Thursday, July 22, 2010

Historical Treasure

In a rare bi-partisan effort members of California’s congressional delegation team up to save a very important historical site near the American River and the gold discovery site in Coloma, as reported by the Sacramento Bee.

An excerpt.

“WASHINGTON – Calling it another "Plymouth Rock," Republican Rep. Tom McClintock is proposing that the Department of Interior take over a 271-acre ranch near Coloma as a national historic site.

“Normally, McClintock is no fan of expanding government, but he's making an exception for the project in his 4th Congressional District.

“McClintock has an unlikely ally in his endeavor, Democrat Barbara Boxer, who has introduced a similar bill in the Senate.

“Under their plan, the federal government would use private money – including $1 million from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy – to buy the Gold Hill Ranch in western El Dorado County. It would be preserved as a national site of historical and cultural value, and ultimately could be developed into a public park.

“The project is gaining attention because of the political odd couple that's promoting it on Capitol Hill.

“McClintock, one of the House's most conservative members and no fan of earmarks that benefit his district, and Boxer, one of the most liberal senators, do not have a history of working together on legislation….

“Backers of the project say it has international value because the ranch was home to the former Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony, recognized as the first Japanese settlement in the United States. And it includes the grave site of Okei Ito, the first Japanese person to die on American soil, at age 19.

"I've always supported preserving the history of our nation," McClintock said in an interview. "In this case, it's the Plymouth Rock for every American of Japanese ancestry."

“McClintock, who introduced the bill last year and reintroduced it two weeks ago, said the legislation would not appropriate any additional federal money for the project. Instead, he said, it would authorize the acquisition of the property out of the Interior Department's existing budget.”