Monday, October 22, 2018

Ethics Guidelines/Contract Law that Marinwood CSD ignores

Ethics Guidelines/Contract Law that Marinwood CSD ignores

Marinwood CSD has shockingly poor business practices that ignores the law when contracting for goods and services.  Most recently the Marinwood CSD manager Eric Dreikosen hired a former politician, Bill Hansell to provide architectural services for the Marinwood Maintenance Compound. As Marinwood CSD Board member Bill Hansell hired current Marinwood CSD Manager, Eric Dreikosen in 2015.  Quid pro quo? 

The architect selection was hidden from the public until the last possible moment.  Mr. Hansell has an OPEN ENDED CONTRACT for services rendered and the Marinwood CSD board will not reveal the cost estimates for the project.  

There needs to be an inquiry by a higher authority and if appropriate, remedial action should be instituted immediately.  The current project is THREE TIMES the size of previous project proposals and Hansell has blown past the initial consulting estimate of $12,000 for the complete project.    The latest estimate is that it will cost $400k to $600k for a utility garage compound according to Marinwood CSD Business Manager, Eric Dreikosen.   

Outrageous, especially because modular buildings used by EVERY OTHER Government agency in Marin County are a tenth of the cost.

Here are recommended bidding procedures for local agencies. Competitive bidding is required for projects more than $4000 by law.  Marinwood CSD does none of this.  Every dollar wasted by the Marinwood CSD is a tax on you.

The law that Marinwood CSD violates HERE



  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1981, Ch. 306. )


  ( Part 3 added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 465, Sec. 11. )

CHAPTER 1. Local Agency Public Construction Act [20100 - 20929]

  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 465, Sec. 11. )

ARTICLE 3.5. Counties [20120 - 20147]
  ( Heading of Article 3.5 amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1128, Sec. 8. )

Whenever the estimated cost of construction of any wharf, chute, or other shipping facility, or of any hospital, almshouse, courthouse, jail, historical museum, aquarium, county free library building, branch library building, art gallery, art institute, exposition building, stadium, coliseum, sports arena or sports pavilion or other building for holding sports events, athletic contests, contests of skill, exhibitions, spectacles and other public meetings, or other public building or the cost of any painting, or repairs thereto exceeds the sum of four thousand dollars ($4,000), inclusive of the estimated costs of materials or supplies to be furnished pursuant to Section 20131, the work shall be done by contract. Any such contract not let pursuant to this article is void.
(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 465, Sec. 11.)

The board shall cause an advertisement for bids for the performance of the work to be published pursuant to Section 6062 of the Government Code in a daily newspaper, or pursuant to Section 6066 of the Government Code in a weekly newspaper, of general circulation published in the county. If there is no such newspaper published in the county, the notice shall be given by posting in three public places for at least two weeks.
(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 465, Sec. 11.)

All bidders shall be afforded opportunity to examine the plans, specifications, strain sheets, and working details.
(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 465, Sec. 11.)
The board shall award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder, and the person to whom the contract is awarded shall perform the work in accordance with the plans, specifications, strain sheets, and working details, unless the contract is modified by a four-fifths vote of the board.
(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 465, Sec. 11.)

Afraid of speaking in Public? Here is some good advice.

Lukas Schwekendiek
Lukas Schwekendiek, Life Coach, Speaker, Writer. Published on TIME, & Huffington Post
#1 - Stop speaking - After every sentence make a definite, longer pause than you need to make.
  • It will often seem incredibly long to you, but the truth is that most people will not mind at all.
  • Get into the habit of stopping to speak rather than talking on and making a fool of yourself.
  • A longer silence builds more respect than a blabbering idiot.
#2 - Consider your audience - Who are you talking to? What do they want to learn?
  • Why are they listening to you? What are they hoping to gain from this?
  • If you can answer these questions then you know what to talk about, what interests them and how to form your speech so it remains interesting for them!
#3 - Enunciate and Speak slower - Most people speed up when they are nervous, slur their words and give off a completely different feeling than they intended to.
  • Practice your Enunciation while focusing on speaking slower and you will speak more clearly.
  • Tongue-Twisters are great for practicing your Enunciation. Here are some of my favorites:
#4 - Have little to no notes - Whenever you are practicing try to do it without any notes at all.
  • This way you will know where your problems lie and you will get better at speaking freely. I
  • f anything keep notecards with a few key words on them, never full sentences.
#5 - Speak more - Give speeches whenever, wherever you can to practice!
  • If you do not have any places nearby then start a YouTube channel to get yourself in front of someone and talk.
  • Practice makes perfect.
  • If you are even too scared to do that, then just practice some speeches in front of the mirror!
#6 - Record yourself and pay attention to your quirks - Everyone has quirks, be it an “Umm” an extra “and” or even a small flick of the wrist every now and again.
  • Watch your own quirks so you know what they are to eliminate them.
  • When you re-watch recordings you learn a lot more about your speaking habits than you would like to, but it is the best way to improve!
#7 - Don’t be afraid to go of course - The truth is that no one knows the speech you prepared.
  • No one knows what you wanted to say, what things you didn’t say or what things you messed up on.
  • But if you deliver your speech with fervor, then even when you go off course, no one will know!
#8 - Practice - Practice, Practice, and then practice some more!
  • Every time you practice you will find other faults, will find new ways to say it, but, most importantly, you will grow more comfortable with the speech itself.
  • This gives you options and allows you to be fluid in your speaking rather than trying to stay rigid and following the speech 1-to-1.
#9 - Vary your sentences - Vary each sentence in tonality, length and emphasis to create a flow!
  • No one likes to go on a ride that is straight without any bumps, twists, turns or loops.
  • Bring energy and life to your speech whenever you can! Get emotional about it, get loud, and don’t try to hold anything back.
  • This is your speech, this is what you want to say, make your audience understand why!
#10 - Have fun - The bottom line is that you should have fun giving the speech and speaking.
  • If you are not having fun, your audience won’t have fun.
  • If you laugh, however, then it will create an enjoyable atmosphere, will allow you to mess up more freely and will make the audience listen to you more attentively.
  • Try to have as much fun as you can, laugh, tell jokes, take it easy, and you may actually enjoy yourself!
Editor's Note:  We need more people to speak up at Marinwood CSD meetings.  Please attend the Second Tuesday of the Month at 775 Miller Creek Rd at 7:30 PM.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Aesops Tale , The Wolf and the Lamb

The Wolf and The Lamb.
Once upon a time a Wolf was lapping at a spring on a hillside, when, looking up, what should he see but a Lamb just beginning to drink a little lower down. "There's my supper," thought he, "if only I can find some excuse to seize it." Then he called out to the Lamb, "How dare you muddle the water from which I am drinking?"

"Nay, master, nay," said Lambikin; "if the water be muddy up there, I cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to me."

"Well, then," said the Wolf, "why did you call me bad names this time last year?"

"That cannot be," said the Lamb; "I am only six months old."

"I don't care," snarled the Wolf; "if it was not you it was your father;" and with that he rushed upon the poor little Lamb and .WARRA WARRA WARRA WARRA WARRA .ate her all up. But before she died she gasped out ."Any excuse will serve a tyrant."

A wolf comes upon a lamb and, in order to justify taking its life, accuses it of various misdemeanours, all of which the lamb proves to be impossible. Losing patience, it says the offences must have been committed by someone else in the family and that it does not propose to delay its meal by enquiring any further about the matter. The morals drawn are that the tyrant can always find an excuse for his tyranny and that the unjust will not listen to the reasoning of the innocent

What is Middle-Income Housing Affordability?

What is Middle-Income Housing Affordability? 

by Wendell Cox

Few local or metropolitan issues receive more attention than housing affordability. This article provides a perspective on housing affordability. The focus is on the approach used by the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which I co-author annually with Hugh Pavletich (of The Demographia Survey has been published for 14 years. This edition includes housing affordability data and ratings for nearly 300 cities (metropolitan areas) in nine nations (Note 1).
What is Housing Affordability?

Housing affordability is the relationship between housing costs and income. Affordability can only be evaluated if there is a comparison to income. Yet, analysts and journalists often use refer to house prices or rents or their increases without relation to incomes to describe housing affordability. Prices are not an indicator of affordability if they are not compared to incomes but have only anecdotal value. Nor are house price or rent trends an indicator of affordability without comparison to incomes.
What is Middle-Income Housing Affordability?

Middle-income housing affordability is important, because affordable access to quality housing has been pivotal to the democratization of prosperity that occurred in the last century in most high-income nations. Normally, the competitive market has provided middle-income housing without the need for subsidies.

Middle-income is different from low – income housing (also called “affordable housing” or “social housing”), which relies on public subsidies to serve the needs of households unable to afford the house prices or rents prevailing on the open market. Focusing on middle-income does not indicate a lesser interest in low-income housing, because subsidy eligibility requirements are tied to house prices. Better housing affordability translates into fewer households seeking housing subsidies through affordable housing programs (and less public expense).

There are two principal dimensions of middle-income housing affordability — between housing markets and within individual market over time.
Owned and Rented Housing Affordability

Housing affordability can be measured for both owned and rented housing. Price-to-income ratios are typical for owned housing, including the “median multiple” used in the Demographia Survey (below). Percentage of incomes spent on rents are often used to evaluate rental housing affordability.

The Importance of Middle-Income Housing Affordability

Housing is usually the largest budget item for households. The differences in housing costs between major metropolitan areas now increasingly drive differences in the costs of living. Housing costs also vary far more in their high to low range than in the other two major expenditure categories, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, which are services not including rents and goods. (Figure 1).

The differences are even greater when the costs of owned housing are included, as is illustrated by the COU “movers” cost of living index. This index estimates the cost of living for a domestic migrant household moving into the housing market and captures both the differences in rental and owned housing affordability. It is estimated that in the high-cost markets, 85 percent of the higher cost of living stems from higher housing costs (Figure 2).

Middle-income housing affordability is also important to the economy. Paul Cheshire of the London School of Economics and Wouter Vermeulen of VU University wrote, “… [h]ousing being the dominant asset in most households’ portfolios, there are also repercussions on saving, investment and consumption choices.” Where housing is more affordable, households will have more discretionary income to purchase additional goods and services and to save (which generates investment). All of this can contribute to job creation and a stronger economy.

Not only do higher house prices lead to a lower standard of living, but can also increase poverty. For example, California has the highest housing cost adjusted poverty rate among the 50 states of the United States, at 20.4%. This compares to California’s 14.5% rate without adjustment for housing costs.

Owned Housing Affordability Metrics

One of the most utilized owned housing affordability metrics is the price-to-income ratio. A United Nations publication indicated:

“If there is a single indicator that conveys the greatest amount of information on the overall performance of housing markets, it is the house price-to-income ratio. It is obviously a key measure of housing affordability. When housing prices are high relative to incomes, other things being equal, a smaller fraction of the population will be able to purchase housing.”

The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey uses the median multiple (median house price divided by median household income). The evaluation criteria is in Figure 3.

The Geography of Housing Affordability

Demographia evaluates housing affordability between housing markets: Housing markets are coterminous with labor markets (metropolitan areas). Within housing markets, there will typically be a large urban area, which is defined an expanse of contiguous built-up land (see Demographia World Urban Areas). The area beyond the urban periphery is defined as the urban fringe, which is generally the land between the principal urban area and the boundaries of the metropolitan area. Typically, the urban fringe contains virtually all of the greenfield (undeveloped) land that can be used for new housing. Much of the growth of urban areas that has occurred since World War II in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States has been in detached housing tracts in greenfield areas.

Thus, for example, the New York housing market includes the entire New York metropolitan area, which stretches from Montauk Point on Long Island (east) to Pike County, Pennsylvania (west) to Ocean County, New Jersey (south) and to Dutchess County (north). The city of New York and other municipalities are only parts of the New York housing market.

Housing affordability may also be evaluated within a housing market. For example, the housing affordability in Brooklyn can be compared to that of White Plains. Or, housing affordability can be compared between more local neighborhoods, like Rainier Valley and Ballard in Seattle. Demographia evaluates housing affordability only at the housing market level and thus does not evaluate housing affordability between areas within housing markets.

The Time Dimension of Housing Affordability

The other important housing affordability comparison is historical, or over time. Thus, housing affordability may be compared for the same or multiple housing markets between 2000 and 2017.
The Need for Clarity

As many cities evaluated by Demographia suffer severe housing affordability, evaluations need to be conducted with sufficient clarity. Serious housing affordability evaluation requires comparison that includes incomes, as well as comparisons between housing markets and over time. In fact, much of the nation remains affordable by historic standards — severe unaffordability is limited to a minority of markets. The public is misled by analyses that fail to include both prices and incomes (See related article: “Housing Affordability from Vancouver to Sydney and Toronto: Time to Do What Works“).

Note 1: Metropolitan areas are “economic cities,” generally not related to the physical jurisdictions of cities as local government authorities, which may be larger or smaller than metropolitan areas.

Note 2: Parts of this article are adapted from published materials I have authored or co-authored.

Wendell Cox is principal of Demographia, an international public policy and demographics firm. He is a Senior Fellow of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism (US), Senior Fellow for Housing Affordability and Municipal Policy for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (Canada), and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University (California). He is co-author of the “Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey” and author of “Demographia World Urban Areas” and “War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life.” He was appointed to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, where he served with the leading city and county leadership as the only non-elected member. He served as a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, a national university in Paris

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Life in the early days of Suburbia

California Democrats Test the Limits of Anti-Trumpism

California Democrats Test the Limits of Anti-Trumpism

They want to campaign on national issues, but voters are focused on progressive failures closer to home.

Allysia FinleyOct. 19, 2018 6:46 p.m. ET

Gavin Newsom, a Democratic candidate for governor in California, in Los Angeles, Oct. 16. PHOTO: LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS

Democrats are targeting eight of the 14 California congressional districts currently held by Republicans. Voters in seven of the 14 districts favored Hillary Clinton in 2016. Opposition to Donald Trump has raised Democrats’ hopes that they can topple GOP incumbents in the Golden State, even in the conservative fortress of Orange County, easing their path to a House majority.

But revulsion toward liberal governance in California is growing as its failures compound. This may counteract animus toward Mr. Trump. California Democrats might have an easier time defeating Republicans if all politics were national. Instead, they have to contend with the litany of local problems that their progressive policies have wrought.

For starters, government pension costs are soaring across the state, forcing tax increases and cuts to public services. Seven cities in Orange County are asking voters to approve sales tax hikes in November. Santa Ana, a low-income, predominantly Hispanic city, is seeking to raise its sales tax 1.5 percentage points to 9.25%.

The League of California Cities warned earlier this year that local pension costs were projected to increase 50% by 2024 and could drive some municipalities into bankruptcy. The Los Angeles Unified School District is making emergency budget cuts and layoffs to avoid bankruptcy, yet the teachers union is threatening to strike if its members don’t receive a 6% raise.

Underfunded public pensions are diverting precious taxpayer dollars from transportation and other public-works projects. Last year the Democratic Legislature jammed through a 12-cent gasoline-tax hike meant to fund repairs to rickety roads and congested highways. Other than Hawaii, California’s gas prices are the highest in the country—95 cents a gallon higher than the nationwide average. In June voters recalled Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman—whose Southern California district favored Mrs. Clinton by 13 points—because of his vote for the gas-tax increase. The tax hike is so politically toxic that even progressive Democrat Katie Porter, who is challenging Orange County Republican Rep. Mimi Walters, has been running TV ads declaring, “I oppose higher gas taxes.” GOP Rep. Jeff Denham’s Democratic opponent, Josh Harder, has likewise touted his opposition.

Mr. Newman’s recall deprived Democrats of the legislative supermajority they need to raise taxes without GOP support. But this November Democrats are looking to flip two state Senate and two congressional districts—held by Mr. Denham and David Valadao—in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley. Democrats hold the registration advantage in these districts but are weighed down by their long-running support for unpopular environmental policies that restrict water to farmers in the region. Worries about water are helping keep Messrs. Denham and Valadao afloat despite voters’ disdain for President Trump.

Then there’s the Department of Motor Vehicles fiasco. The sclerotic agency is struggling to meet surging demand for Real ID licenses that will be needed to board domestic flights starting in 2020. Californians wait three to four months for a DMV appointment. Democrats recently charged the agency with automatically registering voters who renew or replace their driver’s licenses. Recently the agency reported that its ill-trained technicians made 23,000 registration errors. All of this is raising questions about government competence. Former Republican Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who is running for his old job as an independent, has compared the single-payer legislation that his Democratic opponent, Ricardo Lara, sponsored in the state Senate to putting the DMV in charge of health care. Mr. Poizner is ahead in most polls.

The wariness of progressive ideology is most evident in the governor’s race featuring Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and GOP businessman John Cox. During the state’s open primary, the Democrat sidled up to progressives and public-employee unions, endorsing single-payer health care and a moratorium on charter schools. But Mr. Newsom has lately found himself on defense as Mr. Cox makes hay of the state’s vagrancy epidemic and soaring housing costs. At a recent campaign event in the Orange County exurb of Seal Beach, Mr. Newsom mused: “What happened to our state?” At another campaign stop, in Torrance, he dubbed homelessness “the ultimate manifestation of our failure” and acknowledged that “we own that.”

During a meeting with the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, Mr. Newsom even criticized city officials for condoning vagrancy and drug use. “You can be too permissive, and I happen to think we have crossed that threshold in this state—and not just in this city,” he said.

Mr. Newsom and his liberal allies have raised seven times as much money as his GOP opponent, but Mr. Cox is beating the spread. A KFI-NBC poll this week shows the Republican trailing by 7 points even though Democrats boast a 19-point voter-registration advantage. At this time in 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown led in the polls by more than 20 points.

So where does that put Republican House candidates? Most Republican incumbents in districts that favored Mrs. Clinton won handily in 2016. Mrs. Walters and her fellow Orange County Republican Dana Rohrabacher both carried their districts by 17 points. The electorates in most of these districts remain conservative, but projections of huge liberal turnout give Democrats a polling edge.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose safe Republican district includes Bakersfield, is nonetheless hoping that conservatives will be driven to turn out to support Mr. Cox and repeal the gas tax. The test this November is whether California voters’ distaste for President Trump exceeds their disdain for their own state’s progressive leadership.

Ms. Finley is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

Appeared in the October 20, 2018, print edition.

A Tough Shed can be installed in Marinwood Park in less than a week

A new maintenance shed in Marinwood Park doesn't have to be complex or expensive.  We can keep the current Modular office and install a modular shed like the above and save HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS.  Virtually EVERY PARKS DEPARTMENT/ SCHOOL DISTRICT in Marin County uses modular units for their landscaping facilities. 

 Above are some of the product offerings available locally from Tuff Shed in Rohnert Park.  They can be installed quickly for hundreds of thousands less than the Marinwood Maintenance Compound.

Why do you think most localities prioritize sound fiscal management and preservation of open space, over a custom architectural design for utilitarian structures? 

Here is a video of a modular garage installation in five hours.

Living in the "ideal" Urbanist Environment in Japan

Friday, October 19, 2018

Should Marinwood CSD build a Modular Garage like this and save $$$?

Similar modular buildings are available for commercial uses.   Much time and money can be saved with modular construction. The above garage is approximately 640 square feet or the same as the 640 square foot garage that McIniss Park uses for their Staff building pictured below on the right. The McInnis office on the left is another 600 square feet.

Staff building in McInnis Park for six employees. It is 1/3 of the size of the Marinwood Maintenance Compound. Their park is THIRTY TWO times the size of Marinwood Park.

Pat Eklund to MTC: One Size Doesn't Fit All

 Only two people spoke at the meeting. She is an amazing hero for all of the Bay Area people. It is too bad more people don't know what is going on. All these small towns are going to get screwed once they fall underneath the MTC juggernaut. So proud of Pat. She deserves our support.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Locals seek new levies despite $4B property tax surge

Locals seek new levies despite $4B property tax surge

By Dan Walters | Oct. 17, 2018 | COMMENTARY, DAN WALTERS

Local government officials throughout the state got some very good financial news when county tax assessors toted up changes in taxable property values for their 2018-19 budgets.

The state’s uber-strong real estate market generated a 6.51 percent increase in those values, adding another $374 billion to the property tax rolls and pushing the total to $6.1 trillion.

That increase, three times the rate of inflation, translates into $4-plus billion more in revenue for cities, counties and other local governments. While schools also receive property taxes, they don’t directly benefit from the increase because of how state aid is structured.

The big winners are cities because, unlike counties and schools, they are almost totally dependent on local taxes and fees to finance their budgets. San Francisco, which is both a city and a county, reported the state’s strongest assessed valuation gain, 10.35 percent.

The very strong growth in property tax revenue, however, raises a pithy question: Why then are so many local governments, cities especially, complaining that they can’t balance their budgets unless local voters raise taxes?

There are 254 local tax increases on the November ballot – sales taxes, parcel taxes, utility taxes and hotel/motel taxes, mostly – according to the California Taxpayers Association, 65 percent more than there were four years ago.

The reason is that even with strong property tax gains, local governments’ pension costs are growing faster than revenues, thus putting the squeeze on their budgets.

Cities have been hit the hardest by increases in mandatory payments to the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) as it tries to shrink its large “unfunded liability.” City officials have repeatedly complained about the specter of insolvency if pension payments continue to grow and the League of California Cities has labeled the situation “unsustainable.”

With very rare exceptions, however, officials who place the tax increases on the ballot will not publicly say the extra revenue is needed to offset rising pension costs. Officials believe that telling the truth would make voters less likely to vote for the new taxes. It could also make employee unions less likely to provide money for tax campaigns.

Rather, on the advice of high-priced consultants, they say the money is needed for popular police and fire services and parks.

Unfortunately, most local news media are carelessly complicit in this conspiracy of silence, tending to accept the official reasons at face value, rather than analyze them critically. That’s true even though data about what revenue the new taxes would generate and projections of pension costs are readily available.

Over the weekend, for instance, the Sacramento Bee published a long articleabout proposed tax increases in Central Valley cities, quoting officials about what they hoped to do with the extra revenue, including Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who called his one-cent sales tax hike a “game changer.”

However, the article only tersely mentioned pensions as something brought up by unnamed “critics,” even though the city’s own budget complains about pension costs and data indicate that the new taxes would largely go to pensions.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel, in a similar piece about new hotel/motel tax proposals in its region, took the opposite – and more responsible – tack by delving into how pensions are straining local budgets and driving tax hikes.

The Sentinel’s article, unfortunately, is a very rare exception. Otherwise, local officials and local media seem to believe that ignorance will be blissful.