Straight from Keller


    Once again I must take time to correct what you distort and present as fact — this time about the meeting Mayor Pro Tem Van Horn and I were invited to attend by State Parks Director Rusty Areias. The tone of your editorial implies that you had access to information on the meeting with Mr. Areias and council closed session — if so, it didn’t turn out to be very accurate.

    About the only thing correct in your editorial is that we did go to Sacramento to discuss Bluffs park, and Mr. Areias did “control the discussion agenda” and bring up the Point Dume Headlands first but, after all it was his meeting. It is absolutely untrue that we made any deal on behalf of the city. We discussed, not bargained, and he was made well aware at the beginning, that any of his proposals were subject to council majority approval.

    You claimed as fact that we linked the headland’s parking to a deal on the Bluffs Park ballfields issue and “agreed to get the ballfields off Bluffs Park when the lease expires in two years.” We agreed to nothing of the sort. Mr. Areias was given a copy of my strong rebuttal to Sen. Hayden’s letter opposing ballfields on Bluffs Park. He did offer to extend the lease until 2003 or until State Parks is ready to proceed with Bluffs Park Development. You, however, fail to mention that Mr. Areias also proposed formation of a committee consisting of city, State Parks and resident members (including Little League) to work together to find a solution.

    You state that we “gave away” a deal for 33 Point parking spaces to service the headlands. This is nonsense. Because residents of Point Dume did not support this alternative, the council unanimously rescinded the settlement agreement with coastal last year. I was fully prepared to describe our discussion with Mr. Areias regarding the headlands at Monday night’s open council meeting but was cautioned by the city attorney not to because it involves litigation with the Coastal Commission. All I can say is that I did make the motion to submit Mr. Areias’ proposal of a joint letter from State Parks and the city to the Coastal Commission outlining an agreement which could settle the litigation. That letter is on the Aug. 9 council meeting agenda for council approval.

    Your reference to a “nature bus that would cost the city $50,000 per year” as another “give away” is fiction — apparently based on a confidential memo drafted by City Manager Peacock prior to last April’s meeting on the headlands in which he estimated $50,000 for a shuttle bus serving the entire Point, not just from the beach parking lot to the headlands. This was rejected by the community and the council at that meeting.

    Once again, I ask you to get your “facts” straight.

    Walter F. Keller,