What's on Our Minds

DO PEOPLE CHANGE THIS MUCH?

 

When shelter-in-place disrupted our lives, East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) was a godsend. We already knew we loved it. We may not have realized how much we need it.

 

One race on the ballot this year has the potential to send EBRPD in two very different directions. Ward 1 (Emeryville through Pinole) will elect a new board member who will oversee many cherished parks -- including Tilden, Point Pinole, Point Isabel, and the Albany waterfront -- and influence park policies district-wide.

 

Elizabeth Echols, the appointed incumbent, has proven herself in a few short months to be responsive, collaborative, smart, and collegial. She is committed to stewardship, access, and inclusion. See her endorsement by East Bay Times here.

 

Norman La Force, on the other hand, has a long history of trying to limit access to the parks, particularly for people with dogs. He sued EBRPD repeatedly to kick dogs off Albany Beach and he urged the Albany Waterfront Committee to ban dogs on the Albany Bulb.

 

That was then, apparently. From his campaign website:

 

"I do not oppose off-leash dogs at the Albany Bulb or Beach. Any statements that I oppose such use are simply false. There is a small group of off leash dog-owners who want to walk their dogs off leash anywhere, even where it is not safe or appropriate. They have made up statements about me that are untrue."


 

Norman La Force sued East Bay Regional Park District repeatedly to get people with dogs kicked off Albany Beach. EBRPD was required to do more environmental analysis -- and came back with the same results that La Force had challenged. He sued again and lost. Now he says he's not against off-leash dogs on Albany Beach. Which is it?

Speaking of untrue, Norman claims to have doubled the size of the "Point Isabel Dog Park" when he actually fought to reduce off-leash recreation by more than half. (You can download the source documents and peruse online documents here.)

 

He is taking credit for McLaughlin Eastshore State Park (MESP), too. He worked hard, with others, to prevent development of areas that are now park. He tried hard to limit public access, too. If he had been on the EBRPD board in 2002, it would be a very different park today.

 

The EBRPD board is there to balance preservation, conservation, and recreation. Norman La Force is not the person for that job. Vote for Elizabeth Echols.

Screenshot from www.laforceofcourse.org

The East Bay Regional Park District and a growing number of municipal dog parks make the East Bay one of the best places to be a dog or dog owner.

Many rescues in the East Bay are a safety net for pets who need homes. A few orgs such as Paw Fund and PALS East Bay also provide low-cost or free spay/neuter and vaccinations.

Follow the leash laws and licensing requirements in your community. Pick up an extra poop every time you walk. Start or join a trail, park, or beach cleanup.