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Upfront Exile on Wall Street 8
Great Moments Qu'est-ce que c'est? 20
[SEE PAGE 10]
CineMarin Marin not big 'nuff for Broncho Billy 22
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›› LETTERS Ain’t the first time someone’s dangled themselves on Bolinas Road... Lucky for all of us, the “glowing windows of Sorella Caffe” do not walk down Bolinas Road on a cold and windy (or any other kind of) night, except in the sentence structure of reviewer Brooke Jackson [“Second Helpings,” May 11, in which Brooke wrote: “Walking down Bolinas Road on a cold and windy night, the glowing windows of Sorella Caffe promised a cozy, warm respite from the chill.”] I do not mean to be unkind, but you might want to pass that on to her...The review was great, however. And almost everyone falls into the dangling-participle trap from time to time. She’ll probably say, “Oh, I knew that...” Elianne Obadia, Fairfax
Together, we could rule the galaxy! George Lucas, before you leave us...please fund a recall election for the ﬁve STUPIDvisors. I’ll be happy to collect signatures and hope they’re gone and replaced with some business-smart citizens, instead of political hacks. Or, we will wait for elections to replace them. Marcia Blackman, San Rafael
Editor’s note: Thanks for writing, Marcia! While galvanizing the electorate is certainly the bedrock of democracy, from what we can glean from Lucas’s past writings, he doesn’t view signature gathering as the clearest path to political power. It’s more likely he’s already installed a surrogate within the Board of Supervisor’s sphere of inﬂuence who will orchestrate a division within the board and promote him/ herself as an impartial arbitrator between
rival chambers of commerce already on the brink of war. After the chambers’ droid armies are defeated by a wily band of eccentric A Lucasﬁlm spokes- West Marin coastal dwellperson at a recent ers, Lucas will swoop in Board of Supervichampioning peace and, sor’s meeting. in the ensuing euphoria, manipulate the parties into declaring him Chancellor of Marin—free to rule the county with an iron hand.
If we were more cynical we wouldn’t have recognized your sarcasm If I were even a bit more cynical, I would guess that the drug cartels have bribed the U.S. Attorney’s ofﬁce into harassing the legal medical marijuana labs in order to keep the prices high and the competition down. It also ensures a lot more jobs for law enforcement at all levels. Ain’t Capitali$m great?!?! Carlo V. Gardin, Fairfax
Wedded to Obama, if not gays I am strongly opposed to gay marriage. However, I am still going to vote for President Obama. It is a mistake to base one’s vote on this issue; there are more important issues at stake. President Obama is superior to Mitt Romney in many ways. For example, Mitt Romney is the candidate of the rich and would lower taxes for the rich at the expense of the middle class. Mitt Romney would, no doubt, deprive women of the power to make decisions with respect to bearing children. Who knows what damage a Romney presidency would do to this country! Let’s give the intelligent, capable President Obama a second term even though he is not the second com-
TOP POSTINGS THIS WEEK
Single in the Suburbs: If this laptop’s rockin’... How my porn odyssey became a gateway to something truly deviant—’Storage Wars’ Read the full story here posted ... County panting at thought of pet-fee increases How much is that doggie in the window? Well, pet guardians, Fido and Fiﬁ are about to become a bit pricier--that is if the Marin County Board of Supervisors takes the county administrator’s advice and approves acrossthe-board increases to animal control fees.
Your soapbox is waiting at ›› paciﬁcsun.com ing of Jesus Christ (as was believed by many during his inauguration!). Ms. Anonymous, San Rafael
Definition ‘lunacy’: printing same letter writers over and over, expecting different results What? I can’t believe you published my friend Joe Tate’s letter [“We’re More Interested in the Letters from Lunatics You DO Agree With,” May 18], but not mine! I’m not only someone Joe usually agrees with—he told me he loves past letters I’ve sent to the Paciﬁc Sun—but he asked ME (and I told him) how to submit his letter that you did publish. OK, so here’s your second chance (perhaps even more timely now) to publish the piece I call “Election Haiku”: Campaigners beware: Unsolicited junk mail Will cost you my vote.
Baristas, consider yourselves warned.
By the way, while you’re at it, maybe you can mention my latest gripe: Baristas, servers and clerks who don’t have the courtesy to say “Thank you” after I’ve paid them, or they are giving me change for a purchase. Sorry, but “Here
you go” doesn’t do it. My new policy is, “No ‘thank you,’ no tip.” And, for repeat offenders, “Here I go (do my business elsewhere).” Lunatic? Perhaps. But I’m no longer willing to be the Invisible Woman. Cindy Ross, Fairfax
Bridge, troubled waters... As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of this spectacular bridge [“If You Build It...” May 18], you won’t hear much about its darker nature: its tragic allure to those contemplating suicide. In my opinion, the fact that suicide barriers have still not been installed is a permanent—and I mean permanent—black mark on the character and culture of this community. It’s 2012, and we lose two to three people a month—most of them local, and many of them students. We are talking about thousands of human beings lost over the last 75 years. There is no acceptable excuse—if people cared enough, the $40-50 million apparently needed could be raised quickly. There are many very wealthy people who live here and traverse the bridge several times a week. If our political representatives cared enough, they would ﬁnd the money somewhere. I really don’t know how we as a community can be so callous. It really is tragic.
Endorsements Cheat Sheet Now in new ‘wallet-size’— perfect for taking to the polls!
James Costello, San Rafael
Congress, 2nd District: Norman Solomon State Assembly, 10th District: Alex Easton-Brown SUN ENDORSEMENTS ++++++++++ County Supervisor, District 2: David Weinsoff 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 MAY 25 - MAY 31, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 7
‘Bust’ a movement Meet the 70-years-young man behind Occupy Wall Street by Jo e l B l e i fu ss
ast July, the socio-cultural provocateurs at Adbusters sent out this invitation addressed to those “ready for a Tahrir moment”: “On Sept. 17, ﬂood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street.” And thus, the Vancouver-based nonproﬁt magazine published by selfdescribed “culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information ﬂows, the way corporations wield power and the way meaning is produced in our society” sparked a movement. Estonian-born documentary ﬁlmmaker Kalle Lasn co-founded Adbusters in 1989. Lasn, 70 years young (“old,” as in “old Left,” is an adjective he eschews), draws his inspiration from the Situationists, avant-garde European revolutionaries who believed corporate capitalism perverted the human spirit. The Situationists reached their zenith in 1968 Paris and disbanded in 1972, but their efforts to afﬁrm what it means to be free live on in Adbusters. We spoke with Lasn recently to see what “the man behind the curtain” had to say for himself and the movement he helped ignite whose ﬂames have spread from Manhattan to Oakland to Fourth Street, San Rafael. O O O O
What challenges does the Occupy movement face? It is a replay of what happened in 1968 when an insurrection in the Latin Quarter of Paris exploded onto campuses and cities around the world. For a few brief moments it looked like the ﬁrst global revolution. Occupy is round two of 1968. Young people around the world have this sinking feeling that the next 30, 40 or 50 years of their lives will be one big black hole of ecological and political and ﬁnancial and personal crisis. And if you are facing that sort of prospect you realize that unless you stand up and ﬁght for a different kind of future, you don’t have a future. Unlike 1968, it is going to have legs. We on the Left have become an ineffective, whiny, complaining, ﬁnger-pointing kind of movement that hasn’t had a new out-of-the-box idea for a couple of generations. Everything we’ve tried, including the Battle of Seattle and all sorts of antiglobalization movements, has ﬁzzled out. A power struggle is going on in the movement, between the old vertical type of a Left and a new young Left that has social media at its ﬁngertips and isn’t so enamored with the old wolf-pack mentality but is ready to do things in a much more horizontal way without lead- 10 >
by Jason Walsh
In-N-Out Burger soils on plans for Ignacio For the time being, it’s“out burger.”In-NOut Burger officials say the sites they’ve been salivating over to erect a new franchise in Novato won’t cut the mustard.The fast-food chain had been in escrow for locations at 399 Entrada Drive and 400 Enfrente Road, across from Dollhouses,Trains & More. But company spokespeople say they’ve encountered problems with the soil at the sites and are canceling their order for the Ignacio location. In-N-Out fans shouldn’t put their bibs away just yet—the company says it still remains “hopeful” to find a more suitable spot in the burger-lovin’ town. Judge gives salmon defenders the hook The “scales” of justice have tentatively spoken in the County of Marin vs. salmon lawsuit—and a Marin Superior Court judge seems to be swimming with the county. The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network filed a suit in 2010 against the County of Marin, alleging that critical salmon habitat in the San Geronimo Valley was being put in danger by Marin’s 2007 countywide plan that allows for landowner construction to take place as close as 100 feet from streams. Proper protection of salmon habitat is mandated in the state Environmental Quality Act. The Forest Knolls salmon group SPAWN wants the county to move ahead with its plans to eventually set a larger conservation area for streams—but Judge Lynn Duryee ruled this week that SPAWN’s lawsuit is an attempt to manipulate the legislative priorities set by the Board of Supervisors. She wrote that the group is basically “asking the county to move this program to the front of the legislative line, without regard to the other competing and diverse needs of the county’s residents. When to prepare and place for consideration the ordinance on the legislative calendar is the consummate discretionary decision. Petitioners have cited no legal authority on facts like these, to support their petition.” Duryee did, however, add that it may be appropriate to place an injunction on the county from approving any building applications near streams until the county votes on setting the expanded conservation area. A two-year construction ban set by the Supes in 2008 ended in early 2012. The judge will make a final ruling on the suit in the coming weeks. County panting at thought of pet-fee increases How much is that doggie in the window? Well, pet guardians, Fido and Fifi are about to become a bit pricier—as the Marin County Board of Supervisors this week were wagging about across-the-board increases to animal control fees. The Supes focused on a “revision” to the county animal control ordinance fee schedule.The fee hikes will mostly range between $2 and $10 for such services as dog licensing, impound fees, animal sterilization, dead-pet removal, dead-wildlife removal,“potentially dangerous dog” permits, ranch dog fees, stray livestock charges, animal-exhibition fees and guide dog licenses. According to County Administrator Matthew Hymel, the proposed fee increases are consistent with what is being charged in such neighboring counties as San Mateo, San Francisco, Contra Costa and the city of Berkeley.The estimated revenue increase would be $29,000 for the county and $71,000 for towns.The last animal control fee increase was in 2009. The new fees will go into effect June 21. Annular eclipse draws crowds Marin had its pinhole boxes out Sunday to witness the first solar eclipse viewable in the United States since 1994. The moon began edging out the sun at about 5:15pm and enjoyed its maximum cover at 10 6:32pm, according to the National Park Service.The Bay Area didn’t offer a full eclipse—
8 PACIFIC SUN MAY 25 - MAY 31, 2012
›› TRiViA CAFÉ
by Howard Rachelson
1a. The Golden Gate Bridge opened on May 27 of what year? 1b. What was the original bridge toll for cars in each direction? 1c. In what year did the bridge toll switch to one way, southbound only? 2. The Wizard of Oz lived in what city? 3. Pictured, right: These are known by one name: 3a a. The title of this frightening 1960 movie b. One of the most popular singers of the past 10 years 4. The main waterway in Venice has what two-word name? 5. What are the only two U.S. states surrounded by eight other states? 6. For the first time ever, in June 2011, the pope sent the message,“Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ!” to his followers in what modern way? 7. According to legend, about 200 years ago, what Benedictine monk in France invented sparkling Champagne? (today it’s a brand name) 8. Important to the study of chemistry, Avogadro’s number, 6 times 10 to the 23rd power, represents the 3b number of what in a mole of any substance? 9. Modern cuckoo clocks as we known them today originated in the 18th century in what European country? 10. Words starting with X: 10a. Instrument of reproduction 10b. Instrument of sound 10c. Instrument of seeing what’s below the skin
When the smoke ﬁnally cleared, the Hatﬁelds had voted seven McCoys off the island, Monday at 9.
FRIDAY, MAY 25 Who Do You Think You Are? Rob Lowe traces his lineage all the way to the Brat Pack. NBC. 8pm. Inglourious Basterds Brad Pitt leads a band of Jewish soldiers who take on the Nazis with cunning, courage and flattering lighting. (2009) TNT. 8pm. The Dirty Dozen Flattering lighting is less effective for Telly Savalas. (1967) AMC. 8pm. Alaska: Ice Cold Killers There are some rather gruesome murders in Alaska. And that’s not even counting the “hunting accidents.” Discovery Channel. 10pm.
Answers on page 21
W The Sausalito City Council recently approved a lease on a building at the north end of town, on tiny, narrow Ebbtide Avenue, for Lycee Francais La Perouse, an elementary school currently in Corte Madera. Unfortunately, the lease displaces the Marin School, Sausalito’s only high school. Though both schools are private, the Marin School has just 80 students and Lycee Francais has 275. Trafﬁc? Noise? Additionally, the lease could also force out tenants of a small building on the property—respected, talented artists who have rented studio space there for 25 years. We liked it better when the City Council members took swings at one another, rather than slowly chipping away at the elements that have earned the town its reputation for bohemian charm. —Nikki Silverstein
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V Marin smokers, snuff out your stinky cigarettes and consider moving to another side of the bay. Condo and apartment dwellers, feel free to open your windows and breathe deeply. Earlier this week, the Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted an ordinance outlawing tobacco smoking in multi-unit housing complexes in the unincorporated areas of Marin. This bold ban not only prohibits smoking outside of condominiums and apartments, but inside the abodes as well. Smoking scofﬂaws may have to cough up ﬁnes starting at $100 and perform community service. For protecting our health and air from secondhand smoke, we give ﬁve cheers for our ﬁve supervisors. (Relax medicinal marijuana users. The ordinance applies to tobacco smoke only, so toke away.)
by Rick Polito
be higher than you think. Travel Channel. 9pm. Mob Wives: Chicago This is different from the New Jersey-based Mob Wives—more liposuction and fewer nose jobs. VH1. 9pm.
BONUS QUESTION: John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson and Chester Arthur were the only U.S. presidents who, for their entire term of office, had no what? Howard Rachelson welcomes you to a live team trivia contest, every Wednesday at 7:30 PM at the Broken Drum in San Rafael. Send your best questions to howard1@ triviacafe.com, and if we use your question, we’ll give you credit!
›› THAT TV GUY
MONDAY, MAY 28 Gene Simmons: Family Jewels After decades of living together, Shannon and Gene are married now—one of those rare cases where the honeymoon was over before the honeymoon. VH1. 9pm. Hatfields & McCoys The real tragedy of the notorious blood feud is that it all happened before reality TV. History Channel. 9pm. TUESDAY, MAY 29 Space Cowboys Clint Eastwood and a team of similarly grizzled actors star as a team of retired astronauts pressed back into service on an emergency space mission.They do prove that the old fliers still have some skills, but they also leave the turn signal on for 50,000 miles. (2000) ABC. 8pm. The Catalina A new series about the lives and loves of the young and attractive staff at a hotel on Miami’s South Beach. It’s your basic soap opera.The plots are as thin as the spray-on tans. CW. 8pm.
SATURDAY, MAY26 Life After Lockup It can be a tough adjustment for many excons—especially with dating, where they have to learn not to bring cigarettes to trade for sex. MSNBC. 7pm. Planet 51 When a human visits an alien WEDNESDAY, MAY 30 planet, he is perceived as Dogs in the City It’s a reality the alien, sort of like when show about dogs in New somebody from Bolinas York. It’s not like Sex and the visits Modesto. (2009) CarCity, but there are similar toon Network. 7pm. amounts of anonymous The Princess and the Frog humping. CBS. 8pm. In a turnaround on the America’s Next Top Model The camera loves ya, baby. Friday, 8pm. classic tale, a young New The winner is announced Orleans society girl kisses a frog and turns into a frog herself. Usually it tonight. She gets a cash prize, a modeling takes years of marriage to achieve that effect. contract and a chance to eat a full meal. CW. 9pm. (2009) ABC Family. 8pm. Operation Repo The repo team searches for an RV that’s been missing for 30 years. SUNDAY, MAY 27 College Softball Why They can date it by counting the rings in the are they bothering to show this on TV? Their moms will all be at the game. ESPN2. 6:30pm. wood paneling. TruTV. 10pm. Murder in the Hamptons A killing rocks an elite circle of wealthy East Coast society forc- THURSDAY, MAY 31 Breaking Pointe A new reality show follows life inside a ballet ing them to miss several A-list parties and troupe as the dancers endure the endless important pedicure appointments. (2005) rehearsals, the strict diets and the full-time Lifetime. 7pm. demands of living up to the back-stabbing, Baggage Battles This is like Storage Wars, only they are bidding on unclaimed luggage neurotic stereotypes. CW. 8pm. Stealth Ace pilots race to stop a fighter jet rather than the contents of storage lockers. controlled by artificial intelligence before it It’s unclear what the profit strategy is but can destroy a military installation and, more the market rate for unwashed panties may importantly, a lucrative defense contract. (2005) SyFy. 9pm. Hey! Check out That TV Guy’s latest The Mentalist A blogger tracks a serial project. He’s bringing back storytelling. killer. We’re not sure how. Does each killing Really. But he needs your help—make show up as a status update, or a tweet? a pledge and post it wherever you CBS. 10pm. < can. http://www.kickstarter.com/ Critique That TV Guy at letters@paciﬁcsun.com. 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
MAY 25 - MAY 31, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 9
< 8 Newsgrams but stargazers were treated to about 90 percent of the great ball of gas and fire being ebbed out, say park officials, which left “only a glowing, crescent-shaped sliver of the sun visible.” In celebration of this once-in-a-generation event, the park service hosted viewing events on May 20. At the Point Reyes National Seashore, ranger-led programs and talks took place during the day at the Bear Valley Visitor Center—there was an hour-long talk about the sun using the Science on a Sphere exhibit at the center; solar viewers were passed out in the Bear Valley parking lot. Cicely Muldoon, park superintendent of PRNS, called it an “unparalleled opportunity” to experience the celestial event. “This eclipse is another example of how the public can enjoy the world around them from practically their own backyard,” said Muldoon. Park officials emphasized that “safety is critical” when viewing an eclipse—especially a partial one.Viewers were advised to use special solar glasses or other protection to view the event.“One should never look directly at the sun, nor use telescopes or sunglasses,” advised a park report.
Candidates hold a doobie of a press conference Three congressional candidates bogarted the spotlight last week by staging a conference to publicly denounce the federal crackdown on California medical marijuana dispensaries. Andy Caffrey of Garberville, William Courtney of Caspar and John Lewallen of Philo—all running for the 2nd District seat being vacated by Lynn Woolsey—appeared together the afternoon of May 17 at 6 School Street Plaza in Fairfax, the former location of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana—the longtime medical marijuana clinic that was evicted from the premises in December as part of the Justice Department’s push to enforce federal marijuana laws. The three candidates called for local support in “demanding that the government stop the federal attack on legal medical marijuana,” which they say has so far resulted in the shutdown of 200 cannabis dispensaries across the state. Caffrey publicly smoked a “medicinal joint in protest of Obama’s War on Medicine” at the press conference. Caffrey, who receives medical marijuana as a sufferer of post-traumatic stress disorder, lit up in similar fashion last weekend at an Occupy Mendocino event. “I became the first congressional candidate to smoke a joint during his own campaign speech, to protest President Obama’s War on Medicine,” says Caffrey.“This is a fundamental right that all three of us—John Lewallen, Dr. Courtney and I—will never compromise on and never stop fighting for. We are the Emerald Triangle.” Lewallen frames the pot crackdown as a “coercive campaign” by the FDA and the IRS. “Federal tactics of coercion, including SWAT-team raids, threats of prosecution and asset forfeiture, and denial of rights to open bank accounts and deduct business expenses, are forcing legal medical marijuana dispensaries to close,” says Lewallen.“Public officials are afraid to adopt regulations. The legal medical marijuana dispensaries still operating live in an atmosphere of terror, and deserve the support of all business owners and other citizens.” Courtney, a physician, says he is concerned the federal “attack” will prevent him from treating seriously ill child patients with “non-psychoactive” marijuana. “Clinical cannabis is used by my patients with infant epilepsy, cancer and other very serious diseases, with amazing healing results,” says Courtney. Does “the federal government feel that some children do not deserve the right to life?” Will the real Marc Levine please stand up? The aforementioned pot/press conference was timed to precede that evening’s Marin City Community Forum, which took place at the Marin City Senior Center, where candidates for Congress, state Assembly and the county Board of Supervisors were on hand to greet community members and discuss issues concerning Marin City and southern Marin.The Marin City forum, too, featured some campaign histrionics, as San Rafael political activist Jonathan Frieman arrived telling forum hosts he was a write-in candidate named Mark Levine—a none-too-subtle allusion to his arch nemesis, San Rafael City Councilmember and Assembly candidate Marc Levine.The faux Levine wound up with a seat at the candidates’ table a few chairs down from his foe Levine, but ultimately the forum crasher made it clear that he was known by day as “Jonathan Frieman.”Which raises a more philosophical question: Is it better to have Levined and lost, than never to have Levined at all? Green for the greenbacks A program to help small businesses and nonprofits (and larger companies with specific target projects), become more sustainable and profitable is being offered in San Rafael June 7 and 8. The Greening for Profit Smart Start program covers carbon emissions, lighting, HVAC, water use and waste and employee engagement and marketing. For more information, see websites for the city of San Rafael or Greening For Profit, or call 415/4953407. Maybe we could be heroes, just for one day... May 23 was the 15th annual “Relay of Firefighter Heroes,” which rolled through Marin in all its fire-prevention glory. A parade of antique and modern emergency vehicles started off at the Healdsburg Fire Department before heading south, stopping in Novato, San Rafael, at the Mill Valley Fire Station and ending in a grand finale at the Marin County Fire Department in Marin City. Along the way the heroes collected funds to provide services to burn survivors and to support burn prevention programs. 10 PACIFIC SUN MAY 25 - MAY 31, 2012
< 8 ‘Bust’ a movement ers—sometimes even without demands. The question is: In this tussle between the old Left and the new Left, who will win? And if temporarily the old Left triumphs then we’re in for a hard year this year and possibly even next, but bit by bit this movement does herald a new Left. This movement has made the Left cool again. How does one build counter-hegemonic power and get beyond “crowd sourcing,” which is really what the Occupy general assemblies are? In the next few years there will be what I call a “meme war”—a war of really big ideas within economics. Will we be able to pull off a paradigm shift from neoclassical economics to this new ecological or bionomic or psychonomic discipline that is bubbling underneath the surface? Will we be able to change our current dysfunctional marketplace into one in which the price of every product tells the ecological truth? Will we be able to impose Robin Hood taxes and dismantle this global casino with more than $1 trillion a day ﬂushing around the system in derivatives and credit default swaps and other ﬁnancial instruments? If we on the Left try to ﬁgure out what these meta memes are and start ﬁghting for them, then we will get somewhere. If we fall back on the old ways of doing things, then capitalism is going to swallow us whole. Where does power over the distribution of societal resources ﬁt into this equation? How is the Occupy movement going to redistribute wealth from the 1 percent to the 99 percent? Quite frankly, the question you ask betrays the fact that you are quoting the old Left. The way to ﬁx the problem may not actually be a straightforward approach of passing some laws and taking some money from the 1 percent and giving it to the 99 percent. Maybe we have to have a more sophisticated approach where we don’t play out this kind of class warfare idea. The change has to be deeper. If we can ﬁnally ram through this Robin Hood tax, which a lot of people are for in Europe, and make it very high, not just a .01 percent but a 1 percent tax on all ﬁnancial transactions, then that will be a deep-down transformation of casino capitalism, and all of a sudden the Robin Hood tax would collect trillions of dollars every year and then we the people of the world could start arguing over how to spend that money. Isn’t the legislative process needed to enact or “ram through” redistributive policies like the Robin Hood tax? Once you do that, you’re accepting the status quo. Maybe the real job is to launch a third political party in America that is initiated on the Internet, gets mil-
lion of signatures, and then has a convention. Maybe the task of changing the political landscape of America with a third party is a way smarter move than what the Tea Party did with the Republicans, and what so many people are saying we should do with the Democrats. The trick for the political Left is to think deeper. Instead of thinking, “Hey, let’s pass a law that legislates the Robin Hood tax,” let’s change the political landscape. Take, for example, the idea we launched last year. In the general assemblies we have a microcosm of a democratic process that’s magical and beautiful. It works and this is a metaphor for how America should work. Eventually, I agree, we will have to pass laws and do all that stuff you are talking about, but there is a lot of deep-down rabble-rousing that needs to happen before we get to that point. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has said: “Simply being in a public place and voicing your opinion in and of itself doesn’t do anything politically... I don’t know what the voting behavior of all these people is but I’m a little unhappy when people who don’t vote, who didn’t vote last time, blame me for the consequences of not voting.” Is this an argument for the Occupy movement to enter the electoral system? It reminds me of an old adage: If you’re a carpenter, you see everything as a nail and a hammer. Barney Frank has done some good things with legislation. But he is blind, as are so many other Americans, including the Tea Partiers and most of the people in Congress and most of the people on the Left, as to how change ultimately happens. Change ﬁnds its bed within a culture with big ideas that resonate with people. There has to be a sort of mystery and magic to the whole thing and so far the Occupy movement has been very good at operating on that deeper level. Somewhere along the line we will have to pass laws and we will need Barney Franks. But there are a lot of meta memes that we have to conjure up, and a lot of strategy that we have to perfect, and there are millions more young people that we have to inspire and recruit into our movement before we simplify the whole process into a cut-and-dry passing of a law. The Occupy movement has been committed to developing actions and strategies through consensus. How do the “tactical brieﬁngs” issued by Adbusters ﬁt into that process? This tussle over what we should do next is something we should all get involved in. When we put out that call [in the January 25 “Tactical Brieﬁng #25”] for 50,000 people to descend on Chicago [on May 1, ahead of the NATO summit], people in Chicago said, “You haven’t been talking
to us. How dare you do this? You havenâ€™t been part of our meetings.â€? I say, â€œTo hell with them.â€? We want to put out a tactical brieďŹ ng, and you can take it or leave it. Adbustersâ€™ mission statement says that you want to change â€œthe way meaning is produced.â€? What does that mean? At the moment, meaning is produced by a commercialized mass media that
is mixing communications with commercialism and mind-fu--ing us all and not giving us the information we need to make wise decisions about the future. The political Left has been pretty lousy at creating that kind of deep-down meaning, of having narratives that inspire young people. The future is a meme war and the winners will be the people who know how to create the meaning. <
Email letters@paciďŹ csun.com.
Ann Hathaway MD 25 years in medical practice
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Garden Inspired Art June 3 â€” July 15,2012
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operates MAY 5, 2012 to OCTOBER 28, 2012 weekends, memorial day & labor day
Dancing Tulips, watercolor by Birgit Oâ€™Connor
Quince, oil by Joanne Tepper
ARTISTS RECEPTION: ->ĂŒĂ•Ă€`>Ăž]ĂŠĂ•Â˜iĂŠÂ™ĂŒÂ…ĂŠUĂŠx\Ă¤Ă¤ĂŠqĂŠn\Ă¤Ă¤ÂŤÂ“ SAVE THE DATES Sat., June 9: Fatherâ€™s Day Art WalkSun., July 8: Art & Garden Festival s Sat., July 14: Art Walk
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The Golden Iris, watercolor by Diana Bradley
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he two sides in the debate over the future of oyster farming in Drakes Estero remain locked in a Greco-Roman wrestling clinch and show no signs of relenting as a critical November date nears, when the secretary of interior will ring the bell. That is if Congress doesn’t take action to extend an acrimonious process focused on whether the Drakes Bay Oyster Company should be allowed to extend its lease. As it stands now, the oyster company’s lease expires Nov. 30. The secretary may grant a 10year extension. But he may declare that the oyster farm should be removed. That issue has been the topic of the community-rending debate in Marin, especially West Marin, ever since Kevin Lunny and his family expressed interest in extending his oyster farm lease. A debate over whether the oyster operation produces negative environmental consequences has focused on scientiﬁc reports, and reports that counter the reports, and reports that counter the counter reports. People following the story easily can ﬁnd their heads swiveling as they watch an intellectual tennis match.
While both sides debate the veracity of the other’s evidence, what’s lost is a larger issue about what people—in the country, in Marin and in West Marin—want to happen in a congressionally designated wilderness area. The controversy goes back to 1972 and a “reservation of use” agreement between the National Park Service and the Johnson family, which at the time was operating the oyster production enterprise that had existed on the site for about 100 years. The reservation of use (and a special use permit) allowed oyster farming on the site for a maximum of 40 years. The agreement came after the park service bought the property and in essence leased it back to Johnson’s Oyster Company. When the Lunny family took over the operation in 2004, the oyster farm came with the reservation
of use agreement and special use permit that allowed operation until November 2012. It also came with signiﬁcant challenges to deal with public health, building code and other violations. Assuming those liabilities cost major money, as did expanded production. The Drakes Bay operation today accounts for about half the oyster production in the state, according to its supporters. Opponents say that number is too high, but there’s little question that Drakes Bay produces a lot of oysters. There’s more than a bit of a David and Goliath resonance here. Supporters of the oyster company say the park service early on intended to force Lunny out, even before the end of the lease. Opponents say Lunny is a savvy businessman who knows how to gather political support to press his interests.
O O O O
IN A MISMANAGED public-relations move, the park service came out hard in the
beginning with an aggressive approach that alienated many locals and gave credence to the “big government boot on the neck of the little guy” scenario espoused by many who support the oyster farm and oppose the park service. The park service fudged facts, said oyster farm supporters, when it compiled environmental hazards allegedly associated with the oyster farm. That charge still resonates in the debate. But while supporters claimed the park service had deliberately skewed scientiﬁc results to prove what it already wanted to hear— negative environmental consequences—a Department of the Interior study cleared the park service of intentional misconduct: “The factual record ﬁrmly supports conclusions that there was no criminal violation or scientiﬁc misconduct, but the [park service is] an organization and through its employees, made mistakes which may have contributed to an erosion of public conﬁ-
Oyster controversy muddies the waters over what we want for federal parks
Oyster farming in Drakes Estero accounts for nearly half of all California’s oyster production.
12 PACIFIC SUN MAY 25 - MAY 31, 2012
dence.â€? An understatement. That kind of charge and countercharge has been on the table during the entire debate. As one side produces a document, the other side refutes it with a document of its own. The heat turned up when the park service released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in fall 2011. The ďŹ nal report was expected in June, but thatâ€™s now unlikely. The supposition that Lunny is a savvy businessman who knows how to enlist scientiďŹ c support and poby Peter litical backing was in evidence when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in 2009 inserted a rider into an appropriations bill that gave the secretary of the interior the authority to grant a 10-year lease extension. After the Department of the Interior released its draft EIS, Feinstein called for a review by the National Academy of Sciences. An earlier 2009 Academy of Sciences report found â€œa lack of strong scientiďŹ c evidenceâ€? that oyster farming has major environmental consequences. But another study found evidence of possible harm to marine mammals. The amount of study and paper accumulated concerning the oyster company has topped $1 million. Last week, the park service said it would fund yet another independent analysis of the scientiďŹ c evidence contained in its EIS. Feinstein inserted the request for yet another study into the conference report of the ďŹ scal 2012 omnibus. It asks the Academy of Sciences to ensure that the park service impact statement rests on a solid foundation. But another recently concluded report looking at the park service impact statement had already stated itâ€™s a reasonable piece of inquiry. Virtually every time a report is released, someone calls for a peer review, and observers trying to follow the action ďŹ nd themselves lost in a maze of confusing timelines and conďŹ‚icting results. The most recent contretemps erupted when West Marin neurobiologist Corey Goodman, a longtime critic of the park serviceâ€™s method of inquiry, said noise impacts in the EIS are wrong. Among other errors, he says, the noise levels associated with the Lunny operation boats actually were extrapolated from a 1995 study of
boats run by the New Jersey State Police. Those who are in favor of closing the oyster operation say itâ€™s common practice to extrapolate noise levels. But, says Goodman, even if thatâ€™s true, the extrapolated noise levels in the impact statement are too high. Amid the point-counterpoint debate in which virtually no one agrees on virtually any objective truth, surprisingly, one issue seems to reach a level of agreement that points to the larger and philosophical implications of the Seidman Drakes Bay Oyster Company story. â€œIn my opinion, the other side has really tried to push this into the science arena,â€? says Gordon Bennett of Save Our Seashore. â€œIt is a constant tennis match. We canâ€™t ignore that, but the fact remains, itâ€™s not an issue thatâ€™s going to be decided on science.â€? The law is clear, according to Bennett. â€œIf you are running an operation to, say, take people into a wilderness area, that is allowed provided it doesnâ€™t have mechanized equipment.â€? All other kinds of commercial activity are not allowed. â€œThatâ€™s the genius of the Wilderness Act. Every time you have a commercial enterprise, thereâ€™s going to be money and effort devoted to keeping that operation going.â€? Last summer, three former California legislators, Assemblyman William T. Bagley along with Congressmen John L. Burton and Paul â€œPeteâ€? McClosky Jr., said Congress intended to allow the oyster farm to remain. Each of them helped make Point Reyes a national park. But opponents say thereâ€™s one indelible truth: Lunny leased his property with the stipulation that his lease would expire in 2012 and it may or may not be extended. If a private landowner leases property to a tenant and at the end of that lease decides to do something different with the property and not renew the lease, thatâ€™s reasonable, although it might be hardship on the tenant. In this case, the park service is the landowner; Lunny, the tenant. Goodman has thrown the most scientific grenades at the park service, accusing it of misconduct and submitting unsupportable scientific evidence. But he agrees with Bennett and says science shouldnâ€™t be the deciding factor 14>
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Hooray for the half shell! The Marin History Museum will present a June 2 program called â€œHistory on the Half Shell,â€? a celebration of Marinâ€™s history of aquaculture and oyster farming. Guests will be treated to oyster samples and local wines. Author Gwen Meyer will be on hand to discuss her book,â€œOyster Cultureâ€? and folks from Drakes Bay Oyster Company and Tomales Bay Oyster Company will share the history of their farms. The Oysterpalooza take place from 11am to 2pm at the museum, 1125 B St. in San Rafael.
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Oyster farming dates back to the early Roman empire.
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â€œEvery child should have the opportunity for an exceptional education, quality healthcare, healthy foods and physical activity. If not in Marin, where?â€? â€“ Dana King, Chair, MarinKids MAY 25 - MAY 31, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 13