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JANUARY 15 - JANUARY 21, 2010

MARiN’S BEST EVERY WEEK

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

The only guest for the next several weeks will be Conan’s middle finger. [SEE PAGE 23]

Upfront

Health & Well-Being

Music

Big things to COM

Trip the Marin fantastic

The Gram Parsons project

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15

24

› › pacificsun.com


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The other white meat. Food & Drink, p.20. 7 8 9 12 15 17 18 20 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 32 34 35

Letters Upfront Behind the Sun/Trivia CafĂŠ/Heroes & Zeros Feature Health & Well-Being Open Homes Best of Marin Ballot Information Food & Drink All In Good Taste That TV Guy Music Talking Pictures Film Movies Sundial ClassiďŹ eds Horoscope Advice Goddess

›› ON THE COVER Illustration Amane Kaneko Design Beth Allen 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 Š2009 Embarcadero Publishing Company ISSN; 0048-2641. All rights reserved. Unsolicited manuscripts must be submitted with a stamped self-addressed envelope.

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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

Member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies

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Recovery Without Walls successfully treats patients with an individualized, outpatient program. It is founded and directed by Howard Kornfeld, M.D., a leading authority on treating alcoholism and addiction, as well as chronic pain. Dr. Kornfeld has been a medical leader in Marin County for over two decades and has taught about addiction medicine as a member of the clinical faculty at the UCSF School of Medicine for over ten years. Dr. Kornfeld is an expert in gentle, therapeutic detoxification from alcohol and drugs, particularly as a leading practitioner in the use of Suboxone (buprenorphine), a medication for the management of both pain and the addiction that can happen so quickly from opiate pain pills. Dr. Kornfeld combines his pharmacological expertise with a pioneering medical methodology that naturally aids recovery.

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In this way, RWW uniquely addresses the anxiety and stress of detoxification with medically sophisticated caring and one on one, mind-body healing. For more information please refer to the Recovery Without Walls website, or call today for a confidential appointment.

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›› LETTERS Unsafe at any speed Christmas weekend, four days off, some fine time on Mt.Tam. Well, almost. As we jogged on Christmas Eve along the narrow trail at Sky Oaks Meadows, which bikes are now allowed on, I was almost run over by a mountain biker who didn’t see me—as I didn’t see or hear him because there were large bushes on the turn. His speed was probably 10 to 15 mph. I had to jump away to avoid impact and tried to get him to slow down, but he was followed by his son. Now that’s a great example of father-son bonding. “Hey, let’s go out and terrify other trail users!” Even after I told them to slow down, did they? Did they apologize? Did they yield right-ofway as bikers are supposed to? Of course not; being a mountain biker means never having to say you’re sorry and never giving a @#%$ about anyone else. Be honest, is there any other user group in our parks that denies reality, justifies illegal behavior and endangers others as much as mountain bikers? Get them off the trails and, frankly, get them off the fire roads too. Mountain bikers, you want thrill rides? Buy your own land, get an EIR and run into each other—before you reproduce. My tax dollars are not spent so I can be endangered by a bunch of idiots on public lands. CarloV.Gardin,Fairfax

Electric boogaloo Your paper has printed articles about the county grand jury’s concerns over Marin Clean Energy [“Runaway Grand Jury?” Dec. 18]. I think there are some concerns that should be mentioned about Pacific Gas & Electric.

PG&E is a for-profit utility that provides the bulk of its energy from nuclear and fossil fuels. They deliver only 14 percent clean energy, and are fighting to build two new fossil-fuel power plants in the East Bay. PG&E is not green, and cares less about supplying clean power than it does about making money for stockholders. Ratepayer price security and stability are not priorities. PG&E has already admitted it won’t meet the 20 percent renewables by 2010 that is current California law. By comparison, Marin Clean Energy will go on line next year with minimum 25 percent renewable energy—at or below PG&E rates. We can’t wait until PG&E decides it is profitable to start investing in renewable sources. We need to lead the way and have an alternative. Marin energy users need to access accurate information about local community power, and encourage their elected officials to support Marin Clean Energy. Visit www. marinenergyauthority.org. Patty Schmidt,MillValley

‘This is not about my store’ To the Pacific Sun: The following e-mail has been sent to roughly 1,000 people, all readers who support bookstores. This is not about my store this is about a literary format (a newspaper) sabotaging visibility for bookstores. This is just one in a series of unbelievably short sighted and anti-community editorial decisions that have been made by this paper: “Friends and neighbors, In this year’s Pacific Sun Best of Marin ballot we have noticed that they have entirely left out the “best bookstore” category. Yup. Its gone.

›› TOWNSQUARE

TOP POSTINGS THIS WEEK

How to Fix The Economy The Fix There recently was an article in the St. Petersburg Fl. Times. The Business Section asked readers for ideas on: “How Would You Fix the Economy?” I think this... Am I An American Am I An American? First of all, I don’t believe in God. I believed in Him longer than the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, but not by many years. The tide turned when I took... Run a red light and pay, pay, pay. Our lovely Gov. has inserted a item into a new bill that will allow cities to attach a speed gun onto the cameras that catch you...running a red lightus. Read the full story here ...Marin.

Your soapbox is waiting at ›› pacificsun.com You can vote for a nail salon and a pizza place, and the best place to get your dog groomed, but nope, not for a bookstore. Not any bookstore at all. The editor’s Sabotaging the local lit comexcuse (we called munity, Aug. 28, 2009 them) was that “Book Passage wins every year, so we decided to leave out the category entirely.” The reason Book Passage wins every year is because the category is listed as “best new bookstore.” What they do not seem to be able to figure out is that they need to open the category to say just “best bookstore,” (like every other category in their paper!) or like the North Bay Bohemian does, new and used book store categories. Not exactly rocket science. But no, they are leaving out the category entirely. New stores have no chance to build a community presence because the opening of a new bookstore is not news to the Sun (We sent them a press release upon our opening. Not a peep.) And they never run good articles on bookstores or the literary community. Some of you have asked us to vote for you in the “best of” contests in both the Sun and the North Bay Bohemian. We will vote in the Bohemian. Not in the Sun. What is the point? They do not represent us or our community. Please take the time to voice your opinion to the Sun on this inane editorial decision.” The Rebound Crew,Joel andToni

p.s. With friends like this, who needs enemies? Editor’s note: It’s long been a practice of the Pacific Sun to print letters that take us to task for the various story offenses, mistakes or grammatical blunders—real or perceived—that rile our valued readers. You keep us on our toes, sometimes educate us, and we appreciate the folks who care enough about what we write to tell us off about it from time to time. We don’t tend to debate critical letters unless their inaccuracy is such that it warrants a response. This is such a case. While we respect the passion and commitment to the local lit community of the “Rebound Crew,” I’d like to correct the record

on a couple of items from their letter: O No one representing Rebound Bookstore has ever spoken to me about the bookstore category or Best of Marin. Ever. O We don’t add or drop categories because a certain business wins regularly. If a business wins five times in a row it is retired to the Hall of Fame for two years; it’s a way to honor repeat winners and let others have a chance to win, while not keeping a stand-out business out of competition for too long. O The category has never been called best new bookstore. It is best bookstore. There aren’t enough new bookstores opening each year to ever justify such a “new bookstore” category. O I’d hardly say we “never” cover the local literary community. Unless our cover features on Tamalpais Walking; the One Book One Marin library program; a Rising Suns issue focusing on six unsung authors; a look at Joe Gore’s Maltese Falcon prequel; a summer local-lit roundup; and features on Edward Espe Brown, Joyce Maynard and many others don’t count. Those cover features, we add, are all from 2009. O The reason best bookstore isn’t on the ballot this year is simple. We give every category a year off from time to time to make room for new categories—we try to keep the number of categories at about 100. This year is merely the bookstore category’s year off. It’ll be back next year.—Jason Walsh

‘If you’ve got a heart, then Gumby’s a part of you!’ The late Art Clokey, who died Jan. 8 in Los Osos, will be missed by a generation of us who grew up with Gumby. His wife Gloria once told me Not religious enough. that he refused to do another season of Davey and Goliath because the Lutheran Church wanted him to “put more religion into it.” CraigWhatley,San Rafael

Put your stamp on the letters to the editor at ›› pacificsun.com JANUARY 15 – JANUARY 21, 2010 PACIFIC SUN 7


›› UPFRONT

Barbarians at the Gateway COM proposal for a massive entrance building has critics on the attack by Pe te r Se i d m an

C

ollege of Marin trustees gave new meaning to the phrase “going back to the drawing board” at their last board meeting. On the agenda at the contentious meeting last month was an item calling for the trustees to choose an architectural firm for what has come to be called the Gateway Complex. The meeting was newly seated trustee Diana Conti’s introduction to the tough politics that have marked debate at the College of Marin (and many other local boards, such as the Marin Healthcare District) for quite some time. Still, the level of disagreement over the Gateway Complex left Conti somewhat shell-shocked. “I was surprised. I know people have strong feelings about the Gateway Complex,” she says, “and I understand that. I think there are legitimate differences of opinion. I did not expect it to be so heated. It was amazing to me.” Welcome to the world of board politics in Marin. Instead of choosing a design firm for the complex, the board decided to put the project on a 30-day hold and schedule discussion at a public board retreat Jan. 15. Although other items are on the agenda, the Gateway Complex undoubtedly is the biggest draw. The week before the retreat, V-Anne Chernock, director of modernization for the college’s building program, said, in an understatement, “I expect an audience.” The retreat will be held in the Deedy Lounge in the Student Services building, where the trustees hold

their board meetings. The Gateway discussion is supposed to start at 1pm, according to Chernock. If trustees can reach consensus on the direction for the Gateway Complex, they could vote to choose an architectural firm and move the project forward at their Jan. 19 meeting. Fingers are crossed, but the Gateway Complex triggers visceral reactions that make it hard to find common ground. That was evident at the trustees’ recent meeting during a discussion preceding a motion for a vote on one of two architectural firms for the complex. Trustee James Namnath suggested a third option: choose neither firm. The Gateway Complex has elicited fervent feelings in part because it envisions an entirely new landscape at the corner of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and College Avenue. A new 55,000-square-foot complex would replace Olney Hall, the Harlan Center, the business center, the taqueria on the corner and administration offices. At one point in discussions about the project, a retail complex entered the mix, to the consternation of the neighborhood and critics. That’s not on the table right now, but a source of contention remains for administrative offices in the Gateway Complex. The core of the debate grew out of the 2004 Measure C bond that Marin voters approved by a 60 percent majority. The measure was designed to raise $249.5 million for repairs, renovation and new construction on the College of Marin’s deteriorating 10 >

›› NEWSGRAMS Novato to dole out pink slips to 39 city personnel The city of Novato is planning to downsize close to 20 percent of its workforce, sending notification to 39 city employees of impending cuts that would take effect within the next couple of years.The eliminations are an attempt to diminish the city’s estimated $5 million deficit. Among the deepest cuts, Parks, Recreation and Community Services stands to lose 11 positions; public works, 13; the police department will be reduced by seven. Some city facilities and programs could also close. San Geronimo building permit finally accepted E. Stephen Maloney III’s design proposal for his San Geronimo Valley home finally won approval from the Marin County Planning Commission after six controversial years.The 2004 building request for the San Geronimo Creekadjacent lot garnered attention after the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network threatened to sue county officials for lack of environmental protection, which prompted a highly controversial 100-foot“stream conservation area”building moratorium in 2008. Ultimately, the planning commission agreed that Maloney’s proposed design fulfilled all environmental requirements, entitling him to apply for a building permit when the moratorium ends Feb. 11. Another year for Novato Sanitary District drama Dennis Welsh, the newly elected member of the Novato Sanitary District board, is embroiled in a dispute with fellow board members over the rescheduling of a Dec. 28 closed-session board meeting—a meeting postponed, he says, solely to exclude him from it.“I believe this continuance to be unlawful,”Welsh wrote in a letter to Marin D.A. Ed Berberian and county counsel Patrick Faulkner. A meeting cannot be postponed, he wrote,“for the purpose of preventing a duly elected member from participating in the meeting.” According to Welsh, the board had planned to meet in closed session Dec. 28 to discuss an impending EPA investigation regarding alleged environmental violations committed by the district in 2006-7. But in early December,Welsh says he was contacted by the sanitary district’s attorneys, who suggested his attendance at the meeting “could be a potential conflict of interest” because he was “confirmed to be a witness for the prosecution.”Welsh says he was interviewed by the EPA last spring, but knows nothing about being a witness for the agency.Therefore, he says, no conflict of interest exists and to exclude him from board meetings is a violation of state law. Berberian says his office hasn’t yet determined the validity of Welsh’s claim. Heart of Marin honors nonprofits, volunteers The 17th annual Heart of Marin Awards honored nonprofit organizations and volunteers on Jan. 7 at the Marin Civic Center. Presented by the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin and Tamalpais Bank, the awards— along with $1,000 each for student winners and $5,000 for nonprofits—were given to recipients selected from nearly 140 nominees in seven categories.The honorees include Charlotte Shell, Novato Youth Center, for Excellence in Board Leadership; John and Millie Barrett, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay, for Volunteer of the Year; Edward Kauffman, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay, for Excellence in Leadership;Taylor Crouch, Leah Guliasi, Luigi Mendoza, Sergey Nikeyenkov and Tyler Willis for Youth Volunteer of the Year; Headlands Institute for Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence; Marin Institute for Excellence in Innovation; and Frank Howard Allen Realtors for Corporate Community Service.—Samantha Campos EXTRA! EXTRA! Post your Marin news at ›› pacificsun.com

8 PACIFIC SUN JANUARY 15 - JANUARY 21, 2010


From the Sun vaults, January 19 - 25, 1990

The offal office Garbage man holds nose at Marin’s wasteful ways by Jason Wals h

20

‘Anything dirty or dingy or dusty, ragged or rotten or rusty—yes, I love trash!’ —Oscar the Grouch

years ago

Shields, at the Marin Resource Recovery Center, 1990.

stood up there and cried while I mashed it up. Tears were actually running out of his eyes as I crushed the thing. I didn’t bother to ask him why. I figure he’d got his own reasons.” But the trash trade was transforming, cautioned the mess manager. New laws were limiting dumpsite salvage and more and more waste was being trucked to the Redwood Landfill in Novato. Meanwhile, the number of people dumping in Marin had risen from 100 a day to 500. “This either has to be the cleanest county in the United States, or the dirtiest,” he reckoned. Once Shields found a book from 1888; it was inscribed from a husband to his wife with a William Wordsworth poem, “The World Is Too Much With Us.” He then sold the antique volume to a collector for a tidy sum. Though Shields wasn’t familiar with the tenderly inscribed poem, wrote Zimmerman, he was “moved by the irony of it ending up in a garbage dump.” Wordsworth’s 1888 ode, as it happens, was a commentary on industrial-age consumerism and waste: The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! Shields figured he could have gotten even more for the book, but “unfortunately [he] had already run over it” with his frontloader. < Share your landfill memories with Jason at jwalsh@pacificsun.com.

Blast into Marin’s past with more Behind the Sun at ›› pacificsun.com

by Howard Rachelson

1. Around 1900, seven brothers emigrated from Italy to the United States, settling in Berkeley. In 1948, one brother developed a submersible bathtub pump for arthritis patients. In 1968, a grandson created the first whirlpool bath.What is the family name? 2. What pungent plant is most commonly consumed at the Stinking Rose restaurant in San Francisco? 3. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes where? 4. What three U.S. states have the smallest populations? 5. What do we call those fatty acids found in fish oil that are beneficial in fighting heart disease? 6. These events happened in Feb. 2009, in two very isolated countries: 6a. Johanna Sigurdardottir became the first female prime minister to lead what country? 6b. The worst wildfires ever recorded in this nation’s history killed almost 200 people in what country? 7. Pictures, to right: Identify these actresses and rank them according to age, oldest first. 8. What is the only bird that provides us with leather? 9. With the University of Alabama’s victory last week in the NCAA football championship, the team leads the all-time list of college football champions, Division 1.What three colleges are next? 10. One of the world’s most expensive coffees,“Blue Mountain,”is grown and produced in which small Caribbean nation? BONUS QUESTION: Calling the existing law outdated and misguided,“rooted in fear rather than fact,”on Oct. 30, 2009, President Obama announced an end to the policy that prohibited who from entering the United States?

#7a

#7b

#7c #10 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 howard1@triviacafe.com.

Answers on page 32

▲ A couple of weeks ago RC ▼ This week’s mangy-mutt award

wrote in to nominate “Wendy” of Fairfax for this week’s top tailwagger. While across the bridge in Richmond, Wendy spotted some men mistreating a dog. Sensing that Fido may be pit-bull bait, she offered the men $20 for the dog and they accepted. Wendy then brought the dog back to Marin and after considerable effort—she already has other pets, so was unable to keep this one— found a responsible person to adopt it. When some time had passed, Wendy even went to the adopter’s home to make sure the dog and person had bonded—they did. Way to go, Wendy, you pro-active proxy and protector of pooches!

ZERO

Marin was the trash heap of society 20 years ago this week. Supply-side economics was on the march in the opening month of the 1990s—the Soviet Union was crumbling and the first McDonald’s had just opened in Moscow. The entire world, it seemed, was ready to link arm-in-arm with the West in a veritable Utopia of precious goods and commodities. Marin, meanwhile, was just trying to get rid of its junk. “I used to be shocked to see what [Marinites] would throw away,” San Rafael garbage man Al Shields told the Pacific Sun in its January 1990 story “Down in the Dumps.” “Now nothing fazes me. I just shake my head in wonderment.” Shields, 57, was readying for retirement after a two-decade stint on the county dump scene. After serving in the military, raising six kids and then winding down his career at the Marin Resource Recovery Center in San Rafael, Shields had pretty much seen it all—and seen county residents dump most of it. Frequent finds included first-edition books, brand-new furniture, gemstone rings and bikes “by the hundreds”; Marinites, Shields explained to Sun reporter Joy Zimmerman, were tossing everything but the kitchen sink. “Actually,” he corrected, “a couple of weeks ago I found a brand new sink faucet—still in the box!” Not only had the trash man furnished every room in his house with high-end color TVs ditched at the center, he’d also built a 1,000-square-foot barn and two decks for his swimming pool with new lumber dumped by contractors. “This area seems to be a very rich area, a wasteful area,” the refuse raconteur concluded. And he wasn’t kidding. County residents had gotten so wealthy, they were now dumping cold hard cash. Shields’ favorite find was a tackle box that “was so heavy I thought must be filled with tools.” But when he opened it, out fell hundreds of coins—all uncirculated American dollars, half dollars and quarters. While Shields’ happiest dump memories weren’t necessarily wasted-treasure moments—he was highly amused when people would fall into “the pit”—they were often the most memorable. “There was this guy who hauled in a 40-foot cabin cruiser to be crushed,” jabbered the junk jockey. “He

›› TRiViA CAFÉ

HERO

›› BEHiND THE SUN

comes care of RJG of San Rafael, who wants to know, “What’s with the Marin puppy love insanity?” RJG deplores the buying of “little dog outfits, tongue-kissing your dog or putting the dog in a stroller to ‘walk’ him,” but is more hounded with the ubiquitous presence of four-pawed pals in stores or restaurants—”a sanitation nono”—and a major health violation with a fine. “I’ve seen dogs (not guide dogs) in Taco Bell, Walgreens, Safeway, Longs, Rite-Aid and [local restaurants]. Every time management and staff were aware of this but did nothing.” In the words of Ogden Nash, “A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.” Doggone it.—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 JANUARY 15 – JANUARY 21, 2010 PACIFIC SUN 9


›› UPFRONT < 8 Barbarians at the Gateway Indian Valley and Kentfield campuses. The modernization proposals for Indian Valley have received a fair share of criticism (and praise), but the impassioned responses to the project proposals on the Kentfield campus are of another order. And the Gateway Complex crystallizes the problems, possibilities and issues of change and modernization—and the importance of good public relations. Although Measure C passed in 2004, the kernel for the Gateway Complex actually sprouted in 2002, when the college district hired a consulting firm to conduct a facilities assessment and community survey to gauge support for the measure. “Among the comments coming out of the survey was a high level of interest in a new building at the main entrance,” says Chernock. “The first reference of the building as a gateway came from a visioning session by the board in September of 2005. That was the first time a building on the corner was envisioned as a gateway, a there there.” Then, in April 2006, a gateway building “was mentioned at a board retreat, where they actually called it the Gateway Complex and named it as one the top 10 projects, and it just kept being called the Gateway Complex.” Creating a gateway entrance to College of Marin in Kentfield would be a welcome improvement for visitors who routinely drive right by the campus on Sir Francis Drake and have to turn around and return to College Avenue after realizing they’ve passed it. But

opponents say the gateway vision is grandiose. They would rather see the college forgo constructing a new entrance building and simply rehabilitate what already exists; money for a new building could instead be used for multiple rehabilitation projects elsewhere on the campus. Adding to the fray are neighbors and other community members who say the college has not paid adequate attention to them during the planning and design of the program. These concerns came to a head at the trustees’ meeting last month. At that meeting, trustees named Eva Long as the new board president. In helping to explain the strong reactions the Gateway Complex triggers, Long says, “My sense is that some [members of the community] and some trustees believe it does not reflect what they think are priorities for the direction of the district. This is the last phase, and there are many priorities that have not [yet] been funded. Some board members perceive that we need to reassess the priorities. I think that’s key. They want that time to look at it and have the opportunity to speak about it where they can be heard.” Implicit in that statement is the possibility that the district could readjust and downscale its Gateway Complex vision in favor of spreading the bond money around to multiple projects. Things have changed since the bond measure went on the ballot, Long notes. “It’s a different time. There’s some perception that perhaps we can spend our money in a more efficient, more deliberate,

Marin Horizon School

more focused manner.” Instead of choosing either the design of ED2 International of San Francisco or the combined design of TLCD of Santa Rosa and Mark Cavagnero Associates of San Francisco, the board voted 5-2 to postpone a decision and send the question to the retreat for further public review. Trustees Namnath and Barbara Dolan dissented. Conti hopes the opportunity to air the issue at the retreat will yield a consensus that the board can take to its Jan. 19 meeting. In the week before the retreat district staff compiled a portfolio of information to help trustees follow the timeline since 2002. Conti says the staff cooperation has been “very forthcoming.” And, she adds, “I am hoping that when we look at the black-and-white, when we stick to the facts, there will be a willingness on the part of the trustees to at least respect the other points of view and opinions, as well as to factor in the opinions of people we hear from in the community. We are neighbors in our community. We make the decisions. That’s our responsibility. But we need to listen. I do believe there’s common ground.” Conti hopes everyone can “slow down long enough” to look at the facts, figures and options that can lead to a rational decision about the complex and the bond spending program. Long echoes those sentiments. “It’s about process. We need to have enough process so trustees and community members have an opportunity to see different options, so that everyone can

understand that we have looked at all that.” A review, Long adds, may result in staying the course or altering the modernization plan. Key to the decision will be a review of the modernization plan history—seven years’ worth. Those years have included many public meetings and district outreach to the community. Despite the outreach effort, many still feel blindsided, especially by the Gateway Complex proposal. It has, indeed, turned into a symbol. Joan Wieder served on the District Modernization Committee, which compiled ideas that would help the district create a modernization proposal. The committee was fashioned to include representation from faculty, students and community members. But, says Wieder, the numbers were stacked so that students and faculty had less than equal representation. She also says, “When the arts building was designed, it was done during the summer,” when no District Modernization Committee meetings took place. Wieder, a former federal administrative law judge, says that when committee members returned at the end of summer, they found that the size of the arts building had been reduced. Wieder and others say the district reduced it to accommodate the Gateway Complex, which was never specifically mentioned in the bond measure ballot material. They also say the modernization plan calls for reducing the amount of parking for arts students, many of whom are elderly and benefit from parking as close as possible to the building.

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›› UPFRONT The Gateway Complex itself will result in no net loss of parking, says Chernock, “but we are looking into addressing parking in the vicinity as a component of moving this project forward.” Chernock says the public will have ample opportunity to participate in the design process for the complex. After the district chooses a design firm and a design, it will create a public process during which community members, faculty and students can provide input leading up to the final design. Until the district chooses an architectural firm, conversations about designs details are moot. But the acrimony created by the process will be tough to assuage. Wieder says her experience on the District Modernization Committee leaves her pessimistic. The district could mend many fences with a focused outreach effort and a polished public relations endeavor. That might not be enough for Vivien Bronshvag. The former assemblywoman who lives in Kentfield says, “The Gateway Complex was never in the bond measure. It took money away from other projects. It is primarily for administration. The other buildings could have been planned better.” She, like Wieder, strongly objects to reducing the amount of parking near the arts building. And she says she has collected signatures from neighbors and students on a petition that objects to the loss of parking. The cost of a new building is just too

much, say Bronshvag, Wieder and others. But, says Chernock, the district is following protocol. The state has an index by which it determines whether a community college should consider rebuilding or rehabilitating. The four buildings on the corner of Sir Francis Drake and College Avenue are in very poor condition, and improving the infrastructure and technology would add even greater cost to rehabilitate them. “All that is why early on in the process it was determined these buildings were not worth keeping.” But Bronshvag and others remain unconvinced. “What would you do if you had to fix your house? Would you tear it down? Would you repair what you could? Maybe if you were a zillionaire. They have the public’s money, and they don’t have enough of it. I think they should repair the buildings they have.” She and others say the district should think again before sacrificing the overall modernization project “for this socalled jewel” of a Gateway Complex. But Chernock is among those who say that many people support the overall modernization vision—including the Gateway Complex. “We’ve had discussions throughout the community, and from my observation, there is strong support for the Gateway Project. They are just not as vocal, perhaps.” <

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ow is it, in a time of immense fiscal crisis, that an eradication program designed to clear out an otherwise ordinary and humdrum brown moth has come to cost California taxpayers over $100 million, and has garnered media attention that would have the Balloon Boy’s dad puking with envy? When a bland, garden-variety moth, which many horticultural experts believe has been in the ‘hood for years and is responsible for only minimal crop damage, steals the spotlight, it’s time to do some ‘splaining. So I clipped on my Master Gardener trowel-shaped lapel pin and gave the senior entomology faculty at the University of California, Davis a jingle to see why my tax dollars were being used to stamp out the lackluster light brown apple moth (LBAM). Here’s a recap of the moth madness: In Feb. 2007, a retired entomologist found a single light brown apple moth in his East Bay garden. By that summer, major LBAM populations had been found in the Monterey area. In an attempt to quickly stop the spread of this leaf-eating moth, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) declared a state of emergency. This action released them from conducting a required environmental impact report in advance of spraying the area with pesticides. For several nights Monterey and Santa Cruz populations were aerially sprayed from 8pm to the early morning hours with bio-pesticide pheromone products. The aerial spraying was planned to occur for a few days each month over the next few years in San Francisco, Marin, Monterey and various East Bay cities. Many outraged citizens, city councils and a coalition of 90 public interest groups, including Marin’s MOMAS (Mothers of Marin Against the Spray), immediately organized an effective campaign to stop further spraying in the Bay Area. This impassioned cry from concerned citizens prompted California Secretary of Agriculture A.G. Kawamura to temporarily cancel the planned aerial spraying of other counties throughout the state. The original spraying in the Santa Cruz area was followed by hundreds of reported human illnesses, 650 seabird deaths and the unexplained deaths of pets and farm animals. The EPA has since revoked approval of CheckMate LBAM-F, the product that was used in the aerial spraying. “We are strongly opposed to the CDFA’s entire moth eradication program. Times have changed, and the old methods

12 PACIFIC SUN JANUARY 15 - JANUARY 21, 2010

LBAM first emigrated from Australia about a century ago.

With pesticide-linked diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s, diabetes and autism at historic highs, Pesticide Action Network (www.panna.org) has recently released its new iPhone app,“What’s On My Food?” Just type in a food, such as “apples,” and this app will show you which pesticides are found on conventionally grown apples, in what amount and what health effects are associated with exposure to each chemical.“This tool gives shoppers easy access to information on pesticides that’s been buried deep in government reports for years,” says Kristin Schafer, senior policy analyst at Pesticide Action Network.“Shoppers can make healthy choices for their families that also help move the whole food system in the right direction.”To download this iPhone app, go to www.whatsonmyfood.org/iphoneapp.jsp. <

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The work of light brown apple moth caterpillars; UC scientists argue it ain’t that bad...

of releasing chemicals and pesticides throughout the environment, which puts our health in danger, must be stopped,” said Carolyn Cohan, a spokeswoman for MOMAS. “We must look to the future in sustainable ways that won’t harm the environment, animals and our children.” To win over an irate and skeptical public, the CDFA hired a public relations powerhouse and spent $3 million to produce an advertising campaign titled “Hungry Pests,” criticized as cheesy and fear-mongering by spray opponents. One ad warns that the brown moth could have significant longterm environmental and agricultural impact statewide, devastating our redwood forests and farms. At the same time, James Carey, professor and former vice chair of the Department of Entomology at UC Davis, and his colleagues Frank Zalom, a UC Davis professor and fellow at the California Academy of Science, and Bruce Hammock, professor of entomology at the Davis Cancer Research Center, sent a letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger expressing their concern with the planned moth eradication program. Their arguments focused on two primary points: O the data supporting the argument that the moth would become more economically important than other tortricid leafrollers that are already in the state is unconvincing; O there is no scientific evidence that using the method of mating disruption via pheromones either alone or with augmentative methods is capable of eradicating any insect population. Harrumph! I phoned Carey to ask him why he and his pack of vociferous overachievers were being such spoilsports. “The light brown apple moth should not be on a ‘Class A’ list. This is not a serious pest. And even if it was a more serious pest, there is zero chance to eradicate it,” said Carey. “Not a small chance or minuscule chance, but basically zero. Eradication is not possible because you’re not eradicating an LBAM population but you’re trying to eradicate 100,000 LBAM populations. There are millions of pockets of these and each pocket has a separate population. It’s similar to cancer. Every little metastasis can regenerate the population. Anything short of 100 percent effectiveness is control, not eradication.”

As a result of the controversy surrounding aerial spraying, the present plan of action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the CDFA is to add pheromone-saturated twistties and small amounts of lower-risk pesticides applied to poles and trees in parks and urban areas over the next three to five years. According to the environmental law firm EarthJustice, the product label of the chemical used in the twist-ties warns that the pheromone can be harmful if absorbed through skin and can cause eye irritation. It may also be toxic to aquatic life, dangerous to birds as well as domestic animals and other moths or butterflies. The twist-ties also contain “inert” ingredients that haven’t been disclosed to the public. “I’m a naturally optimistic person, but I really feel—after listening to countless scientists and doctors and seeing so many sick kids recently—that we are quickly going over a toxic cliff in our country,” says Debbie Friedman, a GreenWave Strategies consultant and chair of MOMAS. “As parents, we have a moral obligation to our children and to future generations. Last year, when MOMAS helped stop the spraying of chemicals from airplanes, several people told us that no group or person had ever stopped an aerial spraying. But Californians rose up like they hadn’t in decades and it was stopped.” Marin pediatrician Michelle Perro has concerns about the products planned for the eradication program. “The amount of pesticides taken in by children is much greater than adults because of their unique physiology and behavior. New research shows that even minute amounts of pesticides can cause significant health changes in the areas of immunology, neurocognitive functioning and other serious heath risks,” says Perro. Minimal aerial spraying is still planned in forested areas along with a release of millions of irradiated sterile moths. Carey, who has been working with exotic pests since 1980 and was a key scientist in the decadesold battle against the Mediterranean fruit fly, believes the ill-conceived strategy of sterilizing millions of moths by radiation in a laboratory and then setting them free to mate, is deeply flawed. He says it has failed in the past to eradicate most of the pests on which it has been tested. The sterilization strategy will cost an estimated $10 mil- 14 >

D E C 19, 2 00 9—A PR 1 8 , 2 010 Cartier came to fame as the “king of jewelers” during the Belle Époque for his beautifully made diamond and platinum jewelry. Marking Cartier’s 100 years in the U.S., this spectacular array of over 200 objects concentrates on pieces owned by Americans including jewelry from celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Grace of Monaco.

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SKINNER ORGAN CONCERTS Every Sat and Sun, 4pm. Live performances of 19th- and early-20th-century favorites. Cartier and America is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in partnership with Cartier. Major Patron: Lonna Wais. Patron: Diane B. Wilsey. Lead Sponsor support is provided by BNP Paribas and Dr. Alan R. Malouf. Cartier Circle support is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Adolphus Andrews, Jr., Mitchell Benjamin and Ricky Serbin, Jamie and Philip Bowles, Mrs. Newton A. Cope, Troy and Angelique Griepp, Ms. Patricia Mozart, Yurie and Carl Pascarella, Arlene and Harold Schnitzer, Georges C. and Eleanor C. St. Laurent, Ms. Christine Suppes, and SUSAN/The Grocery Store. Generous support is also provided by the Dorothy and Thelma Carson Trust. British Motor Cars of San Francisco presents the Jaguar XJ as the official vehicle of Cartier and America. Emirates is the official airline, and Taj Campton Place is the official hotel partner of the exhibition.

Image: Cartier, New York, Pendant Brooch, 1928. Emeralds, diamonds, platinum and enamel. Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens; bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973. Photo by Edward Owen.

JANUARY 15 – JANUARY 21, 2010 PACIFIC SUN 13


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Who did the light brown apple moth sleep with to get the starring role? LBAM (Epiphyas postvittana) is a moth native to Australia that moseyed over to New Zealand and Hawaii over 100 years ago. When Roy Upton’s team at Citizens for Health, a science-based public health and environmental organization, contacted horticultural experts in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the UK, where the moth is widespread, the response was unanimous and went something like this: Why are you asking us about such an insignificant insect? Quit bugging us. We’ve got bigger fish to fry! Daniel Harder, botanist and former executive director of the arboretum at UC Santa Cruz, says the folks at HortResearch in New Zealand (the Kiwi’s version of the USDA), have devised effective protocols for controlling LBAM to zero-tolerance levels necessary to meet restrictions for export of crops to the United States. “These are classic IPM [inte-

Who Ya Gonna Call? U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at 301/734-5356; ask for Deborah McPartlan or leave a voicemail asking to “reclassify the light brown apple moth.” If you have the time, also contact: O House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 415/556-4862 O State Senator Mark Leno 415/479-6612 O Representative Lynn Woolsey 415/507-9554 Ask them to tell the USDA to reclassify the moth. Extra Credit and a gold star: Email MOMAS, mothersofmarin@yahoo.com, and ask to be added to their email list for periodic LBAM updates and action alerts. < 14 PACIFIC SUN JANUARY 15 - JANUARY 21, 2010

grated pest management] strategies of careful monitoring,” says Harder, who traveled there in 2008 on a fact-finding mission meeting with government, agricultural and horticultural entomologists and researchers. New Zealand has a similar climate to California, along with many common crops and fauna. His 2008 study reports that in the 1980s, when regular applications of “broad-spectrum organophosphate” pesticides were used, the moth was considered a problem pest in New Zealand orchards. These pesticides have short- and long-term risks from exposure and long-term persistence in the environment. They also wipe out a plethora of beneficial insects that are natural predators and parasites to many pests. Unfortunately, insects aren’t as oblivious as we’d like them to be and populations of them, including the LBAM, developed resistance to the pesticides. When the broad-spectrum pesticides were stopped in 2001, the beneficial insects returned to chow down on a variety of leafrollers (a horticultural term used for various caterpillars). Since then, with careful monitoring by sticky traps and a well-timed, target-specific, naturally based insecticide, LBAM has been reduced to a minor pest. Ta-da! Now the moth sits on a New Zealand film set, in a damp and dank holding area with all the other movie extras, sipping cold coffee and chatting nonstop about upgrading to a stand-in. New Zealand entomological researchers also note that using pheromones placed throughout the state will only work under specific conditions: O Extensive, even and complete coverage of the pheromone O Uniform blocks of a single crop O Uniform topography (no slopes, hills or valleys) O Low population density of target pest (not too concentrated) This will be difficult to achieve in California’s 23,000 square miles of diverse terrain where the moth is now established. Some experts believe the pest has already been here for at least 10 years. To make matters worse, New Zealand research entomologist Peter Shaw asserts that a broadcast of pheromones around the state would not be effective because female moths issue a more concentrated scent plume than the dispersed scent of an aerial spray application or twist-tie and they can modify (evolve and reinforce) their scent, so male moths would still be able to find the females. Sigh. Manipulative moths. Just what we need. It’s not just the ongoing costs to the California taxpayers, questionable safety, unknown long-term health risks and disputed efficacy in trying to eliminate this moth that’s at stake here. Family farms— both conventional and organic—as well as independently owned nurseries have also been greatly affected by imposed government quarantines, inspections and forced applications of pesticides. One California grower, who chose to remain anonymous, reported losing more than $30,000 to comply with the LBAM quarantine regula-

SHAYNA LILY ROSE BOMFIN-FINKELSTEIN

< 13 Moth the hoopla lion a year by itself, after the construction of a $35 million rearing facility in Moss Landing. “This pest cannot be eradicated. This is a huge undertaking where you end up with a moth population reduction in one area and then you go to the next and you have resurgence in the one you just left.”

Youth photographer Shayna Lily Rose Bomfin-Finkelstein placed third in the Pac Sun’s 2009 photo contest with this shot of a spray protester in Mill Valley.

tions. Another explained that if he took all the different leafrollers he’d found in his nursery in the last three years and put them all on one plant, they would have done about $20 worth of damage. As one commented, “Our government’s efforts should be going to trading partner negotiations to de-list all leafrollers across the national and international trading boards just like the EU has done. The USDA’s quarantines are hurting California farmers more than the moth is.” According to entomologist Zalom, the damage that occurs in commercial settings is manageable through careful monitoring, cultural approaches and low-risk pesticides—similar to how other widespread leafroller species are controlled. “The moth can indeed damage crops and ornamental plants, and we’ve seen evidence in a few blackberry and raspberry fields, nurseries and landscape plantings in the Monterey Bay area,” says Zalom. “Naturally occurring biological control agents will become increasingly important for control. I believe LBAM will eventually be considered an occasional pest that growers need to be aware of and one, which on occasion, will require intervention. It seems to be no greater a threat than a suite of other insect pests that already occur locally. A reasonable approach would be to reconsider the eradication program.” Why are the USDA and CDFA carrying on their crusade against this particular moth? The general consensus in the entomological community is that the eradication plan is not “science based” but based on trade issues and unrealistic restrictions that need to be updated and revised. Some even refer to the eradication program as “Smoke and Mirrors” or “Wag the Moth.” Carey suggests getting the University of California involved in the early stages of decision making and not just on technical advisory panels. There are 150 ecologists at UC Davis alone. There are over 1,000 ecologists and independent scientists across the UC system, many of them National Academy of Sciences members and elite scientists who would be willing to brain-

storm on how best to deal with exotic pests. They could provide scientific strategies and techniques that are contemporary, precise and objective before a costly eradication program has been launched. How do we demote this moth from a Class A pest (lead actor) to a Class C pest (movie extra/doughnut eater)? Last month, Marin’s state Assemblymember Jared Huffman sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on behalf of people, farms and businesses of the North Bay. He questioned, along with credible independent scientists and community leaders, if LBAM warranted eradication and if eradication is even possible. He referred to the recent independent study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, which concluded that USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service should revise its response with “more robust science to support its position” and to “more clearly articulate the justification for its actions.” In his letter, Huffman writes, “To continue implementing a program that lacks a solid scientific foundation and cannot achieve its stated goal, would be a very costly charade.” “We’re extremely gratified that Assemblymember Huffman wrote to Secretary Vilsack asking him to declassify the moth and terminate the eradication program in the absence of scientific justification,” says Debbie Friedman of MOMAS. “We are asking our government officials to live up to their promise to make policy decisions based upon science. I think that many Americans think that ‘someone else will take care of it.’ But I’ve learned firsthand that our elected officials need to hear from us often. When they hear from large numbers of people, they will listen. The number one action for people to take is to call Secretary Vilsack. He has the power to declassify the moth.” < Be a Class A pest to Annie at Annie@dirtdiva.com.

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kinds of dance classes through their community services organizations, like the West Coast swing classes at the San Rafael Community Center. Tangoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s popularity is spreading like wild ďŹ re and couples can dance these passionate steps at places like Stage Dor in Sausalito. Partner dancing encourages closeness and working together toward a goal. Just as solo dancing provides an emotional outlet, partner dancing does as wellâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;except four feet are moving in the same direction, providing deep satisfaction and downright fun. Dancing can be a way to learn more about a culture. Hula is a spiritual dance celebrating the Hawaiian culture. The sensuous poses, soothing music and motions conveying life on the Islands transports the dancer to another time and place. Tango, the national dance of Argentina, also conveys cultural elements. The music, clothes, shoes and provocative, actionpacked steps saturate the participants with the essence of that South American country. Plus, since itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a partner dance, it is undeniably sexy to watch and participate in. Many current dance forms are for ďŹ tness; but the physical element allows for selfexpression, so dancers may also feel a sense of spirituality and release of stress. Participants of non-impact aerobicsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;or Nia, a combination of dance, martial arts and ďŹ tnessâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;report elation, ďŹ&#x201A;owing with their spirit and letting out their inner child after taking classes. Jazzercise is another dance-ďŹ tness program that inspires happiness and devotion. Created by a jazz dancer in the 1980s, lively music, kicky moves and strength-building routines keep Jazzercisers coming back. No matter the reason students come to dance classes, most leave feeling relieved of stress because they go on a little mental vacation. Take my friend Bill. His face lights up when I ask him about dancing. He and his wife started lessons so they would know how to dance at a wedding. Soon they were hooked. Bill says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Within three minutes of the class starting, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like magic. All the stress of life

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disappears.â&#x20AC;? They became so impassioned by tango that they traveled to Buenos Aires recently, staying up into the wee hours every night to dance their tootsies off. Not only is dancing good for the health of your body at any age, it is also good for your head. From tots to folks in the twilight of their life, dancing can make you feel free of stress and inhibitions. It can increase self-conďŹ dence as it increases your heart rate and teach you about other cultures. It can deepen your spirituality when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re least expecting it. There you are dancingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and suddenly youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in a different country, in your head anyway. When I step back into my life after Hula Light and Easy, I feel rejuvenated. That spirit of aloha stays with me until the next Thursday, when I pull on my skirt, take off my shoes and start swaying to the ukulele. < Tango with Brooke at brooke.d.jackson@gmail.com.

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