Friday, October 10, 2014

Local Government Contractor Cyane Dandridge helped select affordable housing locations for Marinwood-Lucas Valley

Cyane Dandridge,  former CSD Director, served on the Housing Element Task force that recommended 78% of all affordable housing for Marinwood-Lucas Valley.  We think she failed to meet an ethical obligation by failing to publicize her involvement and subsequently share her reasons for approval.

Final Report of the Housing Element Task Force June 2011

Why was she allowed to participate in this forum when she appears to have a conflict of interest?  We note that the week after she resigned from the CSD in October 2012, she was unanimously was approved for a large "no bid" solar consulting contract for the CSD.  Former CSD Directors, Bruce Anderson, Tarey Reed, Leah Green-Kleinman and  Bill Hansell are responsible for this this contract made and approved without a public review or hearing. They signed one contract that was found illegal and modified it AFTER she resigned without a public meeting. This is a violation of the Brown act and Fair Political Practices.   CSD  Director Michael Dudasko was appointed to fill out Cyane's remaining term and had no part in it's approval.
Cyane Dandridge

Get Microsoft Silverlight
Cyane Dandridge, former CSD Board Member and owner of Strategic Energy Innovations that performs energy consulting work for government agencies, housing and schools throughout Marin. They recently announced a partnership with EAH Housing, one of the largest affordable housing developers in Marin.

Please note that the former guiding principles were for 20% affordable 80% market rate housing. She was also on the committee that chose 70% of all affordable housing in unincorporated Marin County for Marinwood-Lucas Valley.

"There probably is more money for affordable housing than regular housing now" says Dandridge.

By her own admission, these developments are good for business. 

San Francisco Bay Area Map

Friday Night Music : Donovan Mix

California as seen from LA

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Police Cruelty at a Traffic Stop on Video

 No Seatbelt? No Problem, We've Got a Taser, Say Indiana Cops

Elizabeth Nolan Brown|Oct. 7, 2014 4:45 pm
Once again, it's the kind of story many people wouldn't believe if there weren't video. Lisa Mahone was driving through Hammond, Indiana, when poliace pulled her over because she wasn't wearing her seat belt. When her boyfriend, Jamal Jones, reached for his ID as police requested, one of the cops apparently pulled out a gun. Showing more restraint than some, the cops managed to refrain from shooting Jones immediately, but they didn't take too kindly to his subsequent refusal to get out of the car. So they smashed in the passenger-side window—sending glass flying toward Jones' children in the backseat—and then used a taser on him.

Watch the whole horrific video below if you can stomach it. Throughout it, Mahone (who can be heard but not seen in the video) insists they're scared to get out of the car, which really isn't all that unreasonable, considering.

"He just pulled a gun on us, and we don't have a gun," she says to the 911 operator she's on the phone with near the beginning of the video. Right before the cop busts in her window, she can be heard asking, "Why do you say somebody's not going to hurt you? People are getting shot by the police—" Smash!

Jones' 14-year-old son, seated in the back with his 7-year-old sister, caught most of the September 24 incident on video:

Jones was subsequently charged with resisting law enforcement and failure to aid an officer; both he and Mahone received citations for failure to wear seat belts. "The Hammond Police officers were at all times acting in the interest of officer safety and in accordance with Indiana law," the department's cheif said in a statement.

This week,
Mahone filed a lawsuit charging the two officers involved, Patrick Vicari and Charles Turner, with excessive force, false arrest, and battery.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Free Speech in Belmont, CA under attack by the Thought Police.

Free Speech in Belmont, CA
under attack by the Thought Police. 


OP-ED: Free speech and Belmont
October 07, 2014, 05:00 AM By Tim E. Strinden

In June, the Belmont City Council imposed a code of ethics and conduct on all elected and appointed city officials that severely restricts freedom of speech — including facial expressions. All members of city boards and commissions were required to sign the new code or be fired, and councilmembers who didn’t sign were ineligible for committee assignments, and subject to censure for violating the code. All required officials did sign the new conduct code, except for two courageous and principled members of the Planning Commission; Kristen Mercer and Karin Hold, who refused to do so. The issue came to a head at the Aug. 26 City Council meeting, where former mayor Dave Warden, Mercer and Planning Commission Chair Mark Herbach explained clearly and passionately why the new code was seriously flawed and harmful. As a result of their testimony, the council decided not to remove Mercer and Hold because the code was not in effect when they were appointed. However, any new appointees would still be required to sign. I greatly admire and appreciate Warden, Mercer and Herbach for their courage and integrity in confronting the council on this issue. I agree with them that the code is excessive and unnecessary, and will serve to intimidate city employees and hinder free speech. Their comments to the council are a perfect example of the dangers posed by the code. If they had been on the council when making their comments, they could easily have been censured for violating the following sections of the code: A.3. — Making “personal charges or verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other members of Council.” B.1(b) — Making “personal, impertinent ... or disparaging comments.” B.1(c) — Making “personal comments that could offend other members.” However, their comments were justified and reasonable in illustrating flaws in the code, and their personal references to Mayor Warren Lieberman were appropriate and relevant in claiming that his past comments would have violated the code. As long as personal comments are truthful and relevant, it is a disservice to the political process and the community to suppress them. Probably all councilmembers — past or present — could also have been censured for making “facial expressions” of “disbelief, anger,” as prohibited by section B.2.(c), in response to comments by speakers. Speakers at council meetings often make outlandish and hostile comments, and it is unreasonable to expect councilmembers to sit stone-faced in response, without showing any expression. These facial expressions are usually spontaneous and it would violate human nature not to show any reaction. It appears to me that the new code of conduct could easily be used and abused by a majority of councilmembers to stifle and control minority members who have strong opposing views on certain subjects. The vague wording leaves it open to broad interpretation and misuse. I believe the effect of the code will be to wring all passion, intensity and interest out of council meetings, causing all issues to be treated in the same ho-hum manner. However, we elect our councilmembers expecting them to speak and act with intensity on issues of importance to the community, like the Crystal Springs Upland School proposal. We don’t want such issues to slip through the council unnoticed, and expect the council to show some passion in discussing them. Therefore, this new conduct code undercuts our rights as citizens to have councilmembers fight forcefully and effectively for us on these important issues. I wish to thank Mercer and Hold for standing by their principles and refusing to sign the new code. Warden, Mercer, Hold and Herbach are public servants of the highest caliber, and I worry that this new code will make such effective employees reluctant to work for the city. As for myself, I would not sign the code, so am prohibited from serving on any city board or commission. Over time, the city may attract only council and board members who are spineless bureaucrats, afraid to take action or fully express themselves for fear of offending someone. Such weak advocates for the city are more likely to be intimidated and manipulated, and make decisions in favor of special interests rather than the citizens overall. As Mercer said to the council, there are already enough ethics and conduct rules on the books to suffice without this new one. I agree with Herbach that the new code almost smacks of McCarthyism, and request that it be repealed before it can cause extensive harm to the community. At a minimum, I ask that the egregious sections I cited be eliminated. As I know from my experience as an auditor and whistle-blower for U.S. Customs, there is no more important right in our society than freedom of speech. Tim E. Strinden is a retired federal auditor. He lives in Belmont. 

Corte Madera approves moratorium on development near Tamal Vista Boulevard

Corte Madera approves moratorium on development near Tamal Vista Boulevard

By Megan @HansenMegan on Twitter

An apartment building rises above the intersection of Wornum Drive and Tamal Vista Blvd. on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Corte Madera, Calif. The town

Opposition to building more housing in Corte Madera has reached a fever pitch and Tuesday the Town Council approved a moratorium on development in the Tamal Vista Boulevard neighborhood.

Amid a crowd of about 70 people, council members unanimously adopted an urgency ordinance that would place a temporary moratorium on development in the area bounded by Highway 101, Madera Boulevard, Wornum Drive and Tamal Vista Boulevard. The moratorium needed a 4/5 vote of the council to pass.

The ordinance will be in effect for 45 days. A public hearing to discuss extending the moratorium for up to another 320 days will likely be held Nov. 18. If even more time is desired, the council could adopt a second and final extension of up to a year. The moratorium can be lifted at any time.
Mayor Michael Lappert said the moratorium will allow the town to make sure its zoning ordinance is up to date and conduct more public outreach activities.

"There's no question the citizenry doesn't want more residences and is worried about the traffic impact on Tamal Vista," Lappert said. "The public and developers need to have a clear guideline of what's acceptable."

Concerns about housing have been fueled by construction of the controversial 180-unit Tam Ridge Residences apartment complex at the former WinCup foam manufacturing plant on Tamal Vista Boulevard. The complex has been criticized for its density, aesthetics and potential negative impacts on traffic circulation.

When a developer last month proposed a tentative plan to raze the Century Cinema Theater, which is less than a 1/2-mile away from the apartment complex, in favor of 31 single-family detached homes and townhouses, community members were less than pleased.

Developer Stuart Gruendl, of the Oakland-based BayRock Multifamily company, sent a lawyer to Tuesday's meeting to convey his displeasure with the moratorium. In a phone interview before the meeting, Gruendl said his proposed housing project is consistent with the town's general plan and that a moratorium targets his project. 
"The staff report singled out our project and not any other properties in the town," Gruendl said. "We hope to resume friendly conversation with the town and resume meetings with the community."

Jeff Walter, town attorney, said developers like Gruendl can still submit applications for projects under the moratorium and planning staff would have to process them, but the Town Council would be required to deny projects in the affected area.

"It's a quirk of the law," Walter said. "I have yet to know of a developer, with a moratorium in place, go through all that work to have it denied."

Moratorium activities

It has been proposed that the Century Theatres Cinema on Tamal Vista Blvd., seen from the back on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Corte Madera, Calif., be torn
It has been proposed that the Century Theatres Cinema on Tamal Vista Blvd., seen from the back on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Corte Madera, Calif., be torn down to make way for housing. Meanwhile, the town considers adopting an interim urgency ordinance to establish a moratorium on the approval of land use entitlements in the Tamal Vista east corridor. (Frankie Frost/Marin Independent Journal) Frankie Frost

While the moratorium is in place, town staff are planning to revisit the municipality's 2009 general plan update, which identifies proper land uses throughout the community. As part of the update, a large portion of land that was previously designated for commercial use was re-designated mixed-use commercial — including all of the property along the east side of Tamal Vista Boulevard between Madera Boulevard and Wornum Drive.

However, the town never formally amended its zoning ordinance to reflect the change, leaving the properties to still be classified as sites for commercial uses.
Town Planning and Building Director Adam Wolff, who took over in June, said he's not sure why the change was never formalized.

"I don't know, but obviously that's something I think is important to do as soon as we can," Wolff said.
Lappert said it just simply never got done.

"I don't like to cast blame, but our planning director at the time had other things on his mind," Lappert said. "We need to have a proper zoning ordinance. We need to get that done."

During the moratorium, Wolff said town staff also want to explore developing a community plan for the Tamal Vista Boulevard and Fifer Avenue area, as directed by the general plan. The community plan is meant to be more precise, specifying permitted uses, development standards and circulation improvements.
The sign at the Century Theatres Cinema on Tamal Vista Blvd. announces upcoming movies on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Corte Madera, Calif. Proposals have
The sign at the Century Theatres Cinema on Tamal Vista Blvd. announces upcoming movies on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Corte Madera, Calif. Proposals have been made to tear the building down to make way for housing. Meanwhile, the town considers adopting an interim urgency ordinance to establish a moratorium on the approval of land use entitlements in the Tamal Vista east corridor. (Frankie Frost/Marin Independent Journal) Frankie Frost 

"My understanding of the community plan is that there are certain areas of town that deserve more specific attention and I think the idea is that you can tailor zoning to specific areas," Wolff said.

Community response

During public comment, all the people who addressed the council were in favor of the moratorium.

Tonya Redfield, of Corte Madera, said she's in favor of slowing down and evaluating any future development in the Tamal Vista Boulevard area.

"It will give us more time to realize true impacts once the WinCup (apartment complex) is in operation," Redfield said. "We need some time to see everything happening."

Margaret Deedy, of Corte Madera, reiterated concerns about more development in an area that already has traffic circulation issues.

"The town is vehemently opposed to any heavy density of building without proper planning that includes traffic, water, education and parking," Deedy said.

For a group of students from Redwood High School in Larkspur, the main concern is Gruendl's project and the potential loss of the movie theater.

Student Kenzie Johnson said students circulated an online petition to save the theater, garnering nearly 1,200 electronic signatures this week.

"We understand that it may not be working as a business, but we'd still like to see something there that is teen-related," she said.

The Argument Against Smart Growth

The Argument Against Smart Growth
This is  a photo of Halle-Neustadt, East Germany,  "the ideal Communist City" and the first to use Smart Growth concepts on a broad scale in the 1960s. 

Will smart growth result in more traffic congestion and air pollution? Wendell Cox presents the argument for sprawl and against urban 'smart growth' development.

By Wendell Cox
Jan 22, 2001

As it appeared in PLANETIZEN

Over the past 50 years, America's suburbs have grown to contain most urban residents. As the nation has become more affluent, people have chosen to live in single family dwellings on individual lots and have also obtained automobiles to provide unprecedented mobility.

As population has continued to grow, the amount of new roadway constructed has fallen far short of the rise in automobile use. As a result, American urban areas are experiencing increased traffic congestion. The good news is that improved vehicle technology has made the air cleaner in many cities than it has been in decades.

Low density suburbanization is perceived by the anti-sprawl movement as inefficiently using land, by consuming open space and valuable agricultural land. The anti-sprawl movement believes that suburbanization has resulted in an inappropriate amount of automobile use and highway construction and favors public transit and walking as alternatives. Moreover, they blame suburbanization for the decline of the nation's central cities.

The anti-sprawl movement has embraced "smart growth" policies. In general, smart growth would increase urban population densities, especially in corridors served by rail transit. Development would be corralled within urban growth boundaries. There would be little or no highway construction, replaced instead by construction of urban rail systems. Attempts would be made to steer development toward patterns that would reduce home to work travel distances, making transit and walking more feasible. The anti-sprawl movement suggests that these policies will improve the quality of life, while reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.

But the anti-sprawl diagnosis is flawed.

  • Urbanization does not threaten agricultural land. Since 1950, urban areas of more than 1,000,000 have consumed an amount of new land equal to barely 1/10th the area taken out of agricultural production. The cultpit is improved agricultural productivity, not development.
  • Only 15 percent of suburban growth has come from declining cental cities. Most growth is simple population gain and the movement of people from rural to suburban areas. The same process is occurring throughout affluent nations, from Europe to Asia and Australia. In these nations, virtually all urban growth in recent decades has been suburban, while central cities have lost population. Since 1950 Copenhagen has lost 40% of its population and Paris 25%.
  • There is no practical way for low density urban areas to be redesigned to significantly increase transit and walking. Whether in America or Europe, most urban destinations are reasonably accessible only by automobile. Transit can be an effective alternative to the automobile only to dense core areas, such as the nation's largest downtowns.
  • Large expanses of land are already protected as open space. All of the nation's urban development, in small towns and major metropolitan areas, accounts for approximately four percent of land (excluding Alaska).
Ironically, smart growth will bring more traffic congestion and air pollution, because it will concentrate automobile traffic in a smaller geographical space. International and US data shows that:
  • higher population densities are associated with greater traffic congestion.
  • the slower, more stop-and-go traffic caused by higher densities increase air pollution.
Further, urban growth boundaries ration land for development. Rationing, whether of gasoline or of land drives up prices. For example, in smart growth oriented Portland, Oregon, housing affordability has declined considerably more than in any other major metropolitan area. This makes it unnecessarily difficult for low income and many minority citizens to purchase their own homes.

The anti-sprawl movement has not identified any threat that warrants its draconian poliicies. As the "Lone Mountain Compact" puts it, people should be allowed to live and work where and how they like absent a material threat to others.

As urban areas continue to expand -- which they must do in a growing affluent nation -- sufficient street and highway capacity should be provided, so that traffic congestion and air pollution are minimized.

Wendell Cox is principal of Wendell Cox Consultancy, an international public policy firm. He has provided consulting assistance to the United States Department of Transportation and was certified by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration as an "expert" for the duration of its Public-Private Transportation Network program (1986-1993). He has consulted for public transit authorities in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and for public policy organizations.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

NSA surveillance program reaches ‘into the past’ to retrieve, replay phone calls

What Marin can learn from Occupy Hong Kong

Governments desperate to maintain control will stop at nothing. In Hong Kong, the CCCP has shut down Twitter, and censor media. In Marin,  government thugs have censored people from, Discus, and sponsors hate filled propaganda to call all those opposed to the rapid urbanization of Marin as "Tea Party, racist, pitchfork carrying mob." 

We live in a civil, democratic society. We will not remain silent only to be exploited by greedy developers, bureaucrats and politicians seeking power.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ideas having sex with Matt Ridley

Supervisor Adams joins pension system to get $19,000 a year

Supervisor Adams joins pension system to get $19,000 a year

Lame-duck joins system after using non-enrollment as campaign platform

By Nels @nelsjohnsonnews on Twitter
Posted:   10/02/2014 03:09:50 PM PDT
Susan Adams made a failed run for Congress in 2012

Supervisor Susan Adams, who for years proclaimed she wanted no part of the county pension system, has enrolled in it four months before leaving office in order to get a $19,000-a-year pension.

Her about-face on what had become a key political platform surprised colleagues and infuriated pension critics, although few officials were willing to comment publicly.
"I was very surprised to learn that Susan Adams made this decision in light of her many statements in recent years about not participating in the county pension program," said Kate Sears, president of the Board of Supervisors.

As controversy swirled about spiraling pension expenses and a $784 million unfunded liability facing county taxpayers, Adams styled herself as the county's most frugal supervisor, repeatedly noting she was not enrolled in the pension program and was saving taxpayers a bundle.

"Susan has led by example on limited spending, always declining the county's pension for herself," an Adams campaign flier titled "She's looking out for us" proclaimed last spring.
San Rafael Councilman Damon Connolly, who ousted Adams from office effective next January in a landslide victory in June, said he had "no comment" on her pension situation.

Susan Adams was elected in 2002 on a platform of "controlled growth".  After her election, she joined ABAG that created "Plan Bay Area".  She advocated for the creation of the Marinwood Priority Development Area for urbanization.  After months of denial of its existence, she claimed surprise at the size and the growth expectations.  Marinwood PDA was classified a Transit Village and expected to house up to 7500 homes.  Currently there are approximately 500 homes in this area.   It was removed from the Priority Development designation yet new legislation authored by Senator Marc Levine created a mandatory 20 units per acre in this area. Additional legislation is slated for the creation of redevelopment agencies which will be able create effective Priority Development Areas without citizen oversight or review. Unless this legislation is reversed and the politicians replaced Marin will become an urban county like East Bay/San Francisco.

News of Adams' change of heart surfaced a day before it was about to become public as part of a pension board agenda. The supervisor, who made no mention of the situation when she appeared at a county board meeting Tuesday, could not be reached for comment later in the week.

Adams, 57, who earns $107,000 a year, left word with an aide that she was tied up in meetings all day Thursday and could not be reached. She also was unavailable for comment Wednesday, when news of her pension was disclosed by County Administrator Matthew Hymel.

Adams left a three-sentence statement with Hymel, who gave it to the Independent Journal. "I'm not making any comment," Hymel said.

"I am making a personal financial decision to join the Marin County Employees Retirement Association and use approximately $143,000 of my own money to buy back my prior service time," Adams' note said. "If I had opted into the system almost 12 years ago, taxpayers would have paid for a portion of my required contributions. As it is now, I am paying 100 percent of the employee contribution plus interest."

The "buy back" perk provided by the system enables employees to boost their years of service, a key factor in pension calculations, by paying what they would have if they had been members of the system during prior public service.

Pension chief Jeff Wickman, who said Adams' "buy back" will come for routine approval at a pension board meeting Wednesday, outlined the supervisor's situation
"In August, Supervisor Adams exercised her choice, as provided under the County Employees Retirement Law for elected officials, to opt into membership with the Marin County Employees Retirement Association... . As a new member, Supervisor Adams has the option to purchase eligible prior service the same as all other (association) members... . She has opted to purchase all her prior time during which she served as a member of the Board of Supervisors."

He said Adams' buy back is listed on Wednesday's consent calendar as an acknowledgement the association "has received from Supervisor Adams the full payment of employee contributions plus interest (of) $142,803." The payment includes $93,360 in required employee contributions and $49,443 interest.

The county last fiscal year contributed $53,000 each for the three supervisors then enrolled in the pension system, up from $42,000 each the year before, and $31,000 in 2009-10. Adams enters the system without the county contributing its annual share had she joined 12 years ago, but neither Wickman nor Hymel had any idea how unfunded liability will be affected.

"Supervisor Adams' membership information and projected benefit costs will be included in a future actuarial valuation," Wickman said. "For the service purchases, we do not calculate the projected increase in the unfunded liability."

Wickman provided a detailed breakdown of Adams' projected pension benefit, based on estimated earnings through December, saying that if she started drawing a pension as soon as she can, she will get about $1,591 per month, or about $19,000 a year.
Jody Morales, head of Marin's Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans, called the turn of events "a farce."

Adams "has completely negated the one thing I admired most about her — not being part of an overly generous, out of control, broken pension system," Morales said. "What a sad way to end a career."

Sears, the only supervisor to respond to requests for comment, is now the lone member of the county board who does not accept pension benefits. "I can assure you I have no intention to buy back or join the program before leaving county office," Sears said.


"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"

A proclamation by the pigs who control the government in the novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell. The sentence is a comment on the hypocrisy of governments that proclaim the absolute equality of their citizens but give power and privileges to a small elite.