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Houseboaters on Richardson Bay Heading Into More Legal Storms

March 20, 1988|KATHERINE M. GRIFFIN | Times Staff Writer

The anchor-outs themselves are as mixed as their homes. One, Forbes Kiddoo, is a millionaire, but most are of more modest means. The thread that connects them is a strong desire to live independently. "It's a place where I belong, where you're not cramped up against your neighbor," Don Bradley said. "I can play my drums out here at night and nobody bugs me."

Under the terms of the ordinance, anchor-outs who can convince the state Lands Commission that their boats are navigable may be able to stay on in a legal anchorage in a still undesignated area of the bay that covers private land. But officials admit that most of the anchor-outs would flunk a navigability test. Aramburu said officials hope to provide funding to help anchor-outs relocate, but no specific plans have been made.

The Cookes say that if they are forced off the bay, they will set sail for "other beautiful places." Others like Bradley, who make their living as marine salvagers or by doing odd jobs, say they cannot afford to make their boats seaworthy or to relocate to land. To tie up at nearby Waldo Point Harbor, which is full anyway, anchor-outs would have to pay berth fees of $300 to $600 per month, plus a one-time "security deposit" of several thousand dollars. Consequently, said attorney Jarvis, "These people are under direct threat of becoming homeless."

Moyer, who shares his houseboat with an artist wife and 10 cats, views the possible demise of the anchor-out way of life with a good-humored fatalism. He moved to California in 1967, after his Greenwich Village apartment was demolished. "Fighting developers is an old story to me," he said. "But I never figured anybody owned the water. Never made sense to me."

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