The Unheard Roar

Controversial initiative making changes behind closed doors


Editorial Board

When we think of a Democracy, we might think of a few words: transparent, debate, vote, representatives, elect, and a whole bunch of phrases. We however, wouldn’t think of phrases associated with an Oligarchy, such as: closed off, or tyrannical.

An Oligarchy is not the system that we have. We have a Democracy, where power is held by the people.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case…

The Northern Waterfront Economic Development Initiative is a plan designed to revitalize Contra Costa County’s industry. It encompasses “approximately 50-miles of shoreline stretching from Hercules to the Antioch Bridgehead area – San Pablo Bay to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers,” according to Rich Seithel, the senior deputy economic director for the county.

This is a large area of land that’s already heavily industrialized by oil companies, waste, food production plants, and even decaying military bases. Perfect locations to build more factories, and put that land to good, economic, use.

The keyword here, if you didn’t spot it, is economic.

The plan has estimated to grow about 18,000 jobs from now until 2035. And that’s great. We’d be using up land that’s historically industrial, our area’s Gross Domestic Product would rise significantly, and we’d create a steady supply of jobs.

So what’s the catch?

The catch is the environment. Remember? That thing we were supposed to start caring for about 50 years ago, but just left for future generations to figure out?

Ignorance was bliss, but now is not the time for ignorance.

The initiative will be harsh on the environment. According to Save The Bay, “The Bay Area is home to about 80,000 acres of wetlands, but needs about 100,000 to remain healthy.” We’re already below what we need to remain healthy. Meaning if we had more wetlands, we’d benefit from better air quality, more wildlife, and cleaner water.

All benefits we’re rapidly learning that are important in fighting climate change.

The Northern Waterfront Initiative will destroy many of these acres of wetlands that are so vital for us to live. The plan is to make the bay, in areas, deeper by ten feet by dredging. According to an article written by Tom Griffith, “(Dredging) can increase salinity in the Delta (a shortsighted move during a drought), and it would release a century of buried toxins into our Bay.”

Essentially, this plan has two very different standpoints: environmental and economic. Of course having two sides to one issue isn’t a new thing, the difference here is the fact that there will be no public debate; nothing, for us, to decide the fate of our bay.

This deal is going on behind closed doors, being headed by private industries, big companies, and local governments. Only being discussed by unelected officials from multiple different entities.

Our voice, the peoples voice, the citizens who make up a democracy will not be able to have our say.

Whether you’re against this deal or not, it doesn’t matter. You won’t get to voice your opinion.

The Northern Waterfront Economic Development Initiative is going to change the face of our bay; an Oligarchy will make this decision for us.

This needs to come down to a public vote, but that’s only going to happen if we demand it. Contact your local county supervisor. Send your complaints to Karen Mitchoff; the more letters we send, the better chance we’ll have of our voice’s being heard. If we don’t, we’ll never be able to decide in a democratic fashion the outcome of where we live.