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Telltale Games Pulls the Plug

Columnist: Bill Meagher
November, 2018 Issue

Bill Meagher
All articles by columnist

Electronic entertainment producer Telltale Games has pulled the plug. The San Rafael-content producer was a high flyer, founded in 2004 by a trio of former LucasArts staffers and swelling to 400 employees last year. But as 225 employees found out the hard way, that was then. This is now.

Accounts of the company’s demise include reports that employees walked out without severance and had about a half hour to gather their things and find an exit.

The company produced games based on “The Walking Dead” as well as “Game of Thrones” and “Batman.” Last year, Kevin Bruner, chief executive officer and co-founder, was shown the door and replaced by co-founder Dan Connors. But the exec suite came equipped with a revolving door and Connors became a consultant as Pete Hawley assumed the chief executive post.

A skeleton crew of 25 employees were retained to fulfill contracts and wind the company down.

Point Reyes round No. 3

Congressman Jared Huffman D-San Rafael introduced legislation that could augment agriculture in Point Reyes National Seashore to the chagrin of those who want the national park free of any commercial endeavors. At this writing, the House has approved the bill and it has gone to the Senate for a vote.

The bill, H.R. 6687, is co-authored by Rob Bishop, R-Utah. (More on Mr. Bishop in a moment.) Huffman maintains the legislation supports the continuation of ranching and dairy operations and is in line with the general management plan, which is being updated now.

A lawsuit that was brought by a pair of environmental organizations, which argued against agricultural operations in the park was settled in 2017, and it stipulated that the management plan be updated.

The park is currently home to numerous cattle and dairy operations that have been long-term residents of the park, with some of the family businesses dating back to 1860.

Huffman’s bill found plenty of opposition from the two groups, charging that the legislation “…would fundamentally reverse National Park Service management of Point Reyes National Seashore to prioritize the livestock industry over public uses and interests.”

In a statement, one of those groups, the Resource Renewal Institute, said, “Representative Huffman’s bill is a cynical attempt to throw a wrench into this open and democratic process for the benefit of a tiny interest group of dairy ranchers who have long enjoyed such preferential treatment as below-market land leases, taxpayer-supported services and exemptions from environmental requirements.”

Huffman defends his bill, saying it will better define agricultural property, direct the Interior Department to manage those properties so ranches or dairies can operate within the parks and allow special use permits or leases of up to 20 years.

While Huffman can say the bill is bipartisan, his choice of a dance partner has drawn fire. The League of Conservation Voters has labeled Bishop “Public Lands Enemy Number One.” He founded the Federal Land Action Group, an organization that by its own admission is dedicated to transferring federal land to local ownership and control. And he is an avowed fan of fracking.

It’s hard to say what the outcome of Huffman’s bill will be, but at this point Bishop totes a lot of baggage that won’t find support locally.

Your Marin moment

It pays to have friends in high places, example number one of that old chestnut is the Angel Island Ferry Service. The McDonogh family has operated a service running from downtown Tiburon to the island for generations, but in recent years the red tape associated with the ferry service running to the state park has become more complicated.

The ferry brings as many as 70,000 people to the state park a year, and has been running the service on a month-to-month basis since 1993. But the state put the contract out to bid as required by law and wants the winning operator to sign onto 20-year contract as well as shell out for improvements a ramp used by state employees that carries a price tag as high as $3 million.

Viewing the contract as onerous, McDonogh passed, not filing a bid. Instead Blue and Gold Fleet, an operator that has boat service to a number of bay locations, filed the only bid.

But McDonogh isn’t done yet. More than 3,000 fans of McDonogh’s ferry service signed a petition at pleading with state officials to reconsider the contract demands and sit down with the long-time operator.

While the petition is nice, having folks like State Senator Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg and Assemblyman Marc Levine D-Greenbrae back your play carries some weight. Seems the Department of Parks and Recreation and the State Lands Commission will be sitting down in the future to chat about the future of the route across Racoon Straight and which boats will bring passengers to Angel Island and back.



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