Wednesday, November 7, 2007

MLPA: Does It Support Coastal Stewardship?

Over the past few weeks, I have had many conversations with state and local officials regarding the MLPA proposal, in particular as to how it affects private land-owners. I was told by a representative from Assemblywoman Patty Berg's office that they could "not get involved", and that private land-owners rights were not a political issue.

I am not a private land-owner in the affected area, but part of a family that is. For 6 generations my family has taken care of the land that was passed down from generation to generation. I personally have many fond memories of our ranch growing up as a child, and I always hoped that someday, if I have kids, that they could enjoy the bounty our ranch has to offer. At this point in time, it doesn't look like they will. In fact any private land-owner in the affected areas will not be able to enjoy their personal property, something that they have bought and paid for; as they once did.

Our family has taken excellent care of our land over the years, to ensure that future generations would be able to enjoy everything that it has to offer. Making a property a public land or preserve does not ensure that it will be taken care of by the state. My maternal grandparents property; the Stornetta Ranch, was raped and pilaged of Abalone the minute that it was declared public property. It is way past due to make this area a preserve, thanks to the actions of the "ever so concerned" Abalone Divers. The Stornetta family, like the Richardson family, took impeccable care of their ranch to preserve the marine life; and look at what all of you did to it. It is extremely appalling to me what the general public did almost overnight to that ranch.

For the people who this does not affect, I ask you to think strongly about how you would feel if your property, regardless of the local, was subject to be controlled by a state regulation or law. It's not about the abalone right now. It's about private land-owners and their rights. There will always be a place to dive, and a place to fish...we may just have to drive a little farther down the road. There is an abundance of property that is controlled by the State of California up and down our coast. Many of it is already inaccessable by divers due to the steep terrain and it would make perfect sense for the State of California to implement those parcels into their MLPA Plan.

I hope that the MLPA Advisory Committee, and the local residents can come to an agreement where there is the least amount of negative impact to everyone that will be affected. It is not in anyone's best interest's to start name calling or back stabbing, but sometimes that is what has to be done to get a point across. The bottom line is that there will always be a place to dive and a place to fish, we might just have to drive a little farther down the road, and walk a little farther to get to the beach or blufftop.
For those of you who don't care what happens at this point in time to my family's property, or any other private landowner in the area affected, I hope that when the time comes for the state to impose a regulation on your land...that you don't even think about asking us for your help.

Kelly S. Richardson
Stewarts Point, CA

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