Letter: Bowmen shafted by county

This is a follow-up to the Aug. 16 article describing what Santa Clara County has done to the Mt. Madonna archery range. In this letter, I hope to shed light on what kind of people we have at our county level.

On the one positive note, the county has improved the practice range, the flat portion by the parking lot where you sight in your bow. (It still miraculously offers an 80-yard shot—ooga booga booga.)

The range is really a field archery course. The archer walks from station to station, each being different. Such a course was able to host events like the Bug Shoot, which drew competitors from as far as our neighboring states. Thirty percent of the course has now been declared unsafe by ignorant county employees. Yes, despite no accidents in 60 years, 13 of the 42 stations have been shut down.

As I wrote in August, the Mt. Madonna Bowmen (a nonprofit club), built, maintained and insured the range through the end of 2017.

Although I am writing this as an individual archer who for decades enjoyed volunteering time there, instructing and shooting the course, I will say that as a Bowman, I paid annual dues that went to range upkeep in exchange for free day use thereof. This 57-year agreement between the Bowmen and the parks department was the epitome of a win-win situation, but someone at the parks department had an agenda.  

In 2018, the lies and deceit reached the peak.

Parks staff would only respond by saying, “We are negotiating with the Bowmen,” with that being the extent of communication. County people even claimed that such an agreement was violating some law, but they refused to cite the law! It is very clear that this whole charade was no more than a way to remove the Bowmen and the events.

Until now, I have always supported Mike Wasserman as our county supervisor. He has always replied to his constituents. But there has been radio silence since I told him, “It makes no sense at all that a successful agreement and relationship that (a) harmed no one, (b) benefited all sides, and (c) stood strong for 57 years is suddenly now some sort of violation. … If, after all this time, some ridiculous law or rule cropped up that finds a successful 57-year agreement in violation of something, why don’t [you] change the rule (to what it was when the agreement was signed back in 1961? I’m sure some ‘counsel’ reviewed it back then.”

The parks department even removed the “Home of the Mt. Madonna Bowmen” sign at the range, as if they were never there. Maybe we can remove Wasserman in November 2020!

Alan Viarengo

Archery rangemaster, instructor

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