Anchor-out transition plan results in fire, dead dog, conflicting stories

Sausalito, California, has several lovely houseboat communities. Some houseboats won long and hard-fought battles to stay where they are, but the anchor-out community is under assault. Anchor-outs stay semi-permanently where boats are only supposed to temporarily reside.

The Richardson Bay Regional Agency has a plan to get rid of these residents, many of whom are just peacefully living their lives. This story is either that plan run amok or just some police doing the everyday job of taking a chainsaw to a boat roof to taser a confused veteran.

The reports certainly conflict, and I recommend reading the entire article.

Pacific Sun:

On the afternoon of April 2, law enforcement made their move, which many say resulted in an excessive show of force. The Marin County Sheriff's Special Response Team (SRT) was staged at the Clipper Yacht Harbor parking lot in Sausalito, with numerous deputies, a large communications truck, an SRT equipment trailer and a collection of sheriff's vehicles. Novato Police Department arrived on the scene with a canine unit. On Richardson Bay, the U.S. Coast Guard, Sausalito Police Department and Southern Marin Fire District assisted the sheriff's team.  

Negotiators contacted Smith by phone and asked him to surrender. He rambled, said he had a bullet proof vest and refused to give up, Schneider said.

Smith remained anchored-out on Projectile with his dog and kept law enforcement at bay for four hours. The SRT used flash-bangs, bean bag rounds and tear gas to distract him, but he held his ground. When deputies boarded the boat, he attempted to stab them with several long, pointed instruments, according to Schneider.

Law enforcement finally towed the boat to a dock at Clipper Yacht Harbor, removed the top of the cabin with a chainsaw and tased Smith. He was then removed from the vessel and arrested.

Shortly after he was taken into custody, the boat caught on fire. Though a fireboat was nearby, the firemen delayed putting out the fire for more than 18 minutes, a bystander's video shows. When it was finally extinguished, Smith's dog was found dead on the boat. Schneider said he does not know the cause of the fire.

Already having a difficult time with park-based unhoused residents, Sausalito seems to be losing on land and sea.