Battle escalates over Angel Island-Tiburon ferry

SAUSALITO, Calif. (KGO) -- The ferry run between Tiburon and Angel Island is likely to be the most contested one mile of water in California. For 59 years, it's been a family affair.

"I always wanted to be in boats. Be a captain." At age 23, Sam McDonogh has achieved it. He's generation number five of the last family-owned ferry service on San Francisco Bay.

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Generation number four, however, is upset. "This is unfortunate and unworkable," said his mother, known around Tiburon as Captain Maggie. She's a local institution now battling the California Department of Parks after they put a 20 year contract for the ferry run out for bid.

While the much larger Blue and Gold fleet did make a bid and could win it, Maggie did not, accusing the state of asking for too much.

"They had us building ramps and maintaining ramps on Angel Island that is the state's responsibility in taking care of restrooms," she said. "They had us doing work to our docks in Tiburon that would be exclusive for their state parks staff."

Maggie has an entire community's support in Tiburon. The Ferry draws people there. Tiburon values long-term relationships. They, and local representatives, have applied pressure to restart the process.

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"We don't need to get rid of all the small businesses that have been part of the Bay Area for generations. We need to make sure we can celebrate them. They need to thrive and succeed," said Assemblyman Marc Levine at a gathering, Monday.

California State Parks has said little since all this began. Captain Maggie, however, remains determined. No matter what happens, she says. The ferry will keep running. "They can't stop this. We have been doing this for. Long time. The contract is not exclusive. We will continue to support the community as long as it supports us.

The California Department of Parks may have another opinion on that, but they are receiving pressure. Just today, the department received a letter from the California State Lands Commission, urging Parks to put the issue on hold.
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