Supervisors: We May Defy Logic, But Don’t Question Our Motivations

Supervisors: We May Defy Logic, But Don’t Question Our Motivations

Tuesday’s Marin supervisors meeting agenda issued a “soft warning” to the public. The warning reads: “The Marin County Board of Supervisors encourages a respectful dialogue that supports freedom of speech and values diversity of opinion. The Board, staff and the public are expected to be polite and courteous and refrain from questioning the character or motives of others.” I am still trying to reconcile how the supervisors’ own behavior qualifies as respectful. This must be another case of “do as I say, not as I do”. The Broken Record Request – Who is Being Unreasonable? Bruce Corcoran from Strawberry has now formally asked at 13 consecutive Supervisor meetings for a date for the Strawberry PDA to be put on the supervisors agenda.  This seems reasonable to me given that Strawberry residents, just like Civic Center residents, were never consulted before being designated as a target for high density development. When the issue was raised in San Rafael Mayor Phillips put in place a thorough and well thought through process to review if the designation was appropriate: – he convened a committee to understand the key questions (I was one of 10 on this committee; the committee was balanced with 5 pro and 5 against the designation) – he tasked his planners to research the answers; Paul Jensen and Nancy Mackle produced this excellent document addressing PDA questions that all inflicted with the PDA designation should read – armed with complete questions and answers the council conducted a dedicated session, then in a subsequent session voted to rescind the PDA Are Hundreds of Strawberry Residents Making Unrealistic Demands? Does something seem illogical about Bruce’s request? The same request initiated a very thorough...
Demanding to Know How Our Taxes Are Being Spent Against Us

Demanding to Know How Our Taxes Are Being Spent Against Us

Today – January 23rd 2014 –  I submitted a Public Records Request – I want to understand why those seemingly charged with representing us are so out of alignment. My request was directed at the Transportation Authority of Marin. This morning, on the 23rd January, I submitted a public records request to the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) requesting to see emails sent and received by key employees over the last 2 years. TAM is a public agency and is obligated to respond within 10 calendar days  to any citizen making such a request. If the electronic file(s) exist then TAM is legally obligated to share these files with me as a taxpaying US citizen. Is this a reasonable request? Why did I submit the request? That doesn’t matter. Attending a Marin IJ sponsored educational meeting last night in San Rafael I learned that as citizens it doesn’t even matter if we want to line our bird cages with these documents – we have a right to understand how our taxes are being spent. Why the Transportation Authority of Marin? Transportation grants and PDA contracts have flowed through the Transportation Authority of Marin. I want to understand how this government agency is operating. I see significant involvement in the Station Area Planning process in Civic Center by TAM. TAM is potentially incentivized, like ABAG, to preserve and increase it’s authority by securing government transportation grants. Would it sacrifice representing the public interest to preserve or increase its authority? Why TAM – What About ABAG? I discovered I am not alone in submitting these reasonable requests. Many would ask – why send a request to TAM, why...
Video: The Story of How Marin Was Ruined

Video: The Story of How Marin Was Ruined

In December I published an article “The Story of How Marin Was Ruined”. It describes the slow but gradual demise of the quality of life in Marin after cumulative planning decisions – such as the grandiose plans for Larkspur where 920 units equivalent to 5 Win Cups, and a hotel, and 177,000 square feet of additional retail are planned. This has now be turned into a video by Citizen Marin complete with narrated voiceover and infographics. You can watch the video here...
Don’t Blink – Senate Bill 1 is Coming

Don’t Blink – Senate Bill 1 is Coming

Senate Bill 1 will give new unelected bodies powers of taxation and eminent domain. Suburban neighborhoods can be deemed blighted to be replaced by high density housing. Last year many of us were shocked by the enactment of Plan Bay Area. Now we face an even greater threat – Senate Bill 1. In the excellent BBC TV show “Doctor Who” one of the doctor’s most fiendish opponents are the “Weeping Angels” (pictured). Whenever you blink these fiendish stone statues creep up on you and send you to a different time period. Senate Bill 1, if enacted, could send us back to Dickensian London – dark days where those with lower incomes were relegated to living in crowded conditions in inner city high rises. Meanwhile the one percent, the only ones able to afford it, could escape to wealthy suburbs on trains. Senate Bill 1 is just like the weeping angels. While none of us were looking on May 28th it was passed by the state senate. Then on September 9th it was passed by the state assembly. It lies on the Governor’s desk – now all that remains is for Governor Brown to sign it into law.  If we blink – it will become law, unless we act. Senate Bill 1 is the work of State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg – you remember, the senate leader who receives campaign donations from the construction industry, developers, builders’ unions, train manufacturers… Senate Bill 1 has passed the State Assembly, all that remains for it to become enacted is for Governor Jerry Brown to sign and enact it. Senate Bill 1 is up there with Plan Bay Area. In fact I...