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 process in San Rafael. So is Mayor Phillips, elected leader of Marin’s largest city unrealistic? I think he righted a major wrong and restored resident’s trust.
Is Bruce some crazed individual out of line with any other residents? A petition signed by 754 people asks the precise same question. So unless the entire neighborhood of Strawberry has gone off the deep end it’s fairly clear to me as an outside observer who is being reasonable and who is not.
All Bruce and hundreds of Strawberry residents have got so far is a run around where Supervisor Sears attempted to divert the conversation to the Transportation Authority of Marin (and failed) and still no date. And they’re not allowed to question motivations?
Dodging the Issue – Passing the Buck to TAM
Sears hoped to deflect the heat by getting TAM to demonstrate that removal of the PDA designation would result in the loss of transportation funding. A paltry $261,000 – an almost insulting amount to Strawberry residents considering this would barely pay for planning, let alone actual construction that might mitigate current traffic issues (notwithstanding that the planned development would make traffic issues more acute).
The TAM board simply threw the PDA decision back at Sears. TAM’s board quite justifiably queried why they would assign any transportation dollars when the community shows such strong opposition – presenting a possibility that the designation may be lifted.
Repealing the Law of Gravity
Given the baffling failure of representation it is only human nature for residents to question the supervisors motivations on the matter. To ask them not to question is akin to attempting to repeal the law of gravity or human nature.