Saturday, September 15, 2018

Marinwood, San Rafael closing in on fire service deal

Marinwood, San Rafael closing in on fire service deal

By ADRIAN RODRIGUEZ | | Marin Independent Journal
September 12, 2018 at 8:37 pm

After studying the costs and benefits, Marinwood and San Rafael fire departments could soon be operating under the same chief — if a new five-year agreement gets a thumbs-up.

The Marinwood Community Services District this week agreed that the fire department should expand its shared services with San Rafael in lieu of hiring a new fire chief. The district board voted 3-0, with directors Leah Green and William Shea absent, to go ahead with that plan.

Now the San Rafael City Council is now poised to authorize the agreement, which would mean that San Rafael’s fire chief officers would oversee administration and operations of the Marinwood department.

“From the options on the table, this made the most sense,” said Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood district manager. “We’ve had a longstanding relationship with San Rafael, and I expect it to go seamlessly.”

The Marinwood Fire Department is among a handful of other agencies that recently explored the benefits of expanding shared services, including plans between Southern Marin and Mill Valley, and a recent chief sharing agreement between Ross Valley and the county.

The move would amend a shared services agreement between the two departments that was first established in 2014. It would put the community services district on the hook for $96,320 annually to be paid to San Rafael to provide fire chief oversight for the Marinwood department.

At the end of each year, that service fee will increase by 3 percent. The five-year contract could be canceled with a 90-day notification.

The San Rafael City Council is expected to consider the amendment at either its Oct. 1 or 15 meeting, City Manager Jim Schutz said.

“San Rafael and Marinwood have a long history of working collaboratively to provide the best service possible, and this could be another great example of that,” Schutz said.

The Marinwood Fire Department began exploring options for a new chief last year when fire Chief Tom Roach announced that he would be retiring. The department has 10 firefighters and a $2.6 million budget.

Roach, who is 50, has spent 27 years with the department, 15 years as chief. He earns $170,000 annually and is expected to retire Oct. 31. See full article HERE

Irv Schwartz "Apparently " Forgets Prior Business with Marinwood CSD and approves design 9/11/2018

Irv Schwartz makes suggestions for improvements to the Hansell "White Elephant" Maintenance Compound which are helpful.  "Apparently" he forgets that his firm was the previous land surveyor for the Maintenance Shed initiative in 2010.  The effort was suspended when the CSD Business Manager discovered a $300k accounting mistake  which surfaced prior to the implementation of the previous design.  Irv Schwartz was also the developer in charge of the installation of the modular office in 2001.   He suggests an absurd proposal as the only alternative to the Hansell design and uses it as his reason to support the Maintenance Compound.

I like Irv and will be sorry to see him leave the Marinwood CSD board.  He is logical and provides insightful analysis at times.  In this case, Irv has abandoned common sense and is going along with the crowd despite the obvious problems with the Hansell design.  

The public supports a modified version that Irv suggested in 2017 known as Option 3 (below).  It should be moved further east to abut the modular building.  Fenced in storage can be placed on the western end of the building and employee parking can remain on the street.  This minimizes the footprint of the building, provides better access and is lower cost.

I hope Irv changes his position and applies his keen intellect for the sake of our community. If not, he will allow the most expensive and over designed landscaping garage to be built in Marin county history in his name.  Lucky Marinwood.(ugh)
Option #3 is the only design that does not block the path.   
It should be moved next to the modular office for maximum
clearance from Miller Creek. It is the environmentally preferred alternative.

Dixie School Name Change Public Comments (full video)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Five Modular Accessory Buildings in metal

 This humble building has interesting interior customization. HERE

"Why don't you appreciate our dedication?"

Isabela Perry, Marinwood CSD Director asks, "why don't you appreciate our dedication?" after overriding the public concerns about a massive new Maintenance Facility for Marinwood Park (aka, White Elephant).  Marinwood Park is enjoyed by hundreds of daily walkers and the Marinwood CSD has plans for a 4400 sf Maintenance Compound and work yard on the banks of Miller Creek.  It will block access to the nature trail and blight the bucolic setting.  The citizens are ready to approve a smaller project that was offered in 2017 but instead the Marinwood CSD hired a former politician and the project doubled in size and cost.  The CSD has refused to meet with the public in an open forum to discuss alternative designs or provide detailed budget for their design.  Unfortunately, they do not appreciate the value of public input to improve a project and would rather try an end run around any criticism.  


Email to sent Isabela Perry, Marinwood CSD Director 9/13/2018:

Subject: Significant misunderstandings remain about the Maintenance Project. Can we clarify?

We love Marinwood park.  Our requests are reasonable, environmentally responsible and financially prudent.  It is sad that you think otherwise since we are ready to fully support the rebuilding of the Maintenance facility.

Your speech supporting your vote contained significant misunderstandings of the public and if you care to clarify, I am available to discuss.

Unfortunately, the format of the public meeting does not allow open conservation which is why the misunderstanding is occurring.  If we can simply dialog, we can identify the problems quickly.

You misstated positions of the people at the meeting and those who want a more prudent plan for Marinwood park.

Our petition keeps growing and despite the belief of some, we are ethically presenting the facts and want the CSD to do the same. We can start with an honest exchange of facts. There is no need to take a highly contentious path which may doom the entire project and leave a wound for years to come.

We owe it to ourselves, our children and neighbors and our beautiful Marinwood Park.

I sincerely believe you want the best for the community, too.


No response was received from Isabela Perry....again.  CSD Directors are known to ignore people with whom they disagree. What a strange idea they have of democratic leadership for Marinwood.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Marinwood CSD can order their Maintenance garage from Home Depot

Here is an example of a modular garage that is sold online. It is 3760 square feet including a second story loft for $43k plus site improvement and installation costs.  There are thousands of other examples of modular buildings that are low cost and in every style imaginable. Virtually every other government agency uses modular buildings to reduce costs.  They are not interested in wasting resources.  Marinwood CSD only has 1765 homes that fund our property tax revenues.  We have multimillion dollar pension obligations,  a pending pool restoration and other capital commitments.  The Marinwood CSD refuses to discuss the projected budget for the Hansell "White Elephant" maintenance compound. A modular building like this can save Marinwood CSD hundreds of thousands of dollars and we can invest the savings elsewhere.

48 ft. x 60 ft. x 20 ft. Wood Garage Kit without Floor

Write a Review
Questions & Answers (19)

Includes total building footprint
Features enclosed overhangs, commercial-grade entry door and more
Can be customized to fit your specific needs

Does not include concrete slab, plumbing and electrical.

Jeff Naylor insults Marinwood Citizens who criticize his plans

At 10:40 pm on September 11, 2018 Jeff Naylor insults all citizens who dare criticize the Marinwood Maintenance Shed Compound. This was every citizen in the room. No supporters spoke in favor of the project despite desperate pleas to wait to approve until the community is informed and we have a public forum. He insists that we must approve it prior to knowing the projected cost. He demeans people who want a public process and alternatives before surrendering Marinwood Park for the massive design. (When have you heard a politician say that? How did it work out? )

Who does he think he is fooling?

Here is our petition:

Petition to keep Marinwood Park Beautiful
We the under signed, want to keep Marinwood Park beautiful.   We want a “right sized” maintenance shed replacement that won’t block our nature trail and Miller Creek watershed.  The proposed Marinwood CSD plan is too big, too expensive and will block access.  We want a smaller alternative design.  Show us the size with story poles and tell us what you plan to spend before the project begins.  Let’s have a real public forum so that you understand our concerns and let’s vote on the best option.

Sounds like a rowdy bunch of troublemakers doesn't it? 

Sign the Petition HERE 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Bird is the Word; Freebird; Whipping Post

Man urges higher consciousness and wants Dixie School District name change

This is what the new Marinwood Park landscaping facility should look like IMHO

Simple board and batten siding and earth tones conveys the appropriate rustic aesthetic for park. A smaller footprint is more efficient and will not interfere with the walk path 

Option 3 was conceived by Irv Schwartz in 2017.  It offers a smaller footprint, side access doors and respects the park
It can be closer to the modular office by moving the storage yard and eliminating employee parking.  It addresses all concerns about the Hansell White Elephant.
The building above can be neatly situated next to the modular building.

Teachers and a School Administrator urges Dixie School District name Change

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Letter presented to Marinwood CSD Board on the Marinwood Maintenance Compound (tonight at 7:30 pm)

Letter presented to Marinwood CSD Board and Staff :  September 11, 2018

The Maintenance Facility is not ready for approval tonight. There are too many unanswered questions and too few people know about the size, scope and cost of the design proposal.

Why should a major building proposal for Marinwood Park, whose expected lifespan will be measured in decades, be rushed through for approval without adequate vetting from the people who pay for the park and enjoy its beauty?

In April 2017, the Parks and Recreation commission, in concert with the Marinwood CSD board presented a scoping session where 4 alternative design proposals were suggested.  Although consensus, was not achieved that evening Jeff Naylor, Marinwood CSD director promised to consider the suggestions and more public meetings would be held.
In February 2018, an unnamed architect was hired to create design ideas for consideration.  A local architect presented a proposal based on one of the four options.  He estimated his fees would be $13,800 for the entire project including an $8000 fee based on $100,000 construction cost.  He was rejected despite many years of public works experience and a competitive cost.  

Instead, the board chose the unnamed architect for a “per hour” consulting fee with total costs estimated by Eric Driekosen, Marinwood CSD manager “not to exceed $12,000”.    The board agreed but did not disclose a clear conflict of interest since the architect hired was former CSD director Bill Hansell who had hired Mr. Dreikosen in 2014. 

Instead of receiving several design proposals based on Options 1-4, Mr Hansell presented a brand new proposal in late April 2018 to the parks and recreation commission.   The public was not alerted to this presentation in the agenda.  Only five people from the community received detailed invitations to attend the meeting.  It was by chance, that I attended and recorded the proceedings but I am not an official videographer for the district and do not have the outreach capability of a public agency.

The public was told there will be more opportunities to speak to the proposal prior to submittal to the county but that promise has not been kept.   Instead, public inquiry was thwarted and not until June 30th was the public aware that a site plan and Negative Declaration was being submitted based upon the single plan offered by HansellDesign. 

The Hansell Design doubles the footprint of the existing shed and its awkward layout creates a huge footprint and access issues requiring parking and storage outside of the facility.  It is roughly twice the size of neighboring homes and covers about four average building lots.  It violates the Stream Conservation Ordinance and blocks access to the park which treasured by so many on a daily basis.
Option 3 proposal offered in 2017 maximizes space for the workers, respects the park and is the environmentally preferred option.  We did not see a design for this option. Instead, we receive a brand new secret plan that is double the square footage.
The community supports building a new maintenance facility.  It appears that Option 3 proposed in 2017 offers the most advantages with the least impact to the park.  It is a long, narrow side access garage with accessory storage.

This is the proposal, that I believe was offered by Marinwood CSD Director, Irv Schwartz, a longtime civil engineer and developer with decades of building experience.  It makes sense because it is of the proper scale and will not impede the recreational use of the park and maintains viewscapes.  It is also the farthest away from Miller Creek stream bank. 

The fact that Marinwood CSD has not even announced the proposed budget for this project is cause for alarm.  Architects fees for Hansell design are $11,800 as of May 2018 and are likely double by now.   The Hansell project requires custom fabrication and expensive materials not discussed.  It may require special ventilation systems for worker safety, increased power and water supply and landscaping. 

In other words, the board is being asked to approve a project that has not met essential criteria of vetting.  1.) What are the range of possible designs?  2.) What design most efficiently meets the needs of the workers and the public? 4.) What design respects the core function of a recreational park ? 5.) Which design is most environmentally preferable? 6. ) How much does it cost and how will it be paid for?

Marinwood is not ready to approval the Hansell design tonight.  Let’s consider alternative plans, first.  It may confirm the Hansell plan or the community may decide a different plan.  The Hansell plan may work better as a community room or other use.   In any event, the community will receive a better plan.

Why not do what is best for the community and let democracy do its work?  This is a chance to establish a new positive era for Marinwood.  Let’s do our best to work together.

Political Consultants, Progressive Activists demand Dixie Name change

Elon Musk and Joe Rogan talk about Technology, A.I. and the Future

Fascinating interview with Elon Musk.  Well worth a listen.

Dixie Parents "Don't waste money on this political wedge issue"

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Apartment Over Crowding in the Canal District

The more the merrier.

From Wikipedia on the Canal District

Demographics and housing

The above two apartment complexes (55 Fairfax and 162 Belvedere St) in the Canal District are owned by Bridge Housing.  see related stories in Apartment Overcrowding

Most of San Rafael's low-income residents live in the Canal Area, along with many affluent residents. There is at least one concern (on Harbor Way) that rents slips for boats that people can live aboard legally.
The more affluent residents live in the houses constructed in the 1960s right on the Canal and in two housing developments in the eastern part of the Canal's residential area: Baypoint Lagoons (constructed in the late 1990s) and Spinnaker Point (constructed earlier). Some real-estate agents refer to these two developments as being in "East San Rafael", to avoid the stigma of the name "Canal Area".
The low-income homes (almost all of which are apartments) are inhabited mainly by immigrants (documented and undocumented), from a variety of countries. Seventy percent are Hispanic, 11 percent Asian, 10 percent Caucasian, 5 percent African-American and 4 percent are of other ethnic groups.[citation needed] This area provides a location for workers who hold low-income jobs that are essential to the functioning of the community to live close to their place of employment.
Although the majority of residents in this area are low-income workers, most of the apartments in which they live are neither subsidized nor less expensive than comparable apartments elsewhare in San Rafael.
 In order to pay the relatively high rents, the residents resort to sharing their dwellings with many roommates, typically at least two persons per bedroom, plus one person in the living room. Often as many as eight or more persons, including children, will occupy a two-bedroom apartment

Dixie School Board discusses changing the name of the District on September 9, 2018

Dick Spotswood: McCain’s comment sets example for civic discourse

Dick Spotswood: McCain’s comment sets example for civic discourse

September 8, 2018 at 10:00 am

At an August 2016 campaign rally in York, Pennsylvania, a woman supporter of Republican presidential candidate John McCain stood up and said, “I can’t trust Obama, I read about him, and he’s not, he’s not – he’s an Arab.” McCain’s reply not only showed his personal character but provides a teaching moment for all who hold or seek public office.

McCain instantly replied, “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaigning is all about. … He is a decent person and a person you do not have to be scared of as president. … I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments, I will respect him. I want everyone to be respectful, and let’s make sure we are because that’s the way politics should be conducted in America.”

The Arizonan’s gentle rebuke worked, because the woman and McCain were both on the same side of the political divide. It wouldn’t have been so powerful and memorable if one of them was deep red and the other blue. When the admonition comes from your ally, it’s far more difficult to ignore.

I’ve seen the same approach here in Marin at city council meetings, community gatherings and political events. Unfortunately, that level of wisdom isn’t universal, even here in supposedly sophisticated Marin.

Traditionally, some Marin city councils have followed an unwritten rule. If an audience member went over the line and verbally attacked another with whom they strongly disagreed, it was time for a council member to take action. It was understood in those thankfully rare situations, it was the council member most identified with the out-of-control audience member’s policy position that needed to immediately act to get the proceeding back on track.  See full article HERE

Sunday Morning Baritone Uke