BEFORE there was ventilation in coal mines, early legend has it miners would bring canaries in cages into the mines. Canaries are especially sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide, and a singing canary meant a good air supply.
If the canary died it was a time to evacuate. The canary served as the early warning system of imminent danger.
Marin is experiencing its "canary in the coal mine" moment, and it comes by way of two specific events.
The first canary, barely able to breathe, is the building of the massive Wincup development in Corte Madera which provides a never ending reminder of what the Association of Bay Area Governments, and the compliant Marin supervisors, want Marin to look like in the future.
ABAG has set the stage with its massive overestimation of population and jobs for Marin from 2010 to 2040. Its projections are not defendable, and solely a poor top-down allocation to Marin, 482 percent higher than the state's projections for the same period for the county.
Marin supervisors clearly agreed the projections were excessive in their response to the Plan Bay Area, but then agreed to the allocation. Their failure to stand up for Marin County on this issue is appalling and reason alone for voting them out without considering the failed $30 million computer system, out of control pensions and the much-discussed district discretionary funds.
The warning to all of Marin is ABAG, with compliant Marin supervisors, has approved developer-friendly plans that could turn Marin into a high-density corridor like Walnut Creek and the East Bay.
The second canary, that has certainly quit singing, is the current lack of rain.
Marin gets a large portion, 80 percent in North Marin, from Sonoma and the Russian River. Sonoma continues to grow. Will they provide our current 80 percent if there is a major drought?
Anyone who remembers the major drought of the '70s, with a smaller population than currently in Marin, does not have to imagine what those conditions would be like if we build out per the ABAG projections.
Peter Hensel has completed an extensive review on the water issue in his comment on Plan Bay Area, and it is posted on Citizen Marin titled "What about the water?"
Mr. Hansel's public comment clearly outlines the flaws and issues not addressed or glossed over by Plan Bay Area regarding adequate water.
What are the canaries warning us about?
Upcoming massive traffic issues on Highway 101 caused by overbuilding high- density housing like Wincup, up and down the freeway corridor. The current lack of rain, and the impact on water resources with 180 units at WinCup and 920 units proposed at Larkspur Landing, the next beachhead in Marin for ABAG and developers that must be stopped.
Marin needs to wake up, and there is time for action, or Marin County will be changed forever.
Write to your supervisor and city council, and put them on notice we do not want to become another highly-dense Walnut Creek/East Bay corridor to San Francisco without sufficient water resources.
Al Dugan of Novato is an opponent of Plan Bay Area's push for high-density housing.