Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – December 16, 2023
It would seem that those at the Harbor would learn when enough has been said before they truly put foot in mouth. Yet another controversy, that is not really a controversy judging by the past behavior of the Harbor Commission and it’s somewhat fumbling Harbor Master, Tim Petrick. After having ample opportunity to explain himself within the pages of the Triplicate, “The Harbor May Lose Another Tenant”, November 15th, our erstwhile Harbor Master, Tim Petrick, felt he needed another crack at explaining himself regarding the matter. Not that the issue wasn’t thoroughly outlined in the Triplicate’s article, Mr. Petrick felt maligned by certain statements within the article and felt the need to defend himself as did the Harbor Commission in yet another article on the topic.
Before we get into the he said, he said part of the controversy perhaps it should be made clear that the circumstances couldn’t have been more clear in the first place. Per Roger Gitlan’s original article, it goes something like this. Crescent Seafood’s owner, Kurt Hochberg, has been on a month to month arrangement with the Harbor at $1400 per month plus 6% of the profits (suspended by Mr. Petrick for the present) since his lease expired in 2022. He would like to stay in business in the Harbor, except the rent of $1400 per month plus the 6% is more than he can afford. He would like the Harbor to enter into a new lease arrangement (unspecified} which would allow him to remain in business at his current location.
The Harbor’s position, at least according to Mr. Petrick, is that he feels that the harbor is under valuing what they would receive from the Crescent Seafood site in the current terms of the lease and are unmoved by Mr. Hockberg’s plight. If the arrangement is to move forward with a new lease, the current terms of $1400 per month plus the 6%, is what the Harbor is expecting to receive. Hence, it would appear that in this set of circumstances the Harbor would be losing another tenant, have another empty building, and be out $1400 per month plus 6% for the foreseeable future. All of which was contained in the original article. No controversy there.
The crisis for Harbor Master Petrick appears to come from previous statements made by Mr. Gitlan and the one that appeared in the November 15th article that casts shade on how the Harbor is currently doing business. It is not exactly “new news” that the Harbor has bounced from one poor decision to another for some time, the current commission included. Some of the more noteworthy fiasco’s have come under the watch of the current Harbor Master. While Mr. Petrick in his wish to “set the record straight” in an article in the Lost Coast Outpost, “Setting the Narrative: Harbor Master Tim Petrick tells his side of the story”, December 1st, he fails to add anything new regarding the Crescent Seafood controversy, instead launches into a “it wasn’t my fault” session over some of the recent poor decisions made by the Commission and the fact that this was a problem that had been going on in the Harbor for decades. Course no one is supposed to notice that Mr. Petrick led the charge for most of the recent poor decisions being made.
Mr. Petrick goes on to tell his tale of woe about his DUI as a 25 year old and commences to give us the story of his life. None of which has anything to do with the fact that Crescent Seafood is unlikely to be able to remain a viable business under the current Harbor demands. He then attempts to explain away the England Marine building vacancy, the Fashion Blacksmith fiasco, and the Alex Lemus disaster, all of which he has failed to successfully move the needle without the Harbor being on the short end of things. If unfortunately, thinking that was the end of the Harbor’s woes, he crows about the Harbor receiving $12 million (the commissioners thinks its $15 million) in recently acquired grants for infrastructure to plug that $150 million need. A bit short there are we not? Seems like it was only yesterday that the Harbor was lobbying for Measure”C” to plug an $80 million hole in their deferred maintenance at the Harbor. My it has grown in just a few short years.
If only the pain would stop there. The Harbor hasn’t had any success with the old England Marine Building, owes millions and counting to settle with Fashion Blacksmith (and will likely be on the hook for substantial dollars repairing the building, dredging the lift station, as well as looking for yet another new tenant), plus despite the fact that they may get $100,000 from Mr. Lemus, it will in no way cover the cost for Mr. Petrick’s next fantasy project at Redwood Harbor Village RV Park, membership in the Tri Agency, Off Shore Wind Power, and a fully operational patrol force.
In the end I am not quite sure what exactly “setting the narrative” means for Mr. Petrick or the Commission for that matter. There clearly are problems at the Harbor and Roger Gitlan is not the only one pointing them out. The problems for sure existed before both the current Commission and Harbor Master Petrick were placed at the helm. What is somewhat stunning to read is that they think that making the Harbor’s problems insurmountable is a path to success by Mr. Petrick and they are 110% behind his clear failures. Mr. Petrick has no idea how to right the sinking ship because the water is already at the deck level. He is clueless as to what is feasible in a small isolated rural community with very little infrastructure that currently has a marketable season for tourists of about mid May to the first week of October. There are no large population centers near by, and the weather is too unpredictable for visitors to come during the off season with no visible means of indoor activity to keep them entertained and coming when the wind is blowing right to left, and the rain is coming down in sheets. Perhaps the Harbor Commission and the Harbor Master should put a plug in it and see what they can salvage from what is a train wreck, no rumor intended.