Sunday, August 24, 2014

Report on the Board of Supervisors Meeting August 18, 2014

Katie Rice, Marin County Supervisor

Kate Sears, Marin County Supervisor

Steve Kinsey, Marin County Supervisor

Judy Arnold, Marin County Supervisor

Brian Crawford, Marin County Community Development Director and Matthew Hymel, County Executive in foreground.

Brent Ainsworth, Marin County Communications Consultant, photographed dissidents in the audience.

Report from the August 18, 2014 Marin County Board of Supervisor's meeting

by Peter Hensel

At the sups meeting, before Marin Community Development Director Brian Crawford gave his presentation, at least two of the sups---Katie Rice and Judy Arnold---seemed to take some pleasure in rankling high density foes sitting in the back of the chambers.

"I see a lot of familiar faces and a familiar color--red," noted Rice. She said she was glad we were taking an interest in the proceedings and the issues but chided us to make our comments "fact-based". Her tone was outwardly pleasant but the import held a lecturing, schoolmarm-ish edge.

Judy Arnold went one better on Rice. She said, from the rostrum, that the sups have been receiving lots of email which echoed the message of Community Venture Partners. (CVP is a new grassroots activist group with some land use expertise and legal clout, boasting stellar environmental attorney Ed Yates as one of its members).

Arnold opined that Community Ventures Partners seems to be little more than "a recycled version of Citizen Marin". She then proceeded to read aloud---and into the record---a letter written by an unnamed citizen that urged the supervisors to go forward post haste with an uber ambitious housing element plan that would sanction building in Marin's unincorporated areas as much as four times the number of units mandated by the state, which is 185.

She euphemistically referred to that massive cushion as a " buffer"---which theoretically would facilitate prompt state certification of the Marin County Housing Element.

The other sups, Katie Sears and Steve Kinsey, sat listening impassively. They didn't volunteer any opinions diverging from those of Rice and Arnold. Kinsey especially seem to be preoccupied with a personal sheaf or papers on the rostrum countertop.
Steve Kinsey, typically does not look up from his papers to acknowledge the audience during meetings.

It was only after this intro, followed by Crawford's fifteen minute presentation lauding the merits of the HE plan, that the high density foes---some wearing red, some not---were invited to form a line and each given three minutes to speak from the floor.

The facial expressions of the sups changed at that point, from confident to mildly ill at ease. Could it be that real listening is not their strong suit?

Activist Stephen Nestel of Save Marinwood went first.

"Mr. Kinsey, this (visioned) high density building (along and near the 101 corridor) would not be in your backyard, would it?" Kinsey, who lives in West Marin, did not reply.
Ms. Rice," Nestel continued, "this high density building would not be in your backyard, now, would it?.."
Silence from the rostrum.

And so on down the line.

Supervisor Susan Adams was spared Nestel's scrutiny because she was absent on 20th. Adams, of course, was voted out of office last spring. In the same election, incumbent Judy Arnold only very narrowly survived a challenge from upstart Toni Shroyer.

But that didn't stop Arnold from throwing out her public dig at Pat Ravasio and Corte Madera Council as the public hearing portion of the meeting ended and the activists headed for the door.

One might ask, if Arnold disses Corte Madera Council (and she does) why does she now support upzoning in unincorporated Marin that would potentially allow building four times the number of units now rising on the ill-fated WinCup property?


  1. I am not sure but I believe Brent Ainsworth is Judy Arnold's son from her first marriage. Also, Judy's current husband is a real estate agent who may be acting as a developer or broker. Someone needs to check this out as she may have to recuse herself from voting with such a strong conflict of interest. I am not a lawyer but I think this is a conflict.

  2. Brent Ainsworth is a nice guy as many people can attest. I do find it unsettling to have my photograph taken repeatedly and my photo has never been published in a newsletter. I can only assume it is being used for "reference".