That Bill Pierson is quite a guy.
He’s a successful businessman, a world traveler, photographer, arts patron–and, it turns out, a generous commissioner of wetland delineation reports.
Well, just one wetland delineation report, actually. But it’s a good ‘un, in part because the owner of Pierson Building Center is not the owner of the wetlands he unselfishly paid to delineate.
Those are located on a 38-acre site identified in the report as the Balloon Tract.
To Pierson’s credit, the fact that the property was and is the proposed site of the Marina Center development which would be anchored by a rival building supply store in no way deterred his outpouring of philanthropy.
By all accounts, Pierson simply wanted to make sure the city of Eureka and the California Coastal Commission were aware that portions of the property could be undevelopable due to the presence of wetlands.
Undoubtedly it was the same altruistic impulse that caused him to instruct his attorney to forward the report to those agencies, unsolicited and without reference to the fact that it was funded by a man with an overriding economic interest in obstructing the project.
Pierson’s high-mindedness was further demonstrated in his choice of environmental consultants–Zentner and Zentner, a firm that could probably use a little help given that its 15 minutes of fame were spent trying to explain away several stunningly flagrant violations of environmental law.
A U.S. Department of Justice brief summarized the 2001 case as follows:
John Zentner, an environmental consultant in Emeryville, California, and his corporation, Zentner & Zentner, were prosecuted under the Endangered Species Act for unlawfully taking threatened California Red-legged frogs at the site of a new housing project in Concord, California. Zentner and his company collected over 50 protected frogs and 500 tadpoles from the sole pond at the site, shrunk the pond by more than half in order to facilitate the development, and relocated the frogs into the remainder of the pond, which was no longer capable of sustaining them. The defendants failed to notify wildlife authorities of the existence of the frogs at the site despite the demonstrated concern of officials that the species were probably present.
But in John Zentner, Pierson found a man as charitable as himself. After the four federal convictions, Zentner generously donated $75,000 in fines and 200 hours of court-ordered community service. The three years of probation, however, were just for him.
UPDATE: Greg Pierson confirms that neither he nor his father, Hank, is involved in any of his brother Bill’s dealings. In fact, he said, “Those who take the time to find facts would know that Hank and I tend to contribute to candidates that run against those supported by Bill. It is funny how a family can be so politically diverse.”
Filed under: Humboldt County Tagged: | Bill Pierson, Marina Center, outpouring of philanthropy, patron saint of environmental protectionism, Pierson Home Center, wetland delineation report, Zentner and Zentner