NOVEMBER 20 - NOVEMBER 26, 2009
MARiN’S BEST EVERY WEEK
14 -19 H❉ LIDAYS i N tHe SUn pages O caroling! ❉ Merry quizmas… ❉ Your yule log Q U O T E
T H E
W E E K :
Unto Herr Majesties Keeping Now Named By Me And To Be Knowne Unto All Men As Nova Albion. [SEE PAGE 9]
Behind the Sun: To Sir Francis, with love 9 Food: A change of course 22 Music: The Shostakovich must go on! 26
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g Mar in n i v r e S
Welcome to United Markets!
! s r r 5 0 Ye a
When you step inside United Markets, thereâ€™s no corporate atmosphereâ€ŚWe say â€œHelloâ€? because we want to; not because we have to. Weâ€™re part of Marinâ€™s community and our staďŹ€ continues to make this connection with each and every customer. A childâ€™s memory of getting a free cookie at our bakery counter grows into that of an adult customer anticipating a favorite specialty coďŹ€ee drink made by one of our baristas! We like knowing and serving our customers through the years. Most people think independents are more expensive than large chains but this is not true with United. Our niche is our pricing. When you shop with us, youâ€™ll ďŹ nd prices at or below our competition! Looking forward to serving you, â€”Greg Bailey, General Manager
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Archaeology meets technology in this small-scale exhibition exploring the scientific examination of mummies and providing new insights into
The notorious Drakeâ€™s Plate of Brasse discovered in West Marin. Behind the Sun, p. 9.
PUBLISHER - Sam Chapman (x315)
7 8 9 12 14 20 22 24 25 26 27 28 30 31 32 36 38 39
Letters Upfront Behind the Sun/Trivia CafĂŠ/ Heroes & Zeros Feature Holidays in the Sun Open Homes Food All in Good Taste Theater Music That TV Guy/Overheard Film Talking Pictures Movies Sundial ClassiďŹ eds Horoscope Advice Goddess
â€şâ€ş ON THE COVER
Photo Mark Pitta and friends by Robert Vente Design Beth Allen
the conditions under which the Egyptians lived. Included is the sarcophagus and mummy of Irethorrou, a priest from Egypt around 500 B.C. His mummy has undergone a CT-scan that allows a unique viewing experience of a three-dimensional â€œfly throughâ€? of the body and a forensic reconstruction of his head.
OCTOBER 31, 2009â€“AUGUST 15, 2010
Embarcadero Publishing Company. (USPS 454-630) Published weekly on Fridays. Distributed free at more than 400 locations throughout Marin County. Adjudicated a newspaper of General Circulation. Home delivery in Marin available by subscription: $5/month on your credit card or $60 for one year, cash or check. No person may, without the permission of the Pacific Sun, take more than one copy of each Pacific Sun weekly issue. Entire contents of this publication Copyright ÂŠ2009 Embarcadero Publishing Company ISSN; 0048-2641. All rights reserved. Unsolicited manuscripts must be submitted with a stamped self-addressed envelope.
EDITORIAL Editor: Jason Walsh (x316); Reporter: Samantha Campos (x319); Movie Page Editor: Matt Stafford (x320); Copy Editor: Carol Inkellis (x317); Calendar Editor: Anne Schrager (x330) CONTRIBUTORS Lee Brady, Greg Cahill, Pat Fusco, Richard Gould, Marc Hershon, Richard P. Hinkle, Brooke Jackson, Brenda K. Kinsel, Jill Kramer (x322), Lois MacLean, Joel Orff, Rick Polito, Renata Polt, Peter Seidman, Nikki Silverstein, Annie Spiegelman, David Templeton, Barry Willis. Books Editor: Elizabeth Stewart (x326) ADVERTISING Advertising Director: Linda Black (x306) Senior Display Representative: Dianna Stone (x307) Display Sales: Ethan Simon (x311), Linda Curry (x309); Inside Sales: Helen Hammond (x303); Courier: Gillian Coder; Traffic Coordinator: Amanda Deely (x302) DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Art Director/Production Manager: Beth Allen (x335); Graphic Designers: Gwen Aguilar (x336), Michelle Palmer (x321); Missy Reynolds, Gabe Lieb, Brindl Markle (x308) ADMINISTRATION Business Administrator: Cynthia Nguyen (x331) Administrative Assistant: Elisa Keiper (x301) Circulation Manager: Bob Lampkin (x340) PRINTING: Paradise Post, Paradise, CA
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SKINNER ORGAN CONCERTS Every Sat and Sun, 4pm Live performances of 19th- and early-20th-century favorites.
This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco with the cooperation of the Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium and the radiology department of the Stanford Medical School. Additional project assistance has been provided by the Stanford Division of Anatomy, eHuman Inc., and Fovia Inc. Generous support is provided by the William E. Winn, Jr., Living Trust and the Dorothy Tyler Living Trust. Thank you to Intel Corporation for their generous in-kind donation.
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Lincoln Park 34th Avenue and Clement Street legionofhonor.org 415.750.3600
Images: Visualization of the mummy Irethorrou by Sarah Hegmann and Beverly Chiang of eHuman using Osirix and Amira Software. Mummy of Irethorrou in Coffin, Egyptian, Akhmim, ca. 500 B.C. Linen; wood with polychrome. Gift of First Federal Trust Company (from the Estate of Jeremiah Lynch).
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ONE ON ONE TREATMENT FOR CHRONIC PAIN AND ADDICTION 6 PACIFIC SUN NOVEMBER 20 – NOVEMBER 26, 2009
›› LETTERS San Rafael’s finest, finingest... Thank you for doing an article on San Rafael and its speed traps [“The Thin Blue Bottom Line,” Nov. 6]. All I can say is—it’s about time someone wrote about this. San Rafael cops hiding themselves and ticketing anyone who commits even the most minor of trafﬁc infraction has been going on now for a couple of years. And from the shockingly high ﬁnes levied—it is obviously all about money and little or nothing to do with safety. In fact, it is an outrage, given that if a crime is committed and someone really needs help, San Rafael police ofﬁcers are few and far between. More attention is on giving tickets and collecting revenue than on public safety— which should be their primary concern, and obviously isn’t. R.B.,San Rafael
Romper, bomper, stomper boo... After reading Don Speich’s article on red light camera enforcement in San Rafael [“Lights... Camera... Slow Down!” Nov. 6], I couldn’t help won- Speich’s journalismder whether the school faculty advisors. writer received his journalistic training from The Center for Romper Room Journalism. For anyone with eighth grade algebra, it is very evident that the cameras are used to generate revenue for city coffers—millions upon millions of dollars, in fact. See this Web site for examples: www.redlightcameraticket.com. What is more disturbing is that the pro-
fessed rationale for using them—increased safety—is nothing more than rationalization. Motorists preoccupied with avoiding tickets with egregious price tags of $400 or more (an unconstitutional imposition of punishments that far exceed the crime) end up slamming abruptly on their brakes. Such unsafe driving has actually increased the number of accidents at intersections where red light cameras have been installed. Hey, Mr. Romper Room grad, ﬁnd a mirror and take a good, close look at your Do Bee Good approach to reporting.
TOP POSTINGS THIS WEEK
Is Nuclear Power an Answer? Nuclear power is increasingly being talked about as part of the solution to global warming. Some long time enviros are now on board. Environment California just did a cost-ben... Sick of Novato bashing From your most recent Single in the Suburbs column to our bix-boxstore-lovin’ city council to stories about the Novato Sanitary District to not joining Marin Clean Energy, th... Accused wine arsonist handcrafts bold, full-bodied new plea Mark C. Anderson, a Sausalito man accused of setting ﬁre to over $200 million worth of ﬁne wines in 2005, has changed his not-guilty plea to “guilty” in federal court yesterday.
Robert Epstein,El Cerrito
Is this similar to the ‘special projects’ bank account we keep hidden from our wives? At a recent Marin Coalition meeting, county administrator Matthew Hymel was questioned concerning reserve funds for “special projects” in the county budget. The administration at the county has stated Marin is in a budget deﬁcit of about $15 million. What is not common knowledge to the general public is how the county separates “special projects” funding from the operating budget. This is not necessarily a nefarious way to hide funds and is common practice. The county of Marin has a “special projects” fund of $30 million. Portions of those funds have been loaned out for other projects and the balance in the “special projects” fund is around $22 million. What the taxpayer in Marin needs to know when studying the county budget is that “special projects” fund amounts are not included in budget information supplied by the county. What one needs to do when assessing amounts in the budget is add $30 million dollars. The “real” amount of our
Your soapbox is waiting at ›› paciﬁcsun.com county budget is actually a surplus of about $15 million. Ron Ford,Santa Venetia
who want to know why two princesses are dancing together??? My children are too young to understand this. Nicole Choi,Marin
Princess diaries: Outraged I am outraged at your cover of a few weeks ago [“Someday My Princess Will Come,” Oct. 23]. It is in really bad taste. My daughters love the Disney princesses. Do not mix politics with our Disney princesses. They are not gay!!! This is soooo wrong in sooo many ways! Alex Prichard,Marin
Princess diaries II: Displeased I just wanted to express my displeasure for the recent week’s cover displaying what appears to be Disney images of Cinderella and Princess Belle. While I support gay rights and issues, I do not appreciate Disney images being used this way. My two young daughters (5 and 3) love all things Disney and this cover got their attention. I feel they are too young to have discussions about lesbian culture and really wish you could have chosen a cover that did not use something that is so easily recognized by young children. Barbie Sewing,Novato
Princess diaries III: Poor taste I usually don’t write notes of this type to editors. However, I feel the need to comment on the Cinderella cover. I ﬁnd it in poor taste to use an image from a The offending image. beloved children’s classic such as Cinderella in this manner. Ila Coombs,Marin
Princess diaries IV: Very poor taste Yuk! Very poor taste! Nancy Clark,Mill Valley
Princess diaries V: Children are too young I would like to know how I explain your Cinderella picture to my 4-year-old twins
Princess diaries VI: Effect on fellow human beings, and Americans Thank you for reading my e-mail. I was very disappointed to see the cover of last week’s Paciﬁc Sun. The use of such iconic children’s characters to promote a politically charged viewpoint is in very poor taste. If my daughter had seen the cover of your magazine, she would have instantly been very interested and, as she is of reading age, would have questioned why Disney is pairing up their princesses. I understand and fully agree with freedom of speech, but I do not believe it means saying, promoting or displaying whatever you want, whenever you want, without regard to how it affects fellow human beings and Americans. Thank you for your consideration on this matter, and I hope in the future you will use more discretion in what to put on the cover of your magazine. April Rich,Novato
Princess diaries VII: Reno liked it Love the Princess cover art. Please compliment your artist for me. Dennis Myers,news editor,‘Reno News and Review’
Editor’s note: In our efforts to choose a cover graphic that would best reﬂect a story [“Out of the Ash,” Oct. 23] about a new local book, Ash, which retells the Cinderella fairytale from the standpoint of two women, we never imaged a drawing of two fully clothed adult women ballroom dancing would stir such emotions. From what we could gather, a member of a local moms’ club took offense to the image and sent messages to other members urging them to express their concern—the letters all came within a single morning and were of equivalent length and phrasing. One letter writer asked what our kids would say if they saw Cinderella and Belle dancing together. We found out that night when 7-year-old Jack pointed to the paper in dismay and said, “Dad! That’s not right. Peter Pan’s not in that movie!” Everyone’s a critic.—Jason Walsh Put your stamp on the letters to the editor at ›› paciﬁcsun.com NOVEMBER 20 – NOVEMBER 26, 2009 PACIFIC SUN 7
Sustainability we can afford Green building’s new developments—and new developers... by Pe te r Se i d m an
he term “green building” is moving beyond its current meaning of using recycled construction materials, environmentally friendly landscaping and renewable power sources for lights and electricity, according to planners and developers and the visionaries who have their sights set on sustainability. But big challenges lie ahead. Creating affordable homes close to jobs is the true big-picture green path, say advocates of sustainability and affordable housing. That attitude clearly is present in the Marin Community Foundation’s (MCF) recent program to promote affordable housing. The foundation has pledged to spend $2 million a year for ﬁve years on an affordable housing initiative. In the ﬁrst year the foundation plans to spend about half of the allocated funds to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed homes. The foundation, which is working with Habitat for Humanity and North Bay Family Homes on that initiative, already has contributed funds as part of other initiatives to projects for more than about 700 homes and apartments in Marin. “The truth of the matter is that for us the issues of affordable housing and environmental protection are intertwined,” says Thomas Peters, president and CEO at MCF. That attitude has been gaining ground steadily as a useful political tool among affordable housing advocates, as well as those whose chief goal is protecting the environment and promoting sustainability. Though not everyone’s on-board, the passenger list is
growing. And affordable housing advocates and sustainability proponents now have an ally in transportation advocates who are supporting construction of the SMART commuter rail that will run between Marin and Sonoma counties. Stations along the urban corridor route are ideal spots for creating mixed-use developments that can support the kind of building density that can attract opportunities for developers of affordable housing. The density stays along the rail line, which parallels Highway 101. That’s the original vision of the urban corridor—keeping development density along the corridor to protect the hills and ridges and valleys. The concept of sustainability adds a considerable punch to development. Planners know that workforce housing can have one of the most signiﬁcant effects on creating a sustainable community. Providing affordable homes for local workers obviously helps satisfy the critical need for quality low-cost homes. But from a sustainability point of view it does much more: It keeps workers off the roads as they travel to and from their jobs. Reducing vehicle miles can go a long way toward satisfying carbon-reduction goals. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) projects that 50 percent of the total employment growth in Marin during the next 30 years will occur in the lower-paying retail, health, education, hospitality and recreation sectors, notes Mary Murtagh president and CEO of EAH, the nonproﬁt housing corporation whose goal is 10 >
›› NEWSGRAMS Marin college presidents’ shuffle This week College of Marin President Frances White announced her retirement at the end of the current school year—a year before her contract is scheduled to end.The 62-year-old said her decision came from a desire to pursue other interests and spend more time with her family.White has held the position since 2004 and, despite an unresolved battle with the faculty union over instructor wages, she is being credited for helping turn the college around in leadership, financial planning, accreditation and enrollment—which has been increasing over the past year. In other college news, Dominican University of California President Joseph R. Fink has announced his retirement at the end of the 2010-2011 school year— serving an additional year beyond his original retirement date. Fink, who was appointed the university’s eighth president in 1988, is the“longest sitting president among all Bay Area institutions of higher learning,”according to a press release. During his tenure, the San Rafael campus was renovated, enrollment has quadrupled and revenues have increased eight-fold. A man, a plan, a canal: pandemonium Critics voiced concern over the Canalfront Conceptual Design Plan at a San Rafael City Council meeting Nov. 16.While councilmembers accepted the plan as a blueprint to revitalize the waterfront area—including a promenade, improved water access and bridge—some business and property owners disagreed with the plan’s removal of 25 feet along the shoreline for the public walkway. Although last week, the Pacific Sun’s Peter Seidman reported [“Bridge to the future,”Nov. 13] that one of the most requested changes from Canal residents is improved walkway access, including widened sidewalks and a water-crossing.“Building a bridge to join the two sides [across the water] was the most appealing for the whole community,” said Maite Duran, a member of the Canal Alliance and co-chair of the Canalfront Advisory Committee.“It would be helpful for about 500 kids who [walk] to school, maybe 300 families.”Even so, officials said the Canal transformative vision is many years away; that no money is budgeted yet, no private land will be seized and any development or improvements proposed would require design review and planning commission approvals. Accused wine arsonist handcrafts bold, full-bodied new plea Mark C. Anderson, a 61-year-old Sausalito man accused of setting fire to over $200 million worth of fine wines in 2005, changed his not-guilty plea as part of a plea bargain Nov. 16 in federal court. A former city parks commissioner, newspaper columnist and a UC Berkeley graduate, Anderson had been storing about 6 million bottles at the Wines Central warehouse on Vallejo’s Mare Island for collectors and Napa vintners before the Oct. 5, 2005 fire, which investigators concluded had started in Anderson’s space. Had Anderson not altered his plea and been convicted at his Nov. 17 trial, he might’ve faced life in prison on 19 criminal counts, including arson, mail fraud and tax evasion. Now, as a result of the plea bargain, his sentence could be limited to 15 years and eight months in prison. Shorts... San Rafael leaders have discovered an additional $3.2 million deficit in the city’s budget, reportedly due to a significant loss in sales tax revenue, as well as less than expected revenue from Measure S—the city services tax...Tiburon Town Council meets Nov. 18 to discuss street cameras monitoring all incoming and outgoing traffic.—Samantha Campos EXTRA! EXTRA! Post your Marin news at ›› paciﬁcsun.com
8 PACIFIC SUN NOVEMBER 20 - NOVEMBER 26, 2009
From the Sun vaults, November 19 - 25, 1969
Captain Hoodwinked Golden Hinde-sight not 20/20 to Francis Drake buffs by Jason Wals h
by Howard Rachelson
1. The southernmost and northernmost California mis#1 sions lie about 530 miles apart. What are they? 2. Visual: This is the March 6, 1943, cover of what magazine, painted by what prolific American artist? 3. If you travel directly northward from Venice, what’s the first neighboring country you’ll hit? 4. About half the world’s population lives on what amount of money per day? 5. In September (2009), the entire catalog of remastered Beatles music was released on CD. In coming weeks, in time for the holiday season, the entire collection of Beatles songs, plus visuals and videos, will be produced and sold in what different format—not CD or DVD? 6. In February 1888, artist Vincent Van Gogh left Paris and moved to what city in southern France, where he produced over 300 paintings? 7. What U.S. state has all these nicknames: Pelican State, Sportsman’s Paradise and the Sugar State? 8. Glamour magazine recently named what entertainer who was assaulted in February by her ex-boyfriend as one of its Women of the Year? 9. If you want to get away, far away, you should travel about 10,500 air miles to this nation with about 45 million inhabitants; it’s the country located farthest from San Francisco. What is it? 10. In the early 1950s the largest known one of these had about 100 digits. Today, the largest one of these ever discovered has almost 13 million digits. We’re talking about the largest...what? BONUS QUESTION: In 1621, the Plymouth colonists shared an autumn harvest feast with Massachusetts Indians; historians today consider it to be the first what ever? Howard Rachelson, Marin’s Master of Trivia, invites you to a live team trivia contest at 7:30pm every Wednesday at the Broken Drum on Fourth Street in San Rafael. Join the quiz—send your Marin factoids to firstname.lastname@example.org.
▲ San Rafael city library users
can thank Noble “Rocky” Birdsey for saving expensive magazine subscriptions from the chopping block, says supervising librarian Kay Noguchi. In early July, Rocky read an article about the city’s budget cuts that said premium databases and magazine subscriptions would be canceled at the library. He didn’t like the sound of that and decided to do something about it. After asking staff which magazines were being canceled—and which ones they really hated to lose—Rocky came up with a check for $1,800. San Rafael will continue to receive Science, Environment, Hulbert Financial Digest, Kirkus Reviews, New Car Cost Guide and Theatre Bay Area, all thanks to one reader’s concern and generosity.
Answers on page 35
▼ One Mill Valley reader wrote in
“There must be a beginning illustrious seafarer ordered his men to post to any great matter,” said an engraved brass plate as “a monument celebrated 16th-century of our being there.” Lo and behold, in 1936 English explorer-pirate Sir a 5-by-8-inch rectangular brass plate was years ago Francis Drake. discovered near modern day Larkspur And 1969-era MarinLanding and investigators determined the ites just naturally assumed he was referplate, mistaken as worthless refuse, had ring to them. been discarded there a few years earlier by For decades Bay Area historical societies a chauffeur who found it along the shores have debated the location of “Nova Albion,” of Drakes Bay. Inscribed on the plate was where Sir Francis Drake “Forever I Take Possession sought harbor for his deleteOf This Kingdom... Unto rious Golden Hinde along the Herr Majesties Keeping coast of Northern CaliforNow Named By Me And To nia in the summer of 1579. Be Knowne Unto All Men According to Richard HakAs Nova Albion.” Signed, luyt’s The Famous Voyage of “Francis Drake.” Sir Francis Drake from 1589, After a thorough examinaDrake sailed from Mexico up tion by Dr. Herbert Bolton, a the Paciﬁc Coast in search of UC Berkeley professor who’d an easterly passage. But the spent his career searching rough seas proved too much for the elusive brass artifact, for the 120-foot galleon and the ﬁnding was declared “the the Hinde skirted the coast “till genuine Drake’s plate referred we came within 38 degrees to- If he ever comes back, we think Drake to in the book The World ward the line, in which height would particularly enjoy the weekEncompassed by Sir Francis it pleased God to send us into end shuttle between the Point Reyes Drake, published 1628.” And Lighthouse and Chimney Rock. a faire and good Baye with a so, concluded Yarish, “Bolton good winde to enter the same.” and the Navigators Guild are convinced that To historians in the Drake Navigators the plate is real and true” and its authenticity Guild, a group formed in 1951 to prove once should “unhesitatingly” end further debate and for all the Hinde laid anchor in Marin, about whether Drakes Bay is the original that itself is evidence enough that the sea cap- Nova Albion. tain must have spent his 36-day holiday along Turns out the guild should’ve hesitated the sun-swept beaches of what’s now called a bit more. After 40 years of guarded acDrakes Bay—the swath of sand bookended by ceptance of the plate’s authenticity, metalChimney Rock and Limantour Beach, which lurgic analysis had advanced enough by the lies directly on the 38th parallel. It also means early ’70s to prove the Plate of Brasse a fake Marin was claimed for Queen Elizabeth a (it had too much zinc; traces of modern good six years before Walter Raleigh estabAmerican brass, etc., etc.). The phony ﬁnd, lished the ﬁrst American colonies in Roanoke. it was revealed, was a hoax perpetrated by a But, as Paciﬁc Sun assistant editor Alice goofy history-buff club called the Ancient Yarish pointed out in her November 1969 and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, story “The Landing of Francis Drake,” the whose members crafted the bogus plaque as 38th parallel also crosses two land points in a prank targeted at their Drake-obsessed pal the San Francisco Bay, opening up the posBolton. The joke spiraled out of control when sibility that the legendary explorer’s ﬁrst foray Bolton went public with the “discovery” and into America may have been through the the conspirators had to keep mum for fear of Golden Gate—and that the man the Spanish humiliating their accomplished friend. dubbed El Draque may never have touched Bolton, a highly respected historian credthe shores of West Marin at all. ited with steering the UC Berkeley Bancroft And the Navigators Guild was hoping Library to national regard, died in 1953—a that idea would sink faster than the Span- good two decades before his dupery was ish Armada. revealed. For what it’s worth, the historical Aside from other writings about Drake’s consensus remains that the Golden Hinde did landing that referred to “white cliffs which land at Drakes Bay. And the legendary Drake’s lie toward the sea,” proponents of a DrakePlate of Brasse may still be hidden along the Marin scenario pointed to their one piece shores of that “faire and good Baye.” ✹ of hard evidence that Drake furloughed in Share your Francis Drake theories with Jason at jwalsh@paciﬁcsun.com. the 6th congressional district—the fabled Plate of Brasse. Blast into Marin’s past with more According to a 16th-century historian, Behind the Sun at ›› paciﬁcsun.com before setting off from Nova Albion, the
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to tell us about a couple of weekends ago when Rebecca B., a wellloved and respected dog trainer and sitter, was training a few animals near the harbor in Sausalito. While there, Rebecca spied a wallet, cell phone and glasses abandoned on the trunk of a parked car. After looking inside the wallet for a name, she left a note on the windshield and then spent the next hour or so searching for the owner. When she ﬁnally found him on his houseboat and gave him his belongings, he gave her a curt “thank you” and said goodbye. There was $1,800 in cash in the wallet, and while she had no expectation of a reward, our MV reader thinks it was deserved—or, at least, a slightly warmer thanks.—Samantha Campos
Got a Hero or a Zero? Please send submissions to scampos@paciﬁcsun.com. Toss roses, hurl stones with more Heroes and Zeros at ›› paciﬁcsun.com NOVEMBER 20 - NOVEMBER 26, 2009 PACIFIC SUN 9
›› UPFRONT < 8 Sustainability we can afford to promote diverse communities that include all income levels and backgrounds. Growth in the higher-paying ﬁnancial and professional services sectors will account for only one of three news jobs, according to ABAG. That means more people needing affordable housing. There’s a big irony in those numbers, and in the effects of the current economic downturn, says Murtagh. Just as the beneﬁts of state bond measures aimed at stimulating the production of affordable housing are ending, the opportunities for locating property on which to build affordable units is exploding. “We have more land available than we have ever had. There are sites coming up like mushrooms after a spring rain. The prices for land are better than they have been for a long time.” But the money to build has dried up like a summer drought. “We’re ﬁnding this all over the Bay Area. People are calling us about sites they have worked on titling for ﬁve or six years, and they’re giving them away for the land value. And here we are with dwindling resources.” That problem has a wide effect, and not just on those who seek affordable housing. According to a county housing study, 81 percent of employees working in Corte Madera travel to work from outside the city limits. Although Corte Madera is on the high side of the percentage of commuters from
outside the town, other Marin communities experience the same phenomenon—and the excessive trafﬁc that it causes. Encouraging the creation of workforce housing has been a long-sought goal of affordable housing proponents, and as Peters at MCF notes, it’s also a great beneﬁt in the sustainability arena. And on top of it all, workforce housing creates livable communities within communities, say advocates. But the ﬂow of state money from two major bond measures aimed at promoting affordable housing (Proposition 41 and Proposition 1c) is ending. Affordable housing did get some of the federal stimulus money, notes Murtagh, and she hopes more funds will ﬂow. “I hope they understand—I think they get it—that even though marketrate developers can’t ﬁll units, we can. There are a lot of carpenters and engineers and architects that can be put to work. We could be putting up lumber.” Talk of affordable housing is usually connected to public subsidies. But there’s another model that does not rely on public money. And the poster child for that model is based in Novato. Rob Hart is a ﬁfth-generation Marinite who has received substantial recognition for his innovative approach to affordable housing. His company, HartMarin, built the ﬁrst low-income affordable housing project in Marin without tapping any public subsidies. The Virginia Grove residential community consists of four
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1,134-square-foot single-family homes on a .65-acre parcel at 1845 Virginia Ave. in Novato. The idea, says Hart, was to follow a company goal that calls for creating homes that can sell for half the market rate or less. That allows families who earn too much to qualify for public subsidies to have a chance at home ownership. HartMarin built four other homes as part of the project, priced at about 80 percent of the Novato market. The ability to qualify for a density bonus was a big impetus behind the project, says Hart. That’s a planning arrangement under which a developer is allowed leeway in exchange for building affordable units. Hart says that without the density bonus, HartMarin would have been unable to build the project, which received a $3.7 million loan from Tamalpais Bank. It was a prime example of the business community combining forces with a developer who advocates for affordable housing and green building goals. The adherence to those goals is clear right on the HartMarin credo, which states the company strives “to improve the social condition and protect the environment with projects that make ﬁnancial sense.” HartMarin can create housing at affordable prices because Hart has wide-ranging experience in many phases of construction and planning, enabling the company to look at a proposed project in a holistic manner. The intent was to create affordable units within a for-proﬁt market context. It worked.
HartMarin is also working to build an invitation-only museum of classic Formula One cars and speed boats for Vijay Mallya, the billionaire who owns the Marinscope Community Newspapers. The building at 300 Locust St. in Sausalito is designed to be reminiscent of a wave and incorporates a drainage system on the roof that channels water, which spills off the roof in a playful water feature. “We had a client that came to us and said he wanted to build a warehouse on a piece of property. We said his piece of property happens to be one of the most prominent undeveloped corners in the town of Sausalito. We can’t do just a square building with a ﬂat roof. The owner is a creative person, and we got him to agree to do a building with a roof in the shape of a wave that ﬂoats on a clerestory of glass.” Most of the building is only 11 feet tall, “and it swoops up to the water to about 22 feet.” The design results in reduced visual impact from the Bridgeway viewpoint, says Hart. The creative design has met with a good response. Some critics, however, say the property isn’t right for a museum. They would rather see a public use on the property. But, as Hart says, it’s the owner’s property, and a museum is an allowed use. “The general plan calls for creative and innovative designs in this part of Sausalito.” The building meets the criteria, he notes, and it also passes muster in the zoning department. When HartMarin tackles a project like Virginia Grove, the company can create from
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