From: Cat Taylor -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Although this email contains some bad news, please don't despair. Please read the ENTIRE letter as there is still hope and some wonderful human has made a BIG donation which is already proving helpful. I know it seems like the money just keeps going out, but that is unfortunately the way with legal battles, especially ones that have gone on as long as this one has. As mentioned at the end of the letter, there is hope for a potential buyer for the property and we just need to buy a bit more time.
Thanks very much, and as always if you wish to be removed from this list, just let me know.
A brief update from the Rescue Project:
After the regularly scheduled December meeting of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority (NWPRA) in which discussion of extension of the at-grade rail crossing permit was put off until January, an "emergency" meeting was held (in the absence of the Board's most vocal opponent to the at-grade crossing permit).
An understanding was given to the developer that they could cross the rails freely until the regularly-scheduled January meeting. At that meeting it seem likely that a permanent at-grade crossing will be granted in exchange for financial considerations (a fee).
[In my view, the NWPRA is limiting future options and increasing future liability for a short term gain because of the fact that they are in dire financial straits.]
* * * * *
The developer took advantage of this "understanding" to move LARGE demolition equipment (bulldozers, etc.) onto the site.
Although we felt the developer might wait until actually obtaining the at-grade crossing permit before tree demolition, we have received a report that today several hundred small trees were removed.
They were taken from the quarry side of "snob hill" (the hill with the small houses, close to the storage business) and from "crew valley" (the NE end of the quarry valley).
We are told that the developer has also been digging and filling in the parking areas -- in particular in the "14 acres" triangular lot closest to Hwy.37. They may be using material from the quarry area as part of the fill.
This is damage from which the site could easily recover, if it doesn't go much further.
* * * * *
The damage that has been done is enough to request an injunction or a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). [Cost would be approximately $4,000 total with $2,000 required up front.]
In December, anticipating that demolition of the site would begin in ernest once the NWPRA permit was obtained, the Rescue Project began a push to raise legal fees so that the Rescue Project lawyers can work on the appeals which are scheduled for a month or so. [This amount is still $10,000 up front with an estimated $20,000 total. An additional $2,500 of debt to the lawyers has been built up in work we asked them to do regarding the NWPRA proceedings, etc.]
Approximately 1,200 letters were mailed out to environmentally conscious Marin residents. The returns have just started coming in. Also an anonymous donor has, through a Rescue Project worker, sent in $3,000 that should arrive tomorrow. This will be used for an attempted injunction/TRO. The lawyers, based on this knowledge, have begun to work rapidly for the injunction/TRO which will hopefully delay damage to the site until a ruling is given on our appeals.
Obviously, further funds must be raised in order for the lawyers to do the work required to present the appeals.
* * * * *
Winning on appeal is difficult but it would buy us at least several months. So we will work for it. Regardless of any other possibility, buying time with legal action is more important than ever.
If the appeals are won, there may be other options, but -- particularly if not -- the land must still probably be purchased if it is to be fully protected.
We have communicated with a representative a an organization with the wherewith all to purchase the site and a potential interest in doing so. We understand that someone wishing to broker such a deal is now in contact with both the developer and that organization. A presentation to that organization is scheduled for mid to late January. We will let you know how it goes.
Keep in mind that such transactions do not often happen quickly, so our legal actions are still critical.
We'll keep you posted.
Please send donations or other correspondence to: Blackpoint Forest & Wetlands Rescue Project PO. Box l0691, San Rafael, CA 94912-0691