Cover image for David, Goliath and the beach-cleaning machine : how a small California town fought an oil giant--and won!
David, Goliath and the beach-cleaning machine : how a small California town fought an oil giant--and won!
Wolcott, Barbara.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Sterling, Va. : Capital Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
x, 245 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Rizzo's date with destiny -- The beginning of the partnership juggernaut -- The little dig--the peril below -- Conflicts in technology -- Partnerships draw a line in the sand -- The battle for the plan--the EIR -- Rizzo loads his sling with small rocks -- Small town fight in the big leagues -- Corporate coming of age -- Padlocks on the pipelines -- Shootout stalls--sheriff comes to take over -- Strangers muddy paradise -- High noon at Avila Beach -- The cost of a company town -- Truce and consequences--settlement -- The way we were -- Dawn on the battlefield -- Dust, destruction, and dismemberment -- The last good-bye -- Holding hands with heritage -- Rizzo's dolphin calling -- A pebble in the water--ever-widening rings.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF1866.U56 W65 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



During an early morning run, Saro Rizzo, a young attorney from Avila Beach, California, stumbled yet again over picnic debris, and determined to get his little town a beach-cleaning machine. Ringed by mountains and nestled between Santa Barbara and Monterey, Avila Beach was an isolated little oil town of some four hundred aging hippies, scattered professionals, and active octogenarians. It was not a community of protestors. Rizzo innocently began his crusade by requesting a donation from the local oil giant Unocal. Through a series of events rich in deceit, controversy, and greed, a massive oil spill and an environmental disaster were exposed. Written by Pulitzer-prize-nominee Barbara Wolcott, "David, Goliath and the Beach-Cleaning Machine" is the hard-charging story of this heroic quest started by a son of immigrants, only two years out of law school, who rallies his town of fierce independents to take on a corporate giant -- and win big to the tune of $18 million in damages as well as an estimated $100-200 million for clean-up. Rizzo's suit was the first of nearly sixty, including some filed by Ed Masry of Erin Brockovich fame. As a result of the massive clean-up, beautiful Avila Beach has been almost totally leveled and the townspeople are fighting to save those buildings that represent their history and sense of place. Now that the town is in the spotlight as a model of environmental rescue, the beach-cleaning machine has arrived!

Author Notes

Barbara Wolcott is an award-winning freelance journalist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of national and international periodicals, journals, and books, including the Los Angeles Times Magazine, San Diego Family Magazine, Arizona Wildlife, and Mechanical Engineering Magazine. She was nominated for a 2002 Pulitzer Prize and has won awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Newspaper Association. Barbara Wolcott holds a B.A. degree in Communications from California State University-Fullerton. She lives in San Luis Obispo, California, fifteen miles from Avila Beach

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Nestled between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the self-described funky little community of Avila Beach had an ominous neighbor lurking over, and under, the town and its sand, soil, homes, and businesses. The Unocal Oil Company, long the town's major employer, had been steadily, and knowingly, polluting the seemingly pristine beach community for decades and would have continued were it not for a fateful morning jog in which longtime resident and new attorney, Saro Rizzo, literally stumbled on evidence of Unocal's dastardly despoiling of the environment. What begins as a simple case of trying to correct what appears to be a small problem quickly snowballs into the discovery of an environmental nightmare to rival the Exxon Valdez. In a classic and, unfortunately by now, familiar tale of big-business greed versus small-town pride, Pulitzer Prize-nominee Wolcott presents a balanced expose of one company's arrogant response to an ecological and economic disaster and what one town and one man accomplished in the face of overwhelming odds. --Carol Haggas Copyright 2003 Booklist

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Stakeholdersp. 4
Timelinep. 6
Avila Beach Pollution Plume Areas (Map)p. 7
1 Rizzo's Date with Destinyp. 9
2 The Beginning of the Partnership Juggernautp. 17
3 The Little Dig--The Peril Belowp. 27
4 Conflicts in Technologyp. 37
5 Partnerships Draw a Line in the Sandp. 45
6 The Battle for the Plan--The EIRp. 59
7 Rizzo Loads His Sling with Small Rocksp. 67
8 Small Town Fight in the Big Leaguesp. 79
9 Corporate Coming of Agep. 93
10 Padlocks on the Pipelinesp. 103
11 Shootout Stalls--Sheriff Comes to Take Overp. 111
12 Strangers Muddy Paradisep. 123
13 High Noon at Avila Beachp. 135
14 The Cost of a Company Townp. 145
15 Truce and Consequences--Settlementp. 153
16 The Way We Werep. 161
17 Dawn on the Battlefieldp. 171
18 Dust, Destruction, and Dismembermentp. 179
19 The Last Good-Byep. 185
20 Holding Hands with Heritagep. 197
21 Rizzo's Dolphin Callingp. 205
22 A Pebble in the Water--Ever-Widening Ringsp. 219
Epilogue: Peoplep. 231
Glossaryp. 233
Bibliographyp. 237
Indexp. 241