Fix Our Harbors

San Mateo County Harbor District

The Half Moon Bay fishing, boating and surfing community would like facilities modernized at Pillar Point Harbor. It's time to fix crumbling infurtructure, chronic water pollution, dangerous working conditions on Johnson Pier, unsafe docks, inadequate public restrooms, outdated visitor serving facilities, poor wifi connectivity and compromised trail access.

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Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission vs. Three Captains' Sea Products

Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) filed a complaint against Three Captains' Sea Products on Feb. 10, 2010 in San Mateo County Superior Court. 

The claim for relief included $120,097.27 in damages.

PSMFC made an administrative error in 2008 and 2009 while issuing checks for the California Salmon Disaster Relief Programs. PSMFC inadvertently double paid Larry Fortado, owner of Three Captains' Sea Products.  The total amount of the overpayment was $120,097.27. 

PSMFC and their attorneys sent Larry Fortado letters seeking reimbursement on July 31, 2009, Sept. 30, 2009, November 18, 2009 and Dec. 29, 2009.

After a jury trial was demanded Larry Fortado paid back the federal disaster relief money he owed PSMFC. 

Read the Complaint — Case No. 491958  

Port Officials Use DHS Anti-Terror Cameras to Stop Golf Ball Bombardment

FoxNews.com published this article about Harbormaster Scott Grindy's overreaction to golf balls.

May 16, 2009  -  Associated Press

EVERETT, Wash. –  Golf balls are bombarding the Port of Everett and anti-terrorism cameras are being trained on a residential neighborhood to hunt down the source.

Port officials believe someone on Rucker Hill is whacking golf balls down the hill onto port property, endangering dozens of workers and millions of dollars worth of equipment and cargo.

"We're trying to use any means possible to stop it, aside from posting somebody in the field of fire all day and night," said Ed Madura, a port security official.

The port says the flying golf balls constitute a threat to personal safety. Pointing video surveillance cameras toward the likely source is an appropriate use of the equipment, port officials say.

In the eyes of at least one resident in the Rucker Hill neighborhood southwest of downtown, swiveling the cameras from the fence line to the neighborhood is an invasion of privacy.

"Hitting golf balls is a problem, but if they turn their cameras up on the neighborhood and spy on us, that's a bigger problem," said David Mascarenas, a neighborhood watchdog who has for years fought the port to improve the community's access to public land.

The cameras were paid for, along with fencing and other security equipment, with $2.3 million in grants from the Department of Homeland Security following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Before the attacks, the Everett port had open terminals and only minimal security. People who live in the surrounding neighborhoods often would walk down and drop crab pots off piers that are now blocked by tall cyclone fences topped with razor wire.

Golf balls have been raining on the port's Pacific Terminal for several months. However, a police report wasn't filed until this week when 18 golf balls over the span of two days were found near stacks of shipping containers. One ball even bounced into a piece of equipment waiting to be shipped to Alaska.

"It's been going on for a while, but it's been getting a lot worse the last couple of days," port spokeswoman Lisa Lefeber said.

Dock superintendent Bob Porter has been shagging balls from the Rucker Hill golfer for months. He keeps a box of them in his office near Pier 1.

"We have to put a stop to it," Porter said.

No injuries have been reported, although an errant golf ball is believed to have broken the driver's-side window of a longshoreman's pickup truck, which was parked in a secure area.

Lefeber said as many as 100 people may be working at the port on any given day. And while most activity happens during the day, people work at the port all hours.

John Nostrom lives near a grassy overlook on Warren Avenue. On two instances, in recent years, he has seen young men pull up to the spot, haul out their drivers, then tee off. The spot is a little more than 200 yards from the place where balls are being found.

"They don't hang out too long," he said.

A good golfer could drive a ball at speeds of up to 165 mph, said Rex Fullerton, general manager at Legion Memorial Golf Course in north Everett.

At that speed, golf balls can seriously injure someone.

"It's obviously a dangerous thing for somebody to just hit a golf ball into an area where it flies over people," Fullerton said. "Of course, we'd encourage them to hit golf balls at our golf course."

If someone is caught, any criminal charges that might be filed would depend on the circumstances, said Sgt. Robert Goetz with the Everett Police Department.

It isn't clear who is driving golf balls onto port land or why. Is it someone practicing their chip shot or a person with a chip on their shoulder?

Steve Ritchie, a dispatcher with The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 32, said he wouldn't be surprised if it was all a malicious act by a disgruntled Rucker Hill resident.

The neighborhood, named for the prominent Rucker family, which built a hilltop mansion there in the early 1900s, boasts some of the city's best views of Port Gardner, the Olympic Mountains and Cascade Range.

There have long been tensions between the neighborhood and the port over noise from container ships that are sometimes unloaded in the middle of the night, glare from floodlights and exhaust from idling vessels.

"There's a lot of people out on Rucker Hill that want the longshoremen more or less shut down," Ritchie said.

Scott Grindy is "Big Brother"

Owen Lei / KING 5 News - August 15, 2009

Link to VIDEO

EVERETT, Wash. - Rucker Hill gives you one of the oldest and most scenic views of the Everett waterfront, but it's not a personal driving range, said officials from the Port of Everett.

The port has filed a police report against whoever is hitting golf balls -- 30 to 50 of them over the past few months, almost 20 in the past two days alone - down towards shipping containers below.

So far, no one has been injured, said post communications administrator Lisa Lefeber, but a golf ball did damage one longshoreman's truck.

Neighbors we spoke with say they don't know who the mystery golfer is, but what he or she is doing is not a smart idea.

"We have disagreements with the port," said homeowner David Mascarenas. "But we would never do that, to injure anybody, particularly any of our longshoremen."

"A golf ball flying that far and hitting somebody down at the port would certainly be a deadly affair," said neighbor Win Miller. "And something needs to be done."

The problem is, these homeowners don't like what's being done either.

Port security is invoking a privilege granted originally for anti-terrorist reasons after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, said Lefeber. When faced with a potential threat, they can point the port's normally-fixed surveillance cameras to look for the source of the threat. In this case, that means up towards the homes.

"They don't have the right to spy on us, they don't have the right to do any of that without telling us," said Mascarenas, who added that the port has since informed them of their intentions. " Giving up my rights for a bunch of containers? It's not right."

Port officials say they're only moving the cameras after a golf ball incident happens, and after 24 hours, they're repositioning the cameras to point back towards the terminal. They add that they understand the residents' concerns, and that they have no plans to do anything with archived footage that is irrelevant to the case.

Everett police say they are investigating the incidents. Depending on the severity of the damage, charges could range from Malicious Mischief to Reckless Endangerment to Assault, though nothing that severe has happened yet, said Sergeant Robert Goetz.

Adds Mascarenas: "Hey whoever's doing it, please stop! Go out to a driving range somewhere."

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