Saturday, October 15, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Marinwood CSD Meeting Oct 2016

Marinwood CSD Oct 2016  meeting: Pension Trust Fund, New Fire Regulations, Summer Review

Oct 2016 Board Agenda HERE

Marinwood CSD Board is considering a non revocable trust for pension retirements while ignoring present needs of the Parks Department need for new vehicles and a replacement maintenance shed.  In the past ten years that I have been following the board,  they claim not to have the money for the parks department while always finding money for salaries, pet projects and new equipment for other departments.

Once the investment is made in the irrevocable pension trust, it cannot be removed without loss of earnings.  While the planning for the future is good, it should not replace paying attention to current needs of the district, cost containment and the exploration of new revenue sources.

Unfortunately,  all the cuts last year by the previous Marinwood CSD board have been replaced by new spending, payroll expansion and new permanent employees.  We are still not in a healthy financial condition and must rely on borrowing to make it through the fiscal year.

LA/San Fran Parking requirements cause traffic and drive up rents. Let’s get rid of them.

LA/San Fran Parking requirements cause traffic and drive up rents. Let’s get rid of them.

"It's only a few more miles, honey, and we will see the grandkids in San Francisco"

San Fran is in the process of ending the requirement that new housing must have parking spaces—instead they must have bike racks.  Think Grandma from Vallejo is going to ride her bike to visit the grandkids?  They are also limiting the number of spaces for commercial properties as well.  The idea is to force people to walk, use the bus or train or bike to visit clients.  Looks like an excellent way to end businesses not close to train or bus stops.  Also a super way to force families and small businesses to leave town.  That is what the elitists that can afford to Uber and limo’s prefer.
Let’s ditch those parking requirements and make LA into a less stop-and-go town.
So let’s make the change. Let’s get rid of parking minimums and allow new apartments to be built without parking. People without parking are much less likely to drive, and less driving means less traffic. Plus, if new housing doesn’t bring new cars along with it, angry NIMBYs are much less likely to oppose new projects, and we’ll be one step closer to building the housing we need to keep our rents from rising right on into the stratosphere.
PS: Hate ugly strip malls? Guess who you should blame? Parking requirements, that’s who.”
This effort has now turned to the burgeoning Third World city of Los Angeles—and that is really what Measure M, a $120 billion tax increase is about—the creation of more government transportation, including walking, and then at City Hall limit the parking spaces.  Moscow or Hillary could not be more devious.

Parking requirements cause traffic and drive up rents. Let’s get rid of them.

Rent Is Too Damn High, 8/10/16
Everybody in LA can agree on one thing – traffic blows hard. Harder, even, than these guys:
Hate traffic? Blame parking.
But here’s a secret: people don’t cause traffic. Cars do. And you know what makes people get cars? Parking. If you’ve got nowhere to put your car when you arrive, you aren’t going to drive, and you aren’t going to contribute to traffic. Research has shown that for every 10% increase in parking, 7.7% more people commute with a car.
Hate high rent? Blame parking.
That’s a bad start. But it gets worse. Parking is also driving up your rent. Building parking spaces is incredibly expensive – each underground parking spot in LA costs about $35,000. Even if your unit includes “free” parking, you’re paying for the cost of that parking in your rent check every month, whether you want to or not. Parking is cheaper to build above ground (if you can call $27,000 cheap), but then it takes up valuable space for apartments. All those dollar signs have an impact – Donald Shoup, a legendary UCLA professor who hates parking even more than we do, has calculated that requiring parking reduces the number of units in new apartment buildings by 13%.
But parking is even more insidious than that. Often, when a new housing project is proposed, one of the first things that angry neighbors (NIMBYs) yell about is traffic. Sometimes, those angry neighbors successfully stop housing from being built on those grounds, and we desperately need all the housing we can get tocontain our skyrocketing rents.
Then why the hell do we require all new buildings to include huge amounts of parking?
You’d think, then, that developers might stop providing parking. But they can’t, because we did something really, really dumb. We’ve created a system that requires parking to be provided with all new projects. For an apartment building, you need a minimum of 1 space for every studio, 1.5 spaces for every one bedroom, and 2 spaces for every two bedroom unit. For restaurants it’s even crazier – 1 space for every 100 square feet of restaurant area. That means even a small restaurant, about the size of your average Chipotle, requires 25 parking spots. That’s more parking area than restaurant area.
We can do better. transit and ridesharing are transforming LA. Let’s stop requiring parking.
“But LA was built for cars, people will never give them up!” cry haters everywhere. You’re right, LA has been built for cars so far. That doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever. If we want the city to be different, we’re going to have to do things differently. Besides, a couple of modern miracles have made it much easier to get around LA without a car – public transit and ridesharing.
Over the past 25 years, LA has transformed itself into a city with respectable public transit. It’s not the best in the country, but we’ve come a hell of a long way. And if ⅔ of us vote for the new transit measure in November, Metro will be able to build even more lines in the years to come.
Then there is ride sharing. If you drive less than 10,000 miles a year, using Lyft or Uber to get around is more affordable than owning your own car. Not everyone has to drive everywhere. These days, we’ve got options.
Let’s ditch those parking requirements and make LA into a less stop-and-go town.
So let’s make the change. Let’s get rid of parking minimums and allow new apartments to be built without parking. People without parking are much less likely to drive, and less driving means less traffic. Plus, if new housing doesn’t bring new cars along with it, angry NIMBYs are much less likely to oppose new projects, and we’ll be one step closer to building the housing we need to keep our rents from rising right on into the stratosphere.
PS: Hate ugly strip malls? Guess who you should blame? Parking requirements, that’s who.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016



Are America’s suburbs facing end times? That’s what a host of recent authors would have you believe.  The declaration comes in variety of guises, from Alan Ehrenhalt’s The Great Inversion (2012), to “the peaking of sprawl” pronounced by urban planner  Christopher Leinberger to, most recently, to Leigh Gallagher’s The End of Suburbs(2013).  Suburbs and sprawl have joined the ranks of “history” and “nature” as fixtures of our lives that teeter on the verge of demise—if we’re to lend credence to this latest clamor from journalists, planners, and academics. 
When you declare the “ending” of a place where you acknowledge over half of Americans now live, just what does that mean?  One sure bet is that their demise won’t prove nearly as definitive or thorough-going as advertised. Looking around the Long Island neighborhood and town where I’ve lived for the last twenty years, I don’t see them vanishing any time soon. Moreover, from my own perspective as a long-time resident as well as historian of such places, the particulars grounding this narrative point to something very different: the rise of conditions, as yet only starting to be realized, for a new suburban progressivism. 
This media wave of talk about suburbs or sprawl “ending” mirrors an earlier one in the decades after World War II, which fleshed out a rise of “mass suburbia.” That earlier wave turned out to be well-nigh mythological in its selectivity, its choice of emphases and its silences.  Embellishing the idea of suburbs as more than just a place, as an entire, distinctive way of life, it built upon age-old notions of suburbs as simply the edges of cities, also a change commencing over two hundred years ago among cities in the industrial West.  Cities began to grow less through the spread of a discrete and distinct rim than via a widening transition zone between city and countryside.  But only after World War II did the idea of “suburbia” congeal into a solid stereotype: those subdivisions of lawns and single family homes occupied by a white middle class.    
Among the earliest discoverers was 1950s Fortune correspondent William Whyte, who found in the suburbs an entire generation of upwardly mobile, affluent, younger families, in search of the American dream.  Journalists concentrated mainly on places that fit this story line, the very largest and newest housing developments around the very largest of cities.   Early coverage celebrating these suburbs classless-ness was quickly followed by more critical accounts.  Commentators such as Whyte and Frederick L. Allen distinguished this “new suburbia” from an older one they preferred, quieter and smaller and more securely elitist.  Sociologists taking a more even-handed approach, such as Herbert Gans and Bennett Berger, also questioned the “myth” of these places’ classlessness, by highlighting more working class homeowners and communities.  The great majority of those moving into such places had also been white, and as the racial imagery of a white “donut” surrounding a black core consolidated with the urban and busing crises over the 1960s and 70s, an ambivalent imagery of postwar “suburbia” stuck.  At once affluent, middle class, and white, but also vaguely declassé, suburbs were self-satisfied and reactionary places that deserved the progressive city-dweller’s disdain. 
As current-day Fortune correspondent and professed “city girl” Leigh Gallagher, makes clear, such attitudes are alive and well, for instance, at cocktail parties where those hearing her book title offer “high fives and hurrahs.”   Today’s literature on suburbia’s end has the distinct ring of wish fulfillment for a long tradition of city-bound suburb-bashers, of a piece with their eagerness finally to declare downtowns “resurgent [as] centers of wealth and culture.”  But just as most characterizations of “suburbia” in the 1950s ignored the pockets of poverty and minority enclaves in its midst, so even the most balanced of today’s expositors of suburbs’ end can be quite selective.  For instance, even though the Charlotte metro area’s 42% growth between 2000 and 2013 came through a momentous build-out of subdivisions and malls, even though the city itself has eagerly annexed nearly 25% more suburban land since 2000, Ehrenhalt dwells solely upon its reconstruction of the downtown.  We hear nothing about how, even with its expanded limits, this city still contains only 31% of the population of this urban region.
While these authors do leaven their arguments with a lot more demographic yeast than their 1950s predecessors, they still leap to generalizations that, in an era of soaring income inequality, bear more scrutiny than they get.   When Gallagher refers to how “we rebuild once or twice a century in this country,” just who is this “we” she means? It is not hard to draw some unsettling answers. As an editor at Fortune, as avowed resident of Greenwich Village, whose one-bedroom rentals are the most expensive in Manhattan, she seems heavily identified with affluent, especially the movers and shakers in the development community.  Whether singling out recent failures of building projects in outer suburbs or exurbs, concentrating on suburban malls that have been abandoned or are being retrofitted, or homing in on downtown reconstructions, “end of suburbs” authors often tacitly adopt a financial standard for future promise: where the most real-estate money is to be made. 
By the same token, this literature of suburbia’s end offers astonishing little reflection on the implications of its favored trends for the ways in which our cities divide the wealthy from the rest.   Today’s declarations of an “end of suburbs” come just as rents in places like Manhattan are hiking out of reach of the merely middle class, generating anxieties tilled, most recently, by Bill de Blasio’s successful campaign for mayor. Yet when Gallagher sweepingly contends that “millenials hate the suburbs,” she doesn’t even ask how many young people are actually going to be able to afford living in cities. And at this point, as well, her definition of “suburbs” itself suddenly narrows: just the subdivisions and malls, not the new “planned community” or the “urbanized small town or suburb” that may lie nearby.
The trend of urbanizing suburbs offers the most compelling angle of this reputed “end” for us actual suburbanites. For a good while in suburbs like my own Long Island, proponents of smart growth and the New Urbanism have pushed for multiuse, for bringing apartments into old town centers, for recreating walkability there.  Having watched and participated in the political rows stirred by such projects, like Avalon Bay’s plan to build an apartment complex near the Huntington train station, I can say this: those people most likely to see these projects as an “end of suburbs” aretheir opponents.  For the rest of us, their supporters, they look more like diversifying: taking us away from the old “suburbia” stereotypes, but not by leaving subdivisions behind.  All those stores, restaurants, and events available in walkable downtowns have the virtue of enhancing the suburban experience for those of us who remain homeowners, even as they furnish living quarters for renters who might otherwise leave: twenty-somethings, singles, and the elderly.  
That suburbs are also becoming societal repositories for newly arriving immigrantsblacks and other minorities, as well as poverty, does undermine that old “suburbia” imagery, but in ways that stir hopes for suburbs’ future. Largely because of these trends, indexes measuring metropolitan segregation have been gradually declining—and that’s a good thing.  Of course, suburbanites’ reputation for racial animosity is still plenty justified:  just look at Atlanta’s Gwinnett County as depicted by Ehrenhalt, or the hostility found on Long Island to undocumented immigrants. But there’s an as yet little-told story of how suburban opposition to these attitudes has also emerged. When a homeless camp of mostly immigrant workers was discovered in Huntington Station in the early 2000s, a remarkable coalition of social service agencies and churches cobbled together a program for housing and feeding them over the winter that involved over a thousand volunteers. This outpouring crossed lines of class and race, drawing many from the suburban church I attend, which itself is pretty evenly split between blacks and whites.  I don’t think my fellow travelers there, or in pro-immigrant groups like Long Island Wins, would surmise as Gallagher does that ours is some “suburban experiment” that has “failed.”
“The end of suburbs”—it’s a dramatic claim, and as mythological as that old “myth of suburbia,” especially for those of us living in the places that are supposed to be ending. I prefer another narrative, with a more positive spin. The demographic and other changes underway in our suburbs may well wind up breaking the old stereotype in another way, by building the basis for a newly inclusive and forward-looking politics in the suburbs. 
Christopher Sellers is a Professor of History at Stony Brook University and author of Crabgrass Crucible; Suburban Nature and the Rise of Environmentalism in Twentieth-Century America(2012), He is now writing on, among other things, the historical relationship between suburbanizing, race, and environmentalism around Atlanta. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Chinas Secret Plan to control the Internet

Homeless Issues in San Rafael

Homeless Issues in San Rafael

Report on Homeless issues from local Citizen. 
Pedestrian Death
Days ago I reported on the death of a homeless man killed on a downtown street by an intoxicated driver.  The follow up emails had some interesting comments about those involved.  Seems that the intoxicated driver also had a troubled past. I did get this comment that I thought was well put, "Tragic how two out of control lives, cross each other's paths and both are destroyed by it".

Yesterday I got this observation about panhandling. My only comment to this is that I think two gets more sympathy than one!
Have you seen the father and two sons sitting on the sidewalk on 4th Street with hand lettered cardboard signs? Not a good addition to downtown. If I can snap a pic, I will do so. 

Panhandling More
Here is a link to the Dick Spotswood column that appeared in the Marin IJ yesterday.  The second part of the article is about the new effort to curb panhandling in San Rafael.  Whoops, judging by the email above, maybe this isn't the 100% solution.  Nothing is 100% in the world of the needy.

Homeless Fire
Here is a Marin IJ link to an article about a wild land fire in San Anselmo.  We have to be thankful that the fire departments involved put out the fire before it got much worse than it did.  I had thought the fire originated from a homeless encampment.  Here is an email that I got about that.  One person in San Rafael Group saw the fire and contributed  this photo.

The wildland fire reported in the Sunday IJ started at a San Anselmo homeless encampment on the hill behind Walgreen's. Air tankers,a Calfire helicopter and a hand-crew from a State Fire Camp joined many local fire departments in stopping the fire.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Do we Need Cradle to Grave Government Programs? Vote No on Measure A

Wild Kindergarten for Dixie Schools?

Outdoor education is essential for well rounded development.  With thousands of acres available for exploration, our schools should take advantage of this resource as a regular part of the curriculum.  Dixie and Miller Creek middle schools have outdoor classroom programs for older children. Why not have a "wild kindergarten" program like this too? 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

What is a Globalist?

MMWD is paying a premium for "Deep B.S" electricity.

Marin water district joins ‘deep green’ electricity plan

The Marin Municipal Water District, based on Nellen Drive in Corte Madera, expects to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 2,800 metric tons under Marin Clean Energy's "deep green" plan. (IJ archives)
The Marin Municipal Water District, based on Nellen Drive in Corte Madera, expects to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 2,800 metric tons under Marin Clean Energy's "deep green" plan. (IJ archives) 
One of the county’s top energy users will move toward using Marin Clean Energy’s so-called “deep green” option, meaning its electricity will come from 100 percent renewable sources.
The move by the Marin Municipal Water District — to go into effect July 1, 2017 — will cost the district another $200,000 annually on its electricity bill, but officials say the green outcome is worth the cost.
“We want to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint as much as we can,” said Cynthia Koehler, water board president. “And the cost to be green has been coming down. And we use a lot of energy to pump water up all those hills. We are excited about this.”
The district currently is in Marin Clean Energy’s “light green” program, in which half of the agency’s energy is provided by renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal and small hydroelectric operations.
By going to the deep green program, the water district will be reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by about 2,800 metric tons a year, based on annual electric energy usage of 19.2 million kilowatt hours. That is equal to greenhouse gas emissions from more than 600 passenger vehicles driven for one year.
The water board asked its staff to look into the issue as it moves to be more energy efficient, Koehler said.
“As one of Marin’s largest electricity users, the impact of MMWD going 100 percent renewable is substantial,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of the energy authority. “In addition to the greenhouse gas reductions, half of the premium for deep green will be used to build new solar projects in our service area, boosting our local economy and supporting green-collar jobs.” See the story HERE

Editor's Note:  Marin Clean Energy simply buys paper "RECS" and tells customers that they are purchasing green energy when in fact there is NO extra green energy being produced.  All electrons in the electrical grid are the same. MCE only has a few solar installations and highly paid staff and consultants.