What would you do if your most cherished childhood place was at risk of being destroyed forever by a multi-billion dollar company? Would you stand up to those high-powered execs and their slick PR flacks or would you shy away from a fight?
If you were Gail Raabe or her husband Matt Leddy you would stand up, rally your neighbors and make your voice heard. You would keep fighting through all the ups and downs. You wouldn’t give up.
I am inspired by Gail and Matt’s story, which they recently shared in this powerful video. I bet if you watch it, you’ll be inspired too.
“When you pick a path, you follow that path until it ends. You don’t just stop because it becomes scary or hard,” said Matt.
Gail and Matt are currently leading the charge to stop agribusiness giant Cargill’s continued efforts to develop as many as 1,436 acres of salt ponds in Redwood City with thousands of houses. This project would plop a new city on open space that should be restored to natural wetlands to benefit people and wildlife. It would clog local freeways and put thousands of families in the path of rising sea levels.
After meeting in grad school, Gail and Matt settled down in Gail’s hometown of Redwood City. They’ve been fighting to protect their Bay shoreline from deep pocketed developers ever since.
[quote float=”right”]“San Francisco Bay is just this theme that is woven throughout our lives,” said Gail. [/quote]
Because of the efforts of Gail and Matt to protect the Bay over the last few decades, the Bay is healthier. Local gems like Bair Island, which they helped save from development in the 80s, are vibrant natural places where birds and seals thrive and families visit to bike, kayak and enjoy the outdoors.
Cargill is relentless in its efforts to pave the Bay for profit. Despite widespread opposition and a rejection of its development plan by Redwood City, the company continues to plan a massive bay fill project.
Watch this 2008 video by KQED Quest documenting the history of SF Bay and the people who have worked to improve our region. Save The Bay’s co-founder Sylvia McLaughlin discusses the state of the Bay in the early 1960s, and the initial successes of our grassroots movement.