These three veterans live on fixed incomes and suffer from various disabilities caused by their time spent bravely fighting for our country. Since 2003 and 2006, they have lived on their sailboats in Travis Marina, near Sausalito, California, which sits inside the territory of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a division of the National Park Service. They pay rent each month to Travis Air Force Base, the manager of the Marina. None of the veterans have ever been late with a rent payment. This Marina has historically been a Morale Welfare and recreation facility for active duty and retired military members to enjoy sailing at below market costs. The Presidio Yacht Club has operated on site since 1959.
After some valid complaints were made about the dangerous and dilapidated state of the docks at Travis Marina, the Air Force decided to evict all tenants living aboard their boats, including the three veterans that have made the Marina their home for nearly a decade. The National Park Service claims that infrastructure improvements will cost $700,000 and are therefore "cost prohibitive."
Due to the support that the Veterans have from the community, both locally and on-line, and the intervention of local political figures the move-out date has been extended multiple times. Yet the battle has not been won. We still need the public's help.
The National Park Service, GGNRA has plans to end the long affiliation that the Marina has had with Veterans since World War II and to cancel the Sailing Center programs that are offered at the Marina to Veterans at little or no charge. Sailing Center programs have proved very therapeutic for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and for older veterans that still deal with painful memories from when they faced enemy fire in combat.
The National Park Service and GGNRA officials are currently considering an award of a 30 year lease to Passport Resorts, LLC (private developer of the luxury hotel steps away from the Marina: Cavallo Point). Passport Resorts, LLC proposes that the boating Marina be turned into a privately run beachfront. They propose building a boat museum, which would mean eventually removing all the boats that are stored there by dozens of private individuals - the majority of whom fought for our country. This plan would also eliminate the sailing and kayak programs at the Marina so that it is converted into another seldom used tourist attraction.
As I have pointed out many times to many federal officials, this plan will require a lot of money too and a lot more time to implement, as the public have a voice in how public lands are used. This Marina should not be privatized when so many of our nation's citizens are returning from wars and will need Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
The veterans and myself have a different plan: Travis Air Force base should get the 30 year lease so that they can appropriate federal funds to expand this Morale Welfare and Recreation facility. The docks at Travis Marina could be fixed with the help of willing volunteers and funds provided by block grants and organizational sponsors.
But the National Park Service, as legal owner of the Marina, has to agree to let the Veterans stay and has to agree to award Travis Air Force base the long-term lease so that the Sailing Center can continue operations. So far, the National Park Service has not agreed to our plan, and will not even grant us a meeting, despite nearly one year of my repeated requests.
Please let the National Park Service and the GGNRA know that the American people will not tolerate their government evicting disabled veterans or privatizing public land designated to reward the efforts of our service members. Sign this Petition!