By Carol Pearlman


Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.

HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa


It appears I got my park, but I never expected it to arrive as it has, cram-packed full of junk, including a submarine sail, whatever that is (I thought they go under-water), and heaps of tchotchkes they call sculpture, a questionable judgement in Vallejo. I feel like I’ve bought the wrong ticket for the right place, or the right ticket for the wrong place.

What the heck is History Arts? It doesn’t sound like anything I want in my park.

And, will someone please tell me who’s behind this? Participatory Budgeting, who, incidentally, pay more than $500,000 – aka ‘administrative welfare’ – to city employees for assistance on these projects, guards its secrets well, and so far my simple question has gotten no answer. I’m not supposed to know who on PB worked on it. Top secret. Is it Isis?

And, why should the city pay for this park? The rumor is a certain Mr. Callahan is supposed to clean up & beautify that park as part of his deal with the city in return for the development of a parcel of waterfront land nearby that he’s clearly in no hurry to do. City staff, working hand in hand with PB, surely know about the deal with Mr. Callahan, who, no doubt wakes up each morning with a big smile on his face, knowing that we the people are going to fix the park for him and pay for the privilege out of our own pockets, and he doesn’t have to do a darned thing. We must be so rich.

I feel guilty that so many people who signed my petition & supported my project voted for the PB Park thinking it was the same park. Someone should have told me before it was put on the ballot. I should have been included. If I had my way it’d be just me and the Mayor making that park, our way, without the city. Yes, I said that!

But, don’t worry about me. I consider this development a windfall and intend to make the most of it. I’m looking at it now as an opportunity to join with others, whoever they may be, to work on the design of the park, with the needs & desires of those who live beside it, foremost on my agenda. We want a peaceful quiet place, with nothing that will spoil our view, no junk, and nothing noisy. Please.

Will the city approve it on December 8th? They know all about Callahan – better than I do, and they know about my petition and have heard about the design I submitted. T’will be interesting to see how they deal with it.

Did anyone else hear what I heard last night at the City Council meeting? Council member Katy Miessner warned us not underestimate the effects of drought on world politics. I don’t recall her exact words, she said them so quickly, but the gist was that an important reason for the problems in Syria started with a draught, bringing on the subsequent troubles we now witness with horror in that country, as well as those manifested in Paris, Beirut, etc.

Basically, as I understood her, Katy blames terrorism on the draught, ultimately, which she cautions us to take seriously. Presumably, our drought will turn us into terrorists if we don’t. I like the theory that weather is to blame for the problems of the world. Why not? We wouldn’t need armies to fight it. We could use our brains.

I visited the Vallejo City website to express my thoughts about housing & wandered into the section about Mare Island.  What a place!  What a situation!  If I was a developer I’d buy up the entire western shore & as much land as I could get, and create a Martha’s Vineyard type of place, with beach homes & apartments, protected beaches, little town centers with shops etc. etc.  It would have its own ferry to San Francisco & other towns on the bay, maybe a car ferry. Hey!

From the pictures on the website those Mare Island warehouses look fabulous.  As a New Yorker I think of the old deserted buildings in Soho & the meat packing district that became million-dollar lofts, high class international art galleries, & home to some of the fanciest restaurants in the city. I don’t understand why this property hasn’t been snatched up by smart investors, especially since they’ll get a ferry service to the mainland very soon.  Personally, I’d love to see a bridge at the southern section of Curtola to get most of the traffic off Mare Island Way. 

While I’m at it, those parking lots across from the ferry are in the wrong place. Put three or four multi-storied parking structures on Santa Clara Street & allow the waterfront to become the beautiful place it should be, with shops & walks & outdoor cafes. We can make better use of that place, dontcha think? 

Let me ask you: which would you rather do after stepping off the Vallejo ferry? Stop off for a drink at a beautiful bar with a view of the sunset, sit down in a cozy tea room/pastry shop, eat a good dinner or grab a stand-up snack, purchase some last minute grocery items, a loaf of artisan bread, look at an art exhibit, buy a book, eat an ice-cream, and more fun activities like the above…… or go to the dentist? The city should buy him out; rent him a nice spot at the bottom of Georgia Street, and let him drill, baby, drill.

Imagine visiting Vallejo. Whatever for, you may well ask? What is there to do in Vallejo? I took a drive down Lemon Street recently & was inspired by the beauty of the long, tree-lined lane along the river that leads to the old Sperry Mill, which later became General Mills, with its lovely old buildings & beautiful river vistas. Why not re-purpose those buildings, like London turned their electric utilities station on the Thames River into the Tate Modern, one of the great museums in Europe?

My idea is to turn some of that gorgeous waterfront property into a world-class spa and health resort, with shops, restaurants, a five-star hotel, a pleasant motel, & a youth hostel, expensive & reasonable places to eat; a condominium complex, senior & student housing, a pier for ferries & other boats that bring tourists & visitors like Mark Zukerberg & his wife, who will sail over in their google-driven speedboat for a great seafood lunch & an afternoon of mud baths & massage. Movie stars would rent beautiful river-view suites while they get Botox treatments & recuperate from plastic surgery.

It needn’t be only for rich tourists. Let’s have a learning center with free seminars for Vallejo residents, and courses on marine life & tidelands, good nutrition, free weight-lifting & yoga classes; a carousel, a fine planetarium, a great day-care center. What about an art film house, and a fine, fitting home and performance hall for our great symphony orchestra – it’s about time.

How about this: the hottest night-club in the Bay Area, right down there on the shores of our southern waterfront, with top notch DJ’s & world-class entertainment, where guests can arrive directly by boat at its dedicated pier, and let’s call it THE CEMENT FACTORY.

Vallejo is gorgeous; it could also be prosperous, and clean & healthy at the same time. I can easily imagine a beautiful river city, with a thriving, integrated community, great schools, active citizens, & elected officials who listen to & represent the people.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…


  1. December 1, 2015 @ 9:33 am David Pearce

    Another good article, Carol. So many good ideas. It has been a long, rough and winding road but we are going to get a park. Thirteen years of looking at a dirt patch with weeds and pigeon and sea gull droppings will finally disappear in my lifetime (hopefully). Thanks again, for all your effort and continued involvement


  2. December 1, 2015 @ 12:50 pm Port Parrot

    You never give me your money
    Your only give me your funny paper
    And in the middle of negotiations you break down


  3. December 1, 2015 @ 11:39 pm Chris

    Pardon me for saying this, but this is the lady who has supposedly been in essentially private discussions with this Mayor regarding something to do with a waterfront park, working to establish whatever her vision may be for a park, only to discover that nothing she had discussed with the Mayor bears any relationship to the park as proposed by its proponents in Participatory Budgeting! OMG!

    Then Ms. Pearlman proceeds to embark on on a whimsical daydream about Mare Island, about which, apparently, she knows nearly nothing. Just know, among many other things, that over $200 million has been spent on Mare Island in some 15 years or so–not that one could tell. But this is incidental. The lady had some interest in this town, and that is something. Reach out, Carol, and I’d be pleased to help with Mare Island.


  4. December 3, 2015 @ 7:15 am John_K

    Dreaming is good… I recollect about a quarter century ago, a fellow told me of a dream he was having about a “Mare Island Brewery”… at the time, the Naval Shipyard was still open, and it seemed like a long shot.


  5. December 3, 2015 @ 4:08 pm anon

    Carol opines: [The rumor is a certain Mr. Callahan is supposed to clean up & beautify that park as part of his deal with the city in return for the development of a parcel of waterfront land nearby that he’s clearly in no hurry to do.]

    Have you heard of quid, pro, quo (something received for something else)? Callaghan was to clean up & beautify after the city allowed him to develop. Cloutier, Gomes, Brown and the General VIB cabal stalled the development. The consequence of their tireless efforts was no “clean up & beautify”.


    • December 3, 2015 @ 4:34 pm Publicus

      Wrong again, anon. When Callahan got approvals to build the State Farm building on pubic park lands, the deal was that the loss of the park would be remediated by development of the south waterfront park. The State Farm building got built but the waterfront park didn’t. So now the public is supposed to pay Callahan’s bill as a part of PB. Right. And Oz worked/works for Callahan? That explains it. The quid pro quo wasn’t and now we have both a big vacant building taking up our public parklands, no park and a dust bowl on the southern waterfront. I don’t think you can blame any of that on Stephanie or the what you call the VIB cabal. It rests solely in the Mayor’s office. Remember that’s the guy who won by three votes in a recount against Cloutier with ballots found stuffed in the trash in the Registrar’s Office. The real cabal must have been really serious about keeping control of their little Vallejo gulag.


    • December 3, 2015 @ 4:50 pm wharf rat

      The quid-pro-quo was supposed to include park development (or a portion thereof) as mitigation for the removal of a redwood grove and public lawn area to accomodate the development of the wonderfull State Farm building – a modern monolith dedicated to a disfunctional waterfront vision and cronyism .
      ”Replete with it’s plastic sculpture and parking lot that now graces our waterfront”
      Callahans quid-pro -quo is a moving target that seemingly jumps from one project to another , as mitigation but never materalizes , staff seems to lose the records or forget of deals cut in this respect , if this developers promised mitigation and liabilities (see parking structure and public art collection) were ever totaled and enforced he would probably have to file for chapter 11 or serve jail time . From an economic development perspective this developer is more a ”public parasite” than anything , his track record is the real quid-pro-quo
      (something recieved for nothing) the ”general VIB cabal” simply shared the truth and asked hard questions while others lined their pockets , a form of (crony-quid-pro-quo) we know so well .


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