TOW NO MORE: The days of towing-in at Maverick’s are numbered. That’s right, the party’s over, or at least it’s winding down. For tow-in advocates (myself included) at Maverick’s, it’s 3 a.m. and the neighbors just called the police–for the second time.

No more towing-in at Maverick’s?

That’s a pretty big claim, I know. I did some legwork, and from it I deduced a logical end. Here’s how the whole PWC/Maverick’s crisis has played out so far.

A task force, made up of pro-environment and pro-PWC camps, was formed by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) Advisory Council. The task force was asked to bring recommendations for PWC use in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to the advisory council.

For recommendations to be made, the members of the task force would have to make concessions. Cool heads would have to find common ground. Reasonable agreement and mediation would have to take place. Both sides would need to make concessions. They didn’t. It couldn’t. They wouldn’t. No melding of the minds took place. Instead, it was a standoff.

Why couldn’t they just get agree, even a little bit?

Why couldn’t they turn black and white ideals into a mellow shade of gray compromise?

Interestingly, the pro-environment camp leaned the furthest, but their concession was shunned. It turns out there was likely to be a tow-in recommendation–of some sort–for Maverick’s. The task force was close to offering the advisory council something to chew on. “We were almost there,” said Doug Ardley of the Surfers’ Environmental Alliance, and a member of the MBNMS task force on MPWC. “One final person from the pro-environment camp [a non-surfing related environ group, by the way] agreed to give in, in a sincere move to make ground, and allow for tow-in surfing at Maverick’s.”

However, the pro-PWC lobby on the task force would not take Maverick’s and be denied access to the rest of the MBNMS (the equivalent of a national park). For the PWC crowd it was all or nothing. Thus the stalemate.



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    Why wouldn’t the pro-PWC group take the Maverick’s concession and run with it, like giddy school children just given more recess time? I couldn’t find out, but my guess is that group, made up mostly of jet ski geeks who don’t surf, must be banking on their lobbying efforts in DC to allow for a total opening of MBNMS to PWC. It certainly wouldn’t be beyond the ideological scope of the Bush administration (pro-business interest) to relent to the PWC lobby.

    Here’s how I see the PWC ban in the MBNMS scenario playing it after the lame duck task force wastes the advisory council’s time in July.

    So no consensus from the task force means no recommendation from the task force to the advisory council. They agreed they couldn’t agree. The advisory council, which probably did not want to deal with this issue anyway, will simply shelve the whole topic, according to Ardley.

    So where does the issue go from the dusty cupboard of shelved advisory council topics? According to Ardley, the PWC issue will rest on the shoulders of NOAA (National Oceanic and atmospheric administration) staffers in DC. Historically NOAA sides with environmentalists. And this is how I came up with my thesis: No more PWC at Maverick’s.

    However, and this is a big however, NOAA administrators (read Bush administration people) have the ultimate say over NOAA staffers. So if the NOAA administrators don’t agree with NOAA staff recommendations, they can order changes. That is, open up part or all of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary to PWC use.

    Does the Bush administration covet PWC lobby money? Not in an election year it doesn’t. What the Bush administration covets are Electoral College votes in California. Pissing off Californians isn’t worth the money gained.