A blog about Marinwood-Lucas Valley and the Marin Housing Element, politics, economics and social policy. The MOST DANGEROUS BLOG in Marinwood-Lucas Valley.
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Friday, August 24, 2018
Thursday, August 23, 2018
What does the White Elephant Co$t?
Do you think the Marinwood CSD should tell us how much money they plan to spend for their Maintenance Compound aka "White Elephant"? We know that the current architect is far more expensive than a bid submitted by a well established architect with decades of experience with public works projects.
At the February 2018 CSD meeting, the CSD manager said that he expected the fees to be $12,000 for ALL ASPECTS OF DESIGN and construction management. So far, the architect, Bill Hansell (also a former CSD director) has billed $11,800 through May 2018 BEFORE the site plan has been approved. It is an open ended contract for $125/hour with NO BUDGET LIMIT.
This is crazy.
Shouldn't we know how much they want to spend?
We need transparency and we need to see the competing design and vote for the best plan.
Isn't that what is supposed to happen in a democracy?
Sign the Petition HERE
8-Year-Old Girl Walks Dog Around Block, Police and Child Services Investigate Mom
8-Year-Old Girl Walks Dog Around Block, Police and Child Services Investigate Mom
"We want to investigate … because you just don’t know."
The cops had received a call about an unsupervised child, and had to question the mom. After doing so, they quickly dropped the matter. But then the Department of Children and Family Services picked it up again—interrogating not just Widen but her kids, other family members, and even her pediatrician.
This was all due to the ridiculous assumption that one must leave no stone un-turned, even when the inciting incident was as benign as taking the dog for a walk—in my home town, of all places.
That's right: Wilmette, Illinois, is where I would walk to kindgergarten, just like everyone else. I was just 5-years-old, and my crossing guard was a 6th grader. No one arrested my mom, or shut down the school for allowing a tween to direct traffic.
Can it be that the world has become so dangerous in the intervening years? Here are the Wilmette crime stats:
The overall crime rate in Wilmette is 59% percent lower than the national average. For every 100,000 people, there are 3.18 daily crimes that occur in Wilmette. Wilmette is safer than 83% of the cities in the United States.
I don't mean to imply that a town has to be this super safe for parents to allow their kids outside. But if we are investigating parents who let their kids go outside when there is almost every reason to believe they are going to be fine, what are we investigating them for? Trusting their kids? Their neighborhood? Their grasp of statistics? If we can investigate parents for not doing anything dangerous or unusual, do parents have any rights at all?
"This case should have been screened out immediately and not sent for an investigation," Diane Redleaf, a long-time family defense attorney and author of the forthcoming book They Took the Kids Last Night: How the Child Protection System Puts Families At Risk, told me. "Under DCFS's new rules, she said, this is actually not neglect. Adopted in 2016 in the wake of the Natasha Felix case—the mom investigated for letting her kids, ages 11, 9, and 5, play in the park across the street from her home—the new rules state a parent must have exhibited "blatant disregard" for the child's safety to be officially neglectful.
"It is distressing that DCFS continues to be unlawful in targeting reasonable parents," said Redleaf. "Letting a child walk the dog isn't a dangerous decision that needs to be penalized—with the risk of the parent losing their job if they land on the child abuse registry—it needs to be encouraged in order to help children grow into responsible adults."
Sometimes I wonder whether this phenomenon—cops investigating parents for letting their kids play outside, or wait briefly in the car—is widespread. On my end it seems rampant, because people contact me when it happens to them, and send me their stories. But I never wanted to be the Nancy Grace of parent arrests, flogging the few stories that actually happen, as if they are legion.
Hearing of this particular investigation in Wilmette, though, literally brings the issue home. As The Tribune's Kate Thayerwrites:
...those charged with investigating child abuse and neglect cases say it's important to thoroughly check out all allegations, and it's hard to create a system that doesn't have at least some level of subjectivity."We want to investigate … because you just don't know," said DCFS spokesman Neil Skene. "You also don't want to say (to the public), 'Don't call us unless it's serious.' There are all these other cases where we say, 'if only someone had called us.'"
BUt how many "if only someone had called us" cases actually involved walking the dog, or letting a kid wait in the car while mom picks up the pizza? When normal parenting can be interpreted as neglect or abuse, no family is safe. Not even in my sweet home town.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Marinwood CSD should solicit Advice from our Workmen
The Marinwood CSD is planning a massive Maintenance Compound project but forgot to ask working men and women what they think of the workflow. The current proposal is long and narrow with no room to move around. The 36' x 39' parking area has two support columns in the middle and it is impossible to park seven vehicles. A well designed workshop is a joy to work in but unfortunately too much attention is being given to the aesthetics before paying attention to workflow and dimensions of our equipment
Here is a diagram of working dimensions for a garage. Our Ford F250 is 22' and longer than the short bed truck on the left. The mirrors give the truck a 9' width and a 10' door will be necessary. The proper depth of garage allows for storage of materials and a workbench.
|Examples of standard garage depth dimensions.|
HERE is a good discussion of garage dimensions for full size trucks by mechanics. Notice that all of them are worried about access, storage and workflow.
Aesthetics are important once the proper dimensions of the garage are laid out. There are a wide range of possible designs to consider. All of these side access garages can be lengthened to suit our space demands. Here are a few ideas:
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
When it comes to governing, individual freedom is best
By T.J. Nelsen
POSTED: |2 COMMENTS
The left seems boldly intent on acquiring power so they can dictate others’ behavior. Of course, if they are successful, there is no peaceful mechanism to control their behavior.
The record of authoritarian governments is filled with examples, and if anyone thinks the modern left is more cuddly, you are misinformed. They just use smarter P.R. and are often more subtle in their approach, but the result is the same. We become subjects instead of masters in our own house.
Most of us bumble along, minding our own business, understanding and appreciating the freedom we enjoy, and from time to time, with open debate and free exchange of ideas, we solve the problems that come up — without diminishing or denying liberty for anyone else.
That is not the case with centralized authority where we have no inherent unalienable rights — all power coming from the top down, at their discretion.
Fascists, communists, elitists and religious fanatics all become thought-controlling dictatorships — ending individual liberty “for the common good” while historically their actions are only and always calculated to increase their own power.
Isn’t that the objective in shutting down free speech at colleges and universities and the overt use of intimidation and violence? Has anyone ever benefited from silencing debate other than those seeking power over others?
If the left can’t tolerate free speech now, what would it be like if they actually came to power? READ MORE HERE
Community Voices: Gas tax hurts working families
Community Voices: Gas tax hurts working families
Aug 5, 2018
I’m a farm worker rights activist, and founder and board member for Pick Justice and California Farm Workers & Families – which means I work on behalf of the thousands of agricultural workers that harvest the food which comes to your table every night. My family and I are fortunate to play such a vital role in our state economy and to the communities we serve. It’s not an easy lifestyle and we sacrifice like most working families to provide our kids with a better future.
That’s why I don’t understand when Sacramento politicians passed SB 1, the punitive gas and car tax during the last legislative session. It increased the gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, the diesel tax – frequently used on farms – an even higher 20 cents a gallon and the vehicle license fee by as much as $175 a year. In fact, my truck’s DMV annual registration fee almost doubled this year. The total looted in by the state would be $5.2 billion a year.
The SB 1 vehicle tax especially punishes those of us living in rural areas. We have to drive long distances just to do our jobs. And the higher gas tax will be passed on to the agricultural products we farm, meaning everyone will have to pay more for the food in the grocery aisles. The cost of the tax increase for most Californians averages $700 a year, but for many rural citizens, it comes to thousands of dollars, enough to kill small business and threaten our jobs.
Which really begs the question: why weren’t Californians given a vote on the tax increase? Gov. Jerry Brown and big business groups have done everything they can to take away our voice. Running for governor in 2010, Brown gave his solemn promise of “No new taxes without voter approval.” He broke it by signing SB 1. He should be backing our democratic right by supporting Prop. 6 – not opposing it. Give us a voice!
Yes, our roads are in terrible shape. We in the farming communities know that most of all, as we drive our products to market across thousands of potholes. But the money already is there to fix them. Unfortunately, Gov. Brown and big business groups are misleading the public by claiming there is no money to fix our bridges and roads unless taxes are raised.
Consider these facts:
Sacramento politicians have actually reduced Caltrans funding by 18 percent over the last 10 years.
Seventy two percent of all state motor vehicle related taxes and fees collected by the state are used for programs other than streets, roads and highways.
State government has a $16 billion budget surplus, but the legislature decided to spend billions this year on their pet projects instead of improving roads, bridges and highways.
Higher fuel taxes are passed along to consumers, increasing the cost of almost everything we buy. California is already too expensive; this massive tax increase makes things worse.
The Sacramento politicians need to learn a lesson: come to voters first if you want to raise taxes. Lay out your reasons. Forget the special interests and instead convince Californians.
I call on Gov. Brown and big business to end their opposition to Prop. 6 and lock arms with working families in supporting the repeal of the punishing SB 1 gas tax.
The job you save may be your own. This Nov. 6, vote yes on Prop 6 to repeal the gas tax.
Jesse Rojas is a farm worker rights activist, spokesperson for Pick Justice and founder of California Farm Workers & Families PAC.
Monday, August 20, 2018
The Marinwood CSD Candidate Statement that you will never see.
Marinwood CSD needs a candidate with integrity and Abe Lincoln is not available.
Marinwood CSD Candidate Statement for Stephen Nestel
Marinwood is the best community in Marin. We have open space, livable neighborhoods and great parks. I want to serve on the CSD to make sure your voice is heard and to enhance our community for generations to come.
You should be aware that the CSD is planning a massive building project in Marinwood Park without public consent. It will be twice the size of neighboring homes (40’ x 150’) and occupy a massive footprint where a smaller, more efficient garage can easily accommodate our needs.
Why shouldn’t this issue be discussed with the public? After all, we are the ones who will be losing our park space and paying for it for decades. Isn’t this how local democracy should work?
I am running because all of the other candidates have blindly agreed to move this project along without the normal public hearings. I want to restore local democratic process, protect our beautiful parks and open space and restore trust in our CSD.
I have served as a volunteer in the parks, open space, and on the Clean up Marinwood Plaza Now committee. I am an environmentalist, parent and business owner. I believe you can make a difference.
Editor's Note: I withdrew my candidacy for Marinwood CSD after drawing papers. It unleashed a cyber bullying campaign on NextDoor which I am not a member. Some claim that I am spreading "fear" "propaganda" and "false statements" about the Marinwood Maintenance Compound without ever saying what "lies" I had said. It is a cheap, bullying tactic meant to discredit me without ever having to address criticism or engage in civil conversation.
Who needs the grief? The truth will come out and I have the documentation.
I will remain committed to telling the truth and will demand the Marinwood CSD do the same.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
FABLE Cow's Head: An Ukrainian Ghost Story
An Ukrainian Ghost Story
S. E. Schlosser
Oksana lived in a small house on the edge of town with her father, her stepmother and her stepsister. Oksana's stepmother disliked Oksana, favoring her true daughter, Olena.
Soon after her father's remarriage, Oksana found that all the housework fell to her while Olena idled her days away. Oksana's father was a timid man, and could not bring himself to defy his wife. So Oksana wore Olena's cast off clothes, and her hands grew red and chapped from scrubbing in the cold, while Olena attended parties, growing lazy and spoiled.
One year, when the winter snows were particularly fierce, Oksana's family ran out of money. Oksana's stepmother began nagging her father to send Oksana away, because they could not afford to keep two girls. Reluctantly, Oksana's father agreed. He took Oksana to a cottage deep in the woods and left her there.
Oksana was very frightened. The woods were said to be filled with demons and monsters. But Oksana was also practical. She entered the cottage with her small bundle and found a fireplace, a lopsided table and a rusty old pot. Oksana put away the loaf of bread, the knife and the slab of cheese her father had given her. She folded the blanket and laid it near the fireplace. Then she collected wood and built a fire.
Oksana knew the bread and cheese would not last her all winter. So she made a snare using the thin, flexible branches of the trees and caught a snow rabbit to eat. She also dug under the deep snow, and found some roots and berries for food.
By dark, Oksana had melted water for drinking, and used the rest to make a stew. So Oksana ate well. Then she lay down near the fire for the night, listening to the wind howl and pretending to herself that she was not frightened of the woods.
It was midnight when the knock came.
Knock, knock, knock.
It echoed hollowly through the dark cottage. Oksana woke with a start, her heart pounding in fear. It came again.
Knock, knock, knock.
Oksana thought of the monsters. She hid under her blanket, praying the thing would go away.
Knock, knock, knock.
Oksana rose, grabbing a branch. She crept towards the door. The wind howled eerily down the chimney. Oksana swallowed and swung the door open. There was nothing there. Her heart pounded fiercely as she stared out at the snow whipping about in the light of her small fire. Then she looked down. Oksana let out a shriek of terror and leapt back, dropping her stick. It was a demon. An evil spirit.
It had no body!
"Who are you?" Oksana stuttered, clutching the door with shaking hands.
"I am Cow's Head," it replied.
Indeed, Oksana saw at once that it was. The head was brown, with curved horns and strange, haunted eyes.
"I am cold and hungry. May I sleep by your fire?" the Cow's Head asked. Its voice was cold and lifeless.
Oksana gulped down her horror.
"Of course," she said.
"Lift me over the threshold," demanded the Cow's Head hollowly. Oksana did as she was bidden.
"Place me near the fire."
Anger warred with compassion inside her, but compassion won. Oksana put it next to the fire.
"I am hungry," said the Cow's Head. "Feed me."
Oksana thought of her meager food supply. The stew left in the pot was for her breakfast. She fed it to Cow's Head.
"I will sleep now," it said. There was no softening in its attitude toward her. Nonetheless, Oksana made it comfortable for the night, giving it her blanket and sleeping in a cold corner with only her cloak to keep her warm.
When she woke in the morning, Cow's Head was gone. Where it had slept was a large trunk, filled with the most beautiful gowns she had ever seen. Under the gowns lay heaps of gold and jewels.
Oksana stared blankly at the riches in front of her. Her father's voice roused her.
"Daughter, I am come."
Oksana forgot the trunk in her joy. She ran into his arms. He had defied her stepmother to come and bring her back to their home.
"Papa, come see!" Oksana exclaimed as she pulled him into the cottage. Her words tumbled over each other as she explained.
Her father took her home. She was honored in her town for her compassion and her bravery, and won scores of suitors. She married soon after her return from the cottage.
Hearing Oksana's story, and seeing the riches she had received, Olena went to the cottage in the forest and spent the night there. But when Cow's Head appeared, she was too lazy to serve it. In the morning, all her gowns had turned to rags and her possessions to dust.
But Oksana lived to a ripe old age in happiness and prosperity.
They Count on You Not Knowing | David Crane | TEDxPaloAlto
Do you know which politicians are really calling the shots? Watch this important TEDxPaloAlto talk by David Crane to learn more about who "counts on you not knowing" and why.
Bill Hansell presents the Marinwood Maintenance Compound project 8/12/2018
Architect and former CSD Board member Bill Hansell presents his concept for a 6000 sf Maintenance Shed Compound to house a truck, and a several vehicles. Its unusual long and narrow design is for drive through access. Despite the massive size, the access lane and internal columns will make it very difficult to move our 22' long Ford F250 truck and other vehicles. It is twice the size of neighboring homes and spans two property lots. The budget is not being discussed publicly. Presentation excerpt from the Marinwood CSD meeting of August 14, 2018.
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