Reminder: Parks Commission meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) 7 pm, Zoom link here. Speak out! Raise your hand and wait for your minute. Or use the Chat shortcut. Click on Chat, type your message — BMASP NO! will do — and log out. Your statement will be recorded and counted.
I’ve got so busy with the stream of incoming letters about BMASP that I delayed posting this report about our weekend of active hands-on engagement with the park. On Saturday morning July 9, volunteers headed into the Native Plant Area on the west side of the park with watering and trimming gear. This time, we brought 300 feet of garden hose and hooked up to the faucet in the picnic area just northeast of the Native Plant grove. The hose allowed us to fill our watering jugs nearer the plants instead of lugging six-gallon canisters from the spigot, a big relief. We also knocked down quantities of Wild Mustard which was encroaching on the young native plants we put in the ground last November. The outing was a complete success; all the native plantings got watered generously and are doing well. A few of them are going into their summertime recess, which is a normal and healthy thing for them to be doing. They’ll liven up again in the fall.
Saturday afternoon and again Sunday afternoon, the Conservancy’s public information booth in the southeast corner of the park allowed us to put brochures about BMASP into the hands of hundreds of park visitors. On Saturday between noon and 3 pm we met with 124 people at the booth. On Sunday between 2 and 6 pm, traffic was busier and we connected with 251 park visitors. Susan Black, Sylvie Woog, and Mary Law staffed the table with me at different times. As was the case last weekend, most people were learning about the BMASP plans for the first time. We also talked with a good number of people who had heard of it and were variously disgusted, saddened, incredulous, and outraged. Not a single person told us they thought an “events pavilion” and a zip line and ropes course was a good idea here. Several people said that if this went forward, there would be civil disobedience. “We’ll lay down our bodies,” said one pair of visitors. If BMASP holds another meeting, “there’ll be tomatoes and eggs” to greet them, said another.
We also sold out of Park Lover’s Baseball Caps. But more are on order and should be in stock by next weekend, when we plan to be back in the booth. In the works is a broad petition opposing the BMASP plans, addressed to the City Manager and City Council, open to all park visitors regardless of the city they come from. As has often been said, the park is a regional asset. (It was originally planned to be a state park, part of the East Bay Regional Park District.) Everyone who uses the park should have a voice in determining its future.
A few people wondered whether it was worth putting any effort into it if the BMASP plans were a done deal. We reassured them that the BMASP process was not a done deal and that our intervention was timely. We are going to stop BMASP in its tracks, at least as far as the park is concerned. Sí se puede — Yes, we can!