Saturday, May 6, 2017

Are you planning with Climate Change in Mind?

Local officials are asked to plan for climate change and sea level rise but MTC is ignoring this and prioritizing urban growth instead. Corte Madera councilperson, Jim Andrews asks the PLAN BAY AREA 2040 planner about the conflict and receives this evasive answer using vague terms like "resiliency" and "priority development areas". Diane Steinhauser of the Transportation Authority of Marin closes the meeting shortly thereafter.

Planning on Steroids. Life in Singapore.

The price of life in Singapore, city of rules: 'It’s a Faustian deal'

The south-east Asian city-state has been hailed for its urban policies – and condemned for the authoritarianism that underpins them. So what do Singapore’s residents make of life there?

A Sign of daily life in Singapore.

Imagine you could remove all the daily irritations from the city in which you live. No one pushing or talking loudly on the efficiently run public transport system; no rubbish or sticky gum to be trodden underfoot on the well-kept, clean streets. And virtually no crime.

Such a city would, probably, resemble Singapore, one of the wealthiest per capita metropolises on the planet – a city-state that gleams with abundant material goods. “Nothing goes wrong here,” says Eric, a German expat. “Which sort of means that nothing really happens here.”

Singapore, once swampland, is now a multicultural hub of commerce. The old colonial facades remain – such as Raffles, the hotel where you gulp SingaporeSlings in a nutshell-strewn bar among superannuated cruise ship tourists – but it’s the glitz that catches the eye.

The huge Prada store on Orchard Road is capitalism in steel and electric form, while the Marina Bay Sands hotel dominates the skyline, looking like a boat has been carefully dropped upon it. There is colour and bustle in Chinatown, with its handsome temples and excellent food, but otherwise Singapore feels like it’s been scrubbed to within an inch of its life.
FacebookTwitterPinterest Marina Bay was quick to mark the 50th anniversary of Singapore in 2015. Photograph: Mohd Fyrol/AFP/Getty Images

Day-to-day life is famously governed by a series of rules that maintain this clean, well-ordered city. The import of chewing gum is banned, therefore globs of the stuff aren’t found on the street. There are fines for irritating people with a musical instrument or your own drunkenness. Uttering an obscene song lyric or obstructing someone as they walk carries the threat of jail.

The result is a low-crime, scrupulously run city – with none of the incomprehensible, exciting chaos of cities found in neighbouring Indonesia or Malaysia. Aspects such as Singapore’s “intelligent” congestion charge system are held up as triumphs of urban thinking – but such achievements are made altogether easier by the authoritarianism that is evident as soon as you scratch the surface of life here.

“If you grow up in a first world country, you make the automatic assumption that economic development and basic freedoms go together,” says Alex Au, a Singapore-based writer. “But as you can also see in China, they are two separate things. Singapore likes to pull the wool over people’s eyes. It likes to say, ‘Oh, don’t we look like the west, with our glass and our skyscrapers, how developed we are.’ But it just serves as a mask.”
FacebookTwitterPinterest Singapore’s low crime rate is underpinned by authoritarianism. Photograph: WestEnd61/Rex

Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, launched legal action against Au last year for comments made about the government’s integrity on Au’s blog, called Yawning Bread. Despite making a retraction, Au is still being pursued through the courts.

It’s a fate that also befell Leslie Chew last year, who was arrested and charged with “sedition” over the content of his cartoon strip, called Demon-cratic Singapore. Yet another man, Roy Ngerng, is being sued by the prime minister for defamation over a blog. Ngerng was recently fired from his job at a local hospital, a dismissal he claims is politically motivated.

The effect of all this is a kind of semi-freedom. According to the Freedom House watchdog, Singapore, ruled by the same party since 1959, is only “partly free”. The government doesn’t drag people off the streets, but the populace acts as if it could be a possibility.

“I wouldn’t criticise all the rules in Singapore,” Au says. “If you step on dog poo on the pavement, you’d appreciate a rule against that. If anything, we should ignore the little things and talk about the censorship of the media and the arts. That creates a climate of self-censorship that wouldn’t be obvious to a tourist.”

There are other rules that may surprise the outsider. It’s difficult to buy public-adminstered housing in Singapore unless you’re married or over 35, which presents a further barrier on top of the high cost of dwellings in the city. Car ownership is also banned, unless you purchase one of a set number of expensive permits first.

“You can’t buy a flat if you’re single, which my generation isn’t too happy about,” says Samantha de Silva, a 31-year-old entrepreneur. “You feel you have to get married to get a flat, which is a strange economic transaction.”
FacebookTwitterPinterest Singapore’s huge Prada store is capitalism in steel and electric form. Photograph: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

De Silva said she felt quite oppressed when growing up, never quite sure how far she could push seemingly arbitrary authority before it pushed back. Things are changing now, however.

“Social media has changed a lot; it’s changed everything really,” she says. “Kids now see things differently; they don’t have the fear of the older generations. They are used to expressing themselves – there are quite a few poets and fiction writers now. People have a real passion for creative things.

“A friend of mine teaches in a polytechnic and he said these kids dream big. He asked them what they want to be when they grow up and they say ‘a Korean pop star’. The other kids don’t laugh at that. They don’t feel any limitations.”

Some do feel the heavy weight of state sanction, however. Chew, the Demon-cratic cartoonist who was charged with sedition, had his computers seized, his passport frozen and spent three months in detention.

“I have long suspected that the ruling party was a bunch of power-abusing hypocrites, and that encounter merely confirms the notion,” Chew says. He likens the control of the media as similar to that of North Korea. The wealth gap is getting worse, Chew says, fuelled by an “open door” approach to immigration.
FacebookTwitterPinterest ‘A city that has been scrubbed to within an inch of its life.’ Photograph: Alywin Chew/Reuters

“Day-to-day life gets harder and harder,” he says. “We are now one of the most expensive countries in the world with the highest cost of living, and no minimum wage to ensure that a person who puts in a honest day work can afford even the basic sustenance.

“We have elderly scavenging cardboard to sell for 10 cents a kilogram to make their next meal. The woes faced by the common folks are endless. There are just too many examples. Life is a horror if one does not belong to the rich.”

“It’s all about the money,” says De Silva.“I think we are way too materialistic as a nation. If you are a barista or waitress, you could be proud in other places for being the best in your job. Here it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re a waitress.’ I’d like to see a Singapore where you aren’t judged by how much money you make.”

Others would like to see further changes. Au, who is gay, would like to see homosexuality decriminalised and the government remove itself from the ownership of the media, for starters. But he accepts that a Hong Kong-style uprising isn’t imminent.

“It depends on your horizons,” he says. “If you keep to yourself, life is very comfortable here. But if self-expression is important, you will be stymied at every turn.

“Increasingly, young Singaporeans are finding that the comfortable life is not enough, and they are rubbing up against those structures. It’s a Faustian deal. Some citizens are prepared to make that deal. Some are not.”

• This article was amended on 6 January 2015 to correct a statement that it is “forbidden to buy property in Singapore unless you’re married”. To buy through Singapore’s public Housing and Development board, you must be at least 21 and purchasing with someone in your “family nucleus” – such as a sibling or spouse – or at least 35 if you are single. There are exceptions for orphans and the widowed.

Friday, May 5, 2017

"Why are Corte Madera housing numbers so high?"

Diane Furst, Corte Madera Mayor and TAM commission members asks MTC planner why Corte Madera is again given such a high amount of housing in Plan Bay Area 2040.   Corte Madera Mayor,  The MTC planner doesn't really have an answer except to say,  "we will look into that" .  The problem with all central plans is that it is impossible to know the nuances of every locality.  This is why Plan Bay Area 2040 is destined to fail.  Filmed at the Plan Bay Area information session held in Marin Civic Center on April 27,  2017. To find out more and submit comments    see

Will Plan Bay Area take a close look at Marin's Economy?

Novato councilperson, Pat Eklund asks Plan Bay Area 2040 to take a close look at Marin's economy BEFORE mandating change on our communities. The planner was evasive in his answer.  I believe the answer is no.  Regional plans have priority.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Not all land is buildable in Marin.

Charles Kaufman of Sausalito points out that Plan Bay Area 2040 assumes that undevelopable land is not really inventory for housing.  The MTC planner, Ken Kirkey admits that the Urban Sim model may have flaws yet the REGIONAL plans are more important than local planning objectives.  This is a key reason that Plan Bay Area 2040 is fatally flawed.  Central planning does not work

Will Plan Bay Area Plan Understand Marin?

Pam Drew, Novato Councilperson shares concern about the "one size fits all" software used across nine bay area counties for millions of people.  Marin has unique topography that limits development and residents prefer low density development. Plan Bay Area recommends intensive high density development along  Highway 101. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

San Franciscans are in the dark about the city's plans for surveillance streetlights

Editor's Note:  Although Marinwood CSD is currently replacing the sodium halide streetlights with LED streetlights for dramatic energy savings, we have no reason to suspect that they will have this technology here.  Still the fact that this technology is in use in a free society, it is worthwhile to consider the impacts on our liberty. For us, this is a chilling reminder of Orwell's "Big Brother" and  dangers of a omniscient powerful central government. They already are installing license plate readers on the Golden Gate bridge and the highways...

Full story: San Francisco gets Spy Streetlights

In the Netherlands city of Eindhoven, the streetlights lining a central commercial strip will glow red if a storm is coming. It's a subtle cue that harkens back to an old phrase about a red sky warning mariners that bad weather is on the way. The automated color change is possible because satellite weather data flows over a network to tiny processors installed inside the lampposts, which are linked by an integrated wireless system.

Lighting hues reflecting atmospheric changes are only the beginning of myriad functions these so-called "smart streetlights" can perform. Each light has something akin to a smartphone embedded inside of it, and the interconnected network of lights can be controlled by a central command center.
Since they have built-in flexibility for multiple adaptations, the systems can be programmed to serve a wide variety of purposes. Aside from merely illuminating public space, possible uses could include street surveillance with tiny cameras, monitoring pedestrian or vehicle traffic, or issuing emergency broadcasts via internal speaker systems.

The smart streetlights aren't just streetlights — they're data collection devices that have the potential to track anything from pedestrian movements to vehicle license plate numbers. And, through a curious process distinctly lacking in transparency, these spylights are on their way to San Francisco.

So far, the implications of using this technology for such wide-ranging objectives have barely been explored. "San Francisco thought they were upgrading their 18,000 lamps with LEDs and a wireless control system, when they realized that they were in fact laying the groundwork for the future intelligent public space," LLGA cofounder Sascha Haselmeyer stated in an interview with Open Source Cities. "Eindhoven is pioneering this with ... completely new, intelligent lighting concepts that adapt to the citizen not just as a utility, but a cultural and ambient experience. So many questions remain," he added, and offered a key starting point: "Who owns all that data?"


Phillips Lighting, which was involved in installing the Eindhoven smart streetlights system, played a role in launching the San Francisco pilot. Paradox Engineering recently opened a local office. Oracle, a Silicon Valley tech giant, is also involved — even though it's not a lighting company.
"Oracle, of course, manages data," Haselmeyer explained to the Guardian when reached by phone in his Barcelona office. "They were the first to say, 'We need to understand how data collected from lampposts will be controlled in the city.'"

According to a press release issued by Paradox Engineering, "Oracle will help managing and analyzing data coming from this ground-breaking system." Oracle is also a corporate sponsor of the LLGA program. It has been tangentially involved in the pilot project "because of a longstanding relationship we had with the city of San Francisco," Oracle spokesperson Scott Frendt told us.
Paradox was selected as the winner for San Francisco's "sustainability challenge" through LLGA, which is now housed under, "a technology start-up offering a professional networking and market exchange platform," according to the company website.

In May of 2012, the SFPUC sent one of its top-ranking officials, Assistant General Manager Barbara Hale, to Rio for the LLGA awards summit. There, technology vendors of all stripes showcased their products and mingled with local officials from Barcelona, Cape Town, Glasgow, Fukuoka and other international cities. San Francisco was the only US city in attendance. San Francisco will even host the next summit this coming May at Fort Mason.

In Rio, Paradox was lauded as the winning vendor for San Francisco's LLGA streetlights "challenge." It didn't take long for the company to hit the ground running. "Soon after the Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, where we were announced winners for San Francisco, we started discussing with the SFPUC the objectives and features of the pilot project," Paradox announced on the LLGA website. "Working closely with the SFPUC, we also had the opportunity to build solid partnerships with notable industry players such as Philips Lighting and Oracle."


On Nov. 15, Paradox hosted an invite-only "networking gala" titled "Smart Cities: The Making Of." The event brought together representatives from Oracle, the SFPUC, Phillips, LLGA, and the Mayor's Office of Civic Innovation, "to learn about the challenges of urban sustainability in the Internet of Things era," according to an event announcement.

"The project we're piloting with the SFPUC is highly innovative since it puts into practice the new paradigm of the 'Internet of Things,' where any object can be associated with an IP address and integrated into a wider network to transmit and receive relevant information," Gianni Minetti, president and CEO at Paradox, stated in a press release.

The event was also meant to celebrate Paradox's expansion into the North American urban lighting space, a feat that was greatly helped along by the LLGA endeavor. But how did a Swiss company manage to hook up with a San Francisco city agency in the first place — and win a deal without ever going through the normal procurement process?

San Francisco's involvement in LLGA began with Chris Vein, who served as the city's Chief Technology Officer under former Mayor Gavin Newsom. (Vein has since ascended to the federal government to serve as Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer for Government Innovation for President Barack Obama.)

To find the right fit for San Francisco's wireless LED streetlights "challenge" under the LLGA program, a judging panel was convened to score more than 50 applicant submissions received through the program framework. Judges were selected "based upon knowledge and contacts of people in the SFPUC Power Enterprise," Tienken explained. The scoring system, Haselmeyer said, measures sustainability under a rubric developed by the United Nations.

Jurists for San Francisco's streetlight program were handpicked from the SFPUC, the San Francisco Department of Technology, Phillips, and several other organizations. An international jurist is designated by LLGA for each city's panel of jurists, Haselmeyer said, "so as to avoid any kind of local stitch-up."

He stressed that "the city is explicitly not committing to any procurement." Instead, vendors agree to test out their technology in exchange for cities' dedication of public space and other resources. Tienken, who manages the city's LED Streetlight Conversion Project, noted that "Paradox Engineering is not supposed to make a profit" under the LLGA program guidelines. "We'll pay them a $15,000 stipend," she said, the same amount that will be awarded to the firms that are now in negotiation for pilot projects of their own.

"San Francisco is using this to learn about the solution," Haselmeyer added. "This company will not have any advantage," when it comes time to tap a vendor for the agency's long-term goal of upgrading 18,500 of its existing streetlights with energy-saving LED lamps and installing a $2 million control system.

At the same time, the program clearly creates an inside track — and past LLGA participants have landed lucrative city contracts. Socrata, a Seattle-based company, was selected as a LLGA winner in 2011 and invited to run a pilot project before being tapped to power, the "next-generation, cloud-based San Francisco Open Data site" unveiled by Mayor Ed Lee's office in March of 2012.

The mayor's press release, which claimed that the system "underscores the Mayor's commitment to providing state of the art access to information," made no mention of LLGA.


Throughout this process of attending an international summit in Rio, studying applications from more than 50 vendors, selecting Paradox as a winner, and later issuing an RFP, a very basic question has apparently gone unaddressed. Is a system of lighting fixtures that persistently collects data and beams it across invisible networks something San Franciscans really want to be installed in public space?
And, if these systems are ultimately used for street surveillance or traffic monitoring and constantly collecting data, who will have access to that information, and what will it be used for? Haselmeyer acknowledged that the implementation of such a system should move forward with transparency and a sensitivity to privacy implications.

"Many cities are deploying sensors that detect the Bluetooth signal of your mobile phone. So, they can basically track movements through the city," Haselmeyer explained. "Like anything with technology, there's a huge amount of opportunity and also a number of questions. ... You have movement sensors, traffic sensors, or the color [of a light] might change" based on a behavior or condition. "There's an issue about who can opt in, or opt out, of what."

Tienken and Sheehan downplayed the RFP's reference to "street surveillance" as a potential use of the wireless LED systems, and stressed that the pilot projects are only being used to study a narrow list of features. "The PUC's interest is in creating an infrastructure that can be used by multiple agencies or entities ... having a single system rather than have each department install its own system," Tienken said. The SFPUC is getting the word out about the next batch of pilots by reaching out to police precinct captains and asking them to announce it in their newsletters, since "streetlighting is a public safety issue," as Tienken put it.

Haselmeyer acknowledged that public input in such a program is important: "It's very important to do these pilot projects, because it allows those community voices to be heard. In the end, the city has to say, look — is it really worth all of this, or do we just want to turn our lights on and off?"


One company that is particularly interested in San Francisco pilot is IntelliStreets, a Michigan firm that specializes in smart streetlights. IntelliStreets CEO Ron Harwood told the Guardian that his company was a contender for the pilot through LLGA; he even traveled to Rio and delivered a panel talk on urban lighting systems alongside Hale and a representative from Oracle.

A quick Google search for IntelliStreets shows that the company has attracted the attention of activists who are worried that these lighting products represent a kind of spy tool, and a spooky public monitoring system that would strip citizens of their right to privacy and bolster law enforcement activities.

"It's not a listening device," Harwood told the Guardian, when asked about speakers that would let operators communicate with pedestrians, and vice-versa. "So you can forget about the Fourth Amendment" issues.

Harwood seemed less concerned about the activists who've decried his product as a modern day manifestation of Big Brother, and more worried about why his company was not chosen to provide wireless LED streetlights in San Francisco. After being passed over in the LLGA process, Harwood said IntelliStreets responded to the RFP issued in the weeks following the Rio summit. Once again, Harwood's firm didn't make the cut.

Since his company provides very similar services to those described in the RFP, Harwood said he was "confused" by the outcome of the selection process. IntelliStreets' Chief Administration Officer Michael Tardif was more direct. "Clearly we think this was an inside deal," Tardif told the Guardian. Tienken, for her part, declined to discuss why San Francisco had rejected IntelliStreets' application.
And when a public records request was submitted to the agency last August for details on San Francisco's participation in LLGA, the response was opaque at best. "After a duly diligent search we find that there are no documents responsive to your request," an SFPUC public records coordinator responded via email. "The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is not a participant, nor is involved with Living Labs Global Award. Please know that we take our obligations under the Sunshine Ordinance very seriously." That was just an honest mistake, Sheehan tells the Guardian now by way of explanation. In the public records division, "Clearly, nobody had any familiarity with LLGA."

Will Marin get the Orwellian "Intellistreets" security grid?

We found out about  which boasts new LED technology and are passing this on to you.  The Marinwood CSD is installing new LED lamps but to our knowledge they do not possess any of this surveillance technology. 

This Orwellian technology down right spooky and learned that San Franscisco has similar snooping cameras on its buses.  Other communities nationwide are looking into this technology and are expected to install it in 2013.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.- Ben Franklin

The above graphic is from the company's website

When is there "too much salt in the soup"?

When is there "too much salt in the soup"?

$299,000 overtime payout boosted Oakland city engineer’s total compensation to nearly $500,000

$299,000 overtime payout boosted Oakland city engineer’s total compensation to nearly $500,000

Oakland civil engineer Kenny Lau’s $484,175 pay and benefits package was the largest of any Oakland worker last year, according to just released 2016 pay data from
Lau was able to collect total compensation so far in excess of his $108,841 regular salary thanks to receiving $299,000 in overtime pay — the fourth largest OT payout of the more than 550,000 government workers surveyed statewide.
Such an outsized OT payout suggests a total of 5,890 hours worked for the year, which averages out to over 16 hours a day for all 365 days of the year, according to Transparent California research director Robert Fellner.
Transparent California requested a copy of Lau’s time cards or other records indicating total hours worked for the 2016 year more than two weeks ago, but has yet to receive a response from the city.
Remarkably, this is the 2nd year in a row Lau received the state’s 4th largest OT payout, having received $257,097 in 2015.
Soaring OT pay has increased Lau’s total compensation significantly over the past four years, which has risen from roughly $300,000 in 2013 to nearly $500,000 last year.
“The extent and duration of such an enormous level of overtime pay for a single worker raises a host of questions regarding efficiency, safety and legitimacy,” Fellner said.
“It is simply inconceivable for an employee to have worked as many hours as this amount of overtime indicates. The City should immediately conduct an audit into their procedures and policies governing overtime pay.”
After Lau, the next four highest compensated Oakland city workers were:
  1. Police officer Malcolm Miller: $463,215.
  2. Fire department engineer Preetpal Dhaliwal, whose $263,174 OT payout was the sixth highest of any city worker surveyed and boosted his total compensation to $456,216.
  3. City administrator Sabrina Birnbaum: $421,713.
  4. Battalion chief Demond Summons: $414,730.
City workers’ earnings more than double that of residents
Total city-wide compensation increased nearly 5 percent year over year to $550 million, with the median full-time, full-year Oakland city worker having earned $96,406 in total wages and $145,355 in total compensation last year. By comparison, the median Oakland private-sector worker earned $44,875 in 2015 — according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Compensation is defined as total wages plus the employer cost of retirement and health benefits.
To explore the full dataset in a searchable and downloadable format, please visit
To schedule an interview with Transparent California, please contact Robert Fellner at 559-462-0122 or
Transparent California is California’s largest and most comprehensive database of public sector compensation and is a project of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. Learn more at

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Aldous Huxley on Technodictators

"If you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled" - Aldous Huxley

Interview by Mike Wallace on May 18, 1958, from the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin

"This is Aldous Huxley, a man haunted by a vision of hell on earth. Mr. Huxley wrote a Brave New World, a novel that predicted that some day the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship. Today Mr. Huxley says that his fictional world of horror is probably just around the corner for all of us." - Mike Wallace

In this remarkable interview, Huxley foretells a future when telegenic presidential hopefuls use television to rise to power, technology takes over, drugs grab hold, and frightful dictatorships rule us all. 

Enjoy the journey and tell us in the comments whether he was right.

Learn more about Aldous Huxley, including his connections with The Doors and Carl Sagan, on our website:

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Happy Monday!

Beware of the Financial Trap of "Affordable" Housing

Beware of the Financial Trap of "Affordable" Housing.  Based on the true story of Susan and Diane.


Life sometimes delivers us unexpected trouble.  That is what happens to the two heroines of our fictional tale in 1988. Both suddenly became single moms due to the unexpected death of their husbands. Each of them have a good job in the hospital where they work as nurses.  The pay is adequate and steady but cannot replace the income of their departed husbands. To survive, both women must return to work full time.

But even with a full time income, it is not enough to stay in their comfortable surroundings.   After some searching, both moms discover that they will qualify for low income housing assistance.

Diane decides to take the opportunity for affordable housing in Roundtree condominiums in Marinwood,  the apartment is new and the Dixie school system has a good reputation.  The cut in her rent is a welcome comfort and guaranteed for as long as she remains within a certain range of income. She remains at her job level otherwise she would earn "too much" and lose her affordable apartment.

Susan decides not to accept the offer of low income housing.  Instead she decides to work longer hours and improve her professional qualification to earn more money.  She struggles for years with the demands of motherhood, childcare and a career.  Eventually, she begins to earn a respectable salary.  Because she is thrifty, she is able to save for a downpayment for a modest condo in Roundtree Condominiums in Marinwood where 
Diane and her children live in affordable housing. She must pay double what Diane pays for equivalent housing but has the benefit of building equity.. 

Years pass. It is 2014 and both moms have survived their struggles. Finally, with the children out of the home, Diane has the extra money to save for a down payment.

In the 25 years since Diane became single, home prices have gone up  400%.   The condo  Susan struggled to buy for $85,000 is now worth $450,000.  

Diane must now save  $100,000 for a down payment to buy a $450,000 condominum in Susan's complex. Diane must decide whether it is worth investing in the real estate market or simply invest her savings in investments for retirement.

Susan's condominium in Roundtree is nearly paid off.  Her professional qualifications have served her well and now is an instructor at a local college.  She has a great job and $450,000 in equity. 

These mothers deserve our praise.  They have struggled and triumphed over adversity.  They preserved their family and did their best for their children.
Who would you rather be in 2014, Diane or Susan?
Most people would prefer the financial security of Susan.  Diane is still a renter without equity and an uncertain retirement.
Is "affordable" housing a financial trap for the unwary?  

Moral: Ownership provides many benefits over subsidized housing.  A subsidized renter is penalized for improving his/her financial condition with the loss of their rent subsidy and doesn't build savings or equity.  Professional development and ownership provides economic stability that a rent subsidy can never accomplish. 

TAM Measure A sales tax presentation 4/25/2017

TAM director Diane Steinhauser seeks support for a sales tax increase in Marin.  She is one of the highest paid employees in Marin.  The sales tax will hurt people with low income the hardest. Shrimp cocktails for our political elite and stale crackers for the public.

The survey was flawed and had multiple submissions per computer IP Address.  It is another example of manipulation of data by TAM .  How can trust TAM?? They have consistently hidden embarrassing data, misappropriated funds meant for road repairs for the SMART train and bicycle  lanes.  

They must either do their job or disband and redirect 100% of the revenue to road maintenance.

The Marinwood CSD regularly violates the Brown Act by prohibiting Public Comment.

A. Is there a right to participate in public meetings?

Yes, during a regular or special meeting, but not during a closed meeting. Under both Acts, a body must provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address each agenda item under consideration by the body either before or during the body’s discussion. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11125.7(a) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54954.3(a) (Brown Act). Additionally, under the Brown Act, during a regular session but not during a special session, the public has a right to comment “on any item of interest to the public, before or during the legislative body’s consideration of the item, that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body ….”  Cal. Gov’t Code § 54954.3(a). This right has been construed to mean that there must be a period of time provided for general public comment on any matter within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body, as well as an opportunity for public comment on each specific agenda item as it is taken up by the body.  Galbiso v. Orosi Public Utility Dist., 167 Cal. App. 4th 1063, 1080, 84 Cal. Rptr. 3d 788 (2008); see also Chaffee v. San Francisco Library Commission, 115 Cal. App. 4th 461, 468-69, 9 Cal. Rptr. 3d 336 (2004).  Under the Brown Act, the right to comment includes the right to comment on matters to be considered by the body in closed session.  Galbiso, 167 Cal. App. 4th at 1080; see also Leventhal v. Vista Unified School Dist., 149 Cal. App. 4th 11424, 1437-39, 57 Cal. Rptr. 3d 885 (2007).
Under both Acts, the right to comment on agenda items does not apply if the agenda item has already been considered by a committee composed exclusively of members of the body at a public meeting where the public had the opportunity to address the committee on the item, before or during the committee's consideration of the item, unless the item has been substantially changed since the committee heard the item, as determined by the body. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11125.7(a) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54954.3(a) (Brown Act).
The Bagley-Keene Act further provides that public testimony may be taken at a regular or special meeting if the state body takes no action at the same meeting on matters not on the notice and agenda that are brought before the body by the public. Cal. Gov't Code § 11125.7(a).
Under both Acts, the state body or the legislative body of a local agency may not prohibit public criticism of the policies, procedures, programs or services of the body, or the acts or omissions of the body. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11125.7(c) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54954.3(c) (Brown Act)  see link HERE
Editor's Note: On Tuesday, April 25, 2017 a special budget meeting for the Marinwood CSD was held. The public was not allowed "open time" in gross violation of the Brown Act.  The new general manager Eric Dreikosen is under the mistaken belief that the public comments are banned at special meetings.  As you can see from the above legal analysis, he is incorrect.  Mr. Dreikosen also maintains that all communications be addressed to him for distribution. He has refused to release the emails of CSD board members. He believes this to be in violation of their "privacy".  He should inform the Marin County Supervisors, State Senate and Assembly for they all encourage communication with the public.  How else do you have a functioning democracy?