JUNE 15 - JUNE 21, 2012
MARiN’S BEST EVERY WEEK
CHECK INSIDE FOR THE SAN ANSELMO ART & WINE FESTIVAL PULL-OUT PROGRAM ON PAGE 17 QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
People have started confusing me with Groucho Marx.
Talking Pictures Must be some kinda conspiracy! 8
Single in the Suburbs The gripes of wrath 9
[ S E E PA G E 9 ]
Great Moments Ballad of a jam band 28
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Letters Upfront/Newsgrams Single in the Suburbs/Trivia CafĂŠ/Hero & Zero That Storytelling Guy Cover Story Open Homes All in Good Taste Food & Drink Music That TV Guy Talking Pictures Movies Sundial ClassiďŹ eds Horoscope Advice Goddess
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â€şâ€ş STAFF PUBLISHER - Gina Channell-Allen (x315) EDITORIAL Editor: Jason Walsh (x316); Movie Page Editor: Matt Stafford (x320); Copy Editor: Carol Inkellis (x317); Staff Writer: Dani Burlison (x319); Calendar Editor: Anne Schrager (x330); Proofreader: Julie Vader (x318) CONTRIBUTORS Charles Brousse, Greg Cahill, Ronnie Cohen, Pat Fusco, Richard Gould, Richard Hinkle, Brooke Jackson, Jill Kramer, Joel Orff, Rick Polito, Peter Seidman, Jacob Shafer, Nikki Silverstein, Space Cowboy, Annie Spiegelman, David Templeton. Books Editor: Elizabeth Stewart (x326) ADVERTISING Advertising Director: Linda Black (x306) Display Sales: Linda Curry (x309), Katarina Wierich (x311); Thomas Morton (x312) Inside Sales: Helen Hammond (x303); Ad Trafficker: Stephenny Godfrey (x308); Courier: Gillian Coder DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Art Director/Production Manger: Missy Reynolds (x335) Graphic Designers: Gwen Aguilar (x336), Shelley Hunter (x337), Michelle Palmer (x321); ADMINISTRATION Business Administrator: Cynthia Saechao (x331) Administrative Assistant: Zach Allen Circulation Manager: Bob Lampkin (x340) Distribution Supervisor: Zach Allen PRINTING: Paradise Post, Paradise, CA
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6 PACIFIC SUN JUNE 15 - JUNE 21, 2012
›› LETTERS Like they say: A man’s home is his Three Castles I love reading your paper. There is always at least one article or comment to get my dander up. It does my heart good! Ms. Silverstein should be her own “zero” for giving a “hero” award to the Board of Supervisors [Hero&Zero, May 25] for one more governmental intrusion into our lives. As much as most of us abhor cigarette smoke and are annoyed by smokers, this is an issue between landlord and tenant. The board has no business telling me what I can or cannot do in my own home. I confess to not reading the ordinance. Maybe it is limited to public housing owned by the county, but the article does not suggest that. Otherwise, they should quit trying to control everything we do. Walter Dods, San Rafael
We demand ID proof that pasta was born in Arizona! I was shocked and distressed to read the panegyric in the May “Fearless Flyer” [Trader Joe’s newsletter] to whole-wheat fusilli made from “organic” wheat grown in Arizona. I know Trader Joe’s to be a retailer that is fair to both its customers and employees. So it comes as a surprise that they are singing the praises of a product that originates in Arizona. In the ﬁrst place, I have about the same level of conﬁdence in the enforcement of organic regulations by a state government headed by Jan Brewer as I have in those of the nation headed, until recently, by Kim Jong Il. Secondly, I prefer not to buy products from a state that continues to pass legislation that is anti-immigrant,
anti-women and anti-gay. If Trader Joe’s is going to persist in carrying foodstuffs from Arizona, they would be wise not to publicize the fact in the Fearless Flyer. Charlie Falk, San Rafael
Golden years losing their sheen Thanks to Joanne Williams for her feature [“The Outsourced Life,” June 8] about selling her house and moving to a senior facility. As the daughter of two parents with dementia, I want to share with you that I think making the decision to move now while you can make it yourselves is the best gift you can give your children and grandchildren. My siblings and I have been struggling with our difﬁcult, intransigent father, rapidly deteriorating, for several years. Many falls, trips to ER, ﬁring of caregivers, and other crises. We are now forced to move mom and dad against dad’s will to assisted living as we need to sell their house to continue paying for their care. We had to remove the car a year ago, and I fully manage their ﬁnancial affairs. It’s a great burden at a time when we would prefer to be enjoying our parents’ company. Joanne, I hope you enjoy your new home, new friends you will make, and three meals a day prepared by someone else. I know my parents will ﬁnd enjoyment once they settle in. I hope you are able to stay here in Marin. Anonymous, Marin
We believe he’s being ‘fecesious’ An open letter to Marin residents of a certain class: This letter is to express my appreciation and heartfelt gratitude for your continuing efforts on my behalf. As a successful Marin
TOP POSTINGS THIS WEEK
Good pick up joints in Marin? Hey, it’s me again, Johnny Marin (yes, that’s my last name. ha ha.) Just moved to the county and looking for places to meet eligible women. Marin had a reputation in the 70s a... Boy I sure wish I had one of them Hummers! Everytime I see a Hummer these days, which ain’t often believe me, I chuckle and imagine the jerk inside paying $200 to ﬁll up that tub simply because he couldn’t demonstrate...
Your soapbox is waiting at ›› paciﬁcsun.com resident of some renown, at least in my own mind, my overblown sense of entitlement makes it impossible—unthinkable, really—for me to clean up after myself and my dog. That is what servants are for, after all. I’m sure you can imagine the irreparable harm to my social standing that would occur should I be seen carrying a bag of dog feces. Quelle horreur! Therefore I shall continue my current practice of ﬁrst checking that no one is looking, then quickly picking up Fiﬁ’s poo in a bag, neatly tying the bag in a bow, and leaving it there by the side of the road, sidewalk, or trail so you can easily ﬁnd it and dispose of it for me at the nearest, well, wherever it is that you people dispose of things. While I know you are not being paid for this act of kindness, I’m sure you feel the joy in your heart that comes from knowing that you are contributing to the well-being of someone more fortunate than yourself. Again, I thank all of you kindhearted plebes for your gracious, uncomplaining support in this endeavor. That is all. You may go. Don Root, San Anselmo
We think a good title for your story would be ‘Old Yellow’ There is a disturbingly narcissistic trend that has developed over the past few years of dog owners blithely taking their pets into any manner of commercial establishment. There are a few businesses with the temerity to tell their customers, “Are you out of your mind? What kind of a self-centered, thoughtless, inane individual are you? It’s not the proper thing to do to bring a dog into a public place.” Actually, they capture the thought with the more pithy, “No dogs allowed.” Whatever happened to dogs like Spike, like Fido, like Buster, like Rover? They could stay in the car. They could stay at home. They made do. They were dogs. They were not deprived of the utterly joyous moment of master’s return. Even Lassie was allowed to breach the commercial realm only when someone fell into an abandoned well. Is this a new breed of dog today? Perhaps from the bloodline of the Leona Helmsley kennel? I suspect it is more a new breed of owner of the Leona Helmsley bloodline. I had a dubiously regal experience recently as a carpet of liquid gold was sprayed before me as I ambled behind an oblivious middle-
aged woman walking her dog down the corridor at Montecito Plaza. I was relieved, unlike the dog, when the couple did not turn into Trader Joe’s. Now, allowing dogs into Trader Joe’s, unlike other retail establishments, And if Timmy’s family had had would bring a indoor plumbing, Lassie would unique peril. never have had to leave the Imagine a store house at all... full of canines when the bell is rung. The Pavlovian pandemonium unleashed could prove disastrous. Dogs would be salivating all over their Santorum-like sweater vests. Perhaps those today would do well to remember the story of Narcissus of Greek mythology who, while out walking his dog at the public market, peers into a puddle of urine and, seeing his reﬂection, falls in love with himself. His faithful companion could just as well have stayed home. J. S. Danielson, San Rafael
Really? We’d assumed he was in charge of ACORN...
So that’s why Secret Squirrel always wore the trenchcoat!
The real scandal at the Secret Service? It’s run by Secret Squirrel! Craig Whatley, San Rafael
JUNE 15 - JUNE 21, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 7
Anyone for a game of Agenda 21? Regional planning a sinister plot to Soviet-ize Marin, say Tea Partiers by Pe te r Se i d m an
hen two regional planning agencies earlier this year made the Bay Area rounds to hold a series of workshops about Plan Bay Area, the sustainable communities proposal, a group of virulent opponents also made the rounds. Rather than promoting rational discussions, their aggressive and strident strategy, meant to disrupt the meetings, succeeded in spreading misinformation and echoed a Tea Party conspiracy theory that has become increasingly hostile. The workshops were aimed at how the Bay Area can meet the mandates of AB 32, legislation that calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and a subsequent piece of legislation, SB 375, that for the ﬁrst time created true regional planning, a goal long sought by serious planners. SB 375, which took effect in 2009, seeks to promote the Sustainable Communities Strategy planning paradigm. The aim is to persuade cities and counties to consider climate change and the impacts of regional planning—with a particular emphasis on reducing vehicular travel—when making planning decisions. In addition to reducing vehicle emissions, the strategy seeks to encourage smart growth, which can foster transit-oriented development and nonmotorized transportation. The Association of Bay Area Govern-
ments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, are collaborating to produce the comprehensive plan that integrates land use with transportation. Shouting at the workshops prevented attendees who wanted to learn about Plan Bay Area from getting the facts. Opponents were in no mood to discuss details. They were there to disrupt. And they were organized. Opposition increased as projections of the number of jobs that will be created in the Bay Area and the number of households cities and counties will have to add for the people who take those jobs became public. A preliminary estimate was criticized in Marin and elsewhere by those who said the number of projected jobs was much too high, that the number of households Marin and its cities would be expected to accommodate was unrealistic. A review reﬁned those preliminary projections. But critics have continued to charge that ABAG (the recipient of the most clubbing) still is foisting an unfair burden on Marin; they say the numbers speak for themselves. But a look at the percentage of the increases Plan Bay Area projects for Marin shows that the numbers do not deserve 10 >
by Jason Walsh
Anyone want a historic lumber company? The Mill Valley Lumber Co. is looking to hand over its circular saw to an eager buyer, as the Cerri family, which has owned the 120-year-old business since the late 1990s, says the mill isn’t financially cutting it. The lumber mill, located at 129 Miller Avenue near the downtown, has struggled as a business since the economy tanked in 2008. The Cerris say they’re tentatively planning to keep the saws buzzing through the end of the year, but if a buyer doesn’t step forward, they may simply have to close up shop and let the wood chips fall where they may. The lumber company had its genesis in 1889 when the Northwestern Pacific Railroad built a line from its Tam Junction stop deep into the valley at the base of Mount Tamalpais. The railroad ambled down the center of Miller Avenue and over Corte Madera Creek and terminated at what is now the downtown plaza. It was along this last stretch of track that Mill Valley pioneer and shipping magnate Robert Dollar had settled in the 1850s. In 1892, Dollar took a look at the building boom around him and promptly converted his parcel of land into a lumberyard. In 1912 it merged with Doherty’s Lumber Yard, a rival just a half block up the railroad tracks, to become the Mill Valley Lumber Company. Anyone interested in purchasing a lumber company should call 415/388-3532 or check out www.millvalleylumber.com. San Rafael unveils vision for Civic Center Station area As the SMART train project rolls ahead, those little pufferbellies are going to need somewhere to stop—which is why the Marin County Board of Supervisors this week is reviewing the Civic Center Station Area Plan—a “draft for public view” of a vision for what is expected to be one of the busier neighborhoods along the SMART line. Presented by city staff and prepared by San Francisco design groups Fehr & Peers and BMS, the plan is “a community vision for the area around the future Civic Center SMART station in North San Rafael” and builds on previous planning efforts to “set out a conceptual framework for development and circulation improvements in the area.” The plan is purely in the “conceptual” phase; environmental analysis would ostensibly take place after further details are worked out. Passenger service along the 70-mile rail corridor will extend in its initial phase from Santa Rosa to downtown San Rafael. In all, there are plans for 14 rail stations, nine in Sonoma and five in Marin. According to the draft, the Civic Center station will be located beneath Highway 101, just north of the Marin County Civic Center and fairgrounds. Weekday service will include 15 southbound and 15 northbound trains per day; four and four on the weekends. During peak commute times, two trains will operate per hour in each direction. The Civic Center station’s EIR ridership numbers by 2015 are forecast at 468 daily boardings, with about 100 occurring during the morning peak hour. The report finds that, overall, connectivity to the area is difficult due to Highway 101 and the rail corridor dividing the area, and several “large land uses” that present barriers to pedestrian movement—particularly Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Northgate Mall, as well as various large office complexes. “Despite the automobile-orientation of the area,” the report continues,“there are many office and residential areas within a reasonable walk of the station. The Marin County Civic Center offers the largest ridership opportunity, while Autodesk, Sutter Terra Linda Urgent Care, Northgate Mall, Kaiser Hospital and other nearby offices, banks, retail and resi10 >
8 PACIFIC SUN JUNE 15 - JUNE 21, 2012
›› TRiViA CAFÉ
by Howard Rachelson
1. Pictured, left: What four-five streets surround Washington Square Park in San Francisco’s North Beach? 2. What breed of horse excels at sprinting short distances, especially in races of a quarter mile or less? 3. What two consecutive months each have 31 days? 4. Pictured, below: Name the only three films to have won 11 Academy Awards: 4a. 2003 Fantasy-drama 4b. 1997 Adventure on the high seas 4c. 1959 Epic religious film 5. What Silicon Valley high-tech company was named after San Francisco? 6. In 1988, who was the first first lady to make a speech at the United Nations General Assembly, and for what cause? 7. What object that grows within certain sea animals is the official birthstone for the month of June? 8. What alpine city of western Austria hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976? 9. What race of mythological giants with a single eye was named “circle-eyed” in Greek? 10. Can you 4a write four twoword phrases, all of which describe ways to break a tie in a 4b sporting event?
BONUS QUESTION: Scientists in Antarctica were alarmed in 1985 when they first discovered a hole ... where?
Howard Rachelson invites you to trivia contests Saturday, June 16, from 2-4pm at the Marin Civic Center Library; Wednesdays at 7:30pm at the Broken Drum in San Rafael; and Thursday, June 23, at the Corte Madera Library, 7pm.
while ago, a Novato kid VA reportedly hid a stolen Lamborghini in a storage locker. Now, we have teens allegedly stealing a Pablo Picasso lithograph from a Novato mansion, and then hiding it in plain sight. Novato resident Greg Atamaniuk, out for a morning hike last Sunday, found the artwork, valued at over $30,000, leaning on a fence at a Novato trailhead. Mr. Atamaniuk knew the Picasso lithograph was missing, and was stunned to ﬁnd it at his feet. The good Samaritan called the Novato police and stayed with the treasure until they arrived. Though the Picasso’s owner, a former prime minister from Ukraine, currently resides in a California prison, we hope he appreciates the honesty and integrity of our Hero, Greg Atamaniuk.
Answers on page 39
WAT&T recently dumped thousands of phone books on driveways throughout Marin. Each unlucky beneﬁciary received two books protected inside a plastic bag. (We’re sure a few folks still use the book, though many of us look up phone numbers on the web.) Merchants in unincorporated areas of Marin now charge a nickel a bag to discourage waste, yet AT&T throws archaic directories, wrapped in a plastic bag, onto our property. Adding insult to injury, AT&T printed instructions on the bags about recycling “outdated” books and ways to stop future book delivery. How about automatic opt out, unless someone requests a book? AT&T, your unconscionable consumption of paper and plastic makes you a behemoth Zero.—Nikki Silverstein
Got a Hero or a Zero? Please send submissions to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Toss roses, hurl stones with more Heroes and Zeros at ›› paciﬁcsun.com
›› SiNGLE iN THE SUBURBS
Kvetcher in the wry Far be it from me to complain, but... by N ik k i Silve r ste in
’m usually a happy-go-lucky gal withcomplaint, but it gives me pause. So does out a worry in the world. Well, this the KKK rally last month in North Carolina, in a small town named Harmony. week I have a few complaints. I’ll list Will it never end? them in no particular order: O Jason, my editor, is making me write O Most evenings, my best friend Kate this column. I told him that I didn’t have a and I walk our dogs at Blackie’s Pasture. column in me this week, but he wouldn’t Her dogs are normal. Two nights ago, my let me out of it. He suggested that I write dog Bruno stole a meatball from picnickabout hermaphrodites. [Editor’s note: ers. Last night, he peed on me. Soaked That’s not exactly the way the conversation right through my water repellent pants, went.] sock and sneaker. I sloshed home. We can’t So, if you don’t like my kvetching, conwait for tonight. sider the alternative. O Jerry, my sweet older Jewish friend, O Rick is doing his magic act again. Onegave me a fancy shmancy TV so that I two-three, poof, disappear. This time, I ﬁg- could get a better look at my new infatuured out how he does it. One: pick a ﬁght ation, Barry Weiss from Storage Wars. about nothing. Two: turn the nothing on its A wonderful, generous gift, especially head to engage me in the nonsense. Three: considering that my current television blame me. Honestly, the weighs 200 pounds and dog misses him more the top fourth of the than I do. Once you screen is totally black. ﬁgure out the trick, the I’ve had my sleek, magic is gone. thin, lightweight TV for over a month now O I found a gray hair and still can’t ﬁgure in my left eyebrow and out how to hook it up. plucked it right out. What is the purpose of Apparently, I spread all those holes if one of the gray seed, because ’em isn’t for the cable the very next day, two box? Must I continue hairs grew in its place. to look at just the botThey’re like weeds, I tell tom three-quarters of you. Now, I have to use Barry’s face? dark greasepaint on my Even Weiss couldn’t control his laughter over Nikki’s brows and people have lousy week. O Remember that started confusing me hot, hot, hot Marin with Groucho Marx. County bailiff that I gawked at for days O My mother refuses to wear her hearduring my recent jury service? Why hasn’t ing aid while we’re on the phone, saying he ever called me? Crushing. I’m never she doesn’t need it. I yell a story at her for putting myself out there again. a few minutes. Complete silence for ﬁve O Can anyone take a few good photos of seconds. “What?” she yells. Then we start me? I want to join JDate, but I can’t post my all over again. proﬁle pics looking like this. If you work O My mother who refuses to wear her with a talented makeup artist, bring her. hearing aid while we’re on the phone O Why does Starbucks ruin everything? shares long, elaborate tales about the The gargantuan competitor long ago cousins, sisters and acquaintances of the creamed the funky cafe down the street women in her Mah Jongg club. Somefrom me. Now, Starbucks is swallowing La times, I put the phone down to do a chore Boulange, which, by the way, serves delior two. When I return, she’s still blabbing cious coffee—at least for now. about Ida’s blind sister-in-law who stole OK, I’m done airing my grievances for Rhea’s boyfriend. Fortunately, my mother the day. It’s sunny and 77 degrees in Sauis unable to hear me thrashing about on salito. I’m heading out for a hike, hoping the ﬂoor, emitting moans and ﬁnally the to glimpse a few coyotes and a couple of death rattle. I wouldn’t want to hurt her terriﬁed neighbors. Later this afternoon, feelings or anything. I’ll be at Peet’s enjoying a strong cup of O Neighbors are calling Animal Control joe while using their wireless to watch the about the coyotes, requesting that ofﬁcers latest episode of Storage Wars and gaze remove the animals. We live at the edge of longingly at Barry’s entire face. < federal parkland. I’m not sure where they Email: email@example.com want the coyotes to go, but I sure know where those folks should go. Offer Nikki some helpful advice on TownSquare at ›› paciﬁcsun.com O Anne Frank would have been 83 this year. My father’s 83. This isn’t exactly a JUNE 15 - JUNE 21, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 9
< 8 Newsgrams dences are also potential sources of transit riders. “Access between the Station and these uses will be critical to maximizing the potential ridership.” According to the demographic information in the draft, the Civic Center area has a population of 2,271 and a job count of 4,900. The plan was overseen by a 16-member Station Advisory Committee whose vision of the Civic Center Station Area was used as a basis for the draft.
Grand jury: ‘prison is no deterrent from crime’ The Marin County Civil Grand Jury is demanding justice—restorative justice, that is. In a report released this week titled “Restorative Justice—Its Time Has Come in Marin County,” the grand jury is calling upon the county criminal justice system and Marin school officials to implement “restorative” practices, which have a proven track record of lowering wrongdoer recidivism but, according to the grand jury, have been met with an underwhelming response from the Marin County sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices. Theories about restorative justice have been gaining momentum in education and public safety circles for more than a decade. In essence, the practice seeks to shift society’s “punishment” response to wrongdoing toward one of repairing the harm on a more personal level between victim and perpetrator. According to the grand jury,“retributive justice focuses on public vengeance, deterrence and punishment through an adversarial process, whether in a school principal’s office or in a courtroom.” Restorative justice, on the other hand,“emphasizes repairing the harm caused or revealed by wrongdoing or criminal behavior.” Restorative practices include face-toface encounters between wrongdoer and victim, as well as the possibility of material and financial restoration, while forcing the offender to take responsibility for his or her negative impact on the victim and the community. “In Marin County,” the report states,“restorative justice principles are currently employed at several middle schools as an alternative to suspension and expulsion.” Del Mar Middle School in Tiburon and Davidson Middle School in San Rafael currently employ restorative programs and have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of suspensions levied throughout the school year. The Marin County Youth Court and the Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth have also found success via the use of peer courts. Despite what’s been achieved in schools, continues the report,“restorative justice currently finds only limited application in the County’s Juvenile Hall and County Jail,” though the grand jury notes efforts are currently under way to expand its use.“Although the District Attorney’s Office provides mediation services and citation hearings for various civil and criminal disputes,” says the grand jury,“[the DA’s office] and the Sheriff’s Department appear to be significantly less supportive of expanded use of restorative justice techniques.” The report suggests that opposition to restorative justice may stem from the view that the process is “soft on crime.” According to the report, more than 6.7 million American adults—3.1 percent of the adult population—are either behind bars, on probation or on parole. Sixty percent of offenders are arrested for nonviolent offenses. Meanwhile, California has one the country’s highest recidivism rates—67 percent of those released in 2005 and 2006 returned to prison within three years (70 percent of those were due to parole violations rather than new offenses). “These figures suggest that using prison as a deterrent doesn’t work,” the report says. In its conclusion, the grand jury recommends that the Marin County Office of Education, local school districts, as well as the Marin County District Attorney, Sheriff and Public Defender initiate restorative justice programs—and the grand jury calls on the Board of Supervisors to fund the training and operations for such programs. “The Jury believes that a realistic examination of the features and benefits of restorative justice indicate opportunities for broadening the use of the techniques in Marin County to achieve significant tax dollar savings, reduce the extent of recidivism and deter young offenders from becoming career criminals,” concludes the jury.“Cost savings are an attractive goal but even more attractive is the opportunity to transform an offender into a responsible law-abiding member of his or her community.” Ross elects itself a council! Ross, the town without a council candidate, appears to have voted in a trio of willing decision makers. The wealthy Ross Valley town really mailed it in this election—literally. After no one filed to run for any of the three open seats on the June 5 ballot, the town was faced with the very real possibility that the remaining councilmembers would have to appoint three residents to the council. The election was changed to a less-costly mail-in ballot only. In the end, five people stepped forward as write-in candidates after the filing period closed—and the returns from the June 5 election indicate the winners are: P. Beach Kuhl, 76, a current member of the Marin County Civil Grand Jury; Elizabeth Brekhus, 42, an attorney; and 61-year-old business consultant Kathleen Hoertkorn. Woolsey endorses Huffman Calling him a “rare public servant,” retiring 2nd District Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey officially threw her weight behind San Rafael Assemblyman Jared Huffman in the November runoff election to choose her successor. In announcing her retirement a year ago, Woolsey vowed not to endorse any of the would-be candidates for the seat. Following the June 5 primary election, in which Huffman earned 37 percent of the votes to 10 PACIFIC SUN JUNE 15 - JUNE 21, 2012
< 8 Anyone for a game of Agenda 21? the virulent attacks on a legitimate attempt at regional planning. Plan Bay Area sets responsibilities for each of the Bay Area’s nine counties relating to growth in jobs and households that will occur out to 2040. Comparing that projected growth to the growth that occurred between 1980 and 2010 is eye opening, considering the emotional nature of the attacks and the charge that ABAG and MTC are trying to cram growth down Marin’s throat. According to the latest Sustainable Communities Strategy ﬁgures, from 1980 to 2010, the number of Marin households increased 16 percent; it projects that by 2040, the number of households will increase by just 8.5 percent. (The projected increases in Marin County households pales in comparison to the 35.6 percent increase projected in Santa Clara County by 2040.) From 1980 to 2010, Novato households increased by 31 percent; Sustainable Communities projects an increase of just 5.7 percent by 2040. San Rafael households increased by 22 percent from 1980 to 2010; projections show an increase of 16 percent by 2040. Corte Madera saw households increase by 18 percent from 1980 to 2010; an increase of just 7.4 percent is projected by 2040. To put that Corte Madera percentage in perspective, Sustainable Communities projects that the town should accommodate just 280 additional households by 2040. The Corte Madera Town Council, angry at initially higher ABAG projections, voted to give notice to the agency that the town wanted to end its membership. The town has until next year to decide whether to break the ABAG bond. Among alternatives discussed is a proposal to form a Marin council of governments that would mirror ABAG. But that, and the withdrawal from ABAG, could reduce regional planning participation and inﬂuence. The concept of regional planning depends on each county assuming its dutiful responsibility to house the residents that will work within each jurisdiction. By providing housing, public transportation and creating sustainable communities, the entire Bay Area will beneﬁt as well as residents in each county. If a county, like Marin, refuses to assume its responsibility to create jobs and housing within its borders, pressure shifts to adjacent counties, continuing and exacerbating suburban sprawl. “No matter what we do, we will grow [slowly]. Nothing seems to suggest that people are going to stop having children or stop enjoying living in Marin,” says Marla Fields of Sustainable Novato. “We have to plan accordingly for some measure of growth that’s sustainable. That’s what this is about.” Rejecting the relatively modest rate of growth envisioned in Sustainable Communities will have negative impacts for Marin, she adds. “If we don’t build our fair share of housing here, we will continue
the pattern of having the trafﬁc jams on our roads leading to the places where people can afford homes and live, places up in Sonoma County and the East Bay. Our children grow up and graduate and maybe want to live [in Marin] and have no options.” The type of future housing should be an essential part of the equation, says Whitney Merchant, Marin ﬁeld representative for the Greenbelt Alliance. “No one is going to take anyone’s home away from them,” she says. “Neighborhoods are not going to change. But our population is skewing over 65 and under 30, and [many in] those two groups of people don’t want to or cannot afford to live in a singlefamily home. Keep your single-family homes and enjoy them. But we should be planning for the young and seniors.” A common misperception is that Plan Bay Area is aimed at promoting affordable or income-restricted housing. In reality the plan is a projection for the total housing stock in the Bay Area, the vast majority of which will be market rate. Another point of pushback here is the belief that because the county has so much open space and policies to protect it, the county and its cities essentially are built out. No more room at the inn. That should count for something when the regional agencies project housing numbers, along with the supposition that Marin should get credit for being a park that serves the greater Bay Area. But that kind of Disneyland approach belies the need to accommodate the changing demographics. It’s not enough to just look good. And the assumption that Marin has no options to accommodate any additional housing breaks faith with the planning strategy that created slow growth and the open-space policies in the county. The modern planning era in Marin started in 1966 when a resident revolt stopped a proposed east-west freeway and vast development in West Marin. In a history published in 2007 about Marin’s ﬁght against sprawl within the county, Louise Nelson Dyble of the University of Southern California writes in the Journal of Urban History, “Marin’s innovative and powerful Countywide Plan, released publicly in 1971...provided the template for all subsequent growthcontrol efforts. It described three permanent land use zones: a City Centered Corridor in the east along Highway 101; a central Inland Rural Corridor reserved for agriculture and compatible land uses; and the western Coastal Recreation Corridor.” Later a Baylands Corridor was added. The multi-corridor plan was designed to keep as much open space as possible and guide necessary growth along the City Centered Corridor along the freeway. Ironically, that’s where the pushback comes from today, residents in the City Centered Corridor. The opposition discounts the original vision. “While goals of environmental preservation and growth control in West Marin
many Marin residents have legitimate and rational questions about the methodology that derived the planâ€™s household and jobs numbers, which they say should be the focus of a continuing debate, the conspiracy theorists are another breed of cat. A letter in the Independent Journal posits that Plan Bay Area and the Legislature are forcing their will on â€œour communities.â€? That line of reasoning argues that unelected ofďŹ cials are responsible for the plan, regardless of the fact that ABAG and MTC comprise elected ofďŹ cials from local communities. The letter writer, whose name will remain anonymous to protect an embarrassing misallocation of intelligence, states, â€œWe do not need help from the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission or any other group of Soviet-style unelected overseers to tell us how our communities should be laid out.â€? That exhortation echoes an attack that Tea Party activists are raising across the country. They believe that smart growth, sustainable communities, calls for increased public transportation and similar sustainability goals really are an attack on property rights designed to force people into living in bleak high-density housing. The nexus of their theory is Agenda 21. In 1992, the United Nations passed a nonbinding resolution calling for nations and their cities and counties to use fewer resources and conserve open spaceâ€”by
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were realized, goals for housing, density, mixed-use development and community diversity were not,â€? writes Dyble. â€œMarinâ€™s cities added on their own measures protecting the character of existing neighborhoods. The result was commercial development and job growth accompanied by worsening trafďŹ c congestion, increasing housing costs and social homogenization. In the 1970s, when Marinâ€™s growth rate was approaching zero, Sonoma County was the fastest growing county in the entire Bay Area. Marinâ€™s policies have exacerbated the persistent housing shortages of the Bay Area, making the problems of sprawl and the pressure for development all the worse for its neighbors.â€? Thatâ€™s what the Sustainable Communities Strategy attempts to ameliorate. Marin communities will grow (slowly) and residents will be asked to accommodate that (slow) growthâ€”this is part of Marinâ€™s membership in a wider Bay Area society. The raucous pushback at the workshops earlier this year, in Marin and elsewhere on the Plan Bay Area circuit, revealed a contingent of Bay Area residents who reject that proposed compact with neighboring counties. In a kind of perverse â€œget off my lawnâ€? admonition to ABAG, critics said they just want to be left alone to growâ€”or notâ€”the way they see ďŹ t. Neighbors be damned. But thereâ€™s also an undercurrent to the criticism that harbors a supposedly sinister conspiracy theory. And although
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< 10 lead the pack of 12 congressional hopefuls by a wide margin, the Petaluma Congressional veteran of nearly 20 years is finally putting her seal of approval behind the frontrunner. â€œ(Huffman) is both a principled progressive and an effective coalition-builder; his environmental expertise and credentials are second-to-none,â€? Woolsey said in a statement to the press.â€œHe has proven time and time again that he will stand with working families, women, seniors and consumers. And I believe he will continue the ongoing struggle to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.â€? Coming out of the June 5 election to choose two Congressional runoff candidates, Republican Dan Roberts was in second place with 15.3 percent, followed by Inverness progressive Norman Solomon with 14.2 percenâ€”but tens of thousands of votes are yet to be counted, and the Solomon campaign remains hopeful the remaining ballots will help the Democrat overtake Roberts. Solomon political consultant Tom Higgins says there could be as many as 40,000 ballots still to be countedâ€”and those late absentee ballots, he says, tend to favor Solomon. â€œThe distribution of these remaining ballots throughout the district coupled with the fact that these votes will perform more like polling place votes than early-return absentees did,â€? says Higgins,â€œâ€Śis how and why Norman Solomon will overtake Dan Roberts to secure the second-place finish he has earned once all the votes are counted in this race.â€? Even with the second-place finisher still in question, Woolsey is steadfast. â€œRegardless of the final vote tally, I am proud to endorse (Huffman) in the November election,â€? said Woolsey.
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submit to a greater (not so) good. Their objections ignore the facts: Local communities still have ultimate control of when and where any housing gets built. They also have control over the design of that housing. Plan Bay Area continues and expands the Marin-based concept of the City Centered Corridor. Debating numbers is legitimate. Calling up John Birch Society conspiracy theories is not. Marin long ago decided to leave the hills alone. <
focusing development on already developed areas. Not unlike Marinâ€™s original plan to steer development along the City Centered Corridor. The conspiracy theorists are popping up across the country at planning commissions and sustainability sessions, sounding an alarm at what they perceive is a One World Order assault. The obstructionist participants who traveled the Plan Bay Area workshop circuit knowingly or unknowingly tapped the Agenda 21 conspiracy theoristsâ€™ talking points. They said Plan Bay Area is a veiled attempt to force Bay Area communities to
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Shake your story maker! There’s more to That TV Guy than a disturbingly deep knowledge of ‘Bonanza’... by Jason Walsh
verbatim and even then you’d need several ick Polito doesn’t really have a probbillion nights to get the same exact story lem being creative. He’s been twice. The math is crazy but there are 1.5 a journalist for 25 years and started writing his “That TV Guy” column in 1995. trillion permutations per story. Even if you But Polito says he hits a creative blank just count the endings, there are enough in Story Packs that you spot every time his could get a different kids say “tell me a ending every night story, Dad.” “The for more than four problem with bedmonths. That’s a lot time stories is they of endings for $1.99. happen at bedtime,” But if you count perPolito says. “That’s 10 mutations, it would hours from coffee.” take a story every So Polito developed night for twice the what he describes as age of the universe a “storytelling improv to get the same exact app” titled Shake-Nstory. When you add Tell for the iPhone the improv elethat leads storytellers ment it’s effectively through a storytelling inﬁnite. experience. We sat down Why not just with Polito to ask read a book? him about his soluReading is vital. tion to the storyI’ve read tens of telling pitfalls of the If you can’t even come up with this much on your own, you need some serious storytelling help. thousands of pages modern world. to my kids. But tellO O O O ing a story is different. You get this incredWhat made you think a phone can ible connection you don’t get when you’re tell a better story than good ol’ Mom reading The Cat in the Hat for the 500th and Dad? time. I sometimes ﬁnd myself reading on First I saw a need: my own. I had autopilot. You can’t do that with storytelltrouble pulling stories off the top of my ing. My daughter is refusing books in favor head when my son asked for “a story that’s of Shake-N-Tell now. not a storybook.” Then I started asking other parents and they said the same thing. So this is like the Beowulf of apps? Very few of them even tried. I spent $12 [Storytelling] is an essential part of the on a deck of picture cards for storytelling human experience. We’ve been telling stoand it was still hard. Give me a picture of ries around the campﬁre since we invented a monkey, a pig and a treasure chest and ﬁre. It’s how we shared beliefs, culture and I might be able to tell you a story. But I’m imagination. But now it feels like we’ve probably going to reach for Goodnight consigned it to Hollywood and publishing Moon instead. houses. Professional storytellers tell me that children react so strongly to storytellWhat does Shake-N-Tell have that ing because they’re starved for it. Margaret Wise Brown doesn’t? I describe it as an improv engine. We What will it take to turn me into a give you the bones of a story in short text modern-day Hans Christian Appersen? prompts and you ﬂesh it out with your It takes imagination for starters. You’re imagination. You pick a premise in one of creating a world and you have to describe the Story Packs and you shake through the it. What does the princess look like? What plot line to the conclusion. Shake-N-Tell kind of slime drips off the alien? The rest challenges the storyteller to embellish and of it is simple technique. Talk fast to build add descriptions but the premise and the excitement. Slow down to build suspense, plot points are already there. That makes it etc. We have a “How To Tell a Story” seca lot easier. tion in the app. < Don’t these stories very quickly start becoming “reruns”? Not unless you read the text prompts
12 PACIFIC SUN JUNE 15 - JUNE 21, 2012
Check out Polito’s latest project at http://itunes.apple.com/ us/app/shake-n-tell/id521581160?mt=8; for more info visit http://shake-n-tell.com/Shake-n-Tell/FAQ.html
S T S I L A T N E M N O R I ENAVRCHING ON E H T D AN
tin Grifﬁn, a Dennis, Mar From left, Non Faber and Kathy Cuneo. Phyllis
s celebrate ’ m u r o ‘F The educating f o s r a e y 40 r m y. . . a l a t n e m viron M a r i n’s e n
“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and ﬂoods. But he cannot save them from fools.”—John Muir
ortunately, the man upstairs has had a little help these past 40 years from the Environmental Forum of Marin. The year was 1972—the environmental movement was still in its infancy, and yet the little by Jaso suburb of Marin had already emerged battered but unbroken from a decade of fighting against development plans for a cross-county superhighway, a high-rise-lined city in the Headlands named Marincello, and a vacation playground for the rich and famous along Tomales Bay. Marin’s environmental community learned from an early age the importance of educating and persuading local ofﬁcials and community members about the intrinsic values of open space, modest development, a clean and pure watershed and the protection of Marin’s diverse ecosystems. But Marin’s eco-visionaries also realized their victories over development did not exist in a vacuum—there would be more Marcinellos to come if the stewards of the land let down their guard. So a group of Marin’s most tenacious enviros—led by Martin Grifﬁn, Ellen Straus, Phyllis Faber, Nona Dennis and Kathy Cuneo,
among others—established the Environmental Forum of Marin, an Audubon Canyon Ranchsupported collective founded as a breeding ground for tomorrow’s environmental advocates—an army of Mother Nature’s foot soldiers, if you will—sent forth from the Forum to defend Marin’s fauna and ﬂora from the unchecked human ecological footprints of decades to come. As Grifﬁn described at the 20th annivern Walsh sary celebration of the Forum in 1993: “[The purpose of the Environmental Forum was] to train a cadre of volunteers to be effective and inﬂuential workers and speakers in the ﬁeld of environmental planning and quality. “This was the ﬁrst experiment of its kind in the U.S,” said Grifﬁn. “It was an idea whose time had come.” Through “masters classes” led by experienced Forum instructors, trainees spend months in a series of lectures and ﬁeld trips focused on the natural world, humankind’s impact on the environment, advocacy training and completion of a stewardship project. According to the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ recent resolution declaring June 16 “Environmental Forum of Marin Day,” the program has graduated more than 1,000 environmentalists, and from their various stewardship projects has come
the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Safe and Healthy San Rafael and the Marin Open Garden Project. Graduates have gone on to serve in the United States Senate, the Marin County Board of Supervisors, numerous city and town councils, planning commissions and on the boards of such agencies as Audubon Canyon Ranch, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, the Marin Conservation League, the Marin Municipal Water District, WildCare and more. On June 16, Marty Grifﬁn, Phyllis Faber, Kathy Cuneo and Nona Dennis will be honored at Audubon Canyon Ranch’s “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” a celebration of the Environmental Forum of Marin’s ﬁrst 40 years. We asked the “Forum Four” about their decades-long work with the EFM and the future of Marin’s environmental movement. O
The Forum was in many ways launched as a recruiting ground for an infantry of Mother Nature’s foot soldiers, whose purpose was to go forth in battle against anti-environmental forces—somewhat in the mold of cause-oriented political groups of the last century. Was this concept as revolutionary as it sounds? Kathy Cuneo: I don’t believe that at the time this sounded revolutionary, not compared to the winds that were blowing through the entire country. We had had the
civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement—and the environmental movement seemed to be a natural outgrowth of the general striving to “put things right.” Marty Grifﬁn: To be speciﬁc, the Environmental Forum of Marin was founded by Audubon Canyon Ranch, a coalition of four National Audubon Society branches, in 1972—the year that two great national parks, the Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, were established in West Marin after 10 years of vigorous opposition. Both parks partly surround or border ACR, whose large heronry stopped the coastal freeway. The initial purpose of EFM was to educate passionate citizens to vigilantly support and defend these two great parks, which transformed the future of Marin County. I like the concept that EFM is Mother Nature’s foot soldiers for preventing the Los Angelization of Marin. Good work! Phyllis Faber: The Environmental Forum was founded to provide an educational program illuminating countywide issues and the agencies affecting our daily lives. It grew out of a training program designed for Audubon Canyon Ranch, whose funding source had ended. The Environmental Forum program was created to attract this same funding source and its program was designed to provide basic knowledge of the county: Marin’s natural world, its basic services such as water supply, water and garbage disposal, and county planning processes including zonJUNE 15 - JUNE 21, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 13
< 13 And the environmentalists go marching on
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Nona Dennis: One has only to review the preceding decades of untrammeled growth and environmental disasters, or near-disasters, to recognize the signiﬁcance of the Forum’s founding! Certainly environmental advocacy groups already existed—Sierra Club, Marin Audubon Society, Marin Conservation League, to name a few—but the idea of a systematic training program to enable citizens to speak knowledgeably to boards and commissions so as to inﬂuence public decisions could be considered revolutionary. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any other organizations that have followed that model. We now have many advocacy organizations focusing on the environment, but they don’t offer such an educational opportunity. Has there been a cause or issue that EFM championed that wasn’t settled the way you’d have liked—a defeat that particularly sticks in your craw? MG: For many years the EFM championed the national parks; in recent years EFM has quietly tolerated the undermining of the national parks system by Oystergate, and political foes of wilderness. PRNS has been targeted by powerful corporation lobbyists as a wedge to open millions of wilderness acres of BLM lands, national forests, national parks for commercial uses, such as fracking, oil, hunting, power generation, roads. KC: A great disappointment that I remember is the construction of Warm Springs Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. PF: In the early days, the Forum sometimes took positions on political matters that dismayed other members. It was decided that the goal of the Forum was to inform members, not become an advocacy organization. This position has served the organization well as board members are often new to the Forum or deeply involved with other nonproﬁts and their personal agenda does not necessarily serve the entire Forum well. Individuals can and do advocate for various issues but they cannot claim their opinion as representing the Forum. ND: I’m going to redirect the question and point out that over the years the Environmental Forum has experienced a tension between its educational function and its advocacy function as an organization. For many years the Forum did take positions in local environmental and land-use issues— often after heated internal debate! In the past dozen years, the focus has shifted entirely to education and away from engaging in local battles. This disappointed many “old timers” but it also has allowed the board to concen-
14 PACIFIC SUN JUNE 15 - JUNE 21, 2012
Kathy and her husband have lived in San Rafael for 50 years and have raised three sons and lots of vegetables.
trate on the considerable effort of putting on two educational programs every year. Thus, individuals are trained to be articulate advocates, but they choose their own battles! The downside is that the Forum is not as well known to boards, councils and commissions in Marin as it might be if it were more directly engaged. Marin is known for its commitment to environmentalism, yet also for its consumptive lifestyles and large ecological footprint. What do you think about this Jekyll and Hyde aspect of Marin? ND: I am constantly dismayed by the huge gap between what Marin claims to be (environmentally progressive, “green,” ecoconscious, etc.) and its ecological footprint, among the largest in the world. Afﬂuence inevitably equates with consumption, so it is almost inevitable that the lifestyle of many Marinites, which typically includes large homes, multiple cars (even if one is a Prius), frequent ﬂying and other advantages we take for granted, will consume resources far beyond what might be considered necessary. This is by no means true of all residents, but in the aggregate, we are poor role models for “sustainability”! PF: The Jekyll and Hyde aspect of a consumptive lifestyle in a county that has cherished its open spaces has increasingly been a focus of Forum participants in recent years and they have become effective leaders in a number of areas in order to encourage Marin residents toward leading a less-consumptive and more green lifestyle. Reducing the county’s waste stream and plastic bag usage have been major themes and programmatic successes for the Forum. Forum members commonly make signiﬁcant changes in their personal and families’ lives as they learn more of the issues and facts. KC: It certainly is true that we do not live the life that we know to be best for the Earth. This is why we have to keep on talking to each other about lifestyle. We know that para-
JAN ALFF WIEGEL