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Help is on the way for Mt. Diablo’s beacon

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law an East Bay Assemblywoman’s bill to fix the Eye of Diablo, the beacon atop Mt. Diablo in Mt. Diablo State Park.

AB 1916 by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, authorizes the state Department of Parks and Recreation to enter into an operating agreement with the nonprofit Save Mount Diablo to use volunteers and licensed professionals to rehabilitate the beacon. The Assembly and the state Senate both passed it on unanimous votes.

The beacon’s lighting for almost 50 years has been the centerpiece of an annual Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony, hosted by Save Mount Diablo and the Sons & Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. But the light has fallen into such disrepair that it won’t be ready for this year’s ceremony unless it’s fixed. Save Mount Diablo will raise the money needed for the repairs and organize volunteers.

“During these difficult budget times, it is critical that these types of public private partnerships are encouraged whenever possible,” said Buchanan. “We all want the repairs to the beacon to move ahead swiftly and cost effectively. I know that Save Mount Diablo will be an exceptional partner for the Parks Department to work with on this project.”

Save Mount Diablo executive director Ron Brown said he wants to move quickly to iron out a deal with the state “that will address the important historical and mechanical issues, and still have the beacon be operational in time for the December 7 ceremony.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.