Friday, December 8, 2017

Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD tepid response to Illegal Tree Removal on the Nature Trail.

Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD manager

Email sent to me by Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD manager on 12/7/2017:

Considering what we have learned of the resident, an elderly widow who recently lost her husband and have owned their property for over 40 years, I seriously doubt she had any malicious intent in her actions.  We are attempting to make contact and speak with the resident, upon which time District personnel will decide the most appropriate course of action.  Ideally, this will be done in a neighborly fashion with and in the cooperation and understanding of the resident. Thank you for your concern and bringing this to the attention of the District. Eric

Here is how the Marin Board of Supervisors responded to a similar situation in 2010.

Marin will throw the book at San Rafael tree vandal suspect

Marin County will throw the book at a San Francisco dentist accused of vandalizing McNears Beach Park by cutting eucalyptus trees.
Marin County supervisors emerged from a closed session Tuesday to report the county will sue Dr. Rebecca P. Castaneda in civil court for damages after the tree cutting in which one eucalyptus was chainsawed and others stripped of branches this summer in an apparent bid to open up a backyard bay vista.
Castaneda was charged with one count of felony vandalism and two misdemeanor counts of illegal tree cutting in a complaint filed by District Attorney Edward Berberian in Marin County Superior Court on Monday.
But the county board agreed that in addition to the felony case pursued by Berberian, the county will press a civil action.
"The board has authorized county counsel to file a civil action against Rebecca Castaneda and any other parties county counsel determines are responsible, in connection with cutting of trees on or about Aug. 3, 2010 on county property in McNears Park," the board said in a written statement distributed by president Judy Arnold.
Arnold did not elaborate but Supervisor Susan Adams said all agreed that "there should be a clear message sent that destruction of public property should not be allowed to happen."
Adams added it was unfortunate Castenada "did not call me" to discuss the tree issue in her San Rafael-area district.
Officials have said the county might recover "treble damages" in civil court, and one county estimate put the damage at $80,000.
Castaneda's attorney, Marc Stolman of Larkspur, has called the vandalism charge filed by Berberian ridiculous, saying "the real issue ? is the county's failure to maintain the trees."
Stolman was not immediately available for comment on the county's civil suit.
The towering trees are just below Castaneda's home at 64 Marin Bay Park Court in a gated subdivision off Point San Pedro Road, north of the entrance to the county park.
Stolman has called for a settlement, saying that "although my client does not admit anything, she has offered to take all action necessary to replace any dead or damaged trees, preferably with safe, native trees, and she will help make McNears Beach Park nicer than eve

Editor's Note:  Mr Dreikosen's response is glaringly inconsistent.  Several months ago, Alan Miller, 50+ year resident of Marinwood and Marin IJ writer asked the Marinwood CSD to help pay for landslide repairs after a landslide from Marinwood open space destroyed his backyard.  Dreikosen stonewalled the Millers and the last reports were the issue may have to be resolved in court.  Dreikosen has refused to mediate against the advice of many residents.

The Anti YIMBY Millennials

After dealing with insufferable, millennial YIMBYs on Twitter who want to destroy the Marin County way of life, it is refreshing to listen to young musicians enjoying life without regrets, anger and entitlement.  Chill out.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Cyberspace Spirit- China's hope for a Censorship Free Internet.

Marinwood Park trees illegally removed. Will the CSD allow the vandal to escape legal and civil responsibility?

Marinwood Park trees illegally removed.  

Will the CSD allow the vandal to escape legal and civic responsibility?

On Monday, December 4th, workman on orders clearcut trees in Marinwood Park behind 
485 Quietwood Drive.  The Marinwood CSD was notified on Tuesday.  Erik Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD Manager and Shane Demarta, Parks Director inspected the damage on Wednesday and told the workman to stop and remove debris.  The homeowner has not been contacted as of today.

We find this homeowner's actions outrageous.  Imagine if a neighbor were to hop your fence and have a crew remove trees on YOUR property.

We urge the Marinwood CSD to hold the homeowner accountable for destruction and vandalism of public property.  To ignore this is to give tacit approval for hundreds of other intrusions on our parks and public space.

Please email the Marinwood CSD manager and board of directors and ask them to PROTECT OUR PARKS AND OPEN SPACE:

Eric Dreikosen <>; Shane Demarta <>; Bill Shea <>; Izabela Perry <>; Jeff Naylor <>; Leah Kleinman-Green <>; IRVING SCHWARTZ <>

 In 2010, a resident took down trees in McNears Beach and the County responded with legal action and a civil action estimated to be worth $80k. See story here

Land scarred by trucks.

It appears that the homeowner may have wanted more sun on their rooftop solar collector.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Dixie school board considers parcel tax option AGAIN

Dixie school board considers parcel tax option

The old Dixie Schoolhouse is on Las Gallinas Avenue in front of Miller Creek Middle School.   (IJ photo/Robert Tong)
The old Dixie Schoolhouse is on Las Gallinas Avenue in front of Miller Creek Middle School. (IJ photo/Robert Tong) 

Officials of the Dixie Elementary School District in north San Rafael this week reviewed a draft of a parcel tax measure they are thinking of placing on a May 8, 2018 all-mail ballot.
If approved by voters, the measure, discussed at Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting, would raise the current annual $352 per parcel tax by $118, to a total annual tax of $470, effective July 1, 2018.
“(Tuesday night) was a ‘read and discuss,’” Superintendent Jason Yamashiro said in an email Wednesday. “(The measure) is currently scheduled to be voted on at the January meeting.”
According to the draft, the new tax would run 12 years, with a 3 percent annual increase. Exemptions would be offered for eligible seniors. It would supersede the district’s existing tax measure, which was not due to expire until June 30, 2019.
see article Marin IJ HERE
Editor's Note: A 33.5% increase in parcel tax with a 3% annual increase is very aggressive. It will enventually rise to $670 in addition to the thousands we already pay. Virtually every state and local agency is asking for increase in fees, gas taxes , bridge tolls, sales taxes,etc. lt is easy to see why people say “no more”. We live in one of the highest taxed counties in the highest taxed state in the country. The elimination of the state income tax deduction will hurt us even more. The middle class is being pushed out. Who will be left to pay these taxes?

Victor D Hanson; Explains How Hypocritical the Left is when it comes to Equality

The new $40 I-66 tolls offer great insight into commuter psychology

The new $40 I-66 tolls offer great insight into commuter psychology

ROADSBy David Alpert (Founder) December 5, 201748

Image by @salesgrlncity used with permission.

Solo drivers gained a new option on Monday to pay a toll to drive on I-66 in Virginia inside the Beltway, and the tolls hit $35-40 during morning rush hours. The reactions to this offer a window into the way people respond to prices, and what might happen if and when similar new toll lanes open around the region in the future.

Last week, only people in carpools with two people or more, drivers with an exempt hybrid vehicle, or people going to Dulles Airport could drive on I-66 inside the Beltway in the peak direction (eastbound in the morning, westbound in the afternoon) during peak times. Everybody else was banned, period, and had to use US-50, the GW Parkway, or another road.

This week, every solo driver also now has the option to drive on the road if they pay a toll. Hybrid folks and Dulles users also lost their privileges, and the hours of tolling were increased.

To many drivers' surprise, though, the tolls during rush hour were high, hitting $34.50 Monday morning and reaching $40 Tuesday. Some drivers took to Twitter (hopefully, after finishing driving since they were clearly solo) in a rage:

See full story HERE

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Little-known Yimby-developer bills will have big impact on local planning

Little-known Yimby-developer bills will have big impact on local planning

Growth machine continues its attack on anything that stands in the way of more market-rate housing

December 3, 2017

Of the fifteen bills in the “housing package” signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on September 29, the one that got the most attention in the news media was State Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 35—and for good reason: SB 35 goes a long way toward “putting teeth” in California’s Regional Housing Needs Allocations, the number of housing units whose each city’s and county’s zoning must accommodate. Moreover, the bill’s provisions for “by-right” approval of certain multi-family, infill developments both circumvent the California Environmental Quality Act and eliminate negotiations with developers over community benefits.Housing for all — or just market-rate housing for the rich?

But two other items in the package, SB 167 and AB 1515, that either got much less publicity (SB 167) or virtually none at all (AB 1515) will likely do much more damage to the democratic governance of land use in the state. Both amend California’s Housing Accountability Act, a once-dormant law now being exploited by Bay Area Yimbys.

Passed in 1982, the HAA limits the ability of local agencies to reject or make infeasible housing developments without a thorough analysis of the economic, social and environmental effects of such action. It applies to all housing projects. Most important, the HAA allows a court to compel a city to take action on proposed developments.

Analyzing AB 1515 for the State Senate Rules Committee, Senate staffer Alison Hughes observed that when a jurisdiction is sued under the HAA,

the local government bears the burden of proof that its decision has conformed to all of the requirements in the law, including, if applicable, any findings that the development was not consistent with the city’s general plan or zoning standards.….

[I]n order to qualify for the Housing Accountability Act’s protections, a development must be consistent with a city’s general plan and zoning standards in effect at the time that the application was deemed complete. In land use cases, when the issue is such consistency, courts have tended to defer to local governments, unless the court finds that the local government acted arbitrarily, capriciously, or without evidentiary basis.

In legalistic terms, a local government’s decision would be upheld unless no reasonable person could have made the same decision—a very high bar. AB 1515 effectively lowered the bar to the ground.

AB 1515, Hughes explained, “requires courts to give less deference to a local government’s consistency determination. It changes the [evidentiary] standard of review by providing that a project is consistent if there is substantial evidence that would allow a reasonable person to find it consistent.”

AB 1515 was sponsored the California Building Industry Association. The Legislature staff analyses list only one opponent: the California chapter of the American Planning Association. Given that professional planners are usually avid proponents of development, Cal APA’s opposition is striking.

In a letter sent to the members of the Legislature on August 1, Cal APA laid out the harm that AB 1515 does to democratically accountable land use policymaking:

Under current law, a city council or board of supervisors weighs the evidence and reaches a decision based on established principles of democratic decision-making—local governments are ultimately held accountable for their decisions by the local electorate.

AB 1515 would replace the judgment of local elected officials with that of any “reasonable person,” including the project developer who has a fundamental economic interest in the project. When fundamental land use decisions, like general plan consistency, are made by developers rather than elected representatives, local government accountability is compromised and the recourse available to the electorate is taken away.

AB 1515 will allow the applicant, rather than the local agency or a judge, to determine consistency of a development with the General Plan and zoning by allowing the applicant to provide contrary reasons why the project is consistent.

As a result, the issue will be whether a “reasonable person” could conclude that the project is consistent—not whether the city or county had substantial evidence to back up its conclusion.

In response to my e-mailed query, Cal APA Executive Director Sande George elaborated:

Under this bill, a project would have to be found consistent with local plans if there’s any evidence or interpretation supporting a finding of consistency, regardless of circumstances and evidence to the contrary.

The existing standard is that the local agency’s finding is assumed to be correct unless no reasonable person could reach that conclusion. This [standard] retains the “reasonable person” phrasing in the bill but does not allow developers to begin making what are clearly local determinations, or to take a local agency to court over every finding.

Cal APA asked that AB 1515 be amended to read: “the local agency’s finding is assumed to be correct unless no reasonable person could reach that conclusion.” Request rejected.

The Legislature approved AB 1515 on September 15. On September 19, the League of California Cities sent Gov. Brown a letter requesting him to veto the bill. Like the APA, the League argued that AB 1515 “would deviate from longstanding judicial precedent” that generally deferred to local determination of a project’s consistency with a jurisdiction’s planning.

But whereas the APA held that the bill authorized developers to begin making such determinations, the League contended that it
would essentially allow a court to determine whether a project is consistent with local zoning and general plan [sic] by selecting the substantial evidence it wishes to rely on rather than reviewing whether the city council relied on substantial evidence.
Instead, the League wrote, “[l]ocal governments are in the best position to determine whether a project is consistent with adopted general plan and zoning requirements.”

The Yimbys Seize on the HAA

Besides the California Building Industry Association, AB 1515 supporters included the Bay Area Council, the California Apartment Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California, and Yimby Action. Every one of these organizations also supported SB 35.

But the Yimby support for AB 1515 is particularly notable.

To begin, the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund or CaRLA, self-described as “the legal advocacy arm of the Yimby Party,” qualifies as a “housing organization” that can sue cities under the HAA. The law that made housing organizations eligible to sue under the HAA, AB 2584, is one of the eleven bills listed on the Yimby Legislative Report Card for the California Legislature’s 2016 session. Like AB 1515, AB 2584 was authored by Assemblymember Daly.

Developers are reluctant to sue a city, because they are constantly negotiating with city officials over their projects. The Housing Accountability Act allows a developer’s surrogates to do the dirty work by authorizing as plaintiffs not only a project applicant but also a person who would be eligible to apply for residency in the development, and a housing organization.

As state staffer Rebecca Rabovsky wrote in her analysis of AB 2584, previously “only the project developer or an eligible tenant of the proposed development [could] bring an action against [a] jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of the HAA.” HAA added a “housing organization” to the roster of prospective plaintiffs.

As amended by AB 2584, HAA defines a housing organization as

a trade or industry group whose local members or primarily engaged in the construction or management of housing unit, or a nonprofit organization whose mission includes providing or advocating for increased access to housing for low-income households and have filed written or oral comments with the local agency prior to action on the project.

In 2015, CaRLA sued Lafayette under the HAA and lost; the petitioners were Sonja Trauss and SFBARF (San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation). In 2016 it sued Berkeley and won; this time the petitioners were SFBARF, CaRLA, Trauss, and Diego Aguilar-Canabal. On November 2, CaRLA sued Sausalito; the petitioners are SFBARF, CaRLA, Trauss, and Sausalito resident and San Francisco property owner Robert Tillman. None of these lawsuits concern affordable housing, and two of them don’t concern much new housing of any sort. The Lafayette case involved 44 single-family homes. In Berkeley, the issue was whether an existing single-family home would be demolished and replaced with three single-family units. In Sausalito, the city has denied an application to demolish and remodel a duplex and add a new single-family unit.

SB 167 was drafted by prominent Bay Area Yimby Brian Hanlon. Hanlon runs CaRLA with SFBARF founder Trauss.

Like AB 1515, SB 167 weakens local authority over land use decisions by changing the evidentiary standard for determining whether a proposed development is consistent with a jurisdiction’s zoning. The change is different, however. AB 1515 makes it much easier to challenge a city’s disapproval of a project by lowering the standard of evidence for mounting such a challenge. SB 167 makes it much harder for a city to disapprove a project in the first place by raising the standard of evidence for such a disapproval.

Before SB 167, a city could disapprove a project based on “substantial” evidence in the record, which means requiring “more than a ‘mere scintilla of evidence.” SB 167 changed the standard to “a preponderance of” evidence in the record, which is to say, to evidence showing that the argument at hand is more likely than not to be convincing and accurate.

SB 167 further strengthened the developer hand at the expense of local government by expanding the Housing Accountability Act’s provisions about attorney’s fees. Before SB 167, a court could award “reasonable attorney’s fees and cost of suit” to a petitioner. SB 167 mandates that a housing organization shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees if it sues a city under the HAA and wins.

SB 167 also increased the size of fine that a court can impose on a city. If a court finds a violation of the HAA, SB 167 requires the court to impose a fine in a minimum amount of $10K per housing unit (in the Yimby first draft of the bill, the fine was $100K per unit). Money cannot be paid out of a fund already committed to affordable housing. Fines go into an affordable housing trust fund with the sole purpose of financing newly constructed housing units affordable to extremely low, very low, or low-income households.”

And if a court finds that a city acted in bad faith when it rejected or conditionally approved the housing development or failed to carry out the court’s order within 60 days, the court must multiply the fine by a factor of five.

Like the other bills in the housing package. AB 1515 and SB 167 take effect on January 1, 2018.

The Yimbys and other stalwarts of the California growth machine cast growth-resistant communities as a mighty political force. Yet AB 1515 and SB 167 made their way through the Legislature without grass-roots protest. That history suggests that the growth entrepreneurs’ portrait of a Nimby juggernaut is a caricature whose main purpose is to justify the machine’s ongoing assault on local authority over land use.

Is Fascism Right or Left

Plan Bay Area is a regional plan designed to manage housing, transportation and the economy administered by government bureaucracy in direct opposition to our democratic tradition of a citizen participation. It is fascism at its core.

Monday, December 4, 2017

China’s Urbanization Plans Are Going Wrong | China Uncensored

The eerie similarity of Chinese urbanization plans to Plan Bay Area and  UN Agenda's 21.

Will Marin County have stacked building like Singapore's Interlaced Apartments in the future

Are Singapore's Interlaced apartments a model for Marin County in the future?  Some urban planning advocates see no limits to urban density and favor this type of lifestyle?   I prefer open space and independence.  How about you?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Residents live in filth, fear in mismanaged Bay Area public housing

Residents live in filth, fear in mismanaged Bay Area public housing see Center for Investigative Reporting

Editor's Note: The New HUD financed affordable housing in Marinwood like the proposed Marinwood Village will import out of county residents from East Bay Cities to fill them just like Hamilton's Bay Vista and Wyndover projects. Marinwood-Lucas Valley has been given 70% of all affordable housing in the 2012 Housing Element for unincorporated Marin. Supervisor Susan Adams was a prime advocate of placing housing here.
For months, Geneva Eaton woke to handfuls of half-dead mice wriggling in her glue traps.

Credit: Lacy Atkins/San Francisco Chronicle

There were at least 16 life-threatening health and safety violations at the five public housing projects managed by the housing authority, according to the two most recent years of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports. Seniors and disabled residents lived amid exposed wiring and missing smoke detectors and fire alarms. Most well-kempt housing projects don’t have these major health and safety violations, HUD says.
Nearly 1 in 5 apartments in the Hacienda and Nevin Plaza complexes are infested with insects and cockroaches, inspection records show.
Then there are the indignities that don’t show up in formal government reports: A woman with no legs giving herself sponge baths from her bathroom sink because maintenance workers didn’t install a simple safety bar in her shower. The fire department rescuing a paralyzed veteran from his third-floor apartment because the elevators didn’t work for three days. A disabled man who watched in horror for nearly a month as raw sewage slowly dripped from the neighbor’s bathroom upstairs.
Residents say their pleas for basic maintenance are ignored by officials paid to provide services to the poor.
CIR also found a number of cases in which housing authority workers claimed in official documents to have fixed problems. But they hadn’t.
“It’s just continual chaos here,” said Everett Dennis Lewis, a disabled resident of Hacienda. “The housing authority doesn’t give a crap.”
There are 4,055 public housing agencies in the United States, all overseen by HUD. Last year, the federal government labeled 44 as “troubled” – housing authorities that had such severe problems with their finances, management or living conditions that the government was on the brink of shutting them down.
Richmond was one of them.
In the most recent federal assessment reports, released in 2013, Richmond received a score of 47 out of 100, one of the lowest rankings in the country. It received failing marks for running up debt and failing to track its finances. Its executive director was deemed ineffective.
Richmond managed to receive a passing grade for the condition of most of its apartments. For the most part, the projects in Richmond aren’t as dilapidated as those in Detroit and New Orleans. But the breakdown in finances and leadership manifests itself daily at Richmond’s two largest – and worst – complexes as residents struggle with rodents, filth and security problems.
“They are a dysfunctional organization,” said Gerard Windt, division director of the HUD office that oversees Richmond.
The Richmond Housing Authority got $26 million in 2013 from the federal government to provide safe and decent housing for the needy. Richmond has 715 units of public housing for the poor, elderly and disabled. It also gives out Section 8 vouchers to subsidize rent for an additional 1,750 residents on the private market.
Residents who end up in Richmond’s public housing are predominantly old or disabled African Americans. More than three-quarters of them make less than 30 percent of Contra Costa County’s median income, or $18,750 a year, according to HUD. Many of them used to have jobs as grocery baggers, janitors and food service workers until they got old or sick. Some lived on the streets, and others struggle with addiction.
Residents don’t get their apartments for free. Almost 90 percent pay between $200 and $500 a month in rent, according to HUD. Eaton pays $262 a month to the housing authority.
The authority’s executive director, Tim Jones, said he’s “running an operation on life support.” He blamed years of budget cuts from the federal government for the problems plaguing the housing authority and insisted that the agency is on the road to recovery. He said the problems come down to money.
All 4,000-plus housing authorities across America face these same slashed budgets. About 1 percent of those agencies find themselves on HUD’s troubled list.
Maintenance complaints neglected
When Juanita Hasnat moved into Nevin Plaza in 2011, the housing authority knew she was disabled. But her apartment didn’t have a simple disabled access fixture: a safety bar in the bathtub.
Hasnat told the housing authority about the oversight, thinking it would be a quick fix. But

Landlord yells at Marin County Supervisors over affordable housing

Dave Coury, landlord in Marin County makes a "full throated" appeal to Marin County Supervisor for tenant reforms. Never a shrinking violet, he is a towering man frequently seen at Marin county meetings calling for the destruction of single family zoning, abolishment of Prop 13, just cause evictions, more section 8 and rent control. One wonders why he spends his time with advocacy at public meetings for more taxes and government controls when he could easily devote his wealth to direct charity.