made arrangements with Rich Ferrari who manages the Redwood City Municipal Marina to dock their boat for a week until they can make other arrangements. The couple's cat was placed in the boat's galley for safe keeping during the transition. 

The couple owns a second, smaller sailboat, Spirit, which is also docked in Pete's Harbor and must be moved. A third boat, owned by Buckley's brother will also be sailed out of the harbor.

Stone has spoken to Patch and other media sources over the past few months about the situation at Pete's Harbor, and until this morning, he and Wendy were holding out hope that everything will work out. But he says, this is never a fight he imagined finding himself in the middle of.

"I'm not trying to cause trouble, and I certainly never wanted to be an activist," he said.

"We hung in there until the last minute and did everything we could, but we went down with the ship," Buckley added.

Patch will update this story as more information becomes available. 

Bay City News contributed to this article.
Jim Clifford October 17, 2013 at 10:54 AM
"Two weeks ago, contractors descended on Pete's Harbor with no notice to tenants and began removing docks and pilings from the outer marina." Isn't the "outer marina" state property? I thought Uccelli leased it from the State Lands Commission. She decided not to renew. Someone should investigate the commission, which has been the subject of two audits that found it failing to collect money due. Seems the state is "removing docks."
Alison Madden October 17, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Joan what you left out is that while this was happening Wendy and Buckley were speaking with me, their attorney, on the phone. I represented them in UD, you have my phone number and email, it is shocking that you did not reach out to me. We had had a final hearing the day before and the harbor had promised to give the Stones more notice. A UD judge stayed the eviction for months and could have stayed it longer, but the Stones were forced to waive their right to seek a further stay when he needed more time for a trial, having been in the ER for 8 days just before his first trial date. The Stones had a lawful basis for being there, and should still be there. He is a disabled vet with a need for access to the VA. The legal test is whether he has extreme hardship and whether the harbor is "irreparably harmed". Our group, SF Bay Marinas for All, has discovered the state lands issues, federal access issues and that this BCDC permit to remove the outer docks was illegal, and obtained via joint concerted action of the developer and harbor in violation of state environmental and other laws. With all of this as the "real story" why would you print what you did above?
billyjames October 17, 2013 at 02:09 PM
joan.dentler@patch.com: I might be able to drive Mr. Stone to and from the VA, maybe on a regular basis -- maybe not. Please give him my contact info: billyjamespr2002@yahoo.com. Leaving aside Ms. Madden's concerns, thank you very much for shining a light on this shameful situation.
James Lee Han October 17, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Thank you billyjames for your kind heart and your concern.
Damiana October 17, 2013 at 04:47 PM
So what's next for the Stones, are is there a strategy that can't be publicized yet? Can other people help get him to appointments, or is that something he even needs help with? I know of a 2 bedroom duplex that should be available soon for rent, not far from the VA. I can be reached at: damianaisdelicious (((at))) yahoo
Karen October 17, 2013 at 09:18 PM
It's so sad that money is more important than friendship. And even more so when some can easily toss away those who have risked their lives FOR US by serving in the armed forces. I don't know Paula Ucelli, but I feel very sorry for her. She must be a very sad person. Thanks to kind people like Billy James who are willing to help those some easily cast away.
Enquiring Mind October 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Ms Madden, Why didn't the Stones direct the Patch Editor to talk to you, their attorney? Seems your ire should be directed towards them.
Alison Madden October 18, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Enquiring mind - they did. And Joan followed up and extended an apology. They said the one person who really knows what went on with their case and most of the current aspects of the case was me. Why would you not assume that they did? And everyone else, thanks for the offers of rides, Mrs. Stone can drive Buckley, but the distance from his attending physicians presents an issue as he has been rushed to the VA hospital before. It is true he can be rushed to a hospital he is not familiar with, with a team that has to fully relearn his needs. The test is extreme hardship on the tenant with "irreparable harm" on the landlord. There is no irreparable harm to Mrs. Uccelli and there will be public access again and other people live there. There presence was a non issue in terms of the armed guards opening the gate a couple times a day for them, in addition to the other workers, residents, visitors and guests to the harbor. It's a shame. In addition, the harbor had said they would allow us to seek reconsideration of the waiver, and give more notice. all they had to do was tell the sheriff they had agreed to this. But they came knocking the next day. The harbor has never stood up to any promise or commitment from what I can tell.
Mary McLinden October 21, 2013 at 03:05 AM
"At the time, live-aboard residents were given until January of this year to move out." Am I missing something? It sounds like they have had almost an 11 month grace period. That seems like more than enough time to "get the boat ready."
Barb Valley October 22, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Mary, the Stones have had twelve and two-thirds months “to get the boat ready”. Ms Uccelli held a tenant’s meeting on September 20, 2012 informing the tenants that she intended to retire at the end of 2012. On November 5, 2012 tenants received a Termination Notice from the Harbormaster that they were to “surrender the Premises” on January 15, 2013.
Barb Valley October 22, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Jim, you are correct. The “outer Harbor” is State property and was leased by Pete Uccelli. The docks and pilings were installed by Pete. Ms Uccelli relinquished her lease to the Outer Harbor and is returning it to the condition it was when her husband leased it, which she has every right to do.
Barb Valley October 22, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Karen, Feel sorry for Buckley Stone who has been taken advantage of by people who have their own agenda. Don’t feel sorry for Paula. Her community activities, good works, family and friends are a great source of joy to her. It is unfortunate that you don’t know Paula Uccelli. Let me tell you a little about this wonderful person and some of the good works she has done. Paula, along with her late husband Pete, founded the Sequoia Awards, which recognize outstanding volunteer community service in Redwood City. A scholarship program, co-founded by Paula Uccelli and local attorney Ted Hannig, was added to the Sequoia Awards in 1990. Over 300 students have received scholarships totaling over one million dollars. Paula also created Redwood City International, which allows Redwood City community members to share their ideas with the world. The community groups she belongs to, the Boards she sits on and the organizations she actively supports are too numerous to mention.
Save Pete's Harbor October 22, 2013 at 04:24 PM
It's vindicating to hear friends and associates of Ms. Uccelli, admitting now, after the fact and after its removal, that the outer harbor is state property. That's certainly a different tune than what they were saying before. As for Ms. Uccelli's charitable contributions, they are laudable, but let us not forget the millions the harbor collected in rent from Redwood City residents over the past decades, some of which were profits made from state lands where the lease had not been paid in decades. All Pete's Harbor residents, including Buckley and Wendy Stone, should be given as much credit for these charitable contributions to our community as Ms. Uccelli herself.
Barb Valley October 22, 2013 at 08:27 PM
To whomever is posting as Save Pete's Harbor: The Outer Harbor is still there. What is not there are the piers and docks which were installed by Pete Uccelli. That this area is State property and leased to the Uccellis has never been disputed by the Uccelli family, friends or associates. Lease payments had been deposited in an escrow account waiting for the State Lands Commission to send an invoice. Paula, and her husband made several attempts over the years to get an invoice and be told where to send the check. It appears the Uccellis weren’t the only ones with that problem since the SLC “has been the subject of two audits that found it failing to collect money due”. (See Jim Clifford’s comment above). Your assertion that all former residents be given credit for for Ms Uccelli’s contributions to our community is laughable. By the way, since Pete’s Harbor closed at the beginning of this year and is no more, isn’t it time for your group to change its name?
Chuck Reilly October 23, 2013 at 09:29 AM
So, next we're building condos there ?
Alison Madden November 04, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Well, Barb, I think most people that have been following this and observing it do not agree with your force-fed talking points. First, the judge found a nexus between inner and outer harbor, saying that the 1983 Act likely requires a public inner harbor. Second, the permit to rip out the docks was illegal and is highly likely to be challenged, and I believe if it is possible to do so that everyone will regret their participation in that drive. The state had told the developer it needed an EIR, and the City acknowledged this. The harbor then forced an illegal permit on the BCDC. The McAteer Petris Act requires public hearing, environmental review and a Commission action. None of that happened. A tenants group, with a land use and environmental attorney, made a lease application and was considered a real party in interest and was totally ignored in the process. We also discovered federal ownership of One Uccelli, this is the biggest conspiracy of the harbor, developer and City - to try to hide that and issue vesting maps over Federal property! The docks were nominally Mrs. Uccelli's. They started as a trespass and were ultimately ripped out without EIR and placed into landfill (to our advisment), what a good steward! BTW, our group SF Bay Marinas for All still has a lease app pending and intends to continue to lobby all parties for the lease. We will have to build docks, but they will be better oriented and maintained than the previous owner. Finally, as to Buckley and Wendy most of the time they were there was when the harbor filed a writ to try to force the judge to enter his order, which took 4 months and was even denied. They would still be there but they were forced to waive their right to seek a stay when he asked for two extra weeks before trial after he got out of the VA E.R. Also with regard to Mr. Clifford although I think he appears to be a very nice guy, he has never come forward with anything that would change any of the analysis here - Pete was a beloved pirate that trespassed onto the Bay, and forced a legislative Act through friends of his. Nothing changes that that was justifiably public property through these actions. alison
Jim Clifford November 04, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Alison: "... to Mr. Clifford although I think he appears to be a very nice guy, he has never come forward with anything that would change any of the analysis here." I doubt anything would, but I think the real "pirate" is the state lands commission. See "Save Pete from What" in The Journal of Local History. The commission is a scandal that should have been front page news a long time ago. Two audits found that it failed to carry out its role of money collector. In the long run, it's headlines that count. The law follows media and, as the saying goes, "the slope doesn't become slippery until the media greases it."
Alison Madden November 04, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Well, Jim, the "scandal" was the former executive director not allocating resources to collecting rent from people who knew they owed it anyway. I'm not making excuses for them, but it's not their first mission, to collect rent. Rent is not even very high and everyone with a lease knows they owe it. Period. Barb is not correct that there was an escrow account all along, it would have had interest. All you have to do is send a check to the controller. Anyway, we hashed all this out last November. The SLC is not a pirate here. Pete trespassed in the Bay for decades and pushed them off and off even though they spoke to him at Leslie Salt sales of land. He knew what he was doing. He built without BCDC permission, I've looked at all the files. I'm sure he was a great guy, but he trespassed into public lands, and that makes the property public. They have done nothing wrong here ever, in the 70s, 80s, 90, or 00s. To case aspersions on them when someone trespassed on public lands is not warranted.
Jim Clifford November 04, 2013 at 09:58 PM
The SLC may not be "the priate here" - just for the entire state. Two audits, 20 years between them, found the tax-supported commission doing a poor job of collecting rents so it must have been a top priority. I'd say most taxpayer would care. Tell me how Pete "built without BCDC permission?" The BCDC wasn't established until 1965. Wasn't that way after Uccelli bought the property?
Barb Valley November 05, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Well, Alison, bottom line- Plaintiff prevailed in CLJ207487 as they did in all the other UDs they filed.


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