Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saturday Night Videos: Why Government Matters

Eye of the Storm from Henry Jun Wah Lee / Evosia on Vimeo.

360° Video using 6 GoPro Cameras - spherical panorama timelapse from j0n4s on Vimeo.

Throwing Snow feat. Adda Kaleh - The Tempest from Rick Robin on Vimeo.

Spider Drove a Taxi (NY Times Op-Docs) from Joshua Z Weinstein on Vimeo.

Water from Morgan Maassen on Vimeo.

Motion from Jesse Brass on Vimeo.

Sacramento Timelapse from Justin Majeczky on Vimeo.

Fairfax says "NO WAY!" to High Density Housing

Referendum process short circuits Fairfax Town Council's review of controversial ordinance

By Richard Halstead
Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 04/03/2014 05:27:49 PM PDT

A referendum campaign caused the Fairfax Town Council to drop its plans Wednesday night to reconsider its adoption of an ordinance that paves the way for an additional 124 housing units.

Fairfax's attorney, Janet Coleson, told the council it was legally precluded from making changes in the ordinance at this time because opponents of the ordinance had submitted signed petitions earlier that day seeking a ballot referendum on the issue.

Marin County Registrar of Voters Elaine Ginnold Thursday said she received petitions with 1,015 signatures. To qualify the referendum for the ballot, opponents of the ordinance had to gather the signatures of 524 registered voters living in Fairfax by Friday. Ginnold said she hopes to finish evaluating the signatures by the end of next week.

If the referendum qualifies for the ballot, the Fairfax council will have three choices: rescind the ordinance, put the referendum on the November ballot or put the referendum on the ballot in 2015, Ginnold said.

The ordinance implements the zoning changes necessary to bring the town in compliance with state housing law. Every county and municipality in California is required to design its zoning laws to encourage the creation of a certain number of housing units every seven years.

State planners are trying to ensure there is sufficient housing to accommodate California's growing population and striving to see that new housing is built closer to transportation hubs, in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases. Opponents say the zoning changes will result in unnecessary development and increased traffic.

While a discussion of the ordinance was removed from the council's agenda Wednesday night, both opponents and supporters of the rezoning ordinance took turns commenting on the zoning changes during public open time.

Shelly Hamilton, a member of the Fairfax Planning Commission, expressed her disappointment that opponents of the ordinance hadn't waited until after the council meeting to submit their signatures.

"The proponents of the referendum had been asking the Town Council to fix loopholes and address mistakes, and the council was poised to respond to what the community had asked them to do," Hamilton said, "and yet the referendum was filed the afternoon before the meeting."

She said use of the referendum constitutes an upping of the ante in the local debate over smart growth.

"I think that other municipalities should pay very close attention to what happens in Fairfax," Hamilton said, "because this is a new political tactic that may be employed elsewhere."
Fairfax Realtor Diane Hoffman, one of the referendum leaders, said she didn't realize that turning the signatures in Wednesday would prevent the council from reviewing the ordinance. Hoffman said the group was "pretty shocked" when it realized it had collected over 1,000 signatures.

"We thought, let's just turn them in," she said.

Hoffman said it doesn't worry her that residents in other municipalities might use similar referendums to kill efforts to create housing in their communities.

"That sounds like democracy to me," Hoffman said

Supporters of the ordinance say opponents have played fast and loose with the facts in an effort to inflame public opinion. One point of contention, for example, is whether or not the zoning changes affect the "Wall property," 99 wooded acres in the hills overlooking the town.

During Wednesday's meeting, Graham Irwin of Fairfax said he wished he could remove his signature from the referendum petition, after learning that the Wall property will not be affected by the zoning changes as he was told it would.

But former Fairfax Councilman Frank Egger maintains that the town's housing element, which contains the zoning changes, does show the zoning on the property increasing from 10 units per 100 acres to 25 units per 100 acres.

Fairfax Town Manager Garrett Toy said there are a couple of tables in the housing element showing what Egger is describing, but Toy says they are clerical errors.

"Typically, if you have hundreds and hundreds of pages, you're going to have little things you're going to have to adjust," Toy said.

Egger, however, said, "It was absolutely no typo."

No Way to High Density Housing!

Marin Supervisor Candidate debates draw huge crowds.

Toni Shroyer, Judy Arnold, Susan Adams and Damon Connolly fight for votes Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans sponsored debate moderated by Dick Spotswood Marin Womans Political Action Committee Marin Supervisor debate State Senate District 2 debate at MWPAC

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Night Music: John Prine mix

Edward Snowden: Here's how we take back the Internet

Proof that the Marinwood PDA (101 Corridor PDA) targets EVEN MORE GROWTH than the countywide Plan

Proof that Plan Bay Area Targets More Growth In the Hwy 101 Corridor PDA Than What Was Contemplated By The Countywide Plan

From County Staff Report
Because housing is being focused in a limited number of areas, the projected growth rate of 34% in County Priority Development Areas is considerably higher than the actual total growth rate of approximately 10.5% and annual growth rate of 0.4% that Unincorporated Marin as a whole has experienced over the past 25 years. ...

The County Staff has sent out some incomplete information in which they have tried to down play the development and population growth expectations associated with Priority Development Areas (PDAs). I wish to share with you information from two reports, one from the Marin County Staff and one from the Transportation Authority of Marin, which demonstrate that intense growth is indeed anticipated in Priority Development Areas, much more than what was previously anticipated in the same areas.

County Staff Report Prepared for the 5-17-11 BOS Public Hearing re: Hwy 101 PDA:
The County Staff Report prepared for the May 17, 2011 Marin County Board of Supervisors (BOS) Public Hearing clearly shows that projected (and therefore expected) growth has been intensified in the Hwy 101 Corridor Priority Development Area.

The Staff Report talks about how the "Initial Vision Scenario", which was the first draft of Plan Bay Area, targets more growth in the Urbanized 101 Corridor Priority Development Area (PDA) (a "Transit Neighborhood" PDA) than what the Marin Countywide Plan had planned for in the same area.  To the best of my knowledge, the expected growth for Marin County in the final version of Plan Bay Area was the same or not much different than the expected growth for the County in the Initial Vision Scenario.  Most definitely, the Hwy 101 Corridor PDA has remained a "Transit Neighborhood" PDA, which is expected to accommodate a density range of 20-50 units per acre.

The Report specifically states; "The Initial Vision Scenario's total estimated growth for housing units and jobs in Unincorporated Marin over the next 25 years is similar to the total buildout projections in the Countywide Plan.  However, the Initial Vision Scenario focuses more housing growth within the Urbanized 101 Corridor Priority Development Area (PDA) and San Quentin Growth Opportunity Area (GOA) than is currently contemplated by the Countywide Plan.  The Initial Vision Scenario assumes 710 units (34% growth) in the PDAs as compared to approximately 450 units (10.2% growth) allowed in these areas by the Countywide Plan."

Please note that the Countywide Plan's (CWP) Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) found that "land uses and development consistent with the 2007 Countywide Plan would result in 42 significant unavoidable adverse impacts." If Plan Bay Area targets more intense growth in the PDAs than what the CWP planned for, then it stands to reason that, if the additional development is realized, then it would create even more impacts than those identified in the CWP's FEIR and/or exacerbate the significant unavoidable adverse impacts already identified in the CWP's FEIR.

Excerpts from the attached Staff Report prepared for the  5-17-11 BOS Public Hearing:
"The development areas along the Urbanized 101 Corridor have been defined as a "Transit Neighborhood" place type in the Initial Vision Scenario.... An increase of 710 future housing units have been projected in the Urbanized 101 Corridor PDA, which represents a total growth rate of 35% and an annual growth rate of 1.4% over the next 25 years. Because housing is being focused in a limited number of areas, the projected growth rates of the Initial Vision Scenario are considerably higher than the actual total growth rate of approximately 10.5% and annual growth rate of 0.4% that Unincorporated Marin as a whole has experienced over the past 25 years." ...

"On the basis of land use intensity the Countywide Plan density ranges for the Urbanized 101 Corridor are either within or below the typical Transit Neighborhood density range of 20-50 units per acre.  Therefore, accommodating the focused growth in the Initial Vision Scenario would require increasing densities above the maximum number of housing units currently allowed by the Countywide Plan.  However, all of the areas within the Urbanized 101 Corridor are presently being considered as potential housing sites with densities of 30 units per acre for the County's Housing Element update." ...

"The Initial Vision Scenario's total estimated growth for housing units and jobs in Unincorporated Marin over the next 25 years is similar to the total buildout projections in the Countywide Plan.  However, the Initial Vision Scenario focuses more housing growth within the Urbanized 101 Corridor PDA and San Quentin GOA than is currently contemplated by the Countywide Plan.  The Initial Vision Scenario assumes 710 units (34% growth) in the PDAs as compared to approximately 450 units (10.2% growth) allowed in these areas by the Countywide Plan."

The document then ask questions like:
 "Is the proposed place type appropriate for your Priority Development Area (PDA) and Growth Opportunity Area (GOA):  Given the availability of resources, is the proposed urban scale, mix of uses, and expected household growth appropriate?"

"If the Initial Vision Scenario growth estimate is too high, should some of the growth be shifted to another part of the unincorporated county, to cities, and towns in Marin, or elsewhere in the region?"

April 25, 2013 Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) Report re: the Marin Transportation Investment Strategy:
The Transportation Authority of Marin's Report, dated 4-25-2013,  about the Marin Transportation Investment Strategy (MTIS) includes information about Priority Development Areas.  To view this report, please follow this link:

According to TAM, the MTIS is a PDA Growth and Investment Strategy to guide the programming of transportation funding for implementation of Plan Bay Area goals, specifically supporting Priority Development Areas.

TAM Report, Addendum - "Marin Transportation Investment Strategy", Page 17:
Marin’s PDAs
"PDAs are projected to take on a significant share of Marin County’s growth over time. ABAG and MTC use PDAs as the foundation for identifying areas of future population and employment growth in Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), also known as Plan Bay Area. According to the projections for 2040, Marin County's three PDAs are expected to accommodate 34% of the county's projected growth in housing units and 23 % of its growth in jobs."

Yet, the PDAs consist of a tiny amount (less than 5%) of the developable land in the County. Therefore, intense growth is expected in the PDAs.

TAM Report, Addendum 11 "Marin Transportation Investment Strategy", page 12 states:
"According to the Association of Bay Area Government’s “Application Guidelines for Priority Development Area Designation,” to qualify to be a PDA an area must meet these definitions:

Housing – The PDA has plans for a significant increase in housing units, consistent with the selected place type from the Station Area Planning Manual, including affordable units, which can also be a part of a mixed use development that provides other daily services, maximizes alternative modes of travel, and makes appropriate land use connections.  (Marin Transportation Investment Strategy)..."

TAM Report, page 2 states:
"3. Transportation Investment Strategy
The purpose of the PDA Growth and Investment Strategy is to “ensure that Congestion Management Agencies (CMAs) have a transportation project priority setting process for OBAG funding that supports and encourages development in the region’s PDAs.

The two above referenced reports (one from the Marin County Staff and one from the Transportation Authority of Marin) demonstrate that an area included in the Hwy 101 Corridor PDA is expected to experience intense growth in development and population.

This map published by the Association of Bay Area Government shows that Marinwood is planned to have up to 50 units per acre as a transit neighborhood (not the 30 units per acre they claim. That is just the MINIMUM units per acre).  Susan Adams has only TEMPORARILY removed the Marinwood PDA from consideration she has said she is willing to advocate for it again in the future AFTER the election.

Attorney Kevin Haroff, discusses CEQA Challenges

Kevin Haroff, Environmental Attorney discusses recent changes to CEQA.  He is also the lead attorney
in the legal challenge against the Marin Housing Element  EIR which affects unincorporated Marin.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

17 Areas of concern with the EIR for the Marinwood Village Project:

Speak up about your environmental concerns with Marinwood Village project.
Written comments are due April 7th

Following are the areas of environmental concern that need to be addressed regarding the current Marinwood Village redevelopment plans submitted by Bridge Housing. All of the sections listed in the Notice of Preparation require general investigation. The following are specific concerns I have related to each listed section:

1) Land Use and Planning
·         The EIR should be diligent in judging all cumulative impacts, from all current and future developments bounded by at a minimum, by the area bounded by the Civic Center, the bay, the Hamilton Smart Station location, and Grady Ranch. This includes existing impacts, other developments, projects that are in progress, and those being proposed, in particular being sure to include the Oakview project/entitlement.

·         Please include a meaningful analysis of the likely cumulative impacts of a widespread build out and it’s effects upon all affected districts, agencies, communities, etc., regardless of the details of individual projects. Please estimate the maximum potential impact, the range of potential impacts, and or the likely net impact of all the impacts, including those listed below.

·         What adverse impacts will result from Bridge’s stark deviation from the Marinwood Village Guiding Principles, as adopted by the Marin County Board of Supervisors? Some critical aspects missing from the current development include: minimum 50 market rate units, residential would consist of attached single family town homes for purchase, 12,000 sq feet of ancillary retail, design and scale would be consistent with the existing community.

·         Please list any and all potential impacts that will result from this projects inconsistent density/character with our existing community, moving from our majority 4-5 units per acre densities and increasing to 30 units per acre densities?

·         Assuming Bridge's architectural drawings are to scale, some structures proposed at Marinwood Plaza span roughly 24 yards wide, by 50 yards long - nearly half the length of a football field. The proposed heights of the various structures will range from approximately 38 feet tall to 46 feet tall.  That is 15-23 feet taller than the current Marinwood Market - doubling its current height. These dimensions compare to Downtown Novato's Millworks, and Corte Madera's Win-cup development. 3 - 4 story downtown densities like this are extremely different from our existing suburban community and will likely have adverse changes and impacts environmentally.

·         Per the previous comment, story poles need to be installed to give the public the truest sense of the size and scale for the proposed development. Please implement as instructed in the Planning Permit Check List for County of Marin #24: Story Poles.

·         Does the proposed development qualify for affordable housing density bonuses? Please inform what that criterion is to qualify for AH density bonuses and what densities could increase up to.

·         The EIR should recommend that the developer assist the remaining effected displaced business – the liquor store –and cover relocation costs and costs of lost revenue during construction.

·         The EIR should require the development to integrate more retail square footage, since it’s our communities only retail opportunity. If lost, there is no other location in our community designated as or for commercial or retail, which our community sorely needs to lessen our dependence upon motor vehicles, improving impacts upon our environment, leading to greener living.

·         Please have the EIR investigate mitigation measures for short-term and long-term (cumulative) impacts.

·         The EIR should include criteria for impacts during construction phasing.

·         If thorough mitigation is not possible, the EIR should consider these viable alternatives: relocate the development to a non-hazardous site, reduce the size and scope of the project, or a “no-project” alternative could be a commercial/neighborhood serving retail only development, that is not as contaminant sensitive. If thorough mitigation is possible, low impact alternatives derived from solutions appropriate for Marin should be considered, like senior housing or a MV guiding principles consistent development as adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2006.

2) Population and Housing
·         Please have the EIR address the socio-economic injustice of forcing low-income residents with fewer options for housing available to them to live in hazardous/undesirable location, if the numerous hazards prove to be insurmountable. The forcing of less affluent residents to live in such conditions crosses the line into environmental injustice. The concentration of affordable housing for this project will be placed within 100-300 foot distance from the closest HWY 101 lane, with known expulsions of hazardous levels of benzene and other Toxic Air Contaminants. Furthermore, the site is sandwiched between a former gas

'CBS does another kissy face interview with ABAG chief Ezra Rapport and MTC chief Ken Kirkey

Ezra Rapport's interview starts at 6:10

Why is CBS ignoring the Citizens who oppose Plan Bay Area and just broadcasting the official public relations spin from Plan Bay Area?

Nanny of the Month: Suburban Homes declared blight, Police track everyone in LA, and more

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

To Fight Climate Change, the Entire World Will Have to Eat Less Meat

To Fight Climate Change, the Entire World Will Have to Eat Less Meat

To Fight Climate Change, the Entire World Will Have to Eat Less Meat

Serious about battling climate change? Then you might want to consider going vegetarian. That's because it's looking like world temperatures will continue to climb unless people stop chowing on so much meat and dairy, according to new research from Sweden.
The United Nations believes it's imperative to keep future warming from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To meet that target, there will have to be a sharp decrease in greenhouse-gas emissions by the end of the century. Some of the reductions must come from the energy industry, and some must hail from the agricultural realm.
But with agriculture, it won't be enough to roll out "smarter" animal feeds and better methods of crop production, say scientists at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. Rather, "reduced ruminant meat and dairy consumption will be indispensable for reaching the 2 °C target with a high probability, unless unprecedented advances in technology take place," they assert in a study in Climatic Change
Here's the crux of their findings:
Emissions from agriculture threaten to keep increasing as global meat and dairy consumption increases. If agricultural emissions are not addressed, nitrous oxide from fields and methane from livestock may double by 2070. This alone would make meeting the climate target essentially impossible.
"We have shown that reducing meat and dairy consumption is key to bringing agricultural climate pollution down to safe levels," says Fredrik Hedenus, one of the study authors. "Broad dietary change can take a long time. We should already be thinking about how we can make our food more climate friendly." 
Many in the agricultural industry are trying to cut emissions of nitrous oxide and methane (the latter being a mightily potent greenhouse gas). There's the general streamlining of processes to make meat and dairy production more efficient, for example. Then there are technical tweaks. One is occasionally draining the water from rice paddies, as microbes in flooded paddies generate a large amount of methane. Another is adding supplements to livestock feed to prevent the animals from belching so much. Gassy livestock is a serious atmospheric force; for instance, the fermentation taking place inside cows and sheep accounts for two-thirds of Australia's agricultural emissions.
The Swedish team thinks that if these improvements become widespread they will get us close to U.N. targets, but not quite there. They whipped up this graph to show how agricultural emissions are likely to change if conditions remain static (blue), if productivity and technical innovations are widely adopted (orange), and if technical measures are paired with a 75 percent reduction in meat-and-dairy eating across the globe. The gray line shows "how much total emissions must be reduced to meet the two degree target with large certainty," they say, and the "distance between the bars and the line shows the total possible magnitude of emissions from energy, transport, industry and deforestation":

But how do you stop an increasingly voracious planet from eating dairy and meat? It surely won't be enough to ask people to change their diets. One interesting possibility is tinkering with food economics. In a study published in December, scientists suggested reducing the global mass of 3.6 billion ruminants—which is 50 percent more than roamed the planet a half-century ago—by implementing some sort of tax-or-trade system. The Guardian explains:
The scientists' analysis, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, takes the contentious step of suggesting methane emissions be cut by pushing up the price of meat through a tax or emissions trading scheme.

"Influencing human behaviour is one of the most challenging aspects of any large-scale policy, and it is unlikely that a large-scale dietary change will happen voluntarily without incentives," they say. "Implementing a tax or emission trading scheme on livestock's greenhouse gas emissions could be an economically sound policy that would modify consumer prices and affect consumption patterns."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Governor Brown warns about Global Warning in Sausalito, Lightning hits Tree and the Great Global Warming Swindle

Call me superstitious or a "global warming denier",  I just find it funny that our Governor Brown was in Sausalito making predictions of gloom and doom from global warming when lightning struck nearby.  The Marin IJ covered both stories about Global Warming and the Lightning today.   I also received an excellent BBC documentary counterpoint to the alarmist politics and anti-science of global warming theory below.

Maybe it is a sign from Gaia.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

What is Social Justice?

Plan Bay Area and the Board of Supervisors want to create more "social justice" by building thousands of taxpayer subsidized "workforce housing" units in "Smart Growth Cities" along the 101 Corridor.

VIDEO: The nations oldest indoor farmers market- an inspiration for the Farm to Table markets everywhere

Central Market Lancaster

The historic Central Market in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is a wonderful place full of smells, conversation and great food.  It serves as an inspiration for indoor markets everywhere from Seattle's Pike's Place to the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace.  Check out this short video

A Farm to Table Marketplace at Marinwood Plaza can be a success.  We can have access to great food and a place to meet our neighbors.  The taxes will help pay for local services and yes...even affordable housing.   It would be far better addition to the community.  Everyone needs to eat.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A positive view of development at Marinwood Plaza.

Oxbow Public Market in Napa, CA could be a model for a "Farm to Table Market" at Marinwood Plaza.
Marinwood Plaza does not have to be a "down in the heels" strip mall hidden by trees and broken glass.  It also doesn't have to be a high density low income development that pays little taxes, burdens our schools, police and fire services.  

The location is Marinwood-Lucas valley's ONLY COMMERCIALLY VIABLE site for a successful retail market to serve the vital needs of our community.  It is located along the 101 freeway with easy access.  It is minutes by car from anywhere in Marin AND is on the main tourist artery to Sonoma and Napa County popular tourist spots.  Lucas Valley road is the best way to reach West Marin cheese road, Point Reyes, farms and wineries.  A market promoting local produce will stimulate West Marin and local tourism and serve all of Marin every day of the week..

With improvements to parking and freeway visability, Marinwood Plaza could come back to life as successful retail center bringing us quality food, jobs and a place to meet our neighbors.  Marinwood Market could serve as an anchor tenant other tenants may include wineries, local cheese makers, wineries, restaurants.  Associated  retail could include a regional bicycle shop, tourist information, cooking supply, etc. 

Here is how they describe the Oxbow Public Market in Napa:

Showcasing an impressive mix of aesthetics, functional layout, natural lighting and ventilation is the Oxbow Public Market - a locally-owned specialty food and wine store located in the heart of downtown Napa, California. In addition to offering many fine wines and cuisine, the market also hosts events featuring music and dancing.

See more at : Oxbow Public Market

We can have the community we want.  We can save our Marinwood-Lucas Valley future. Help us bring our community to life by endorsing positive retail development at Marinwood Plaza.

Marinwood Village Environmental Review Scoping Session

On Saturday, March 29, 2014 the Marin County Community Development Planning department conducted an Environmental Review scoping session of the Marinwood Village project. The meeting purpose was to solicit issues of concern that will become part of the scope of the project.

Residents want studies on traffic, pollution from the highway, THOROUGH remediation of the soil from the toxic waste spill from the dry cleaners, water drainage studies, effects on schools,  cumulative impacts from the eight proposed affordable housing sites (including 150 from neighboring Oakview).  Housing activists wanted studies comparing environmental costs of building 82 single family homes elsewhere or spread throughout Marin.  A group of supporters calling themselves "Friends of Marinwood Village" led by Supervisor Susan Adams had all of their comments at the beginning of the meeting. They came from all over Marin and gave speeches on why the community should support the project despite the instructions from the facilitator that comments should be narrowed to the scope of the EIR.

The first half hour of this presentation is opening remarks and an overview of the project. The next half hour or so is remarks from the supporters of Susan Adams an Marinwood Village.  The final hour is where you will hear substantive concerns about the Marinwood Village project and scoping remarks from the community.