Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the derelict Sausalito shoreline, abandoned by the Navy after World War II, is a magnet for young musicians, artists, performers and boat builders looking for a place to use their creativity instead of money to build an idyllic lifestyle in the late 60s.
Guns and drugs drift in to their funky paradise leading to a public outcry to clean up the nautical slum. When the law comes huffing and puffing at their boats, each group brings its best game and the TV cameras catch it all. A swarm of hippies in dingys surround and immobilize the sheriffs. The theatrical folks block a bulldozer in the parking lot with dozens of life-size cardboard figures. Protesters perfect the art of going limp and waving at the TV cameras as they are dragged away. After 5 years of this circus, the developers and yuppies win control of the northernmost marinas.
The next battle stage is a bit south in the Arques Shipyard where the boat builders have formed a co-op and live with their wives and children. A developer builds a couple of upscale office buildings on the adjacent property and forces the eviction of workers and families declaring them a public nuisance preventing affluent tenants from leasing his waterfront offices.
Still further south, around Schoonmaker Point, developers swoop in with grandiose propositions to build hotels and condominiums. Meanwhile, on the property next door, the few remaining artists and craftsmen make some progress stabilizing their homes and workshops around Bob’s Boatyard. Suddenly, Bob’s Boatyard is destroyed in a pre-dawn bulldozer blitz.
Jumping on the groundswell of civic shame following the destruction of the boatyard, residents form an action group with prominent townspeople to promote their vision of a waterfront zone revitalized by the artists and maritime crafts people who gave the city its unique character. Just as this effort seems to be moving toward a solution, the City turns off the electricity and evicts everyone still tied to the Napa Street Pier and trying to rebuild their shops in the dust of the destroyed boatyard.
Now it’s war for survival. Ground troops engage the city planning committees weekly, winning respect for their perseverance. On the public relations front, they stage theatrical celebrations of maritime heritage winning friends in the larger Bay area. Simultaneously, they launch the biggest weapon available in the county courthouse – the countersuit.
After years of demonstrating their worthiness and strengthening strategic alliances, the goal of a live-work community of artists and maritime workers on the waterfront seems close to fruition when suddenly the BCDC, a State environmental regulatory agency, sues fifty adults of the community and fines them $5000 per person for every day they remain on the water.
In the final and most desperate fight to save their homes, they learn the vital truth crucial to residents, civic leaders and even developers of waterfront property everywhere. In order to survive, a neighborhood targeted for redevelopment must provide intrinsic benefits to the public that outweigh the value of increased property tax revenue