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A preserve – but no plot – for McCloskey at Skylawn

By rgordon
Monday, April 16th, 2007 at 5:36 pm in Uncategorized.

We could not think of a more fitting gift to honor the environmental legacy of former U.S. Rep. Pete McCloskey, co-founder of Earth Day, than a scenic piece of green open space.
Pete McCloskey
The LifeMark Group, which owns Skylawn Memorial Park at Highway 92 and Skyline Boulevard in San Mateo, will honor McCloskey Friday by donating 100 of its 505 acres at the park to the Peninsula Open Space Trust.

According to Skylawn spokeswoman Loni Locketz, less than 100 acres of the park are currently, err, occupied. Donating this particular piece of land, according to a press release, is “a strategic area that will complete the long-pursued” Bay Area Ridge Trail.

Of course, the McCloskey Preserve being part of what is essentially, a cemetery, it begs the question: is the 79-year-old politician receiving a burial plot? We’re willing to bet he has a few years of hell-raising left in him yet, but just to be sure, we asked.

“Quite honestly, and very candidly, I have no idea what arrangements he’s made,” Locketz said. “He’s not one of our clients.”

She said the endeavor was conceived solely to honor McCloskey’s environmental stewardship.

“We haven’t even entertained that part of it,” Locketz continued. “We, of course, would be happy to look at something like that.”

A luncheon will be held Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lifemark Center at Skylawn. After the dedication at 11 a.m., an organic luncheon catered by San Mateo’s Astaria will commence at 12 p.m. and a Q&A session with McCloskey will follow. To RSVP, call (650) 594-5165.

The event will also feature a preview of Heart Touched by Fire: The Life & Times of Pete McCloskey, a one-hour documentary about the politician produced by Robert Caughlan.

Caughlan, we should note, was the communications director for the campaign of U.S. Rep Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, who nabbed the seat in 2006. McNerney unseated longtime anti-environmentalist and Republican Congressman Richard Pombo. In the Republican primary last year, Pombo defeated McCloskey, who decided to venture back into politics after a hiatus of more than 20 years. After his defeat, McCloskey turned around and endorsed McNerney, but it’s hard to blame him. After all, one of Pombo’s chief goals was to overhaul the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which McCloskey co-authored.

Last month, McCloskey announced that he changed his party affiliation to Democrat. He was a Republican congressman, representing the Peninsula, from 1967 to 1983.

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