New Issue of Sausalito Stories Magazine Features Book Excerpt from Joe Tate's "Last Voyage of the Redlegs"
We include Sausalito fiction, poetry and non-fiction in our Sausalito Stories Online Literary Magazine, and this month we're proud to share an excerpt from a book with a first-person perspective on Sausalito history.
If you weren't in Sausalito between the mid-60's and mid-90's you missed a long-simmering (and sometimes boiling) confrontation that divided the town geographically and culturally. On one side was a diverse community of people living along the waterfront, many of them in abandoned Navy and harbor vessels repurposed as housing. On the other side were many residents of Sausalito and other nearby areas, concerned about sanitation, views, drugs and (at times) violence.
The only thing all sides could agree on was that the area smelled bad at low tide and that raw sewage was routine.
The conflicts were part generational (youth vs. elders), part cultural (artists and musicians vs. property owners), and part socio-economic (poor residents vs. businesses and residents who paid high prices to live here). Toss in a few violent crimes and ambitious developers and you have the recipe for a crisis.
A series of compromises produced today's Sausalito mix of cooperative houseboat marinas and commercial houseboat areas, but only after mistakes on all sides and dangerous confrontations. Over time wounds have begun to heal. Sanitation (and smells) have improved dramatically. What was lost is an argument on which there are as many opinions as there are residents… and just among our friends we include passionate advocates of starkly different views. History is not neat and clean.
Historians start their research by going back to primary sources, to see and hear what was written and recorded by the participants. Musician Joe Tate is one of those participants in the old waterfront community and the conflicts of the 1960's and 70's, and continues to perform regularly in Sausalito after 40 years. A leader of the famous local band The Redlegs, he was one of the headliners who donated their time at the recent fundraiser to help people who lost their homes in the summer houseboat fire, and his performances appear regularly on our Sausalito Calendar.
Joe is working on a book titled "The Last Voyage of the Redlegs" that chronicles part of this era, and we are proud to include an excerpt in Sausalito Stories for October, 2009. Whatever your feelings about the era, it's a fascinating read with incredible photos from the period.
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