Police Called to Pete's Harbor

A heated disagreement took place between a tenant and some construction workers who said they were asked to dismantle parts of the docks in the outer harbor.

Officers from the Redwood City Police Department were called to Pete's Harbor Wednesday morning when a disagreement broke out between a tenant who is still docked in the outer harbor, and the harbormaster Giorgio Garilli, who reportedly asked some construction workers to dismantle part of the docks in the outer harbor.

Chris Murphy, who bought a boat from Paula Uccelli in a lien sale in 2007 and has been living on it in the outer harbor ever since, said his phone rang around 8:10 a.m. Wednesday morning with a call from Garilli.

Murphy said Garilli told him he needed to move one slip over because workers were coming to dismantle part of the docks that morning.

"I said, do you have permission to do that? Because I'm on state land," Murphy told Patch.

Though the Uccelli family owns the inner harbor, the outer harbor area of Pete's Harbor is owned by the California State Lands Commission (SLC). Back in the 1980s, lease agreements were reached between the state and the harbor's founding namesake, Pete Uccelli. 

Since Paula Uccelli has been trying to sell the harbor and marina to Pauls Corporation for the development of a 411-unit luxury waterfront housing community, questions have been raised as to whether the SLC will allow it, since the sale would mean the privatization of the marina for the residents of the new homes, and the original lease between the state and Pete Uccelli was for a mixed-use residential and commercial marina.

Murphy said Garilli told him that the SLC had in fact "requested" that the docks be dismantled.

Murphy said he then got on the phone with Alison Madden, a former tenant and member of Save Pete's Harbor, who is an attorney and represents the group.

Murphy said Madden called the SLC, and representatives said they knew nothing about any request to have the docks dismantled. He said she also told him she had called Pete's Harbor attorney Ted Hannig, who was with Paula Uccelli when he took her call, and that they both also denied any knowledge of the request.

Murphy told Patch that the story changed then, and that he was told that the only work the harbor wanted to do that morning was to remove the docks' cleats, which are metal attachments that allow boats to tie up to the docks.

However, he said, shortly after 8:30 a.m., two men with power tools showed up and started cutting into the docks.

At that point, things reportedly got heated when Murphy told the men they needed to stop, but he said they ignored him, and eventually, Murphy pulled out the electrical cord to their tools and threw it into the water.

At that point, Murphy said Paula Uccelli herself came down to try and diffuse the situation, and she and the workers then walked away.

Adam Alberti, spokesperson for Paula Uccelli and Pete's Harbor said, at some point, a member from Paula's office called the police.

Murphy said at least four or five officers showed up and tried to help smooth things over.

Alberti called the incident an "overblown misunderstanding."

He said, Paula Uccelli and the staff of Pete's Harbor have tried to be as understanding as possible, despite the fact that several boaters still remain at Pete's Harbor in violation of their leases, which ended Jan. 15.

"They've been trying to come to a reasonable understanding with everyone, without getting law enforcement or the courts involved, and I think they've been doing a fantastic job of that so far," he said.

He said, the boaters that insist on remaining at the harbor past their eviction dates are "inhibiting [Paula Uccelli] from conducting repairs to the harbor that they have been seeking to do for some time."

He said, all the staff wanted to do Wednesday morning was a very small amount of work to the docks, and all they asked Chris Murphy to do was move one slip to the side, and that things got "overblown" from there.

Matters between Paula Uccelli, Pauls Corporation and the City of Redwood City have been put on hold until the State Lands Commission gives some sort of guidance as to the status of the outer harbor lease, and whether or not they will allow it to be transferred to Pauls Corporation for private development.

Keep up with all the latest local news - follow Patch!

Sign up for Redwood City-Woodside Patch’s daily newsletter
"Like” us on Facebook
"Follow” us on Twitter

Want to share your opinions with the communities of Redwood City and Woodside? Start your own blog here.
Adam Alberti January 31, 2013 at 06:20 PM
"I said, do you have permission to do that? Because I'm on state land," Murphy told Patch." So everyone understands this area State land leased to Pete's Harbor. The person inhibiting the workers ability to do work and destroying their equipment in the process is squatting on this land and occupying it in protest. The State owns lots of land...Say the State House...this does not give me the right to go pull myself up to the Governors desk and refuse to allow him to sign a bill. @Ralph..thanks for saying that--I refuse to acknowledge or rebut any points on forums like this made by anonymous posters.
Tal Raveh January 31, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Paula Uccelli does not hold a valid lease. The lease over California state land was granted to Pete in 1984, and for the purpose of operating a public commercial marina. For 28 years they avoided paying the lease while making many millions based on having it. Now she thinks that she can sell the water front of san Francisco bay to an out of state developer and to block public access to it, while harming both the boaters and the land of SF bay. This family has been behaving as if no rule applies to them they do not deserve to have a lease over California state land. What they are trying to do is both wrong and infuriating and I believe that justice will prevail.
Tal Raveh January 31, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Adam, a piece of information that might help you understand is that the lease was only granted for the purpose and in the condition that the lease owner will operate a public marina. Paula's stated intention to shut down the marina prevents her from accepting a lease transfer onto her name, let alone transferring it to an out of state corporation that expressed no interest in running the marina. In fact their plan is to block the waterfront and build luxury condominiums so that only 411 apartments can enjoy what has been for years a destination for boaters from all over the state an an incredibly beautiful waterfront for the public to enjoy and as such it should remain
Tal Raveh January 31, 2013 at 09:57 PM
FYI everyone, Chris Murphy was right: she has no right to evict anyone either, and unless she works out a way for a commercial marina to reopen she is most likely to never have approval for the transfer of the lease. Check the facts: http://archives.slc.ca.gov/Meeting_Summaries/1985_Documents/06-26-85/Items/062685R44.pdf
Alison Madden February 21, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Tal and Adam, the land is actually Redwood City waters, in a public trust grant from SLC to Redwood City. Chris is justified in defending himself that it is quite simply not her property. And Adam, a dock/slip on water intended to be inside of, but wrongfully built outside of, a 263 slip harbor and marina is not the same thing as camping on the state house lawn. You lose credibility when you go so far afield in trying to make an analogy. Quite simply, UDs can only be done for your own property. She may have to make other allegations to try to get to the 'hangover and holdover' tenants (hanging over the lot line and holding over after an expired lease). Bottom line, too, however, is that the harbor tried to destroy property now belonging to the City, arguably. 'And' the info is that the long new beautiful wooden dock (newer, relatively) was required as Army Corps of Engineers dock, built under permit and possibly permit required to destroy it. And if it was ACE required then, why wouldn't it be now, for the nice new 'public' marina coming soon, right? Also I've appeared at two Port meetings asking the Port to protect it and be more deliberate until the whole issue is worked out. But to get the whole story out, it takes a few words, then someone is accused of rambling rants, by you, by activists, by anonymous posters, by Patch sanctioned bloggers, and so on. Whew, thankful the SLC listens.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »