Lights Up My Life: Save the
by Sasha Futran
This is a call to arms. Charge your cell phones. Turn on your computers. Get out your calendars, and put on comfortable going-to-meetin' clothes. Follow the yellow brick road to Mad Mark's castle. You are needed to save that glorious garbage dump again.
Yes, dump. Well, perhaps more accurately, a highly prized, much fought-over landfill that is shaped like a light bulb. It is my favorite place for off-leash outings, and once again government agencies are meeting and the likely outcome is leashed dogs.
Dogs love the Albany Bulb. It may be a landfill, but it is also the last piece of local wilderness, a place where dogs can truly explore rather than walking back and forth on an unchanging path. They love its many paths that twist and turn. They love the surprises - the rocks, rebar, and sudden tiny slopes to climb up or over, under or around. There's also a beach, with white dunes and hard-packed sand, that doesn't turn to sludge in low tide.
The Bulb changes, not only with the seasons, but also when someone has just visited with a paintbrush. In the past few weeks, I've seen a mobile of plastic carrots, apples, and Valentine's hearts dangling from a tree. I've chatted with an artist carving a dolphin from a giant piece of Styrofoam. I've watched the hundred ladybugs someone painted on a trail of stones and pebbles wear away. The murals are still in attendance, and there is always Mark's castle to visit, but the art is threatened, as well.
I've never seen a dog fight at the Bulb or heard an argument over dogs. As a trainer, sometimes I go there and work with dogs that are timid or anxious exactly because those dogs won't be overwhelmed. There is space for everyone, and the other dogs are simply having too much fun.
You can see people riding bikes, jogging, hiking, fishing, or picnicking with their children. The Albany Bulb is the essence of the Bay Area: an ever-changing place for a diverse group of people who have made it their own.
So if it works so well, why would anyone want to change it?
The problem is called the
By December 2002, it was all over. We had lost. Dogs were to be
leashed, and the art was to be removed. We didn't actually worry too much
because the city of
Just a few weeks ago, the state decided there is no need for an
environmental cleanup. At some point soon, off-leash dogs really will be banned,
and the art will be destroyed. During the heyday of the last political
skirmish, an alliance of artists and dog lovers called Let It Be! gathered over
5,000 signatures on petitions and brought hundreds of people to meetings and
public hearings. Let It Be! is revving up once again and needs help. So why
don't you and your dogs check out the Bulb located just north of the