Saturday, October 15, 2016
Friday, October 14, 2016
Thursday, October 13, 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Unfortunately, all the cuts last year by the previous Marinwood CSD board have been replaced by new spending, payroll expansion and new permanent employees.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.
|"It's only a few more miles, honey, and we will see the grandkids in San Francisco"|
October 11, 2016 By Stephen Frank 1 Comment
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.
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
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Homeless Issues in San Rafael
Pedestrian DeathDays 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".PanhandlingYesterday 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 MoreHere 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 FireHere 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.http://www.marinij.com/
general-news/20161008/san- anselmo-wildfire-limited- after-big-response-by-fire- crewsThe wildland fire reported in the 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
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
THE PEACOCKTHE PEACOCK, they say, did not at first have the beautiful feathers in which he now takes so much pride. These, Juno, whose favorite he was, granted to him one day when he begged her for a train of feathers to distinguish him from the other birds. Then, decked in his finery, gleaming with emerald, gold, purple, and azure, he strutted proudly among the birds. All regarded him with envy. Even the most beautiful pheasant could see that his beauty was surpassed.
Presently the Peacock saw an Eagle soaring high up in the blue sky and felt a desire to fly, as he had been accustomed to do. Lifting his wings he tried to rise from the ground. But the weight of his magnificent train held him down. Instead of flying up to greet the first rays of the morning sun or to bathe in the rosy light among the floating clouds at sunset, he would have to walk the ground more encumbered and oppressed than any common barnyard fowl.
Do not sacrifice your freedom for the sake of pomp and show.
By Mark Prado, Marin Independent Journal
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.