Saturday, March 11, 2006

Morro Bay

Morro Bay is one of my favorite places. Unlike Santa Barbara, which is great but also snobby and expensice, Morro has character and beauty to spare (Ok, ignore the PGE plant), and you can do it on a budget. Cheap imports are killing it, however:

MORRO BAY, Calif. — Just about everyone on the docks knows the Gianninis.

For 46 years, the family has run a marine supply house a couple of blocks from the wharf. When times were good, they would outfit whole fleets from aisles crammed with such items as tiny brass grommets and huge spools that could spin out miles of line and countless acres of net. When times weren't so good, they would carry debt-ridden fishermen on their books season after season — until the next big haul, or maybe the one after that.

But that was before competition from cheap imported fish, before diesel fuel that runs upward of $3 a gallon and before environmental rules that severely limit the amount of fish a fisherman can catch, and when and where and how.

Now the fishing fleet at Morro Bay is down from several hundred boats to perhaps 50. And, amid coils of anchor chain and crates of engine parts, Giannini's is hung with hand-painted signs that say, in big red letters: "ALL SALES FINAL.

A sad day. When I think that we could make oceans safer and provide local businesses with cheap fuel through locall produces biodiesel. When will out outsourcing, self-serving politicians sstart helping small local business?