Friday, April 26, 2013

What is the Marinwood Priority Development Area?

The Incredible Light Rail commuting solution in LA

A light hearted look at the realities of  light rail as a commuter alternative.   The One Bay Area Plan aims to get people to take mass transit instead of cars.   Higher parking fees,  bridge tolls and "congestion management" fees in downtown San Francisco is meant to discourage single car use.  In addition they are considering installing tracking devices to tax people on the miles driven. 

It is time to pay attention to what  One Bay Area Plan means to you.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Important Meetings to Speak Up about the Urbanization of Marinwood Lucas Valley

ABAG is pitching their 30 year One Bay Area Plan for housing, transportation and commerce to 107 communities on Monday, April 29th from 6-9 at the Marin Auditorium and Exhibition Center.

The proposed Marinwood PDA is all land east of Las Gallinas. PDAs are expected to host 80% of all growth for Marin for the next 25 years.

Monday April 29, 6-9pm: Marin County Plan Bay Area Open House and EIR Public Hearing: same as above except an Open House prior to public testimony. Marin Center, Ave of the Flags (across from Civic Center) This is an important meeting for everyone to attend. They will be discussing the master central plan, "One Bay Area" they want to impose on us until 2040.

Come to learn and be heard.

(Your silence is consent.)

May 9, 7-9pm: "What Plan Bay Area means for Marin". Moderator: Supervisor Katie Rice (1 of 3 Marin votes on ABAG ExCom) Sponsors: MEHC, Sustainable Marin, Sustainable San Rafael, Marin Conservation League, League of Women Voters, Marin TV/Ch 26. Unity In Marin Church, 600 Palm Drive at Hamilton. (Editor's Note: All of the sponsors and participants in this presentation are pro-affordable housing. )

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Outrage at the One Bay Area Plan meeting in Walnut Creek on 4/24/2013

People across the Bay Area and every political philosophy are outraged at the huge power grab of local communities and property rights. 

This Monday,  please come to the One Bay Area meeting  on Monday, April 29th from 6- 9 pm.  Details in article "Important meetings"

Casa Marinwood's Carrahar Issues Warning about Marinwood Village's 2008 Proposal

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Casa Marinwood's Dan Carrahar warns residents about Marinwood Village proposal in 2008.
He urges residents to get involved in the process early to avoid losing the opportunity for their input.

For the complete presentation see:

Dick Spotswood: Are our county supervisors out of touch?



For IJ article: Dick Spotswood: Are our county supervisors out of touch?

I HAVE KNOWN MEMBERS of the Marin County Board of Supervisors from the days of the legendary Vera Schultz to the present. Since the 1970s, Marin has been a center of reform and good government due to top-notch elected officials guiding its county government.
Marin has come to expect that county representatives would always exhibit that same high quality. That makes developments in the past few years perplexing.
The current five members of the county's governing board seem out of touch. Their relationship with their constituents is polite but distant. The supervisors' primary allegiance appears to be with the bureaucracy and their institutional relationships.

All five are honest, intelligent and true to their own principles. These are good people who too often do their own thing while exhibiting a disconnect from average Marinites.

Fanning my disappointment was a recent conversation with Supervisor Steve Kinsey, who some consider the board's effective leader. In measured terms he opined that many opposed to high-density housing in single-family neighborhoods are racist.

I appreciated his on-the-record candor, but he and the radicals who make such inflammatory and self-righteous charges are very wrong.

If this was an isolated instance of Kinsey's frustrations it would simply be a sign that the four-term supervisor had been in public office for too long. Unfortunately, it's symptomatic of
the divide between county supervisors and those they represent.
Why have Marin supervisors taken no meaningful steps to curb the dictates of Bay Area regional agencies pushing arbitrary housing mandates? Why haven't they sought to build alliances with similarly situated communities around the Bay Area?

It's becoming clear from their collective inaction that the supervisors quietly support MTC, ABAG, HUD and other alphabet agencies in their effort to destroy local control of land-use planning. Despite uttering sympathetic platitudes, it's more about their personal ideology than constituent representation.

The $143 million Highway 101-Greenbrae-Corte Madera freeway project is widely lampooned as an unnecessary boondoggle that will adversely impact Corte Madera. Do the supervisors challenge the project's sponsors MTC and Caltrans? Instead, they stonewall ever-increasing calls for the funds to be shifted to a multi-modal approach to mobility.

Marin was once a beacon of governmental reform. When urged to emulate Cook County, Ill., of all places, the supervisors cry, "impossible."

The suggestion was that Marin's property tax bills be changed to provide comprehensible information regarding local government's outstanding liabilities and pension obligations. Perhaps revising the tax bill's format might make what's designed to be complex, understandable.

The board's consistent use of expensive consultants, including spending $140,000 to redesign Marin County's Parks' signs, is a running joke.

Pension reform? Only small and mostly symbolic steps.

There is no political logic here. Few of these board actions have popular backing. Some might argue it's principle over popularity. Others reply it's arrogance.

This isn't a Democrat versus Republican issue. Even many progressives are critical while Republicans feel disenfranchised.

It could be that supervisors are convinced they can't be defeated. They appear unaware that their popular support is skin-deep outside the Civic Center's confines, the Marin Community Foundation, public employee unions and activists who benefit from the county's largesse.

Marin does enjoy "good" county government. The fact that it's only occasionally "very good" and rarely "excellent" isn't the fault of staff. County Administrator Matthew Hymel is first-rate. Highlights like the county's fine bond rating have mostly been accomplished by the professionals, not by elected district supervisors.

Ultimately, the reality is that the only way current supervisors will get the message and the status quo will change is when one of them is defeated at the polls after an issue-based campaign.

Columnist Dick Spotswood of Mill Valley now shares his views on local politics twice weekly in the IJ. His email address is

Copyright 2012 Marin Independent Journal. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Marin Voice: One Bay Area plan is Bad Planning


from Marin IJ 4/21/2013: Marin Voice: One Bay Area plan is bad planning

IN MARCH, the Citizen Marin Town Hall meeting offered our community a rare opportunity to come together to examine planning and affordable housing challenges — a key element of One Bay Area plan.
The event coincided with the Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission's release of Plan Bay Area, with its focus on building high-density housing and its draft environmental impact report.
Back in May 2011, ABAG/MTC held public "hearings" that promoted pre-determined solutions to the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2035, as required by AB32/SB375. Their simplistic, one-size-fits-all "solution" is to build high-density housing along transportation corridors.
During the public workshops, it was clear that no other visions were considered, but their own.
Then, as now with the newly released plan and draft EIR, ABAG/MTC will consider five alternative scenarios, with their decision scheduled for mid-summer. The project is rapidly moving toward adoption with compliant head-nodding among elected officials, reminiscent of the Marincello project of the 1960s (housing and shopping centers for 30,000 people in the Marin Headlands).
That scheme had support from county supervisors, until it was stopped by community activists.
To comply with CEQA, the EIR must "inform members of the public as to the range of environmental impacts of the proposed plan." But since officials who will vote on the plan have not engaged the public on the scope and the changes to our local zoning, the public is not informed.

Controversy surrounds this plan, even as it is being fast-tracked through the approval process. Issues include the accuracy of the population growth and jobs projections; the proposal to weaken environmental enforcements; the impacts on public services, schools, infrastructure and water supply; rising sea level; and the irretrievable loss of local control.
While many groups promote the plan, believing it will provide much-needed affordable housing near jobs, the DEIR concludes that income needed to cover transportation and housing costs are projected to increase for low-income households, and travel time to jobs will also increase.
The first of the five alternative scenarios calls for "No Project," which honors the long-standing tradition for communities to set the framework for city planning, zoning and growth in their general plans. It is based on the belief that local problems are best solved with local solutions, in collaboration with regional planners, not heavy-handed threats of not getting state or federal transportation funds if our cities don't follow bureaucratic dictates. 
However, not only did ABAG/MTC fail to analyze the "No Project" alternative, but in a peculiar circular logic, removed it as an option our representatives are allowed to choose. Marin's vote to adopt the Plan Bay Area EIR is in the hands of Supervisor Steve Kinsey, Marin's representative on MTC and Supervisor Katie Rice and Novato Mayor Pat Eklund, who represent Marin on ABAG..
Plan Bay Area is a 25-year plan that would change the face of Marin and the Bay Area forever, yet ABAG/MTC has just one last Marin public meeting, on April 29 from 6-9 p.m. at the Marin Civic Center.
So what can you do? 
  1. Attend the public hearing. 
  2. Submit comments on the EIR to
  3. Contact your representatives and ask how they have fulfilled the CEQA requirement to "inform the public."
  4. Press for their support for Alternative 1: No Project.
Democracy is not a game played from the sidelines, but ABAG/MTC is dominating the field.
It's time to get into the game and reclaim home field advantage.
Susan Kirsch of Mill Valley is co-founder of Citizen Marin