Saturday, August 4, 2018

An illegal 20' setback is presented to Marinwood CSD

Marinwood CSD is presented a  20' setback from Miller Creek that uses a dated topographical map.  The top of stream bank is considerable different in the field and the presenter claims a 20' setback which is actually 120' for Marinwood Park since the 2007 Marin General Plan.  This subjects Marinwood CSD to legal consequences .

ICE's No Tolerance Policy is Wreaking Havoc

Who needs Building Permits?

Who needs Building Permits?

The Marinwood CSD needs to follow the building code laws just like everyone else. They need to hire licensed contractors and get permits for their work. Why then is there only 6 documents on file in Marin County Building Department for the entire fifty five year history of Marinwood CSD?
It helps to explain how they got away with the old maintenance shack for so long. Now they want to escape building regulations again with the new 4400 sf Maintenance Compound by ignoring the stream conservation area setbacks. 
If you think Marinwood CSD should follow law and build a right size and legal garage instead….

Friday, August 3, 2018

It’s time officials face the facts about public pensions

Marin Voice: It’s time officials face the facts about public pensions

By Jody Morales


Transparent California released alarming data showing the growth of “promised benefits” in the Marin County Employee Retirement Association (MCERA) compared with the growth of countywide personal income, median household income, inflation and population. The association’s members include the county, city of San Rafael, Novato Fire District and six smaller districts.
In a similar study of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System — the largest public pension fund in the United States — Fellner reported that CalPERS’ promised benefits grew by nearly 900 percent. County public agencies that aren’t MCERA members are CalPERS members.
Marin County, with a population of approximately 260,000, has outdone the nation’s public pension fund Goliath in making costly promises.
For MCERA, promised pension benefits from 1986 to 2016 are up 982 percent, while personal income is up 377 percent, median household income is up 167 percent, inflation is up 139 percent and Marin’s population is up only 17 percent.
Part of the problem is the refusal to face facts.
Example: At a Marin Coalition luncheon on Feb. 4, 2015, there was a discussion between Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans and Rollie Katz, executive director of the Marin Association of Public Employees (MAPE).
One of Katz’s PowerPoint slides contained the following words, verbatim:
What negatively affects pensions?
• Pension enhancements of the late 1990s and early 2000 were ill-advised and added to the cost.
• Increased longevity adds to the cost.
• The primary culprit? The Great Recession.
The primary culprit is an unsustainable pension system, not Wall Street.
Enacted in January 2013, the Public Employee Pension Reform Act made modest reforms to the calculation of public pensions.
These reforms were challenged by county unions that were the first statewide to sue. The plaintiffs are the Marin Association of Public Employees, the Marin County Management Employees Association, SEIU 1021 and the Marin County Firefighters Association.
The suits involve laws no longer allowing “standby” pay, administrative response pay, callback pay and cash payments for waiving health insurance. Previously, these extra payments could be included in the calculation of pensions.
When they lost, MAPE appealed the decision to the state appeals court. The decision was upheld. MAPE appealed to the state Supreme Court.
The appeals court’s summary ruling in MAPE v. MCERA holds the key to reform: “... while a public employee does have a ‘vested right’ to a pension, that right is only to a ‘reasonable’ pension — not an immutable entitlement to the most optimal formula of calculating the pension. And the Legislature may, prior to the employee’s retirement, alter the formula, thereby reducing the anticipated pension. So long as the Legislature’s modifications do not deprive the employee of a ‘reasonable’ pension, there is no constitutional violation.”
Our supervisors must come to terms with the problem and do all they can to rein in costs. To do otherwise could lead to fiscal disaster for both taxpayers and public retirees.
Dealing with it by reducing the number of current workers or salaries is a Band-Aid. A long-term plan must be adopted. All available legislative tools must be used. Negotiations must be transparent to taxpayers.
Above all, based on the hard facts backed by data, it would be prudent for local elected officials to vigorously support the reform legislation currently before the state Supreme Court. So far, they have been silent. SonomaCounty, on the other hand, filed an amicus brief in support of the reform.
Considering that Marin taxpayers are already burdened with excessive debt caused by excessive promises to public employees — resulting in staggering unfunded public retiree debt — it’s the very least our elected officials owe taxpayers.
Jody Morales of Lucas Valley is the founder of Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans, a Marin-based group pressing for public pension reform.

Marinwood Park has a 120' stream setback according to the Assessors Office.

The Stream Conservation Area for Marinwood Park is  120' as seen in county assessors records.
Click for full size image  
Why is Marinwood CSD providing a site plan map that shows only a 20' setback?   That is because they hope they will receive a special allowance to violate the Stream Conservation Ordinance that requires a 120' setback from Miller Creek.    

Marinwood CSD is providing FALSE AND MISLEADING DATA in their EIR documents.  This must not stand.  They are required to follow the law like everyone else.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

AUG 2, 2018 — 
The architect is defending his work by calling his critics liars.  This is quite rich considering how many factual errors and ommission and down right deceptions that appear in the Maintenance Shed site plan.  Notice that they don't want to reveal WHICH lies have been told. It is a juvenile attempt to discredit critics without having to deal with the truth like actual measurements of the building and the site.
Here is how the project was presented in April 2018 by the Architect and Former CSD Director, Bill Hansell. 

A rustic timberframe building for Marinwood Park?

Pre-engineered buildings do not have to look boring.  
Check out these timberframe buildings.
They will certainly will enhance Marinwood Park while serving a vital utilitarian function.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

How to Comment on a CEQA Document

Better late than never

Residents’ vigilance on Marinwood toxic cleanup pays off

Editorial: Residents’ vigilance on Marinwood toxic cleanup pays off

Marinwood Cleaners dry cleaners stands vacant at Marinwood Plaza in San Rafael, Calif. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)
Marinwood Cleaners dry cleaners stands vacant at Marinwood Plaza in San Rafael, Calif. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal) 
Marinwood residents sent a message, loud and clear, to the state board responsible for the cleanup of a toxic spill at a neighborhood shopping center.
The spill is from dry-cleaning solvents used at one of the center’s shops. Today, that shop is one of the many closed stores in the center, as the focus has been on cleaning up the tainted soil and redeveloping the property.
Until recently, the site was seen as a potential location for building affordable housing; but the spill, local opposition and the economy stood in the way of plans. County supervisors, at one time, had agreed to reduce potential housing development on the St. Vincent’s School for Boys and Silveira ranches because of local support for building it on part of the mostly vacant Marinwood Shopping Center property.
Backers of the plan saw the redevelopment as a way to support their local grocery store, and some had visions of expanding some of the community services district’s recreation programs to the site.
But in recent years, after finding the spread of an underground plume of tetrachoroethylene, a compound that had been commonplace in dry cleaning stores, the focus has been on cleaning up the property.
Neighbors focused on the clean-up have found that their definition of clean is different than that of the state Regional Water Quality Control Board, whose staff had recently been prepared to declare the site ready for development.
Some 450 Marinwood residents signed a petition and dozens of emails were sent to the water board urging it not to sign off on the cleanup.
“I asked the board, ‘would you like this your neighborhood?’” said resident Bill Nicholas, who requested that the board do more to address soil vapor found onsite and require additional testing of neighboring Caltrans land.  READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Editor's Note: Many thanks to Supervisor Damon Connolly for providing important leadership as well as Bill McNicholas of the Clean up Marinwood Plaza Now! citizen committee.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Fish Spawn in Miller Creek

Video of what I believe to be steelhead trout spawn in Miller Creek near the Miwok Indian Burial Mound on Miller Creek Middle School..

Filmed July 19, 2017

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Simple inexpensive steel buiilding can be improved with plantings/ color choice.

24x40 shop features all-vertical steel roof and siding, 10 ft leg height, three 8x8 roll up doors, 1 walk in door and 3 windows.  $11840 in most areas.  $12,930 FL certified.

A steel building improved with stone veneer and custom details.
Many wineries use this technique to dress up their buildings.
Earthy details will blend building into the park

Little details like shutters and carriage doors will blend the building into the neighborhood

 This photo demonstrates the capacity of these small sheds. Our maintenance department has the same vehicles plus two "golf cart" utility vehicles and a  mower. We estimate this shed is 24' x  30' . We advocate a shed that is roughly twice this size. This will allow a generous area for vehicles, tool storage and materials with easy access and no wasted space. 
When vehicles are removed, a large work area is provided. 

Who needs Free Land?

Who wants Free Land?
The Marinwood CSD wants “free land” to build its sprawling 40’ x150’ 4400 sf Maintenance Compound.
Land is precious.  At current valuation, the land Marinwood CSD wants to build the “White Elephant” upon is worth millions.  Can the CSD garage be built smaller?
 A conventional side access garage like this is used at every other parks department in Marin County.  It is 1/4 the size and will take up less space than the current shed/trailer.  It will save our park land , save us money and serve our needs for decades to come.

Why do other parks departments choose this design?