Sausalito reflects on racial pacts in historic city document

The Sausalito City Council is still grappling with whether to include language regarding race pacts in an official document cataloging the city’s history.

The council elected to return the document to its consultant, Christopher VerPlanck, director of VerPlanck Historic Preservation Consulting. VerPlanck will consider information on controversial topics such as race-based housing restrictions and the impact on the slow growth movement, and whether it is appropriate to include them in the document.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the council received an updated version of the document, called a statement of historical context. The version presented to council members recommended the deletion of these references. Council was expected to approve the document, but no decision has been made, Mayor Janelle Kellman said.

Kellman said council member Ian Sobieski was absent and officials hoped to come back to the document at a later date when they could include his input, she said.

Councilman Melissa Blaustein called controversial topics “critical components” to telling the city’s honest story.

“It should and must be included in this statement,” she said. “Every chance we have to acknowledge our past, we should.”

Kellman called the discussion “extremely meaningful.”

“The entire board wanted further research into this topic and asked staff to engage the historical consultant to gather even more detail.” she said.

Council member Jill Hoffman said the scope of the document was concerning and the proposed wording was accurate. She said she suggested going back to the consultant “as the appropriate route given the need for the document to be accurate as a reference document for the Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission.”

The staff report says the commissions determined that the information was more appropriate for “alternative policy documents” such as the housing element of the general plan.

During the meeting, Sausalito resident Kristen Wolslegel read an excerpt from a racial housing exclusion clause that existed in her neighborhood. She said in an email to city staff that the pact covered about 30 parcels originally owned by Sausalito Land & Ferry Co.

The excerpt stated that none of the properties were permitted to be sold to anyone who was not white, and anyone who was not white could only live in the area as a servant or employee of a white occupier. , did he declare.

“It was surprising to say the least,” Blaustein said. “I think everyone took a break.”

Blaustein said the document will be referred to the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and then to the Planning Commission before it is heard again by council.

In October, the council returned a draft of the declaration to the historical commission, calling for further changes related to indigenous tribes; racial housing conventions; and the impact of the slow growth movement on the lack of racial and socioeconomic diversity in the city.

A historical context statement functions as a comprehensive study of Sausalito, its history, development, and the social issues underlying its evolution. It provides an inventory and description of properties and the thresholds by which they might be eligible for local, state and national historic records.

The statement also aims to guide future historic preservation and help planners preserve historic buildings in the city to consider proposed changes related to social equity.

Changes approved by the commission included a previously expanded statement of historical context regarding Marinship, the history of the city’s annexation, an acknowledgment of lands for native tribes, a corrected reference to the city’s sphere of influence, and the division of the Coast Miwok period and the Spanish and Mexican periods into separate periods. and period of distinct importance.

Kellman said she was pleased with the inclusion of a land acknowledgment statement referring to the tribes.

“It is essential that we as a community respect the Indigenous nations who claim land and accurately tell how the land changed from Indigenous to non-Indigenous control,” she said.

Comments are closed.