Friday's Letters to the Editor

<b>Drakes Bay lease</b>

EDITOR: The Drakes Bay Oyster Co.'s owners knew in 2004 when they bought the business that the lease from the National Park Service would expire in 2012. There was no guarantee that the lease would be renewed or extended.

Within Point Reyes National Seashore, Drakes Estero was to be managed as a potential wilderness pending expiration of the lease. Drakes Bay is a federally designated marine wilderness because of the diversity and abundance of wildlife there, including one of the largest breeding colonies of harbor seals in California.

Non-native oysters are grown and harvested by the company. Federal and state agencies have cited the company for dozens of permit violations, including illegally operating in parts of the estero reserved for wildlife and adding facilities without seeking permits. The company is not a good steward of the estero. Of the 52,000 comments on the draft environmental impact statement regarding the oyster operation, 92 percent favored wilderness over oyster production.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did a thorough and fair evaluation of the information regarding the lease and made a reasonable determination that it should not be renewed. The Drakes Bay Oyster Co. responded with a lawsuit and seems only interested in its business. Hopefully, the ruling on the lawsuit will uphold the secretary's decision.



<b>A civil council</b>

EDITOR: I agree, let's have civility and cooperation on the Santa Rosa City Council. But I believe that the faction that needs to change the most to achieve this is the one that has been the most vocal in calling for less divisiveness.

Even before his first meeting, Mayor Scott Bartley called a neighborhood activist with whom he disagrees "clueless." I know Jack Swearengen well from working with him at citizen committee meetings over the years. He is well informed and reasons well. Calling him "clueless" is unnecessary, divisive name-calling.

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