VIDEO. From the San Mateo County Harbor District Commissioner’s meeting on Wednesday, October 19th, 2022 at 1:00pm by Zoom.
SMCo Harbor General Manager, Jim Pruett, reports.
Issue: Staff recommends that the District Board of Commissioners approve the attached Resolution No. 22-28 declaring that the tug vessel “Caleb,” which is currently sunk in the outer anchorage at Pillar Point Harbor, is abandoned property. Declaring the vessel abandoned property is a crucial element of the District’s lawsuit seeking declaratory relief against the owners of the vessel. Achieving a favorable verdict on this issue will allow the District to remove and destroy the vessel, abating the hazard to navigation, the environment, and the public.
Recommendation/Motion: Motion: Approve the attached Resolution No. 22-28 declaring that the tug vessel “Caleb,” which is currently sunk in the outer anchorage at Pillar Point Harbor, is abandoned property.
Background/Discussion: T/V Caleb (the “Caleb”), a 94-foot steel hulled vessel (USCG Doc. No. 597271), entered Pillar Point Harbor on July 8, 2017 seeking safe harbor from a dangerous sea state. The registered owners of the vessel are Gwen Danielson and Daniel Powell, who operated and partly resided on the vessel in the outer harbor between 2017 and March 2022. Danielson and Powell abandoned the Caleb at Johnson Pier after the USCG issued an Administrative Order from the Captain of the Port requiring removal of all fuel and hazardous materials from the vessel based on the poor condition of the vessel and risk posed to the environment. After the USCG completed its hazardous material removal operation, the District contracted with Global Diving & Salvage to acquire appropriate ground tackle and re-anchor the Caleb in the outer anchorage in order to remove it from Johnson Pier.
Owners Danielson and Powell have not been seen at Pillar Point Harbor or on or near the Caleb since March 2022. The District has issued several notices and attempted to contact the owners without success. In late May 2022, the Caleb sunk at anchor in the shallow waters of the outer anchorage. While partially submerged, the vessel is still visible from shore presenting a hazard to the public and to other vessels navigating in the outer harbor. The Caleb is also deteriorating and poses a threat to the sensitive environment at Pillar Point Harbor. District staff has placed markers and signs discouraging the public from approaching the Caleb, but removal and destruction of the vessel is necessary to abate the current hazards.
Harbors and Navigation Code section 522 provides that sunken vessels that are allowed to remain on publicly owned submerged land in an unseaworthy or dilapidated condition for longer than 30 days without a watchman are abandoned property. Section 522 further states that the District must adopt a resolution expressing its lack of consent for such property to be abandoned within its jurisdiction in order to take title to the vessel for the purposes of removal, destruction, or other means of abatement. The Caleb meets the criteria for abandoned property and District staff desire to remove the Caleb from the outer anchorage and destroy it.
District General Counsel is preparing to file a complaint for declaratory relief against the owners of the Caleb in San Mateo Superior Court. This lawsuit will result in a court order declaring the vessel abandoned property, or in the alternative, marine debris and will authorize the District to proceed with abatement. In this complaint, the District will allege that it has declared the Caleb abandoned property by resolution. Accordingly, adoption of Resolution 22-28 is a prerequisite to filing the complaint. Counsel advises that this step will shield the District from any liability based on potential due process claims from the owners.
Fiscal Impact: There is no fiscal impact from declaring the Caleb abandoned property. Costs of abatement of the vessel will be brought before the Board at a later date.
San Mateo County Harbor District Board Meetings ~ 3rd Wednesday @ 1:00pm
Board of Harbor Commissioners Contact Information:
Please note that email correspondence sent to or from Members of the Harbor Commission via the District’s website are considered public records and may be subject to disclosure and additional distribution pursuant to the Public Records Act and the Brown Act.
Nancy Reyering, President
Phone: (650) 851-405
William Zemke, Vice President/Secretary
Phone: (650) 730-9239
Tom Mattusch, Treasurer
Phone: (650) 619-0459
Virginia Chang Kiraly, Commissioner
Phone: (650) 730-3911
Edmundo Larenas, Commissioner
Phone: (650) 730-3810
District Office: 504 Avenue Alhambra, Ste. 200, El Granada, CA 94018
Mailing Address: PO Box 1449, El Granada, CA 94018
Phone: (650) 583-4400 Fax: (650) 583-4614
The Harbor District is governed by a five-member Board of Harbor Commissioners, who were elected county-wide for staggered four-year terms. Beginning with the election in 2020, Commissioners will be elected by District, as was approved by the Board of Commissioners in 2018.
Following shows when each Commissioner’s term ends.
- Chang Kiraly, Mattusch, Zemke – 2025
- Larenas, Reyering – 2022
For information regarding Election procedures and deadlines, click this link to San Mateo County’s Shape the Future.
At the Regular Board meeting of January 15, 2020, Commissioner Nancy Reyering was voted in as President of the Harbor Board of Commissioners for the calendar year, 2020.
At a special meeting of the Harbor Board of Commissioners on September 19, 2019, Commissioner Reyering was elected to the office of Vice President in addition to her office of Secretary.. .
At the January 16, 2019 Regular Board meeting, Commissioner Reyering was elected to the position of Secretary by the majority of the Board.
Commissioner Nancy Reyering was elected to the San Mateo County Harbor Commission in November 2018.
Nancy is a lifelong peninsula resident. She graduated from Stanford University with degrees in Linguistics and French. During her professional career, she founded a property development and management company specializing in executive office complexes in Atherton, Menlo Park, and Redwood City. As a volunteer she has taught high school (AP French), served as VP at Stanford Professional Women Alumnae Association, and is currently a director of the Committee for Green Foothills.
Awards for Ms. Reyering’s work include a San Mateo County Sustainable Development Award, and Woodside Environmental Champion.
As a third generation Californian, and a sailor from a young age, Ms. Reyering has sailed out of almost every port in San Mateo County, and has lifetime interests in our coast and marinas. Nancy will work collaboratively with the public and fellow commissioners to ensure the mission statement of the Harbor District is met.
At the January 15, 2020 Regular Board meeting, Commissioner Chang Kiraly was voted in to the positions of both Vice President and Secretary of the Harbor Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Chang Kiraly was elected as President of the Harbor Board of Commissioners at a special meeting on September 19, 2019. She was previously Board President in 2018.
At a special meeting on November 16, 2015, the Board of Commissioners interviewed six candidates seeking to fill the vacancy on the Board. Virginia Chang Kiraly was appointed by the Board to fill the vacancy, Commissioner Chang Kiraly ran for a four year term in 2016 and won, being elected to a four year term on the Harbor Board. She was re-elected to Vice President of the Board on January 18, 2017.
Virginia earned her B.A. in Government and Economics from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2007, she was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to the California Commission for Economic Development. She served on the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury for two years from 2007-2009 and as Foreperson from 2008-2009. During her time on the Civil Grand Jury, she led an effort to connect public school fire alarms to first responders, such as fire departments (2008-2009); curb public employee pensions in San Mateo County cities (2008-2009); and discourage public agencies from using cash out re-funding of their general obligation bonds (2007-2008)– a practice that has since been deemed illegal in California.
Virginia has fifteen years of professional experience in corporate financial analysis, planning, and investments. She is a former Senior Director of the Nasdaq Stock Market and has worked at some of the country’s leading financial institutions.
She serves on the boards of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, California State Parks Foundation, and Sequoia High School Education Foundation. She is the founder and President of Ring The Bell Fund, which was established in 2012 to advocate, educate, and raise funds for school fire alarms to be connected to first responders and for automatic sprinklers to be installed in schools. She is a member of the San Mateo County Community College District’s Measure G Parcel Tax Oversight Committee and the Sequoia Union High School District’s Career Technical Education Steering Committee. She is a guest lecturer on “Women & Management” at Notre Dame de Namur.
A daughter of Chinese immigrants, Virginia was born and raised in Austin, Texas. She and her husband, Ken, live in unincorporated West Menlo Park with their two sons.
Contact information for Virginia Chang Kiraly:
At the Regular Board meeting on January 15, 2020, Commissioner Tom Mattusch was once again voted in as Treasurer of the Harbor Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Mattusch has served as the Treasurer in 2018 and 2019.
Commissioner Tom Mattusch was first elected to the San Mateo County Harbor Commission in November 2014, and re-elected in November of 2016. He was elected as President of the Commission, re-elected for a 2nd term at the Board Meeting of January 18, 2017.
Captain Tom Mattusch is the owner/operator of the Huli Cat, a charterboat in Pillar Point Harbor. He has fished the West Coast since 1967. He fishes for salmon, rockfish, tuna, Dungeness crab, flatfish and Humboldt squid. Tom also participates in Nature Trips, Bird Watching, Whale Watching and ash scattering at sea. He was a Member of the CA DFW Salmon Stamp Committee, License Agent Advisory Committee, NOAA’s Sportfishing Action Team and is an Ambassador for DFW’s Fishing Passport Program. Tom was a Member of the Regional Working Groups for the Central and North Central Coast Region to assist in the creation of the network of marine reserves along the coast. Past Board Member of the Golden Gate Fishermans Association and the Fishery Enhancement and Research Foundation. He is currently on the Board of Coastside Fishing Club and assists the National Weather Service as a Marine Users Group member. Tom has collaborated with the PCFFA and Institute for Fisheries Research on research projects. In addition to charterboat activities Tom participates in fisheries research with NOAA/NMFS, The Nature Conservancy and has completed projects with Scripps, Point Reyes Bird Observatory and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. He has participated in Exempted Fisheries Permit projects for chilipepper and other underutilized species. Tom has experience in healthcare operations management and an MBA in Management. A former competition freediver, underwater hockey player, Tom has worked out of Pillar Point Harbor since 1992.
Commissioner Zemke was appointed to the position of Commissioner San Mateo County Harbor District, District 1 on November 3, 2020 for a term of four years. He has been a resident of South San Francisco since 1976 and has worked to improve the community as an appointed city official on various commissions as well as filling many volunteer positions.
Raised in Spokane Washington, he received a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1973. Upon graduation he moved to California to take a position with Pacific Gas and Electric. Over a 38 year career he worked on generation planning and environmental and regulatory compliance activities, and received the Company’s Mielke award for Outstanding Community Services in 1996. He enjoys woodworking, gardening and other outdoor activities including hiking the diverse environments of San Mateo County’s shorlines, forests and hills.
Commissioner Larenas was re-elected to his seat on the Harbor Board of Commissioners in November of 2018.
Commissioner Larenas was elected as Secretary of the Harbor Board of Commissioners at the Board Meeting of January 17, 2018.
Edmundo Larenas was re-elected to a four year seat on the San Mateo County Harbor Commission November 6, 2018. Commissioner Larenas was elected originally for a two year seat on the Commission November 2016.
Commissioner Larenas was voted to the position of Treasurer at the SMCHD Board Meeting of January 18, 2017.