M AY 1 1 - M AY 1 7 , 2 0 1 2
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[ S E E PA G E 9 ]
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Media Center SOS Community cable channels struggling to keep the cameras on... by Pe te r Se i d m an
ettlement of a franchise-fee dispute with Comcast means the ﬂedgling Community Media Center of Marin will survive the next few years, but it will be on a subsistence diet. Backers of open media in the county want a more enthusiastic approach to long-term sustainability. On April 18, the Marin Telecommunications Agency (MTA) and Comcast put the ﬁnishing touches on an agreement that calls for Comcast to pay 50 percent of the franchise fee that funds the county’s PEG system (public, education, government channels). The county has three PEG channels, one for each area, which air on Comcast cable and AT&T U-verse. The majority of Marin residents are Comcast subscribers. The agreement calls for a lump payment of $156,000 in addition to the 50 percent of the franchise fee, which MTA will use to fund PEG services in the county. Fifty percent isn’t the whole pie, but it’s enough to keep PEG and the media center open. In 2006, the MTA board approved a new franchise agreement with Comcast, which ended six years of negotiations with different companies that took over cable services in Marin, with Comcast being the last man standing. The deal required Comcast to put up
$3.1 million to get the media center out of the starting gate. The company agreed to front the money in exchange for a stipulation that it would add a 49-cent fee to customers’ bills to recoup that money during the 10-year term of the franchise contract. Not long after everyone signed on the dotted line, the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act became state law. (Whether DIVCA spurred competition or restricted it is still debated.) Telecommunication companies in the state had lobbied heavily for the bill because it imposed a statewide franchise. Local telecommunications agencies, like the MTA, weren’t so enthusiastic because the legislation reduced local control and ceded it to the state. Previously, local governmental entities could strike their own deals. Telecommunications companies, like AT&T, had to get approval from each local entity across the state, and each local entity could mandate different requirements and set different fees and rates. The telecommunication companies wanted a level playing ﬁeld. Under DIVCA, a company applies to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for a franchise agreement that allows it to provide video service. One of the requirements is that 1 percent of local gross revenue help fund local 9 >
by Jason Walsh
Marin officials ‘elated’ by pres’s support of gay marriage With the news Wednesday of President Obama throwing his support behind gay marriage, Marin representatives are weighing in on the importance of the first sitting president to publicly champion marriage equality. Marin state Sen. Mark Leno, the first openly gay man to be elected to the California Senate, says he was “elated” by Obama’s announcement. “This is an historic moment for our country, and I applaud President Obama for standing up for freedom, justice and equality for all people in a time when other elected officials are reluctant to do so,” said Leno, via a statement.“Denying committed same-sex couples the choice to marry has no benefit to our society and only divides communities and hurts loving couples and their families. I am confident the president’s support will help build momentum for the international movement to achieve full equality for same-sex couples everywhere.” When Leno was a member of the state Assembly, he authored a pair of bills that would have given same-sex couples the freedom to marry. The Legislature passed the marriage bill in 2005 and again in 2007, but both measures were vetoed by legendary marriage expert Gov. Schwarzenegger. Marin Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey sees it as a sign that the country is “moving closer to living up to our founding ideals as a nation.” She says,“We are moving further away from a past in which LGBT people were marginalized, delegitimized and often completely ostracized, their relationships relegated to second-class status.” The congresswoman, who is retiring at the end of her term this year, recalls that the year she arrived in Congress, 1993, the “dreadful” Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was adopted. “As I leave Congress, DADT has been repealed and now the president affirms the fundamental dignity of LGBT Americans by expressing his support for their basic right to marry and raise families,” notes Woolsey. Lucas moves forward with low-income plans for Grady Ranch Instead of a billionaire moving in across the street, Lucas Valley residents may find their new neighbors are folks in a slightly lower tax bracket. As the company promised after pulling the plug last month on its palatial film studio plans, Lucasfilm is partnering with the Marin Community Foundation to explore options for the development of affordable housing at the Grady Ranch property. George Lucas had dreams of erecting a 263,000-square-foot filmmaking wonderland in the picturesque hills of Lucas Valley, but after neighbors in the Lucas Valley Estates subdivision complained about the size and scope of the project the Star Wars filmmaker withdrew his proposal, saying via a statement to the Board of Supervisors,“The level of bitterness and anger expressed by the homeowners in Lucas Valley has convinced us that, even if we were to spend more time and acquire the necessary approvals, we would not be able to maintain a constructive relationship with our neighbors...”The statement went on to express Lucasfilm’s desire to sell the property to “a developer who will be interested in low-income housing since it is scarce in Marin.” MCF president Thomas Peters says the foundation is “thrilled” that San Anselmo resident Lucas sees it as an opportunity to address one of the “most critical issues” in the county. “In many instances, this is housing for people who work in the county but can’t afford to live here and for people who grew up here but who now cannot afford safe, secure housing in their home county,” says Peters.“And we have always paid particular attention to 9
MAY 11- MAY 17, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 7
Not even the Great Depression could keep the Waltons from making your Mother’s Day brunch look shabby in comparison... Friday at 8.
FRIDAY, MAY 11 Mother’s Day on Walton’s Mountain Maybe you should buy your mom a bag to barf in. (1982) Hallmark Channel.8pm. You Live in What? These are people who live in unusual houses. It’s different from the “You Paid How Much for That?” game you play when your relatives visit from Illinois. HGTV. 9pm. Late Show with David Letterman Jon Cryer talks about how many gallons of bleach it took to wash down the Two and a Half Men set after Charlie Sheen left. CBS.8pm.
by Rick Polito
MONDAY, MAY 14 Two and a Half Men If Jake is graduating from high school, does that make it“Three Men?”CBS.9pm. The Bachelorette Another season, another 25 bachelors, another file folder full of lab results to keep straight. ABC.9pm. Invention Hunters We’re guessing these are kitchen-gadget inventions, the kind of thing that slices, dices and crawls to a shelf in the back of the cabinet when you stop using it. Food Network.9pm. The Tonight Show What do you get when you put all three Kardashians on the same couch? A good reason to go to bed early. NBC. 11:35pm.
8 PACIFIC SUN MAY 11 - MAY 17, 2012
1. Which city council in Marin has the following order:“No dog shall be in a public place without its master on a leash”? 2. The musical Jersey Boys tells the story of what singer and music group? 3. The shape of a DNA molecule is usually referred to by what two-word phrase that describes its appearance? 4. What did Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay do on May 29, 1953? 5. In a baseball field, is the pitcher’s mound located closer to second base, home plate or exactly halfway between? 6. Pictured, right: Name these presidential pets (often known as “first dogs”): 6a. George W. Bush’s Scottish terrier (Bush called him the son he never had) 6b. LBJ’s twin beagles with similar threeletter names. 6c. Richard Nixon’ s famous cocker spaniel 6d. The Obama family’s Portuguese water dog with a two-letter name 7. According to a January 2012 poll in Vanity Fair magazine, which two James Bond actors were voted the most popular or favorite? 8. In 2010, the year the Giants won the World Series, their longest winning streak consisted of how many consecutive games: five, 10 or 15? 9. Around 1500 B.C., Hatshepsut was the first woman ever to do what? 10. Name the world’s three countries whose names begin with “F.”
by Howard Rachelson
BONUS QUESTION: What have been referred to as “Million dollar animals with 10 cent legs”? Howard Rachelson invites you to an exciting Team Trivia Contest on Saturday, May 19, from 2-4pm in the Marin County Civic Center library. FREE, with prizes and refreshments.
VLarken and Mark were strolling around the Las Gallinas nature ponds when they spotted an injured baby goose in a muddy creek bed. The poor little gosling was by itself, with no other geese nearby. The couple notiﬁed Las Gallinas Sanitary District employee Joe Selstrom, who descended a steep slope, beating his way through tangled, overgrown foliage to rescue the baby bird. Though covered in mud from head to toe, Joe brought the gosling to safety and provided Larken and Mark with a box to transport the frightened creature to WildCare. We give a tip of the wing and a honk-honk to the three Heroes who made a big effort to help an injured little goose. Thank you Larken, Mark and Joe.
Answers on page 17
WWarning: This Zero contains gross imagery. As you approach the Porta-Potty, you don’t expect to ﬂing open the door and ﬁnd a sparkling bathroom recently scrubbed by someone with OCD. Yet, is it too much to ask for the potties in Sausalito’s Dunphy Park to be emptied occasionally? It’s a busy park, especially with the beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing. Still, that’s no excuse for last Sunday, when poop piled up so high in the toilet that it almost touched the seat. Did we mention the odor? City of Sausalito, please empty the potties more frequently. On behalf of the patrons and vendors of the weekly farmers market, the bocce ball players and the parents who bring their children to romp at the water’s edge, we thank you.—Nikki Silverstein
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TUESDAY, MAY 15 Glee The club is going to the national championships. It’s like the Olympics except they only do drug tests for lip balm and Clearasil. Fox.8pm. Clinton: American Experience Do they mean that experience where we all had jobs, no wars and S AT U R D AY, M AY 1 2 our home values were going I Dream of Jeannie Maraup? Or the one where the thon It’s widely noted that nation was plunged into a the camera never showed state of moral decay that Barbara Eden’s navel during tore at the very foundations the entire series. What’s not of our culture? We like the as well known is that Barbara first one. KQED.8pm. Eden is an alien and doesn’t Orange County Social This actually have a navel. KOFY is the social network edition Channel 20.4pm. in which people can log in It’s Complicated It’s not clear live and their comments if the title is based on the Facebook relationship status, Just don’t tell Dr. Bellows! Saturday, 4pm. might appear on-screen, just in case the show wasn’t stubut we’re looking forward to pid enough for you all on its own. Bravo.8pm. “Status Update,”“Activity Log” and “Crap, I’ve Been Timelined.”(2009) USA.8:30pm. Sexting in the Suburbs It’s like sexting in the WEDNESDAY, MAY 16 Blazing Saddles Mel Brooks turns his attention to the old West. city but with more minivans and wood panWarning:This is not as funny as it was when eling. (2012) Lifetime.10pm. you were 12.With the exception of the“pull Saturday Night Live It’s Will Ferrell’s turn to my finger”gag, few things are. (1974) CMT. return to the show as the big movie star and 8pm. evict the cast members from their dressing Hannibal Rising A look at Hannibal Lecter’s rooms so his entourage can play ping-pong. early days in which we learn that chewing NBC.11:35pm. your fingernails is the gateway drug to canSUNDAY, MAY 13 Survivor: One World This nibalism. (2007) IFC.9:30pm. is the season finale. Ratings aren’t what they THURSDAY, MAY 17 The Hottest Place used to be. If they don’t start handing out on Earth It’s in the Danakil Desert of weapons next season, they might as well call Ethiopia, where black upholstery is conit off. CBS.8pm. sidered a human rights violation. Animal United Stats of America Thirty percent of Planet. 7pm. Americans will think that’s a typo. History Perez Hilton: All Access Just because Channel.10pm. one obnoxious blogger got his own show does not mean your “People Who Hang Hey! Check out That TV Guy’s latest Out at Northgate Mall Totally Suck” blog is project. He’s bringing back storytelling. going to make you a celebrity. CW. 8pm. Really. But he needs your help—make Obese and Expecting Why don’t they a pledge and post it wherever you just call it “The Train Wreck Channel?” TLC. can. http://www.kickstarter.com/ 9pm. < projects/1310394177/help-shake-n-tellbring-back-storytelling. If you don’t want to type out the URL, just Google Shake-NTurn on more TV Guy at Tell and Kickstarter. ›› paciﬁcsun.com
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< 7 Newsgrams the need for affordable housing by the county’s expanding senior population.” After the film studio proposal was withdrawn last month, county officials clamored for Lucas to change his mind—a pro-Lucas rally was staged at the Civic Center and county supervisors all but guaranteed the project would clear regulatory hurdles. But Lucas said the decision was final. County officials sounded cautious in their response to the latest development regarding the possible low-income development. “I’m looking forward to learning about Mr. Lucas’ latest vision for his property in conjunction with the foundation,” said Supervisor Susan Adams, who represents the Lucas Valley area.“As with any development, we’re ready to hear more and work together on this.” Affordable housing has been a hot-button issue in the county, as important state funds are tied to communities meeting state-mandated affordable housing numbers. But, as happened last year in Novato, some community members have vociferously opposed lowercost housing in their neighborhoods, saying—incorrectly, according to most studies—that affordable housing raises crime. Peters, on the other hand, describes affordable housing as “often the linchpin for family and financial stability.” Lucasfilm public relations director Lynne Hale says the company is “delighted” Marin Community Foundation is taking the reins in the search for a suitable developer of the land. “The foundation has had a solid track record for over 25 years of helping in the development, rehabilitation and restoration of over 2,600 affordable homes in Marin,” says Hale.
Ross write-in candidates: ‘Well, somebody’s gotta do it...’ Ross may not be a hotbed of political activity—but it appears it will at least have enough willing volunteers to field a five-member town council. Ross found itself in a bit of a political pickle in March when the candidate filing period ended, and no one—not even the two incumbents whose seats were up—wanted to run for three open seats on the Town Council. In the meantime, Ross Mayor Carla Small issued a statement imploring residents to answer the call to community service. Since then, five residents have tempered their non-enthusiasm for higher office and agreed to be write-in candidates on the June 5 ballot: Elizabeth Brekhus, Barbara Call, Kathleen Hoertkorn, P. Beach Kuhl and Jed Nelson. Learn more about the somewhat-willing candidates at a forum on May 22 at 7pm in the Barn Theatre at the Marin Art and Garden Center. Marin has sobering news for alcopops Marin officials are hoping to put the lid on a popular source of underage drinking, as the Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted 4-0, with Susan Adams absent, to adopt a resolution to support “Alcopop-Free Zones” and encourage local alcohol retailers to stop marketing and selling the controversial products. Bill Daniels, of United Markets, and Andy Bacich, of Sun Valley Market, have already pledged not to stock the fruity tasting hooch. Alcopops are pre-mixed malt-liquor beverages with high sugar, fruity flavors and colorful packaging—critics of such brands as Bacardi Breezer, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Zima XXX say they’re deliberately marketed toward youth and are frequently consumed by underage drinkers. The resolution, brought to the board at the request of Supervisors Steve Kinsey and Judy Arnold, would recognize underage drinking as an “epidemic” and define alcopops as “youth oriented” malt beverages that are “marketed in a way that encourages underage youth to drink them.” If adopted, the resolution would declare that the Board of Supervisors “supports the establishment of an Alcopop-Free Zone” in Marin and ask retailers to voluntarily stop buying, stocking, selling and marketing the drinks. According to statistics compiled by county staff, about one-third of girls ages 12 to 18 and one-fifth of boys that age have tried alcopops. Grant funds flow into Marshall septic project Marshall residents are flushed with gratitude this week after news of a hefty Clean Water Act grant came down the pipeline. A $750,000 grant through the state Water Resources Control Board will fund half the cost of adding 20 homes and Tony’s Seafood Restaurant to the Marshall Wastewater Project—a 14-year-old plan to create a fully functioning septic system for more than 50 homes along the “Marshall Mile” in West Marin. The project stems from a 1998 controversy when area oyster beds were found to be polluted with human waste—an investigation identified nearby Marshall homes as the likely source. Soon after, the Wastewater Project was launched, grants were sought to finance the septic system and Marshall residents voted to assess themselves for the balance. The first portion of the project was completed in 2008, serving 32 homes; the grant moneys awarded this week will go toward completing “phase 2” of the project. Marin County Environmental Health Director Becky Ng credits Marshall residents with wiping away their stains on the environment. “It was quite a leap of faith for the community to vote almost unanimously for the assessment,” says Ng.“This project is the next logical step in our efforts to both address water quality pollution and help property owners with the high cost of fixing septic systems, and we are delighted with this news.” The county expects to field bids and launch construction in 2013.
< 7 Media Center SOS PEG programming. (Service providers also pay a 5 percent fee to member agencies of the MTA joint powers agency. That fee adds a boost to the bottom line and is the subject of a debate about whether MTA members should kick some of their 5 percent to PEG programming, which is taking a 50 percent hit in the next few years.) When the MTA decided to move its agreement with Comcast to a state franchise agreement, it meant PEG in Marin would receive that 1 percent of gross revenue. But Comcast said it would withhold all PEG payments until Marin paid off the $3.1 million. The MTA disagreed, saying that would violate DIVCA. Comcast countered that asking it to pass on the entire 1 percent without withholding what was owed was unfair because the company would have to add another charge to customer bills to collect the money owed. And that would create an unlevel playing ﬁeld because AT&T, now in the Marin market, would not be under the same structure. In his annual report to the MTA in April, Michael Eisenmenger, executive director of the Community Media Center, wrote, “We project that by the end of the 2012/13 ﬁscal year, the balances available in both our operating account ($50,921) and our capital account ($359,801) will be insufﬁcient to allow continued operations for more than a scant couple of months.” Unless something changed the outlook, he wrote, the center’s board would be forced to “make hard decisions to lay off staff and suspend operations and to take actions to collect and preserve valuable... equipment, leasehold improvements, and other assets.” The settlement with Comcast changed the outlook. But only by half. Comcast is now funneling half of the PEG fee it collects until it recoups its front money, which is now about $1.6 million. Under the settlement agreement, that should be paid off by 2017—sooner, if Comcast increases its gross revenue, meaning that instead of about $625,000 a year in PEG franchise fees, only $312,500 will be available for PEG. (AT&T has its own agreement with the MTA for the full 1 percent fee, but a small number of customers resulted in only about $45,000 generated for PEG programming last year.) “We still can’t downsize any more,” says Eisenmenger. “We started with a very austere budget, and we stuck to that to extend the time necessary to get all this sorted out. We can’t get any smaller. The good news is we’re not going to close next year. The bad news is that the next ﬁve years will still be challenging. We will be operating with a zero-growth budget. We’ll still have to make up a lot of a deﬁcit through different revenue-generating projects. We’re hoping the cities and the MTA will offer some support over that time.” At the end of the period, when Comcast
has received its full payback, the entire 1 percent will go toward PEG programming as stipulated in DIVCA. But, says Eisenmenger, even that is still a paltry amount given the possibilities and promises of PEG. And the Comcast settlement deal will leave the media center with little to no reserves. The media center has been outﬁtting town halls with video equipment and airing meetings on the government side of PEG. Larkspur, San Anselmo, Ross and Fairfax are next on the get-wired list. The media center generates some revenue from the installations. But backers of PEG would like to see Marin towns and the county move more aggressively to hire the media center on a fee-for-service basis. Fairfax has agreed to do that. Promoting fee-for-service among the members of the MTA “is necessary and proper,” says Fairfax Councilman Larry Bragman. He serves on both the MTA and media center boards, which gives him an interesting perspective. The media center and PEG are “are important functions to pursue and to fund,” says Bragman, “and truthfully, compared to [projects like] resurfacing a road,” the ﬁnancial impact is minimal. The 10 MTA member agencies could cover the amount Comcast is withholding, about $35,600 a year, for the few years until Comcast receives its payback. And, says Bragman, the amount members would need to cover actually would be even smaller because the media center already has begun generating about $130,000 a year in fees for service, bringing the amount the members would need to cover down to about $22,600 a year until 2017—sooner if Comcast recoups its money faster. “We’re talking about more than broadcasting public meetings,” says Bragman. “We’re talking about education, public safety and public health. As this thing grows, it’s got inﬁnite potential. And I think information technology is an area of economic and community growth that we need to pursue. And we ignore it at our own peril.” Bruce Baum was among the staunch advocates who lobbied heavily in support of the media center and PEG programming in the county and who viewed, and continue to view, PEG programming and the media center as a valuable democratic tool. He says fee-for-service and other revenue streams always were part of the vision, necessary to keep the center and PEG alive after Comcast’s initial infusion of cash. The original backers always thought the MTA members should step up and hire the media center for services, as Fairfax is doing. But there hasn’t exactly been a rush to hire, at least not yet, which disturbs Baum. He notes that in 2003 Comcast contributed $1.6 million to MTA members from a 5 percent fee in place before DIVCA and the 1 percent PEG-dedicated fee. In 2011, says Baum, the total from MAY 11- MAY 17, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 9
G U I D E TO 2012 S U M M E R C A M P S F O R K I D S
ACTING OUT AT 142 THROCKMORTON 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, CA 94941 (415) 383-9600 142throckmortontheatre.org Join us for a rockinâ€™ summer of theatre fun where Marin Youth Performers offer a rich, engaging theatrical experience for young performers of all backgrounds and abilities. Two sessions to choose from and taught by a staff led by artists and teachers, who perform professionally in the Bay Area, and/or hold degrees in theatre arts and education.
ART REACTOR 209 Las Galinas Ave., San Rafael, CA 94903 tUIFBSUSFBDUPSDPN Ages 11-18. Art Reactor offers after-school and summer Digital Art classes. We teach students how to be Digital Artists â€“ not just computer users. By learning the basic principles of art and how to create pieces with digital tools, students can produce amazing, original work! Visit our website for more information.
CONSERVATION CORPS NORTH BAY: PROJECT REGENERATION 27 Larkspur St., San Rafael, CA 94901 tDPOTFSWBUJPODPSQTOPSUICBZPSH The programâ€™s unique combination of environmental service, education, and outdoor recreation makes it one of the North Bayâ€™s most sought-after summer youth experiences. With mentoring from CCNB staff and resource management professionals, youth work in teams to each complete approximately 65+ service hours on habitat restoration, recycling, trail maintenance and other environmental projects. For youth entering grades 6-12. Choose from two four-week sessions: June 18-July 13 and July 17-August 10, Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4pm. Free.
KATIA & COMPANY: PERFORMING ARTS & DANCE CAMPS 185 Mission Ave., San Rafael, CA 94901 tLBUJBBOEDPNQBOZDPN Performing arts, drama and dance camps for kids and teens facilitated by director Katia McHaney. Participants explore their creativity through improvisation games, build their skills in professional workshops, and get to participate in a performance at the end of the week. A great way to build confidence while having fun and making friends!
MARILYN IZDEBSKI THEATRE CAMPS 15 Cottage Ave., San Anselmo, CA 94960 tNBSJMZOJ[EFCTLJQSPEVDUJPOTDPN Marily Izdebski Productions in association with the Redwood High School Community Education Program will produce THE WIZARD OF OZ and WEST SIDE STORY as their 2012 Summer Musical-Theatre Camp Productions for young people ages 8-18 years. All rehearsals and performances will be held a the Redwood High School Little Theatre. The Camp includes rehearsal hours, production work and two dance classes each week for all participants. The workshop fee is $585. This is the twenty-eighth year Marilyn Izdebski has directed and produced this successful program. Judy Wiesen will be the Musical Director for both shows.
MARINWOOD CAMP .JMMFS$SFFL3E 4BO3BGBFM $" tNBSJOXPPEPSH Marinwood is the most popular camp in San 10 PACIFIC SUN MAY 11 - MAY 17, 2012
Rafael! Our highly trained staff will make this a summer to remember. We offer traditional day camps as well as specialty camps. Ten sessions run June 11-August 17, 9am-3pm for ages 3-14. Extended care available 7:30am-6pm. Specialty camps include basketball, mini sports, mountain biking, art, nature, jazz, jewelry, sewing, science, computer, CIT, GIT and more!
OSHER MARIN JCC: CAMP KEHILLAH /PSUI4BO1FESP3E San Rafael, CA 94903 tNBSJOKDDPSH June 18-August 17, 9am-4pm (extended care available) Pre-K through grade 11. Buy 4 weeksâ€“ get 1 more FREE! Buy 7 weeks-get 2 more FREE! One- and two-week camps include field trips, overnights, music, swimming, arts and crafts, sports, cooking and more! One-week adventure travel camps include camping and a choice of whitewater rafting, Tohoe, Yosemite and surfing in Santa Cruz.
OXBOW SUMMER ART CAMP 5IJSE4U /BQB $" tPYCPXTVNNFSDBNQDPN â€œNo Lanyards Made Here!â€? We offer unique residential camp opportunities for teens who love to make art. (July 1-16 & July 22-August 6). Our art-immersion program encourages the exploration of each studentâ€™s creativity and vision. No prior experience requiredâ€“just a desire to jump in, try new things and see what happens!
PRACTICAL MARTIAL ARTS: NINJA CAMP 1BSBEJTF%S ' $PSUF.BEFSB $" tpracticalmartialarts.net Freestyle + Fitness = Fun. Summer Ninja Camps at Practical Martial Arts â€“ Marin Karate Kids are like a cross-training fitness camp for kids. Ninjas train in Freestyle Martial Arts learning boxing, kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and self-defense as well as plenty of age-appropriate fitness regimes. Rest time includes games in the park and copious amounts of Legos. New and continuing students welcome!
the 5 percent fee climbed to $3.4 million. MTA members â€œarenâ€™t paying their fair share.â€? The increase should result in members dedicating some of that increase to the media center to get through the next few years as it fashions a long-term sustainable revenue strategy. Mill Valley City Councilman Andy Berman agrees that MTA members should look at ways to help the media center. â€œThe city of Mill Valley has encouraged the media center to come to it with proposals for fees for service. We did a feefor-service [for hardware installation].â€? Berman says the city attorney, who also is the MTA general counsel, advised that members cannot â€œjust give outright gifts of public funds.â€? Members can, however, give the media center funds in exchange for services, â€œand we have encouraged the media centerâ€? to consider that option. Eisenmenger has been reaching out to the community in a plan to broaden his revenue stream. The city of Belvedere donated $2,500. The county has a $50,000 challenge grant. And the center has membership and donor programs. But Eisenmenger says media centers like Marinâ€™s typically receive the vast majority of their revenue from franchise agreements. That revenue source is of note in a piece of proposed congressional legislation. HR 1746, the Community Access Preservation Act, would, among other things, increase the minimum PEG franchise fee to 2 percent, giving ďŹ nancially shaky PEG programs across the country a badly needed ďŹ nancial boost. The legislation also would help ensure that PEG channels remain free of interference from telecommunication and cable companies. And it calls for an investigation into the impact of state franchise agreements on local programming. Another critical issue: The legislation would lift restrictions on how local PEG operators can spend their franchise money. The FCC ruled that,
ROSS ACADEMY MONTESSORI SCHOOL MINI CAMP 2012 7 Thomas Dr., Mill Valley, CA 94941 (415) 383-5777 SPTTBDBEFNZNPOUFTTPSJTDIPPMDPN The Ross Academy Montessori School Summer Mini Camp is a continuing Montessori Environment with regular staff the entire summer and lots of outdoor fun, â€œguest appearancesâ€? and â€œspecial events.â€? Ages: Toddler Program 2-3 years. Primary Program 3-6 years. June 18-August 10. Full Day 9am-2:30pm, Half Day 9am-noon, extended day care available 7am-6:15pm. Four-, six- and eight-week programs available. Three-day programs (toddlers only), individual weeks OK.
WALKER CREEK: CAMP SOULAJULE .BSTIBMM3E 1FUBMVNB $" t8BMLFS$SFFL3BODIPSH Camp Soulajule is a residential arts and ecology camp for 8- to 12-year-olds. Activities include: Swimming, canoeing, hiking, outdoor ceramics and crafts, nighttime campfires. Amazing Race and Barn Boogie. A day trip to the beach is included. Staffed by Marin County Outdoor School Employees.
Emergency Care 24/7 Specialty Services Urgent Care Expertise - Compassion Conveniently located at:
901 E. Francisco Blvd San Rafael, CA 94901
with some exceptions, PEG fees can pay only for facilities and equipment, not operating expenses. (The money coming from Comcast through 2017 is one of those exceptions.) The legislation has received bipartisan support, but it also has languished. In California, the telecommunications legislative picture isnâ€™t so optimistic. SB 1161 would eliminate important consumer protection provisions for telecommunication services in the state. It also would, among other things, essentially eliminate the role of the CPUC in matters concerning voice over Internet protocol (Vo IP), just as itâ€™s becoming a critical part of the telecommunications infrastructure. If SB 1161 becomes law, the only way a municipality could challenge a company about VoIP is by going to court rather than to the CPUC. (Thatâ€™s what DIVCA did to video services and PEG.) Avoiding a protracted court case is one reason the MTA agreed to the settlement with Comcast, which Berman describes as â€œa necessary step in the right direction on the roadâ€? to making the media center selfsustaining. â€œThereâ€™s still more work to do,â€? he adds, including ensuring additional funds for future growth. â€œLike preserving open space lands,â€? says Bragman, â€œpreservation of media open space will require the cooperation and support of both government and the public. This can be accomplished only through a collaborative effortâ€? of the MTA, the media center and the â€œburgeoning community media audience.â€? The potential beneďŹ ts of a robust media operation â€œfar outweigh the interim costs that will be incurred over the next few years.â€? The MTA and the media center have a tremendous responsibility as â€œcaretakers of a ďŹ‚edgling institution of open media that can deepen our perception and strengthen our community.â€? < Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAY 11 - MAY 17, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 11
PACIFIC SUN ENDORSEMENTS!
Everything you’ve always wanted to know about the June 5 open primary, but were afraid to ask...
Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote in The Last Tycoon: “There are no second acts in American lives.” Maybe not. But in California this year, there are second elections. Approved by state voters in 2010, Proposition 14 allows for open primaries in state and federal elections— meaning all party- and non-partyafﬁliated candidates are on a single ballot in the June primaries, with the top two vote getters squaring off in the fall. Supporters of open primaries say they encourage more moderate
CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 2 With the retirement of Lynn Woolsey, this is Marin’s and western Sonoma County’s ﬁrst open congressional race in nearly 20 years. And following redistricting, the newly formed 2nd now runs up along the coast through Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity and Del Norte counties. So it should come as no surprise there were plenty of hats thrown into the ring. Yet it still seems like a heavy congressional ballot with a cool dozen names to sort through. Here’s a brief alphabetical-order summary of the contenders: Susan Adams has been an effective supervisor for Marin’s 1st District (most of San Rafael and its unincorporated neighborhoods to the north) for going on about 10 years. She’s played no small role in the establishment of the Health and Wellness Campus in the Canal area, helped negotiate a suitable compromise between Loch Lomond neighbors and the Dutra quarry, and was an early champion of Marin Clean Energy. Andrew Caffrey of Garberville is running on an “environment-in-crisis” platform, asserting that the other progressive candidates may acknowledge the 12 PACIFIC SUN MAY11 - MAY 17, 2012
candidates—and that’s a good thing. Critics of open primaries say they discourage third-party candidates— and that’s a bad thing. We’ll see. At the very least, the new rules will give us more exciting state Assembly and congressional races into the November elections, as the top two vote getters regardless of party will roll up their sleeves for a Nov. 6 bout. Here’s our endorsements for the June 5 election—from a big-time open congressional seat to the smaller, but always intriguing Ross Valley Sanitary District board.
scientiﬁcally evidenced devastation that could result from climate change, but don’t seem like they’re in any hurry to do anything about it. The former Earth First! member is the only candidate to make curbing climate change the centerpiece of his platform. And while the chances of voters sending Caffrey to Washington are about as slim as Mill Valley imposing a ban on SUVs, he may be the one candidate our great-grandchildren wish we’d sent to Congress. It’d also be cool to be represented by someone who dresses all in black. Brooke Clarke runs a small Internetbased business from his home “in the Mendocino County forest,” according to his website. He supports progressive causes and the platform he presents on his campaign website links to Wikipedia pages for those interested in further research. He says he scores low on the “authoritarian scale” for personality and says he does not plan to run in future elections if he fails in his 2012 bid. Whether he advances to higher ofﬁce or not, voters can at least rest easy that Brooke Clark will never seize America in a clenched grip of totalitarian rule. William Courtney is a marijuana advocate from Caspar who’s running on a legalize-the-loco-weed platform—an idea
“One got pushed overboard – and then there were two” —Agatha Christie
that’s anything but loco. Most experts agree that it would be a ﬁnancial boon to the state and would probably render foreign drug cartels obsolete. Its societal beneﬁts (ﬁscally, criminally and medically) would almost certainly outweigh its detriments (more stoned people walking around). Larry Fritzlan is a Mill Valley marriage and family therapist specializing in drug intervention. He’s a solid progressive, but his most passionate issue is campaign ﬁnance reform—he says Congress is corrupt (both parties included) and says the only cure is to get Big Money out of politics. Few would argue with him on that. If elected, he says he’d stage monthly protests on the steps of Congress with signs advancing such truths as “This House is Corrupt!” Michael Halliwell is a retired sociology professor (Long Beach State) who lives in Cotati. We wish he’d lived about two miles more to the west, though, which would actually place him as a resident of our beloved 2nd District. (As long as he lives in California, he’s allowed to run, apparently.) Halliwell sounds a bit further to the right than the other Republican candidate in the race, Dan Roberts, but that could be due to the McLaughlin Group talking style he’s demonstrated during the debates. Or, it could be because of platform points such as: The Republican Party needs to court African-Americans more, because he believes they’ll help uphold the ban on gay marriage—which is another way of saying “we need to stop ignoring the black vote, so they’ll help us suppress the pink vote.” It’s not a new line of thinking in some conservative circles—but we’re nevertheless stunned when it’s actually vocalized. Jared Huffman lives in San Rafael and is being termed out following six legislatively busy years in the state Assembly. Of all the candidates for the job he’s got the strongest claim to “I’ve done this before”—albeit on a smaller level. His critics frame him as a career politician who would practice “politics as usual”
from the Dem side of the aisle. His supporters might say he’s a pragmatist who may not like the rules of the game, but will play within them to achieve the best results possible. Huffman may look a bit corporate, but he’s no blue dog. Stacey Lawson moved to Marin about three years ago after striking it rich in the business world. Though a campaign neophyte, she presents herself well in debates alongside some of her more seasoned opponents; she says her business acumen makes her the best candidate to create jobs in the 2nd District. Lawson’s also had the most arrows slung at her from supporters of other candidates. A group called “Who Is Stacey Lawson?” recently unearthed a series of, how shall we say, eccentric Hufﬁngton Post blog entries written by Lawson prior to her interest in politics. While the couple of posts that have been made public are hardly the stuff of Watergate-tape material, they do betray a political naivety (the Paciﬁc Sun’s Advice Goddess, Amy Alkon, even dedicated a 2008 column to mocking the then-unknown Lawson) and they also reveal a deep Eastern spirituality that for reasons unknown is not part of Lawson’s congressional-campaign persona. The Lawson campaign has reportedly made an effort to remove the blog posts from cyberspace. More concerning than her blogging career was the news last month that Lawson has not voted in eight of the past 12 elections; she has since said it was a mistake and that she’d been disenfranchised. Perhaps, but it’s more likely that she just wasn’t terribly interested in politics at the local or national level. There’s no big crime in that. But it doesn’t exactly scream “send me to Washington” either. It also leaves open the suggestion that Lawson’s sudden interest in higher ofﬁce is a vanity play in the Meg Whitman mold. Though Lawson presents herself well and seems to have a lot of good qualities, perhaps a campaign for the San Rafael City Council and a bit more dedication to the ballot box is where her political aspirations should be at the moment. John Lewallen owns a seed company
Note from the Pacific Sun Endorsements Department With the new open primary system for state and federal elections sending two candidates to a November runoff, it presents newspapers with various options when putting together endorsements. Since voters still get only one vote, we will still endorse only one candidate. But our goal is to steer our readers—all 75,000 of them—toward electoral outcomes that will result in the best candidates in the runoffs. To that end, if there is a candidate who has well in Mendocino County. He’s describing his run as an “upwelling for fundamental reform,” which earns him points for best campaign tagline. He supports the legalization of pot, single-payer healthcare, a “peace conversion” of the economy and regulation of ﬁnancial speculation. His self-deprecating quips such as “I’m the candidate for the hopeless because I’m the most hopeless candidate” have been debate highlights. Tiffany Renee is a website designer by day and serves on the Petaluma City Council by night (elected in 2009). She says she’s the city’s ﬁrst Latina councilperson. Renee’s platform is a solid reﬂection of Marin-Sonoma-MendocinoHumboldt progressive values (she lists them at the top of her campaign website). As the only Sonoma County Democratic candidate, Renee might fare better than polling suggests. Daniel Roberts is a Tiburon ﬁnancial adviser and one of two Republican candidates in the race. He positions himself as the lone veteran in the campaign (he served in ’Nam) and is against “wars of adventure,” which should win him some points from anti-Bush centrists. His conservative platform is largely predictable (google his campaign website); he’s been endorsed by the state Republican Party and its afﬁliates in Marin, Mendocino and Humboldt. He’s obviously hoping the many Democratic candidates will split their votes in this Dem-dominated district, opening a hole for him to squeeze through to a November runoff. Norman Solomon hasn’t held elective ofﬁce, but the Inverness author/ political activist is a good bet to know as much or more about the workings of Washington than the other 11 candidates. He’s written several books about national media and politics and has divided his progressive-Democrat efforts between the national stage (he touts his work with Congressman John Conyers, D-Mich., for the Healthcare Not Welfare campaign) and the local level (co-chair of the Green New Deal for the North Bay). He’s a lowkey, almost bookish candidate who has such media-meets-politics heavy hitters as Sean Penn, Phil Donahue and Elliot Gould campaigning for him. The 2nd District would likely be well
distanced himself or herself ahead of the pack in reliable polls, we may tip our endorsement scales toward an equally worthy candidate who may have a tougher ﬁght ahead in this primary, in order to have a greater effect on that second runoff position. To that end, this issue’s state and federal endorsements should not necessarily be seen as an exact preview of what we may say in our September endorsements for the Nov. 6 election. represented by most of the folks running—even the candidates who focus on a single issue and lag behind in ﬁnances and poll numbers seem as if their values are pretty in tune with Marin and its northerly district county cohorts. The polls we’ve seen have pretty consistently placed Huffman, Solomon and Adams toward the top—any one of them would be a worthy rep in Washington. Huffman is the most likely candidate to advance to the November runoff. Solomon, despite his lack of legislative experience, could be the most Ready for Eastern Standard Prime Time Player in the group. We don’t see any of the candidates compromising core political values—but Solomon seems as though he’d not only hold close such issues as single-payer, women’s health and the environment, but also be able to keep them in the national media spotlight. (Google his campaign website to view a 2007 CNN clip of Solomon schooling Glenn Beck about the corporate-owned media.) Solomon was an early critic of the Iraq war and even made post-9/11 visits to both that country and Afghanistan. To some degree, one could say Solomon has the most experience working with Congress—he just hasn’t been working IN Congress. Salon.com lists him as one of three non-frontrunner congressional candidates in the country who deserve attention. We think of all the candidates Solomon, if given the chance, could grab more of a national spotlight for 2nd District concerns; he could—could—become a prominent member in the House. We recommend Norman Solomon
STATE ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 10 With Jared Huffman terming out of his District 10 Assembly seat (representing Marin and a western slice of Sonoma County), this was expected to be a wideopen contest—but then the new kid moved to town. That “kid” is 64-year-old Michael Allen, the ﬁrst-term SonomaNapa assemblyman who, because of last year’s redistricting, found himself living in a district already represented in the Assembly by a more established Democrat. Instead of sticking around to run
a combative race against an Assembly to demonstrate his “fearlessness,” dares colleague (and possibly lose), Allen hired readers to “ponder what follows” in his a U-Haul and moved his belongings to decree. It goes on pretty long, so here are an apartment in downtown San Rafael to a few highlights: He’d arrest about 1,800 run in the incumbent-free Marin district. corrupt judges (he’s got the evidence); In fact, due to state election rules, Allen he’d arm gays and lesbians with congets to run as the incumbent in his new cealed weapons so they can ﬁght back home, simply because he’s already in the when attacked by criminals; and he’d Assembly. deny LGBT’s their right to marry because This didn’t go over too well with some he says their relationships are “unequal” of the other Assembly hopefuls. San Rato heterosexual relationships. Mancus fael City Councilman Damon Connolly says he is motivated by an intense “hate” was expected to run, but didn’t—and toward many things such as violating the quickly threw his support behind Allen. rule of law and political correctness. Another San Rafael City councilman, Connie Wong is a bit cheerier than Marc Levine, is running—and the central Mancus. She’s got a refreshing attitude theme of his platform is essentially: I’ve for a ﬁrst-time politician and a warm lived here, Michael Allen hasn’t. demeanor. She was inspired to run after The other candidates are Petaluma chi- serving in the state Air National Guard ropractor H. Christian Gunderson, San and ﬁnding it to be a corrupt “old boys” Anselmo businessman Joseph Boswell, club. She suggests pretty much all of the Sebastopol attorney Peter Mancus, Lastate’s problems would be solved by the gunitas sociologist and MUTA president formation of a Bank of California, patAlex Easton-Brown and Corte Madera terned after the Bank of North Dakota. real estate agent Connie Wong. She also isn’t as well-versed in many of Easton-Brown is the straight-talking the state issues that a serious Assembly new president of the Marin United candidate should be. Taxpayers Association, the tax-watchdog H. Christian Gunderson wants to cregroup that has long been associated ate jobs, rebuild education and save the with the arch-conservative views of environment. The Petaluma Dem has founding member Fielding Greaves. But directed some campaign ire at Michael Easton-Brown is an old-school progresAllen—he’s against Allen’s bill to allow sive whose toughest challenge—tougher farmworkers to receive overtime pay— than running for Assembly if you ask and echoes the cry that the ﬁrst-term us—is re-establishing MUTA’s reputation Assemblyman is a career politician from as an advocate of sensible taxation and Sacramento. He says his chiropractic not merely an embodiment of Jarvisexperience of easing pain makes him the Gann anti-tax philosophy. Looking on person to ease the pain of California. the bright side of things, the Lagunitas Marc Levine is taking the most aggresresident is hoping the votes he gets from sive stance against frontrunner Allen—in Tea Party supporters who like MUTA and a recent debate at Dominican University don’t realize he’s a Democrat may edge he accused the assemblyman of every him into a runoff in the Assembly race. ethical violation short of kidnapping (Don’t worry Alex, we doubt they’re read- the Lindbergh baby. Corruption charges ing this.) against Allen stem largely from a ﬁne Joseph Boswell works for his fam- levied by the California Fair Political ily’s wine-barrel business; he’s running Practices Commission upon him when he as an independent. The three legs of his was a member of the Santa Rosa Planplatform tripod are “reform,” “jobs” and ning Commission. He was being paid as a “environment.” His campaign website fea- consultant for the Sonoma County Water tures huge photos of “Joe,” it rants about Agency when he joined a unanimous Sacramento “gridlock” (there’s a photo planning commission approval of a draft of Boswell photoshopped general plan that included a against a shot of a trafﬁc map that showed land-use jam, in case we needed a vichanges for the water agency. sual) and very few speciﬁcs A consultant of the water about what policies he actuagency, of course, shouldn’t ally favors. A one-sentence have been voting on its call for deregulation is the SUN ENDORSEMENTS land-use change, hence the ++++++++++ only detail we found. ﬁne for which he paid. Allen Peter Mancus is the lone says he didn’t notice the map Republican in the race—which gives him detailed the land-use change—and if a a boost simply by not having to split any planning commissioner did want to ﬁdof his party’s votes, right? Well...a brief dle an outcome for his client, why would reading of his campaign manifesto at he do it on a 7-0 vote? You could recuse www.petermancus.com reveals a candiyourself and it would still pass 6-0. Obvidate who’s not afraid to be different. “I ously Allen should have examined the am fearless,” he boasts. He also admits plan more carefully, but it’s disingenuous to being charmless and humorless. Nor the way Levine holds it up as evidence of is he “delightful,” he adds. “I am the opAllen’s supposed moral depravity. posite of those qualities.” He claims to The Levine-Allen squabbling has be “the solution” to the state’s woes, and percolated since early in the race, 14>
MAY11 - MAY 17, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 13
< 13 Paciﬁc Sun Endorsements most notably at a Democratic executive committee meeting last December in Burlingame when Levine used part of a speech before the environmental caucus to mock Allen for moving to Marin; Allen later told Levine he’d “kick his ass” if he ever pulled a stunt like that again. Allen needs to keep his cool—but after hearing the many cheap shots Levine threw at Allen at a recent debate, the assemblyman may deserve credit for showing remarkable restraint. Levine is an intelligent guy and polished campaigner who could do better than pin his hopes on running an attack campaign against Allen who, even harsh critic Gunderson says, “seems to be a nice guy.” The Assembly debate at Dominican was a particularly ugly display—but it wasn’t Allen who came off looking bad. Levine’s still in his ﬁrst term on the city council and we’d like to see him take more of a leadership role at that level before considering him for state ofﬁce. His most well-known vote for the council thus far tipped the scales for the Target approval in San Rafael—and Levine promotes among his environmental accomplishments the fact that Target will be held to very strict green-building regulations. We question whether the construction of a discount superstore and all the disposable products it sells should be part of any politician’s environmental platform. As for Allen? We too rolled our eyes upon hearing he was moving to town to keep his Assembly job. But that’s not enough to suggest he wouldn’t be a decent Marin representative in Sacramento. During the redistricting hullabaloo last year, Marinites made a huge deal about how alike we are with Sonoma County and the two counties must remain combined as a district. Well, guess what—Allen is from that county that is allegedly so much like ours. He’s shown a commitment to supporting labor and workers rights issues and has a healthcare background from his earlier career as a psychiatric nurse. We’re more concerned about Allen’s slow legislative start—he’s only pushed through a small handful of bills in his freshman year. (For a point of comparison, Jared Huffman enacted about 60 bills in his six years in the Assembly.) Allen says he spent most of that year meeting people and learning the job. If he goes on to retain his seat, we’d like to see less learning and more doing. Allen is well funded and has the backing of many state and local Democrats. He is likely to be a name in the November runoff election. We don’t agree with Easton-Brown on every issue—he supported the recently failed Measure Q recall effort, and is among those progressives who won’t forgive Barack Obama for not holding Wall Street accountable for its years of criminal 14 PACIFIC SUN MAY11 - MAY 17, 2012
negligence. ( We college, knows agree with you, the importance of but let it go...) listening to voices He’s a longtime on all sides of an politico, but by no issue. means a smarmy Weinsoff is an politician—his environmental s e l f - co n f i d e n ce attorney and has doesn’t seem to be served on the ego-driven. EasFairfax Town ton-Brown is baCouncil for six sically a populist years. At the time ++++++++++ who doesn’t hold Weinsoff was t o a ny s t r a i g h t ﬁrst elected, the party line—and seems like he’d be a good Fairfax council had a reputation for the representative of the 99 percent. bizarre—community conﬁdence was at a We recommend Alex Easton-Brown low, disorderly council meetings dragged on deep into the night, and personal attacks between councilmembers were SUPERVISOR, DISTRICT 2 being published as op-eds in the press. In The late Hal Brown was appointed to ﬁll the ensuing years, with an almost comBarbara Boxer’s Ross Valley-Larkspur plete turnover in members, the Fairfax supervisor seat back in 1982—and went Town Council is one of Marin’s more reon to win re-election each time up until sponsive and responsible elected boards. his death from cancer in March. Which means District 2 hasn’t had a non-incum- It’s been a leader in efforts to ban plastic bags and SmartMeters—and whether you bent win a seat since Paciﬁc Sun reporter agree with those stances or not, there’s Boxer did it in the late 1970s. no denying Fairfax has been on the It would ﬁne by us if Katie Rice confront lines of some big issues. Weinsoff tinued the trend. Rice was appointed to deserves his share of credit. Like his two the seat by Jerry Brown last autumn after opponents (and pretty much anyone else the guv’s cousin, Hal Brown, recomrunning for anything anywhere in Calimended her upon his retirement. Rice fornia), he puts pension reform high on had been the longtime supervisor’s aide his list of priorities, along with ﬁre and for several years and knew the issues as ﬂood safety, and the county’s continuing well as any non-supe in the Ross Valley and was most likely to uphold Brown’s vi- move toward environmental sustainability. He also cites the Ross Valley’s need sion on the board. Rice has a good grasp for better bike paths between neighborof the pressing issues facing the county: hoods and schools, and suggests local the need to meet rising costs with lower municipalities could make a more-thanrevenues (i.e., the pension-reform problem); further preventive measures against symbolic gesture by moving their funds from Wall Street banks to local ﬁnancial always-present threats of ﬂood and ﬁre; institutions as a show of support for the and the promotion of nonmotorized 99 percent. forms of transportation, while continuThis is the toughest call on the June 5 ing to be responsible stewards of the land. ballot. All three candidates are worthy of Asked how she’d differ as a supe from endorsing. There’s a tendency in the press Brown, Rice says environmental concerns to fall back on satisfactory incumbents are closer to her heart than they were to under the theory that “it’s their job to her old boss. The Sleepy Hollow resident lose.” But Rice’s incumbency was basically has yet to make an imprint on the board; bequeathed to her from her former boss; she’s only been on the job for half a year if Hal Brown had served out the remainand no contentious issues have arisen ing months of his term and there were no yet to deﬁne the board of 2012—unless incumbent in this race we think Weinsoff one wants to hang the Lucas debacle or would likely be the person to beat. decades of the county wearing pension We recommend David Weinsoff blinders on Rice, which we shouldn’t. Challenging Rice and running on SUPERVISOR, platforms of more experience are Marin Community College Trustee Eva Long DISTRICT 4 and Fairfax Town Councilman David In the oddly arranged district that enWeinsoff. compasses West Marin, Corte Madera, Eva Long has been a steady presence on southern San Rafael and even a tiny westthe embattled College of Marin board— ern chunk of Novato, 16-year-veteran of voters have stuck with her through the Board of Supes Steve Kinsey is facing years of accreditation threats, teacher vs. a challenge from Corte Madera Town administration battles and the outcry Councilwoman Diane Furst. over the spending of Measure C bond Furst is still in her ﬁrst term on the funds on the 55,000-square-foot Gateway Corte Madera council, but says she was Complex. Long is a gracious community spurred to run for supe due to the lack leader and, after getting a taste of the of transparency she sees in the board passion Marin holds for its community of which Kinsey is currently president.
She also says her Forest Knolls opponent hasn’t stood up to regional planning agencies such as the Association of Bay Area Governments, which enforces state mandates on cities’ and towns’ affordable housing elements. In fact, Furst joined three of her Corte Madera councilmembers earlier this year in voting to end the town’s membership in ABAG—the only town in the Bay Area to currently do so. Whether that was a good decision or not (the town will still have to adhere to the housing numbers, but won’t have a say in them) will be up to Corte Madera voters in future council elections. (There’s a likelihood the town could reconsider its decision before its membership ofﬁcially expires at year’s end.) Nevertheless, the housing issue is partly emblematic of this race. Kinsey paints the choice as coming down to two philosophies: Should Marin be realistic and responsible about its slowly rising and slowly changing population, or should we continue to try and lock the gates? Following the deaths of two of its members in the last two years, the Marin County Board of Supervisors is in transition. As its long-standing member and current president, Kinsey, for the ﬁrst time, is the leader of the board. It’s a board that’s taken its lumps this year— as no-win-situation pension reform has become the cause de rigueur with recession-plagued populists, and George Lucas’s calling quits to the Grady Ranch project became something of a black eye on the county. It’s been an interesting couple of years for the Corte Madera council, as well. First, a scathing grand jury report questioned the Corte Madera council’s ﬁnancial management—problems with ﬁnancial reserves that pre-date Furst’s tenure. Nevertheless, she echoes the council’s hard-to-prove justiﬁcation for its lack of rainy day funds by saying the money had been spent on ﬂood control—which they say was a smart move because the town wasn’t soaked in the 2005 ﬂood. (This is a logical fallacy known as “evidence of absence.”) We also question the council’s rejection of ABAG and to what sort of voter it may have been hoping to appease in the wake of a bitter affordable housing controversy last year in Novato. (Furst had been a “decline to state” before registering recently as a Democrat.) We’d like to see Furst complete an entire term on Corte Madera’s controversial council before backing her for supe. Kinsey, meanwhile, has supported the Marin Energy Authority, SMART, nonmotorized transportation and has a broad knowledge of West Marin and the issues its residents face. We’d like him to be a bit more outspoken in his championing of issues that matter—perhaps an open and honest debate about Marin and affordable housing. Because at the moment, the pulpit is his, if he wants it. We recommend Steve Kinsey
BELVEDERE CITY COUNCIL With Marin’s other super-wealthy enclave of Ross initially failing to entice any residents or incumbents to run for the three open seats on its council, Belvedere is looking like a bastion of civic responsibility for simply having candidates at all. A city with a population of 2,000 and change, Belvedere island is virtually entirely residential and shares few formidable issues with other towns in the county—let alone the Bay Area. Neighbors ﬁght for elbow room with deer, and beefs with City Hall tend to be over what type of additions one can make to one’s multimillion-dollar home. Tighter ﬂood-control regulations could ﬁnd the city locking horns with FEMA in the next year, and the 116-year-old city was in the news recently when ﬁve people drowned near the Farallones last month after launching their boat from the San Francisco Yacht Club. Overall, Belvedere keeps a pretty low proﬁle. There are four candidates duking it out for three open seats on the Belvedere Council; Sandra Donnell is the lone incumbent seeking another term. Donnell says she moved to the Tiburon peninsula in 1979 and cites time on the Belvedere Parks and Open Space Committee, the Save the Redwoods League and the Marin Education Fund (now called 10,000 Degrees) on her list of community involvement activities, along with other county-commission positions that come with serving on the City Council. She says, “Being on the City Council is more than attending a meeting once a month,” and believes councilmembers should be active in agencies and commissions within and beyond the city’s limits. She was named the town’s 2007 Citizen of the Year. Donnell has earned another term on the council. James Robertson is a director of sales for a ﬁnancial services business; he says he was inspired to run for council after a recent remodel of his home left him frustrated with the city’s planningdepartment “bureaucracy” and exorbitant permitting fees. He says he decided to “follow the money” and discovered the city’s budget was teeming with overpaid staff positions and encouraged “ﬁnes” on development in order to boost the town’s ﬁnancial coffers. It sounds as if Robertson is running to shake up City Hall—he wants to streamline inefﬁciencies, pare down costs and weed out employees with side careers that create conﬂicts of interest. He wants to work with the Humane Society to curb the growing wild-ungulate population since, he says, “cars in Belvedere don’t move fast enough for deer reduction.” (We’re pretty sure he’s joking.) Claire McAuliffe describes herself as a community volunteer with a background in business and the government sector. She’s served on the board of the TiburonBelvedere Sanitary District, the board
of Marin/Sonoma Mosquito Abatement and Control District and the BelvedereTiburon Library Foundation. She says the city’s most signiﬁcant issues in the coming years are pension reform and the proposed FEMA ﬂood regulations, “which would affect the scope and character of our community.” But one of her initial priorities if elected would be to promote better outreach between the council and the community. Rounding out the candidates is Bob McCaskill, a retired accountant and 22year resident of the city he describes as a “picturesque community that is cherished by its residents.” McCaskill’s been a member of the Belvedere General Plan Committee, the Belvedere Community Foundation and served on the board of the Belvedre-Tiburon Recreation Department. His list of priorities would include streamlining city planning policies and responding to the changing FEMA ﬂood control regulations. As for pensions, he says he’d consider eliminating outright deﬁned beneﬁt plans for new city employees. The good news for Belvedere is that it’s got four quality candidates who would likely serve the town well—all appear to be worthy of consideration. We’re sometimes cautious about candidates who decide to run for ofﬁce following a frustrating personal experience with city governance. Donnell, McCaskill and McAuliffe have dedicated a lot of time to serving the city of Belvedere and we think they deserve a chance on the council. We recommend: Sandra Donnell, Bob McCaskill and Claire McAuliffe
MARIN SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE
countability. Marne, 47, promotes himself as a lifelong Democrat and his campaign website boasts an impressive list of recognitions for pro bono work. He’s a smart and likable guy who appears to have provided a lot of free or low-cost legal work for needy folks. He’s also right about the voters not having enough say in who sits on the Marin bench; appointees aside, judges often run for re-election unchallenged because it’s so difﬁcult to beat a sitting incumbent in Marin—a suburban court with a battered past reputation if there ever was one. (That being said, when the retiring Michael Dufﬁcy left an open seat in the 2010 election, Marne entered the race but then dropped out when Legal Aid of Marin director Roy Chernus announced his candidacy; Marne said he respected Chernus too much to run against him.) So we’d love to see more grassroots judge hopefuls like Marne ﬁnd their way to the Marin Superior Court. We just don’t think it should come this year at the expense of Chou. Chou, 49, and his family have lived in Corte Madera for 10 years; prior to the MSC, he’d been a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s ofﬁce and the San Francisco District Attorney. In essence, he fulﬁlls two important criteria that Marin court critics call for: He’s local, but he’s not a Marin court insider. And, from what we’ve seen, he’s thoughtful and exudes competence. He’s been endorsed by all the sitting judges and most county lawenforcement ofﬁcials, Marin supervisors and city councilmembers. Yeah, they always endorse the incumbent judges, right? Probably, but this time there’s good reason. We recommend James Chou
Judge James Chou is in his ﬁrst campaign ROSS VALLEY of his nascent time on the bench—Sleepy SANITARY DISTRICT Hollow attorney Russell Marne is chal- The Ross Valley Sanitary District has just lenging the 2010 Schwarzenegger appoin- about everything thrown at it but the tee who was handed the gavel two years kitchen sink. Which is a good thing—beago when John Sutro retired. That Chou cause the sink’s pipes are about 100 years is a Schwarzenegger appointee is one of old and need replacing. the primary reasons Marne is running. He The RVSD for years has been the sanisays the Marin County Superior Court tary district Marin loves to hate. Before judgeships are rarely held accountable to 2006, customers were reading headlines the electorate, as retiring judges have a about their sanitary district board memhabit of stepping down in the middle of bers’ DUI arrests, mounting legal fees terms, as Sutro did, paving the way for and extravagant expense accounts. As one appointees from county ofﬁcial put Sacramento. He it to us recently— says it’s emblemboy, those were atic of the Marin the days. Since court’s long-held 2006, the folks reputation for juelected to replace the Diamond Jims dicial crony ism on the living-large and the county political and leboard have earned gal community’s a reputation for penchant for cirapproving steep rate hikes, picking cling its wagons ﬁghts with memto protect judges from voter acbers of the Cen++++++++++
tral Marin Sanitation Agency and mounting more legal fees. In 2010, a Marin grand jury, echoing a previous grand jury report from 2006, called for a voter revolt against the RVSD board. In the board’s defense, it’s taken seriously the need for Ross Valley to replace its aged infrastructure and has shown it understands the imperative of doing so before a devastating leak occurs. District Manager Brett Richards didn’t help matters two years ago, though, when he proposed a slew of new full-time employees be hired to attack the pipe replacement—during a time the district was approving rate hikes and the county was still mired in recession. If the district admits to anything, it’s got to be that it’s had terrible PR. Two seats are on the ballot this time with incumbents Frank Egger and Marcia Johnson vying for another term, and challenger Mary Sylla hoping to unseat one of them. Egger was appointed to the board when Susan Brown stepped down in 2010. Egger’s well known to Ross Valley residents from his many years on the Fairfax Town Council, and has made it a priority to try and rebuild the public’s conﬁdence in the RVSD and resolve differences with the CMSA. He and Pamela Meigs are something of a minority bloc on the board, voting against a consolidation study that lacked input from wouldbe consolidators and a $100 million bond measure without voter consent. Sylla’s been a sanitary district watchdog the past few years; she’s running to “bring rationality and civility” to the board. She says certain expenses are “wildly out of alignment” with similar sized districts and sees herself as representing “change” on a board whose majority, she says, often seems intent on having its own way. Marcia Johnson is part of that majority Sylla and Egger campaign against. Johnson has worked passionately for the RVSD since winning a seat in 2006 and has a deep knowledge of its inner workings. We suspect, though, that she may not be accepting enough of outside criticism—especially in a district that has received so much of it. She says the RSVD is an “honest, ethical and upstanding agency” and she usually ﬁnds that critics of the agency are “not knowledgeable about what it is we are actually doing.” She dismisses the critical grand jury report as being “ill informed” and that the jurors who interviewed her were void of “basic facts of general knowledge.” She says that RVSD is creating a “higher standard of service for sewer districts” that will one day make less-innovative local agencies look bad in comparison. Perhaps she’s right. But it’s also the sort of circle-the-wagons style that has made it difﬁcult for the district to win the conﬁdence of Ross Valley residents. There’s a reason the board majority does not want the proposed $100 million pipe-replacement bond to go before the voters—they’re afraid they’d lose. As 16> MAY11 - MAY 17, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 15
< 15 Paciﬁc Sun Endorsements valuable as Johnson’s commitment has been to the district, we think the cleaner slates of Sylla and Egger would serve customers best going forward. We recommend Frank Egger and Mary Sylla
PROPOSITION 28: LIMITS ON LEGISLATORS’ TERMS IN OFFICE Ah, term limits. The political equivalent of a John Stamos TV show—the public likes how they look and demands a new one every few years, yet the results are usually just more incompetence. Prop. 28 exists in order to reform our current state Legislature term conditions, which currently allow a person to serve up to three 2-year terms in the Assembly and two 4-year terms in the Senate for a total of 14 possible years (actually up to 17 if an incumbent were initially appointed to a seat in the middle of a term). Prop. 28 would reduce the total amount of time a person may serve in the California state Legislature from 14 to 12 years—but wouldn’t dictate how many years can be spent serving in one branch. Thus a politician can seek six terms in the Assembly, three terms in the Senate, or split them up in the various conﬁgurations—but if someone’s lucky enough to hold a seat in the Legislature for 12 years, he or she is then termed out. (Still with us?) Proponents say the initiative would achieve two worthy goals: lowering the total amount of years one can serve, and lowering the amount of ineffective legislators at any given moment. That second point is key: With, say, 30 percent of all seats in the Legislature turning over in any given year (either through term limits or incumbents voted out of ofﬁce), Sacramento is both teeming with political neophytes learning where the bathrooms are, and teeming with seasoned veterans spending the ﬁnal year of their term campaigning to win a seat in the other branch. (Proponents of Prop. 28 say the number of newbies in the Assembly after an election is actually closer to 40 percent!) Opponents of the initiative argue that it would actually weaken term limits because
it allows an assemblymemda Vinci, Bach, Newton, Einber twice as much time in stein, Hemingway and Disthe Assembly, or a senator ney—Mr. John Q. Packaday? four extra years in the SenWell, this’ll teach you! ate. Where one stands largely At some point in recent rests on whether one believes history, America decided there’s no such thing as an SUN ENDORSEMENTS that smokers needed to be honest politician—or there redacted. They needed to dis++++++++++ are some good ones, and appear. They’re not allowed district voters should be in bars, they’re not allowed able to send them back to Sac if they so on sidewalks. They’re shunned from movie choose. screens and, in some cases, their own apartProp. 28 isn’t perfect. If we wrote this initia- ments. With Prop. 29, we’ll punish their stale tive, we’d have included that the Assembly habit (perfectly legal, still) in order to raise terms be increased to four years (like the money for cancer research—not research Senate)—at its current two years, a job in the solely directed at smoking-associated Assembly is practically a constant campaign. cancers like lung and throat, according to But we see Prop. 28 as a reasonable termthe text of the proposition, but all cancers, reform measure—lowering the total time one even the ones we non-smokers (who won’t person can stake out territory at the Capitol, be paying for this tax) might get. Huzzah while curbing the amount of time some for the 88 percent! legislators spend campaigning, and others Smoking is terribly unhealthy, and spend ﬁguring out where all the best park- smokers would be better off if they didn’t ing spots are. smoke. And it should be incumbent upon We recommend YES on Proposition 28 smokers to take reasonable measure to keep their fumes from annoying the rest of us. But the amount of the tax doesn’t PROPOSITION 29:
IMPOSES ADDITIONAL TAX ON CIGARETTES FOR CANCER RESEARCH We’d be tempted to endorse this initiative simply because Philip K. Morris was against it. But, hopefully, Prop. 29 would also produce an overall good to society, so there’s a reason beyond “sticking it to Joe Camel” to support it. We’re endorsing Prop. 29 because it’ll take a few kids off the road to black lung but, like the product it’s aimed at stamping out, something about it leaves a bad taste in our mouths. Here’s the deal: Prop. 29 would impose an additional $1 per pack tax on packs of cigarettes, with the estimated $735 million in revenue going toward providing grants for cancer research and tobacco education programs. The tax on cigarettes is already at 87 cents per pack; this would make it $1.87. As proponents of the tax like to point out, 88 percent of us won’t have to pay a dime of this tax—it’ll all fall on the vile 12 percent of the population that chooses to commit that abhorrent affront to society: smoking. You intend to imbibe in the same habit beloved by such maladroits as
seem quite high enough to really be about pricing people out of the market. A similar initiative narrowly failed in 2006 that would’ve increased the tax by $2.60. Prop. 29’s lower tax seems aimed more at passing the proposition than having maximum impact on smoking prevention. Proponents of Prop. 29 say the tax will keep 228,000 kids from smoking and save 104,000 lives. We sure hope so. Though we’re not sure how they arrive at those numbers. We’d be more enthusiastic if it were $10 a pack, an amount guaranteed to bring down smoking numbers. At $1, it’s just enough to hurt and probably not enough to keep that many people from gritting their yellow-tarred teeth and ponying up. It’s also a regressive tax that would be levied on lower-income folks, who make up the largest percentage of smokers. Hopefully, Prop. 29 would stop all 228,000 of the estimated kids from smoking—even a single percentage of that would probably make it worthwhile. We recommend YES on Proposition 29
Endorsements Cheat Sheet Now in new ‘wallet-size’— perfect for taking to the polls!
Congress, 2nd District: Norman Solomon State Assembly, 10th District: Alex Easton-Brown SUN ENDORSEMENTS Endorsements County Supervisor, District 2: David Weinsoff < 13 Paciﬁc Sun++++++++++ County Supervisor, District 4: Steve Kinsey Belvedere City Council: Sandra Donnell, Bob McCaskill and Claire McAuliffe Ross Town Council: Write-in candidates only Marin Superior Court: James Chou Ross Valley Sanitary District: Frank Egger and Mary Sylla Proposition 28: YES Proposition 29: YES Measure A (Renewal of Ross Valley School District parcel tax): YES Measure B (Belvedere continue adjusting appropriation for emergency services) YES Measure C (Ross’s four-year tax for public safety services) YES Measure D (Sausalito annexed to Southern Marin Fire Protection District) YES Measure E (Muir Beach emergency services tax be increased by $200) YES
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MAY 11 - MAY 17, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 17
›› ALL iN GOOD TASTE
My blue agave heaven Eighty-seven ‘specialty’ tequilas—when 86 simply isn’t enough... by Pat Fu sco
Psst, entrants! Paciﬁc Sun food critic Carol Inkellis is one of the judges. (Hint: she likes it spicy.) Entry applications: www. teamproevent.com/events/larkspur.html or call 415/383-3470.
Chef/author/tequila-shooter Joanne Weir’s got 87 very good reasons you should check out her new restaurant.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED Cutting a ribbon strung with bright red chiles, Joanne Weir and Larry Mindel opened their shiny new Sausalito spot last week at 739 Bridgeway. Last minute staff changes brought in sous chef Dilsa Lugo (La Cocina-trained, a horticulturist and expert in traditional Mexican cooking) to join general manager and tequila “curator” Fernando Guzman. Copita Tequileria y Comida is a unique restaurant/bar concentrating on serving 87 specialty tequilas. These are available for sampling in ﬂights, for sipping in copitas (small glasses) or as high quality ingredients in cocktails. Foods on the menu are chosen to complement them, urban seasonal bites and small plates and large ones. Already a hit is the Mexico City-style quesadilla—ﬁlled with potatoes and chorizo, then fried (yes) and served with queso fresca and crema. Tacos come with ﬁsh in Modela beer batter or exotic wild mushrooms, chips show up with seasonal salsas instead of the ubiquitous red and green choices. Most of the produce comes from an organic garden nearby, overseen by Lugo. In a glass-fronted rotizador with a cobalt-blue hood, roasting chickens turn slowly, waiting to be enjoyed with heirloom beans, chorizo and pickled vegetables. Sweets include Oaxacan chocolate shakes and caramelized pineapple spiked with tequila and cinnamon. No, there are no burritos. Yes, there are inventive foods. Outdoor cafe seating is great in warm weather; the small interior is charming; 415/331-7400. PASS THE CHIPS, PLEASE Did someone say salsa? How’s your personal recipe? Show it off in the Marin Salsa Tasting Competition at the Larkspur Flower & Food Festival May 27 when more than 60 cooks (home chefs, Latino specialists and restaurant chefs) will serve up plenty of hot stuff. The contest is open to individuals, restaurants, groups and organizations, or businesses producing two gallons of their creation to be judged by professionals (people’s choice award, too). 18 PACIFIC SUN MAY 11 -MAY 17, 2012
CHANGE IS GOOD... Chef shufﬂes: new faces in familiar places. Third chef to arrive at Mill Valley’s Hawk’s Tavern is Joseph Waggoner (lately of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco). His ﬁrst contribution is the addition of brunch service for the gastropub, 10am-3pm on weekends. Look for comfy offerings like hash with root vegetables and smoked trout with a soft egg in dill/butter sauce; 415/388-3474...Out in Point Reyes Station, chef Christian Caiazzo of Osteria Stellina has named Brian Bowen as his chef de cuisine; 415/663-9988...With the sudden death of chef/owner Jun Kikuchi in February, the longtime Samurai restaurant in Mill Valley closed down. Now it has been reopened by new chef/owner Brian Kim who is retaining much of the original menu with additions of his own, especially among the maki choices. Dinner service Monday-Saturday; 415/3813680...Ah, mysterious West Marin. Olema Inn has been closed for some time, but questions abound. It has new owners (as yet unnamed) and there are whispers about who will be chef. At this writing, rumors are rife, answers are unavailable. Stay tuned. GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING Who needs last-minute suggestions for Mother’s Day gifts? You know you’re out there, you laggards! Three cookbooks for moms who love their kitchen art: 1.Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Bay Area treasure Alice Medrich, with time- and energy-saving recipes that produce spectacular results—no-roll, press-in pie crusts, one-bowl chocolate torte, food processor-friendly sweets. 2. Jacques Pepin’s Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food, by the star chef/teacher/author. This includes a DVD with Pepin’s masterful demonstrations of technique. 3. Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food by ex-chef Sam Mogannam, who owns the San Francisco gourmet mecca, and Dabney Gough; advice on how to shop best, with recipes from the store’s imaginative takeout foods menu...Make up a big basket ﬁlled with small pots of organic starter plants: herbs and edible ﬂowers (violas, nasturtiums, calendula)...Give her a cooking class in a favorite or new cuisine. Local sources: Cooking School at Cavallo Point (www.cavallopoint.com), In The Kitchen Culinary (www.itkculinary. com), The Fork Kitchen (www.theforkatpointreyes.com). <
›› SMALL PLATES
MARiN’S LiTTLE PLACES—WiTH BiG TASTE
Cafe Lotus 1912 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Fairfax. 415/457-7836 www.cafelotusfairfax.com Open weekdays noon to 9pm; Friday and Saturday noon to 9:30pm; Sunday 4 to 9pm. Cafe Lotus in Fairfax, serves exceptionally good, mostly organic Northern Indian food out of a tiny storefront on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. For as small as this restaurant is, it is remarkably cozy and warm. The simple addition of two comfy Worshippers of Ganesha and bengan cushion-covered benches and colorful prints on bhartha will ﬁnd true enlightenment at the walls manage to make an otherwise nondeCafe Lotus. script 20-by-10-foot space comfortable and inviting. Pretty ﬂoral plate ware and fanciful serving dishes add to the homey vibe at this neighborhood favorite. Though takeout is a large part of the restaurant’s business, small parties of three to ﬁve are easily accommodated and treated to professional and friendly service. And, did I mention fabulous food? “Now this is my kind of smoothie,” gushes my 10-year-old as he happily slurps down his usual order of a mango lassi ($3.45) of thick plain yogurt and fresh pureed mango the color of a Creamsicle. Two very plump vegetable samosas ($4.25) burst with a spicy ﬁlling of potatoes and carrots that come rolling out of their crispy shells. Dabs of a sweet chutney-like sauce or spoonfuls of a murky and very spicy green cilantro offer both sweet and spicy dipping options. I recommend all of the vegetable curries—I especially like their bengan bhartha ($9.95) a smoky eggplant and tomato combination seasoned with onion seeds and probably more spices than I can name. A number of the offerings are vegan. Even a toothsome gluten-free naan makes the grade here. A creamy tikka masala ($11.95) includes tender organic chicken breast and it is truly melt-in-your-mouth delicious. A few microbrews, biodynamic wine selections and a very sippable Navarro Sauvignon Blanc ($6.50 by the glass) ﬁll the front deli case. India’s popular Kingﬁsher beer is also available. Owner Surinder “Paul” Sroa knows his clientele, and by offering plenty of vegan, organic, gluten-free options at Cafe Lotus, he has built a loyal and appreciative following. I know because I’m one of them. —Tanya Henry
›› SECOND HELPiNGS
ANOTHER BiTE OF THE COUNTY’S FAVORiTES
Sorella Caffe 107 Bolinas Rd., Fairfax. 415/258-4520 www.sorellacaffe.com Walking down Bolinas Road on a cold and windy night, the glowing windows of Sorella Caffe promised a cozy, warm respite from the chill. Once inside, we were welcomed like long-lost family and seated at one of the comfy tables by a window. The restaurant was all a-bustle with families and couples and groups of friends enjoying the food and the company. The management and staff go out of their way to make families with young children happy by providing Hugs are on the house at Sorella Caffe. crayons and paper and having a kids’ menu for little stomachs. A chunk of Parmesan was cut off a wheel at our table and served along with a basket of warm bread to munch on while we perused the menu. House wine came in an adorable rooster pitcher and was reasonably priced and very tasty. We ordered salads to start—crisp, fresh greens perfectly coated with light vinaigrette and crumbled blue cheese on top that was tangy and delish, followed by eggplant parmigiana and spaghetti and meatballs. Just like the friendly, homey atmosphere, our dinners were hearty, comforting and hit the spot. Afterwards, cute bowls of gummy bears and animal crackers were delivered with the check, to satisfy the kid in all of us. Dining at Sorella Caffe is like getting a big, warm hug from your favorite auntie. It’s an inviting place right in the heart of downtown Fairfax. —Brooke Jackson
FCE8FFBE<A> BE Â˘ OďŹ€ Brewed CoďŹ€ee x3
(1 coupon per person) valid thru 6/15/12
Free biscuits for your dog!
4HANK 9OU -ARIN "EST )NDIAN &OOD /UR GIFT TO YOU
Located in Mill Valley next to the Freeway between Goodmans and the Travel Lodge Take the Arco Gas Station Exit M-F 5am-5pm Sat 6am-5pm, Sun 7am-3pm cablecarcoďŹ€ee.com
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Last Monday of each Month
11:30am â€“ 2:30pm