Friday, June 10, 2016

Marinwood CSD ignores RED FLAG Warnings and contracts with SolEd Benefit Corporation in March 2016

The board unanimously approves the Solar Contract with SolEd Benefit Corporation in March 2016.  From the initial SEED Solar project involving fourteen agencies, many had dropped out of the program due to the high costs and inattention to contract provisions by SolEd Benefit Corporation. The City of St. Helena dismissed their contract with SolEd Benefit with prejudice. HERE.  

The Marinwood CSD Solar program has been mysteriously delayed for undisclosed reasons to the public.  Will the Marinwood CSD hold SolEd Benefit Corporation to its contract?

The Marinwood CSD Solar Contract- ANOTHER SMOKING GUN the Audiotapes

In November 2012 after twice violating government ethics, the Marinwood CSD approves a contract with a Marinwood CSD board member, Cyane Dandridge WITHOUT PUBLIC DISCUSSION. The contract provided Dandridge the EXCLUSIVE right to select the solar contractor, SolEd Benefit Corporation.  SolEd Benefit Corporation is providing solar at least DOUBLE the cost of competitive systems and was approved by the Marinwood CSD in January 2016.

Dandridge presented the CSD the SEED proposal in September 2012 (violation #1) but did not reveal that she owned the company SEI. Then in October 2012, she recused herself and the board voted for the "no bid" contract (violation #2). County counsel objected and Dandridge resigned to avoid the conflict of interest but this still does not absolve the prior or subsequent actions of the board.  

Not only did board members Bruce Anderson, Tarey Read, Bill Hansel and Leah Green knowingly enter into a no bid contract with Dandridge they also DID NOT ALLOW PUBLIC DISCUSSION (violation #3).  

The audio was provided by Marinwood CSD Manager Tom Horne in November 2012 and segments are suspiciously inaudible (violation #?).

Government official cover up?   No Bid Contracts? 

See Conflict of Interest rules HERE

CSD Board Members approving the SEED Contract in November 2012: Leah (Kleinman-)Green (president) , Bruce Anderson, Bill Hansell, Tarey Read.  Tom Horne, Marinwood CSD manager

CSD Board Members approving SolEd Contract in March 2016  Justin Kai (president), Leah Kleinman Green, Izabela Perry, Bill Shea and Jeff Naylor approved.

As of 6/10 2016 , the SolEd Solar construction has been delayed for reasons unknown to the public.  

Damon Connolly Marinwood Full Meeting- June 8, 2016

Marin County Supervisor, Damon Connolly speaks to Marinwood Residents about Housing Development, Street improvements at Marinwood  Ave and Miller Creek Avenue, Relocation of Homeless services to North San Rafael.

Damon Connolly- Homeless services to North San Rafael?

Discussion with Damon Connolly on the relocation of Ritter House Homeless services to 67 Mark St. San Rafael near Smith Ranch Rd.

From the June 8, 2016 meeting at Marinwood Community Center

Editors Note:  It was an excellent meeting.  I really like Damon even though I don't always agree with him.  The homeless discussion should be shared.   I disagree with the fellow from East Terra Linda that commented on Nextdoor that there is "nothing to worry about".   We have to educate our neighbors about this proposal.   

Just last night I ran into a homeless guy in Marinwood park on drugs or drunk. He was talking with himself and seemed out of touch with reality.   These sorts of incidents will increase if Ritter re-locates.   Good homeless shelters refuse admittance of the worst of the homeless.  Where do they go?  Into the parks and neighborhoods surrounding community of course.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Mohammad Ali on War and Government

Lucas Valley Road Before and After Tree Trimming.

Gary Giacomini, George Lucas's lawyer threatened the Marin County Supervisors on April 20, 2015 that Lucas Valley Road "shall never become a scenic road now or in the future" because it would interfere with George Lucas's development plans.  It appears that in 2016, the county has granted Gary Giacomini's wish and is in the process of destroying one of the most beautiful scenic roads in Marin.  

The cover story is "fire protection"  but this  has not been done in at least 30 years.  Residents suspect that by removing vegetation, the road will not qualify for a scenic designation .  Another theory is that it is preliminary work prior to road widening to allow for more development. The cover story of "fire safety" falls apart under close examination.  

The tree canopies are being denuded far in excess of what is required under the most stringent road standards.  This is a costly job and money is tight at the county.  Why is this project at the top of their priorities especially after the community opposition?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Social Engineers Episode 2-The Great Market Research Scandal

Don't Follow Your Passion

Should you follow your passion, wherever it may take you? Should you do only what you love...or learn to love what you do? How can you identify which path to take? How about which paths to avoid? TV personality Mike Rowe, star of "Dirty Jobs" and "Somebody's Gotta Do It," shares the dirty truth in PragerU's 2016 commencement address.

There were thousands of college commencement speeches around the country this year for the Class of 2015. But there was one missing -- one very truthful, funny and witty speech that graduates should've heard, but didn't. Well, here it is, spoken by George Will, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist at the Washington Post.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Information about the Plan Bay Area Update

Information about the Plan Bay Area Update
Please comment on the Plan Bay Area Update via email, if you haven't commented yet.
Hi Neighbors and Friends,
If you didn't get a chance to attend a Plan Bay Area Update workshop, you can still make comments on the Plan by emailing them 
Amazingly, at the June 4th Plan Bay Area Update workshop, the Association of Bay Area Government (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission representatives stated that the Plan Bay Area Update is now planning for greater job growth, population, and housing between 2010 and 2040 than the 2013 Plan Bay Area did.  For example the 2013 Plan Bay Area projected a Bay Area population growth of 2.1 million people between 2010 and 2040.  The Plan Bay Area Update projects a Bay Area population growth of 2.4 million people during the same time period.
Here's a link to the Regional Forecast of population, jobs, and housing for the Plan Bay Area Update, from 2010 to 2040:

In general, ABAG and MTC are asking you to choose between the below 4 Scenarios.  However you don't have to accept any scenario and could make other comments instead. For each scenario, MTC and ABAG have generated forecasts for jobs, housing, population, travel-demand and transportation revenue.  To see these forecasts for Marin County, please follow the below link:

**Please note that, based on past experience, we question whether these forecasts are accurate, since we have not seen any analysis completed by objective independent experts.
What are the scenarios?
1. NO PROJECT SCENARIO is included to show trends assumed under adopted local general plans and zoning without an adopted regional plan, and assuming no new transportation projects beyond those currently under construction or those that have both full funding and environmental clearance.
Forecast of the No Project Scenario in Marin
Population: 2% Share of Total Regional Growth; 17% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Employment: 2% Share of Total Growth; 25% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Housing: 9000 Growth in Housing Units; 1% Share of Total Regional Growth; 4% Growth in PDAs
2. MAIN STREETS SCENARIO places future population and employment growth in the downtowns in all Bay Area cities. This scenario would expand high-occupancy toll lanes and increase highway widenings. It would also assume some development on land that is currently undeveloped.
Forecast of the Main Streets Scenario in Marin
Population: 1% Share of Total Regional Growth; 15% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Employment: 2% Share of Total Regional Growth; 26% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Housing: 6000 units Growth in Housing Units; 1% of Total Regional Growth; 24% Growth in PDAs
3. CONNECTED NEIGHBORHOODS SCENARIO places future population and employment growth in medium-sized cities and provides increased access to the region’s major rail services, such as BART and Caltrain. It would place most of the growth in areas that cities determine as having room for growth, with some additional growth in the biggest cities. There would be no development on open spaces outside the urban footprint.
Forecast of the Connected Neighborhood Scenario in MarinPopulation: 2% Share of Total Regional Growth; 16% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Employment: 2% Share of Total Regional Growth; 26% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Housing: 7000 Growth in Housing Units; 1% Share of Total Regional Growth; 45% Growth in PDAs
4. BIG CITIES SCENARIO concentrates future population and employment growth within the Bay Area’s three largest cities: San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland. Transportation investments would go to the transit and freeways serving these cities. There would be no development on open spaces outside the urban footprint.

Forecast of the Big Cities Scenario in Marin
Population: 1% Share of Total Regional Growth; 10% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Employment: 2% Share of Total Regional Growth; 25% Growth from 2010 to 2040
Housing: 700 Growth in Housing Units; 0% Share of Total Regional Growth; 44% Growth in PDAs

Be aware that each jurisdiction's future Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNA) will reflect the chosen Scenario.  Of the 4 Scenarios offered, the "Big Cities Scenario" would require Marin County to plan for the least amount of population growth and housing.  So, if we could only choose one of the scenarios, that would probably be the best choice.  Still, the "Big Cities Scenario" reflects a 10% population growth over 30 years, which is approximately .3% growth per year.  Whereas Marin Census data for 2011 showed that Marin's population grew 2.1% in the previous decade (primarily in Novato), roughly only .2% growth per year.  Marin Census data showed that between 2010 and 2015, there was an uptick in the growth rate to an average of .7% growth per year but this rate should decline because Marin County lacks developable land and has limited availability of water resources. 

Regardless of the selected scenario, the Plan Bay Area Update projects that, between 2010 and 2040, the total San Francisco Bay Area will grow by 33% and add 2.4 million people and 823,000 housing units regionally.  And, since Senate Bill 375 requires that RHNA numbers be consistent with Plan Bay Area (the Bay Area's Sustainable Community's Strategy), Bay Area jurisdictions will be required to plan for the projections whether they want to or not. Even if Marin County's growth could be somewhat contained, we would still feel the effects of over-development in the other Bay Area counties, as their residents drive through our County for their commutes or for recreation at one of our tourist destinations. Impacts (E.g. Air pollution) do not remain within County borders.

We have not had access to a full copy of the proposed Plan Bay Area Update plan, but, based on Plan Bay Area Update materials, it appears to be very similar to the original regional plan - Plan Bay Area 2013.  Please see my article entitled; "The Truth About Plan Bay Area 2013" by clicking here, for a critical analysis of the original plan, which outlines the plan's numerous failings.

In April 2015, Sustainable TamAlmonte sent a letter to Marin's ABAG representatives requesting that the following goals be achieved by the Plan Bay Area Update but few of them have been addressed.  (Click here to view the letter.) The first six goals were set by the Marin ABAG delegates and Goals 7 thru 15 were added by Sustainable TamAlmonte:

1. Promote and maintain local control of land use decisions including planning and zoning. 
2. Encourage use of realistic and credible population, housing and jobs projections that clearly articulate assumptions, modeling and rationale.
3. Advocate for more effective public and local agency engagement through out the process.
4. Promote acknowledgement of resource limits especially for water availability.
5. Work to reduce Green Housing Gas (GHG) emissions within our control by implementing our Climate Action Plans and/or additional measures as determined appropriate by local government.
6. Plan and prepare for sea level rise in Marin County.
7. Recognize that there is an ultimate limit to growth.
8. Debunk the false assumption that developing housing and jobs near transit (Transit Oriented Development - TOD) lowers Green House Gases (GHG).
9. Prohibit planning for housing in hazardous and constrained locations.
10. Acknowledge that people who live in close proximity to major roads and freeways are at much greater risk of developing serious chronic illnesses.
11. Work to ensure that all mutifamily housing will receive full CEQA review without streamlining or exemptions.
12. Promote building reuse in order to retain existing affordable housing, to convert market rate housing to affordable housing, to reduce development costs, and to reduce environmental impacts.
13. Remove/Reject transportation funding strings that tie transportation funding to increasing development potential or that tie transportation funding to targeting housing near transit.
14 Lobby HCD/ABAG to count all conversion units, assisted living units, second units, junior units and inclusionary units toward the RHNA quota.
15. Work to prevent increased development in other Bay Area jurisdictions from impacting Marin.

The Plan Bay Area Update's Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has not been completed.  However, please recall that the 2013 Plan Bay Area EIR demonstrated that implementation of the 2013 Plan would result in 39 significant unavoidable adverse environmental impacts.  They include, but are not limited to:
- Insufficient water supply;
- Inundation from sea level rise;
- Exposure to hazardous materials;
- Inadequate wastewater treatment capacity;
- A net increase in Sensitive Receptors located in Transit Priority Project corridors where there are high concentrations of cancer causing Toxic Air Contaminants and fine particulate matter emissions;
- Direct removal, filling or hydrological interruption of habitat; and
- Interference with the movement of native resident or migratory fish or
wildlife species. 

The above impacts were found to be unavoidable either because mitigations will not reduce the impacts to less-than-significant or else because the regional agencies cannot require local jurisdictions to impose the mitigation measures. Moreover, the mitigations are unfunded.

The 2013 Bay Area Integrated Regional Water Management Plan corroborates the 2013 Plan Bay Area EIR's finding regarding an insufficient water supply.  The Regional Water Management Plan states that in dry years all but 4 major Bay Area Region water agencies project a shortfall in meeting projected water demand through 2035.

Since the Plan Bay Area Update plans for even greater growth than the 2013 Plan Bay Area, one would expect that implementation of the Updated Plan would result in similar significant adverse impacts.

When have we reached the limits of growth?  Today Marin's infrastructure (E.g. Congested roads) and public services (E.g. Overcrowded schools) are insufficient to meet the needs of the current population.  The 2007 Countywide Plan's (CWP) EIR found that land uses and development consistent with the CWP would result in 42 Significant Unavoidable Adverse Environmental Impacts, including "water supplies that would be insufficient to serve some of the Unincorporated and Incorporated areas in normal rainfall years."   So, although the Marin Municipal Water District's 2015 Urban Water Management Plan projects enough water supply to meet demand for the next 25 years or more, we don't have enough water for the total allowable buildout, already allowed by Marin County and Cities.

Should we encourage growth and exacerbate these deficiencies further or should we stop or slow growth until we can solve our current problems?

Below is a link to the rest of the Plan Bay Area Update Meeting Materials:

Once again, please send in comments about the Plan Bay Area Update to

Thank you in advance for taking action.  Together we can make a difference!

Vote Otis Bruce for Judge (Justice is the most important Virtue)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Comments on Moving the Ritter House homeless shelter to North San Rafael at the City Council Meeting

A large crowd gathered at the San Rafael City Council Chambers Monday, June 2, 2016 to discuss the relocation of the Ritter House for Homeless Services and REST (Temporary Homeless Shelters).  The room was packed with member of Marin Organizing Committee and a few members of Marinwood and the business community.  Justin Kai, Marinwood CSD president spoke eloquently about why the relocation to 67 Mark Dr. San Rafael, CA would create big problems for the Marinwood, Mont Marin and East San Rafael.  

Homeless Center to be relocated next door to Marinwood? Meeting Tonight at San Rafael City Hall at 7 PM!!

The Ritter Center may be moving to 67 Mark Drive in San Rafael. This will mean more homeless in Marinwood Lucas Valley open space .  In the last year, homeless encampments have caused three fires in Marinwood open space.  With thousands of acres of open space close by we expect this homeless encampments to increase, along with drug use and petty crime in our neighborhoods.

Come to the Meeting at 7 PM tonight!

San Rafael leaders craft possible deal for Ritter Center annex

The Ritter Center in downtown San Rafael offers food, clothing, medical care and other services to the destitute. City officials are trying to reduce the number of people served there. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)
The Ritter Center in downtown San Rafael offers food, clothing, medical care and other services to the destitute. City officials are trying to reduce the number of people served there. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal) 

A compromise proposal in which the Ritter Center would move all or part of its food pantry, showers and mail service elsewhere will be presented at the San Rafael City Council meeting Monday.
The city has been considering changing or revoking Ritter’s use permit in an attempt to reduce the number of people served there. The alternative plan, which would leave the permit unchanged, was hammered out between the center and city officials over the past few weeks.
“We’re trying to find some win-win opportunities that help both the city and Ritter,” said Andrew Hening, San Rafael’s director of homeless outreach and policy.

The proposed location is  at 67 Mark Drive, San Rafael

See the Google Maps location HERE 

It is situated atop a toxic plume site left by Pac Bell at 23 Mark Drive
and Fairchild Semiconductor Site next door.
The council will discuss the proposal at its 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall.

see Full Article in the Marin IJ HERE

One-third of Bay Area residents hope to leave soon, poll finds

One-third of Bay Area residents hope to leave soon, poll finds

By George Avalos, POSTED: 05/02/2016

More than one-third of Bay Area residents say they are ready to leave in the next few years, citing high housing costs and traffic as the region's biggest problems, according to a poll released Monday.

Of the 1,000 people polled by the Bay Area Council, 34 percent said they are considering leaving. Those who have lived here five years or less are the most likely to want to leave.

"This is our canary in a coal mine," said Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council. "Residents are screaming for solutions."

In another grim result, the number of residents who believe the region is on the wrong track has increased sharply in the past year, the poll found.

This year's poll found that 40 percent of respondents felt the Bay Area was on the wrong track, while 40 percent felt it was headed in the right direction. Just one year ago, only 28 percent felt the Bay Area was on the wrong track, and 55 percent thought it was headed in the right direction.

"This survey underscores that we have a choice," said Carl Guardino, president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which is pushing to raise sales taxes by a half-cent in Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz and San Francisco counties to fund transportation. "We can be enraged, or we can be engaged. We can engage the broader community on solutions that actually tackle these seemingly insurmountable problems."

Among the solutions that have been proposed is creating high-density housing close to job hubs, along transit corridors or in both locations.

Some observers say the Bay Area's challenges, which have arrived amid the job boom in the tech hubs of Silicon Valley, is pushing low- and middle-income people out and could transform the region into a Manhattan-like megalopolis.
"The economic divide in the Bay Area is real," said Russell Hancock, president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. "We will lose low-income earners, and they will be replaced by high earners. We are losing the middle class as well."

People in Santa Clara County and San Francisco are feeling the least optimistic about the direction of the Bay Area.

Just 37 percent of Santa Clara County residents believe the Bay Area is headed in the right direction, and only 33 percent of San Francisco residents think the region is on the right track. What's more, 52 percent of San Francisco residents say the Bay Area is on the wrong track.

Optimistic and pessimistic attitudes didn't vary much by income group.

Among people with household incomes of $125,000 a year or more, 46 percent said the region was on the right track, while 40 percent said it was on the wrong track. Among those with incomes ranging from $75,000 to $125,000, 42 percent said the Bay Area was on the right track, while 38 percent said it was on the wrong track. And among those with less than $75,000 in household income, 38 percent said the Bay Area is going in the right direction, while 43 percent said it's on the wrong track.

The survey also found that people who spend more of their money on housing were more likely to seek an escape from the Bay Area in the next few years.

Despite the number of respondents who said they're ready to go, 54 percent said they had no plans to defect from the Bay Area.

"We can whine about this, or we can win by solving our traffic and housing problems," Guardino said. "The last time the Bay Area had seemingly solved its traffic problems was the worldwide recession of 2008. A recession is not how we want to solve our traffic and housing problems."