Closing down. We tried.


The Outer Harbor at Pete’s has been removed, so there’s no point fighting to keep a public harbor at the site.

After discussion with our donor/members, we have stopped taking donations, and are closing down Save Pete’s Harbor Incorporated.

One bit of good news: the IRS finally approved our 501(c)(3) non-profit status, so your donations definitely are tax-deductible.

Thanks for all your help and support.


SAVE THE DATE – Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser!


Save Pete’s Harbor will be holding a PANCAKE BREAKFAST FUNDRAISER on August 17 in Redwood City! That’s Saturday morning, from 8 to 10 AM. Tickets for the breakfast will be $5, and about two-thirds of that money will go directly to Save Pete’s Harbor.

Location: Applebee’s,¬†1135 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City.

We will be focusing on selling tickets in person, and we do not have an online purchasing form for tickets. However, you can send payment to us electronically and then contact us (at savepetesharbor at gmail dot com) with your name and contact information to assure that the money you donated is set aside for the purchase of tickets to our breakfast.

SAVE THE DATE and check back here the SPH website for more details! We’d love to see you there. ūüôā

Can’t attend this fundraiser? You can still DONATE to our cause or help us out in other constructive ways.

Can Redwood City Save Pete’s Harbor?

One of the latest blog entries in the Redwood City-Woodside Patch by a Save Pete’s Harbor officer urges Redwood City to help Save Pete’s Harbor maintain the community’s legacy of recreational boating and public access to the waterfront at Pete’s Harbor. You can read that article HERE.

There was also an article in the Mercury this morning, about another group calling itself “SF Bay Marinas for All” which has applied to the State Lands Commission for the leases to the outer harbor.

Press Release for July 15, 2013



Media Contact
SavePetesHarbor at Gmail dot Com

Pete’s Harbor’s New Owners?
As Parties Jockey for Ownership of Pete’s Harbor,
Redwood City Must Protect the Public Trust

SACRAMENTO –¬†While in attendance at the July 12 special meeting of the California State Lands Commission (SLC), Save Pete’s Harbor (SPH) members heard representatives of a group calling itself “SF Bay Marinas for All” (SFBMA) state their intent to submit a lease proposal for submerged public lands at Pete’s Harbor in Redwood City.[1]¬†The group is headed by Alison Madden, a lawyer who unsuccessfully negotiated for a small group of former tenants to extract a settlement of $1.2M from the Pete’s Harbor property developer, the Pauls Corporation, in January. The settlement was intended to be in exchange for dropping the fight to keep a public marina at Pete’s Harbor.[2][3][4]

As the news reported,[4][5]¬†the negotiations fell apart when the Pauls Corporation realized that Ms. Madden did not speak for¬†Save Pete’s Harbor or for many of the tenants, and that these other people would continue to advocate for a public marina as Save Pete’s Harbor. Since January, SPH has continued to advocate for the preservation of a public marina at Pete’s Harbor, and as the Pauls Corporation’s development plans for Pete’s Harbor have progressed, SPH has not partnered with Ms. Madden or SFBMA in this lease application or on any other matter.[6][7]¬†SPH’s sole objective is to guarantee that a truly public marina remains at the site, and we remain fully separate from any attempts to profit or personally gain from the taxpayer-owned public lands within the Pete’s Harbor area.

The development of Pete’s Harbor is clearly becoming a complex matter with two or more commercial interests which may proceed in tandem. We strongly hope the City of Redwood City realizes that new private interest in marina leasing at the Pete’s Harbor area creates a need for careful planning oversight, not just in the water but on land as well. If¬†Redwood City¬†continues to exclude Pete’s Harbor from its Inner Harbor Specific Plan, one of the only ways for the city to assure adequate public discussion for development of the land or for use of the historic marina and harbor is to provide a separate formal process for public input regarding requirements for public access to the lands adjacent to the waterways of Redwood Creek and Smith Slough.

Recently, Paula Uccelli, widow of the late Pete Uccelli who had leased the submerged public lands in Smith Slough for Pete’s Harbor, made the choice to terminate those leases,[8]¬†opening the door for SFBMA’s lease application.

“We at Save Pete’s Harbor fully expect additional private interests to come forward with proposals to capitalize on the use of these extremely valuable public assets of a marina in Smith Slough,” said James Lee, Secretary for SPH. “As parties jockey to control this valuable area, we strongly urge the City of Redwood City as well as the SLC to protect the public trust by acting diligently in the best interests of all people and boaters of California, and not simply for local or private interests.”



For half a century, the public has enjoyed excellent access to the public assets that are the navigable waters of Smith Slough in Redwood City, and the use of these taxpayer-owned, public trust submerged lands is important to the people of California, not just city residents.

Public trust lands are designated for the use and enjoyment of all the people of the United States. California’s navigable waterways or “submerged lands” are part of the public trust. Here in California, the state takes on the responsibility of assuring its taxpaying residents have access to using all public trust lands, including navigable waterways.[9]

SPH knows that the City and the State can and must take on the role of upholding the public trust, especially when private or commercial interests are in conflict with the interest of the public.


OP-ED: Loss of History and Public Access on 4th of July


Our treasurer Rick wrote a great op-ed which the Daily Journal published this weekend. He spoke of the loss of history and public access at Pete’s Harbor, as evidenced by the state of affairs at the harbor on the 4th of July:

Pete’s Harbor at the end of the road

“The public deserves the right to access their waterfront, as they have for so many years. We hope that a sensible compromise will prevent this from being the end of the road for iconic Pete‚Äôs Harbor.”

Most of the past twenty Independence Days I have watched the Redwood City fireworks, usually from a boat kept at Pete’s Harbor. Pete’s is the marina all the way at the Bay-end of the road, many twists and turns and name changes after Whipple Avenue crosses Highway 101.

Each of those Fourths of July, I’ve seen hundreds of cars pull into Pete’s Harbor, filling then overfilling the parking lots, and carrying hundreds of families arriving for a picnic with a view of the fireworks.

Even the two recent years that the fireworks were canceled because of city budget trouble, many cars came and then went away disappointed.

This year, the disappointment was much deeper. Yes, there would be fireworks, but no, there is no more Pete’s Harbor.

Instead, they found a sign stating ‚Äúprivate parking only,‚ÄĚ fences, barbed wire and armed guards at the new gate. The public was not allowed in, even though the parking lots were empty and the picnic spots were waiting. The guards turned all the general public away…

(Read the full article here.)

Listen to KPFA Reports on Pete’s Harbor


Alex Kekauoha has reported on Pete’s Harbor twice for KPFA radio. Below you can listen to his reports in full:


Recent report, posted online on June 20, 2013. You can hear James Lee (Secretary for Save Pete’s Harbor), Buckley Stone (Pete’s Harbor resident), and Alison Madden (former Pete’s Harbor resident) speak:


Earlier report, posted online on January 31, 2013. You can hear Chris Murphy (Pete’s Harbor resident), James Lee, and Alison Madden speak:

There are two slight inaccuracies. In the June report, a special July 1 State Lands Commission (SLC) hearing is mentioned. There was no such hearing, but there was a resident whose unlawful detainer hearing was that day and where the SLC was invited to attend. (The SLC did not attend.) In the January report, Ms. Madden is named as a representative of Save Pete’s Harbor. Ms. Madden has not represented Save Pete’s Harbor as of January 24, 2013.

The First Inner Harbor Plan Meeting

13 June 2013 РEvening outside the Seaport Conference Center near the Port of Redwood City. The first meeting of the Inner Harbor Specific Plan was held here. Residents of Docktown and officers of Save Pete’s Harbor were present to advocate for vibrant, sustainable waterfront communities that understand an work with the local environment and the effects of sea level rise.

The Evolving Story

According to Paula Uccelli’s recent op-ed [1] and other recent press, her¬†interactions with the State of California have resulted in a myriad of¬†state-requirements and details. She claims these have mired attempts¬†to convert the public marina at Pete’s Harbor into a marina solely¬†for the benefit of the residents of luxury condominiums developer Pauls¬†Corporation plans for the site.

In the confusion, Paula laments that she can’t continue operation of a¬†commercial ‚Äúpublic‚ÄĚ marina, saying ‚Äúthis has been an extremely difficult¬†decision and it is with heavy hearts that the community will be forced to¬†say goodbye to the possibility of Pete’s Harbor continuing operations on¬†the site.”[2]

When, in September 2012, Paula first publicly announced her decision to¬†cease operation of a commercial marina, the mantra of that PR campaign was¬†‚ÄúChange is Hard‚ÄĚ and she encouraged the public to embrace the Pauls¬†Corporation’s plans for a luxury housing development and private marina at¬†Pete’s Harbor [3],[4]. Nine months have passed and the story has evolved.¬†Uccelli now artfully intertwined the business decision she made, in 2012¬†or before, to cease operation of the public marina so that a luxury¬†housing development could be built at Pete’s Harbor, directly into the¬†state’s 2013 efforts to assure that conditions of the Pete’s Harbor leases¬†of public trust lands were met.

How did we get here? In 1952, Pete Uccelli saw the need for a marina and¬†harbor for the boating public, and during the 1960’s he built a business¬†around providing for that need. Pete executed his plans with as little¬†interference from the government as possible. His marina, restaurant, and¬†harbor used state lands without the required permissions and permits. He¬†wrangled with the state over trespass, right of way, and public access¬†issues from the late 1960’s onwards. Pete was happy to serve the public¬†voluntarily; he just didn’t like the state requiring him to do so on the¬†public trust lands he’d annexed as part of Pete’s Harbor. When conflict¬†and confusion about Pete’s Harbor’s use of public trust lands came to a¬†head with the state in the mid-1980s, it was possible for the state to see¬†that Pete was fulfilling a public trust purpose by having a public marina,¬†eatery, and boatyard/harbor right there on public trust lands. The state¬†provided Pete Uccelli with essentially a give-away lease and gave clear¬†title to the contested adjacent lands. The public rallied around Pete to¬†help make this happen with a campaign called “Save Pete’s Harbor.”

Now the public access marina on public trust lands is again at risk. It¬†could become a casualty of red tape and bureaucratic details that may¬†inadvertently allow Uccelli or the developer to remove leasehold¬†improvements from the State of California’s public trust lands before the¬†public has had time to express to the state its concerns about preserving¬†the public trust interests at Pete’s Harbor.

The group Save Pete’s Harbor, a California public benefit corporation, is¬†intent on helping to keep a public marina in Smith Slough for the benefit¬†of the boating public, and will work with the state, the county of San Mateo, the city of Redwood City, the Pauls¬†Corporation, and other entities to make this happen.


Lou Covey Opines in The Patch

Lou Covey, whose pro-Cargill environmental front group “Sustainable Redwood City” has received money from Paula Uccelli in the past, has commented in his “Local Motive” blog on the latest news at Pete’s Harbor:

“Today, Pet’s [sic] Harbor threw in the towel in it’s [sic] ongoing battle with the State of California Lands Commission. ¬†It formally terminated it’s [sic] leases to the outer harbor.”

Click the title to read more:

Pete’s Harbor: Be careful what you wish for

Mr. Covey’s rumors of the death of a public marina in Smith Slough (Pete’s Outer Harbor) are greatly exaggerated. SPH and others in the community are working with the developer and all levels of state and local government to keep the marina from being destroyed, and another marina lost — probably forever — to all the public boaters of the South Bay and Peninsula.

SPH Press Release 06/25/13


As Paula Uccelli Throws in Towel,
Save Pete’s Harbor Continues Fight for City Legacy

Media Contact
Leslie Webster
President, Save Pete’s Harbor

REDWOOD CITY –¬†Although Paula Uccelli, landlord of the once-thriving Pete’s Harbor marina, has notified the State Lands Commission (SLC) and the press that she will be terminating her leases with the state and essentially giving up the outer harbor,[1][2]¬†Save Pete’s Harbor’s (SPH) efforts to preserve these taxpayer-owned submerged lands for the sake of public access for Redwood City residents and the wider recreational boating community continue.

At the June 24, 2013 City Council meeting, city staff presented an outline of a process to explore the development of a “Community Benefit Program.” Such a program would define the conditions and process for allowing specific incentives or bonuses to be granted to a developer, such as the Pauls Corporation, in exchange for certain desired benefits or amenities for the community.

While such a future program would be beneficial, SPH understands that Redwood City already, absolutely has the ability and the right to demand that Paula Uccelli, Paul Powers of the Pauls Corporation, or any other stakeholders in any future development at the Pete’s Harbor area continue the city’s long and valued legacy of public access to the waterfront and recreational boating by preserving and maintaining a commercial marina at the site.

“It is clear from the presentation of a possible future Community Benefit Program that the city is looking for ways to encourage developers to do the right thing,” said James Lee, SPH Secretary. “So the question must be asked: why isn’t preservation of the commercial marina at the outer harbor not a ‘desired community benefit’? There is no excuse for the city to hold back and not demand that the Pauls Corporation or any other developer interested in the Pete’s Harbor area commit to preserving the vital public resource of a commercial marina open to the public.

“Unless the city takes decisive action to help preserve such a marina in this unique and historic area, Redwood City residents and the entire recreational boating community will lose nearly all access to these taxpayer owned public resources.”

Since SPH’s stunning victory at the City Council’s¬†May 6¬†appeal hearing, the organization has continued to work for the preservation of a commercial marina for the public in various ways, from expressing our concerns about this potential loss of longstanding public access to the SLC and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), to expressing our vision of a viable, commercial marina to representatives of the city and the Pauls Corporation. SPH members have also attended the city’s first Inner Harbor Specific Plan Taskforce meeting and has continually lobbied the city to include the Pete’s Harbor area in the Specific Plan.

SPH hopes that the Pauls Corporation or any potential developer interested in the Pete’s Harbor area will be willing to work with the community in developing and implementing a long term plan for a commercial marina to remain in Smith Slough, one that will ultimately be run by a professional marina management company and used by the public after construction on the upland development is finished.
Lee said, “Some people might think this turn of events will make it easier to develop Pete’s Harbor and erase the possibility of keeping this valuable resource for recreational boating alive, but actually, I am positive that it will only help us mobilize support:

“For the many people in the community who told us they were skeptical of the idea of housing built away from our downtown core and in the path of sea level rise, the selling point of the proposed upland development at Pete’s was that the outer harbor would remain a commercial marina and a true resource for the community that would aid Redwood City in its efforts to become a destination city. We were told that the community benefits gained by the preservation of a commercial marina would make the parking variance, the mass community displacement, and the privatization of a longstanding public asset worth it. But what is the selling point now if there is a possibility that public access and recreational boating might be done away with almost completely?

“This turn of events will only strengthen community opposition to the potential loss of this treasured resource for the public. Rest assured, this is not over.”

(SPH invites the public to visit SavePetesHarbor.Net to learn more and get involved.)