I immediately formed a bond with Commissioner Brennan because of her integrity, and because she asked for fiscal responsibility and transparency. Our newly formed fishermen's association, The Half Moon Bay Seafood Marketing Association, also sided with Sabrina, and needless to say this upset previous board members.
Then came the illegal installation of a new hoist on Johnson Pier for the fish buying business Three Captains, with dock space included. A total of three fish-buying businesses are located on Johnson Pier, and we all pay the same rent. However the new hoist location and dock space was never offered to the other two fish-buyers. It was clear to local fishermen that Three Captains was receiving preferential treatment by the Harbormaster and General Manager. To allow more room for Three Captains new hoist, we were told to move our bait lockers and bin storage from the end of the pier. The cost to the Harbor District was $175,000.
The new Fishermen's Association and others asked Sabrina to look into this, which she did. At the time the old board and General Manager Peter Grenell would not even answer our questions. I also started checking into who paid what and I noticed that Three Captains' fee payment schedule was in disarray and appeared to be short a considerable sum of money. It was odd that the fish buyer with the new hoist location appeared to be short paying fees.
In early 2013 the General Manager Peter Grenell slyly buried a sentence into all three fish-buyers' 42 page lease agreements, under the Use and Limitations section. The leases allowed the installation of a new hoist at the Harbormasters discretion, strangely Three Captains knew all about it, but the other two buyers were unaware of the new provision because the changes were never redlined in the draft leases.
When I started reading my new lease more carefully I noticed that the General Manager had left out all the perimeters that designate the areas we operate within. This change was also not redlined in the draft lease agreements. The new leases changed 35 years of operations on Johnson Pier without any redlines in the draft agreements. Every fish unloading station on the West Coast of the US has well-designated perimeters except Pillar Point Harbor. And now Three Captains is suing the Harbor District over the new hoist.
Those of us who felt burned, decided to campaign to unseat the board in the November 2014 election. We succeeded in electing Commissioners Mattusch and David. Thankfully Commissioners Jim Tucker and Will Holsinger, both notorious for voting to end videotaping and public access broadcasts of board meetings, were swept out.