San Francisco greenies devastate foodies
The green religion has scored a small but highly symbolic victory in San Francisco, using the bureaucratic state and courts to vanquish a den of sin, where humans have used part of nature for their own benefit and enjoyment. In the process, two of the Bay Area's most visible subcultures have been set against each other. Red staters can savor the cultural contradictions of America's most liberal metropolis.
For as long as anyone can remember, Drake's Bay Oyster Company has been supplying the delicious, fresh, clean bivalves to seafood lovers, accounting for as much as 40% of the state of California's supply. But thanks to a bureaucratic decision by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and federal judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruling that a stay cannot be issued, the oyster farms at Drake's Bay must be removed by March 15, just a few weeks from now.
You see, Drake's Bay Oyster Company, which has been operating for four generations, is violating the sacred wilderness state, which to the greenies is the only legitimate condition for the land upon which we live, far too comfortably.
The AP reports:
Point Reyes National Seashore was added to the national parks system by Congress in 1962, and protects more than 80 miles of California coastline. It is managed by the National Park Service, which is part of the Interior Department.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wrote in her decision that she did not believe she had authority to overturn Salazar, and that even if she did, "plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of the claims." [snip]
Salazar, in denying Lunny's request to extend the lease, said the land should be returned to wilderness status as Congress decided in the 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act. He ordered Lunny to remove all of the farm's property from the pristine waters of the 2,200-acre Drakes Estero.
Environmentalists and park officials said the oyster farm's motor boats and equipment threaten nearby harbor seals and polluted the otherwise clean waters.
"It's been a long battle, the judge studied it very carefully and I think she made the right decision," said Dr. Martin Griffin, a longtime Sonoma-Marin conservationist and physician.
Lunny's oyster farm, however, found a powerful ally in Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who charged that the National Park Service was trying to get rid of the oyster farm by exaggerating its negative impacts on the environment. The National Academy of Sciences also questioned the park service's scientific findings.
The demolition of the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm will severely impact oyster lovers, especially in the Bay Area. Prices inevitably will rise. But more than that, a scenic attraction, the beautiful ride out to Drake's Bay to see the farm (it is quite a striking sight seen from the highway in the hills), and stop to buy some oysters to eat on the spot, is going to vanish. The short drive out there from anywhere in the Bay Area offers many scenic rewards starting with the Golden Gate Bridge, and so the excursion is the sort of thing people do with friends and relatives who come to visit, perhaps combining it with a trip to Muir Woods to see the giant redwood trees. See Yelp comments, for instance:
Love this place.
Come here with family and friends if you want make an amazing memory.
The oysters are superbly fresh and the scenery can not be beat.
For your oyster picnic don't forget to bring your oyster knife, some dish towels to protect your hands when opening, a lemon, a bottle of tobasco, some white wine, a crusty loaf of bread and a good hunk of cheese form Marin.
In fact, the Drake's Bay Oyster Farm experience is one of the things that defines the Bay Area to many people. Especially the many gourmets who set the tone for much of the local culture.
In the same way that Los Angeles has the film industry to define itself to itself - glamour, money, fame - San Francisco latches onto its food culture - sophistication, elegance, pleasure - lionizing chefs, seeing and being seen at the famous eateries (San Francisco has by far the largest number of restaurants per thousand people). People here congratulate themselves for choosing to live somewhere they can indulge in the fabulous bounty of local soils and waters. Now, a vital part of that bounty is to be taken away. It reaches into their self concept, eradicating the oyster farms. There are actually people who cast an angry eye on vineyards, complaining about the near monoculture ion Napa. Be afraid, oenophiles, be very afraid.
I wonder if it possible to use the tragedy of the loss of Drake's Bay oysters to raise a little consciousness among foodies? Normally, they are gung-ho consumers of organic, sustainable agriculture and renewable fisheries. All well and good, as far as I am concerned. But trying to reach some idealized "wilderness" state in place of good agriculture is a product of religious extremism, people whom David Stein has called:
"Anthropogenicists," the pseudo-scientists who believe that humans are the cause of all earthly problems, from weather and climate anomalies to earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and species extinction. To an Anthropogenicist, humans are the sole root of all evil. Because nothing bad - no earthquakes, no floods, no volcanic eruptions, and no species extinction ever happened before man arrived on the earth. Anthropogenicism is a religion of the left, proof that when humans reject traditional religious beliefs, they merely go on to create some other faith-based schema to believe in.
Are foodies going to sit back and take it, comforting themselves with the notion they are no longer inflicting pain on Mother Gaia? Only time will tell. In the meantime, they can tell themselves, Drake's Bay Oyster Company died for their sins.
graphics via Wikipedia