Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Real Conflict Is Not Racial Or Sexual


American Renewal: The Real Conflict Is Not Racial Or Sexual, It’s Between The Ascendant Rich Elites And The Rest Of Us

Grae Stafford-Daily Caller News Foundation

JOEL KOTKINCONTRIBUTOR
Despite the media’s obsession on gender, race and sexual orientation, the real and determining divide in America and other advanced countries lies in the growing conflict between the ascendant upper class and the vast, and increasingly embattled, middle and working classes.
We’ve seen this fight before. The current conflict fundamentally reprises the end of the French feudal era, where the Third Estate, made up of the commoners, challenged the hegemony of the First Estate and Second, made up of the church and aristocracy.
These dynamics are unsettling our politics to the core. Both the gentry left, funded largely by Wall Street and Silicon Valley, and the libertarian right, have been slow to recognize that they are, in de Tocqueville’s term, “sitting on a volcano ready to explode.” The middle class everywhere in the world, notes a recent OECD report, is under assault, and shrinking in most places while prospects for upward mobility for the working class also declines.
The anger of the Third Estate, both the growing property-less Serf class as well as the beleaguered Yeomanry, has produced the growth of populist, parties both right and left in Europe, and the election of Donald Trump in 2016. In the U.S., this includes not simply the gradual, and sometimes jarring,  transformation of the GOP into a vehicle for populist rage, but also the rise on the Democratic side of politicians such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, each of whom have made class politics their signature issue. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Says Middle Class Will Pay More In Taxes)
The Rise of Neo-Feudalism
Today’s neo-feudalism recalls the social order that existed before the democratic revolutions of the 17th and 18th Century, with our two ascendant estates filling the roles of the former dominant classes. The First Estate, once the province of the Catholic Church, has morphed into what Samuel Coleridge in the 1830s called “the Clerisy,” a group that extends beyond organized religion to the universities, media, cultural tastemakers and upper echelons of the bureaucracy. The role of the Second Estate is now being played by a rising Oligarchy, notably in tech but also Wall Street, that is consolidating control of most of the economy.
Together these two classes have waxed  while the Third Estate has declined. This essentially reversed the enormous gains made by the middle and even the working class over the past 50 years. The top 1% in America captured just 4.9 percent of total U.S. income growth in 1945-1973, but since then the country’s richest classes has gobbled up an astonishing 58.7% of all new wealth in the U.S., and 41.8 percent of total income growth during 2009-2015 alone.
In this period, the Oligarchy has benefited from the financialization of the economy and the refusal of the political class in both parties to maintain competitive markets. As a result, American industry has become increasingly concentrated. For example, the five largest banks now account for close to 50 percent of all banking assets, up from barely 30 percent just 20 years ago. (RELATED: The Biggest Bank You’ve Never Heard Of)

Friday, September 20, 2019

Marinwood CSD Director defends Intolerance



Izabela Perry defends Sivan Oyserman's call for police and fines for loud Mariachi music at Marinwood Community Center.  As usual, she launches on personal attack in attempt to silence the speaker.   A year later in 2019 Marinwood CSD  found an excuse to ban booking events to "Outsiders" instead of taking a more reasonable approach of increased supervision of events.  Since most of our rentals are to the Latino Community, we believe this is discrimination. The Marinwood CSD kept this action hidden from the public. It has lost the district a very substantial rental income .  Filmed  July 2018.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

"Fines for loud Mariachi Bands" in Marinwood



Current Marinwood CSD director Sivan Oyserman advocates fines for loud Mariachi Bands in June 2018 while serving on the Parks and Rec Commission.  John Tune complained of the loud noises from the Marinwood Community Center on weekends. Of course, controlling noise is always a legitimate concern but issuing fines because you don't like the TYPE of music is discrimination. Sivan Oyserman's calling for the police and issue fines is mean, entitled behavior of a brat.

 In April 2019, after a crime incident at a Latino family gathering ALL EVENT BOOKINGS were halted quietly and "solved the loud Mariachi music problem". We believe this is discrimination and against Marinwood community values.

  We must not allow an intolerant few on Marinwood CSD board destroy the opportunities for family gatherings in our Marinwood Community Center.

Izabela Perry smears public and reveals the "True Liar"




Here are two clips of the same Marinwood CSD meetin on 9/10/19 just minutes apart.  In the first segment, I ask for greater scrutiny about Marinwood finances and Izabela Perry calls me a liar because “we know everything".  A few minutes later Izabela Perry calls me a liar again and asserts that the  CSD Board "knew nothing" about attempted armed rape of a 16 year old in Marinwood Community Center in April 2019.     

Clearly, this is not a credible statement. Both statements cannot be true. The CSD either "knows everything" or "doesn't know everything" and cannot be trusted to oversee Marinwood business.  I have no doubt that Marin Sheriff contacted Eric Dreiksosen, Marinwood CSD manager shortly after the incident and all CSD board directors knew about it shortly thereafter.

Unfortunately, This attempted rape of a minor girl at a party has been covered up from the public and was only revealed on August 25, 2019 Marin IJ article noting the sentencing of Jordon Escobar Perez for the crime.  It appears the Marinwood CSD board cares more about the public perception of themselves than taking rudimentary security precautions  to protect our youth. 

Most community centers in Northern California have requirements for security at events where alcohol is served. Most also have security cameras and procedures for staff to interact with local police authorities.  If we are to believe the CSD, they have been "studying" the issue for six months after the inital crime but have taken no corrective action.

Who is the real "Liar" at the Marinwood CSD?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New Maintenance Shed Plans show ACTUAL size and Location violates Marin County General Plan




A higher resolution file of this version can be found HERE.   As a seeing impaired person, I find it difficult to read smaller than 12pt fonts. The low resolution files provided by Marinwood CSD can only print out documents that are an unreadable 1.5 pt font.  I have asked the county to increase the resolution of the images.  Of course, the Marinwood CSD could post readable documents on its website.  I will not hold my breath.  They have kept these plans secret for months and do not want to engage the public.

They will not even publicly state how much they plan to spend on the project.  Ex Marinwood CSD board member and Architect Bill Hansell was originally estimated to cost us $13k.   So far we estimate he has charged us $50k and the plan is not yet approved.

This is a gross violation of the public trust and waste of public funds.  Worse yet, is it will block access to our park, violate stream setback and take away from recreational opportunities forever.  It is a vanity project perpetuated at the public expense.

The current Marinwood Maintenance Facility project is corruption in slow motion.

Marinwood CSD Pension Death Spiral

Transit planners want to make your life worse

Transit planners want to make your life worse

SEPTEMBER 16, 2019
By Joel Kotkin : dailyreeze – excerpt
In our system of government, the public sector is, well, supposed to serve the public. But increasingly the bureaucracies at the state and local level increasingly seek to tell the public how to live, even if the result is to make life worse.
This became glaringly obvious recently, when the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Phil Washington, reeling from data showing a steady drop of transit riders, decided that the only solution was to make driving worse.
“It’s too easy to drive in this city,” said Washington. “We want to reach the riders that left and get to the new ones as well. And part of that has to do with actually making driving harder.”
Now let’s consider what that means. L.A. County is hardly a paradise now for commuters — 84 percent of whom drive to work — while the Orange County and Riverside-San Bernardino areas, where transit dependence is even less marked, are no great shakes, either. All suffer among the longest average commutes of anywhere in the nation…(more)

A Silent Legacy. The poor farm graveyard in Lucas Valley

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Marinwood CSD cancels Popular Nature Trail


Marinwood CSD manager Eric Dreikosen demands all nature signs be removed from the park 9/13/2019.


After your truly, pointed out that Marinwood CSD is engaging in discriminatory practice with the Marinwood Community Center, Eric Dreikosen demanded immediate removal of the parks nature signs which I have been instrumental in providing to the community for about ten years.

The popular nature trail sign program is a joint venture supported by community groups, Miller Creek Middle School and the Lion's Club.  Eric Dreikosen unilaterally decided I should no longer be able to donate my time and energy to this project.

The project has been heralded by the Sierra Club, Miller Creek Watershed Stewards, STRAW, the Lion's Club, the Marin IJ and Marin County Board of Supervisors as an excellent example of community efforts to improve the park. No taxpayer funds were used to support the project.  It has been duplicated at other school areas in Marin County

The subject matter on the signs was educational about Lucas Valley nature, the people who lived here and student artwork.  It was never political although Dreikosen felt it a threat to the Marinwood Maintenance facility designed by former board member Bill Hansell.

All are invited to participate in the program for future installments once the program is revived.
The Marinwood Park nature trail was created long before the current general manager was hired.

Miller Creek underwater video of Steelhead

Monday, September 16, 2019

How DeKalb County Georgia handled a Confederate Monument

Georgia makes it a crime to move or eliminate monuments to the fight for slavery


So left with no other option, put up this sign for context.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

FABLE: THE CROW AND THE PITCHER

THE CROW AND THE PITCHER

In a spell of dry weather, when the Birds could find very little to drink, a thirsty Crow found a pitcher with a little water in it. But the pitcher was high and had a narrow neck, and no matter how he tried, the Crow could not reach the water. The poor thing felt as if he must die of thirst.
Then an idea came to him. Picking up some small pebbles, he dropped them into the pitcher one by one. With each pebble the water rose a little higher until at last it was near enough so he could drink.


In a pinch a good use of our wits may help us out.

[Illustration]

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Marinwood CSD has stopped renting our Community Center to "Outsiders"




The Marinwood CSD has stopped taking bookings for Quincenanera's and other parties after a April 9, 2019 crime.  They kept the details secret from the public until a Marin IJ report of the sentencing of Jordan Escobar Perez on August 25, 2019 involving the armed sexual assault of a minor.   NO SECURITY PROCEDURES other than banning "outsiders" from renting the facility has been instituted.  We have asked Marinwood CSD to stop using the incident to discriminate and instead adopt reasonable security procedures for everyone , especially when alcohol is served.  The general manager, Eric Dreikosen and recreation director, Luke Fretwell claim to have been “studying solutions" for six months while the ban is "temporary".  

The Marinwood Community Center Hall is popular with the Hispanic Community in Marin County for celebrations of all types.  The ban is disproportionately affecting them.

More inquiry is needed from the Marin Human Rights commission.


------------------------------
Quinceanera vs Sweet Sixteen Birthday




06.06.19
Poste by Jody DeSimone

Uncategorized
0 Comments

A Quinceanera vs Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party

For every similarity between a quinceanera and a sweet 16 birthday party, there are just as many noteworthy differences. Obviously, the biggest one is age – a quinceanera is a celebration for a girl who is turning 15, while a sweet 16 party is simply a huge birthday bash for a young lady turning 16. Each type of party is extravagant, memorable and elaborate, but both definitely have a diverse set of differences you should be aware of.

Quinceanera Characteristics


Steeped in religion and tradition, a quinceanera celebrates a young Latina girl’s journey into adulthood when she turns 15. This type of party typically begins with a religious ceremony at a Catholic church. One of the most common traditions is called the “Change of Shoes” – this includes the birthday girl swapping her flat dress shoes for high heels, which are slipped onto her feet by her father or a parental figure. The custom signifies leaving behind a girlish childhood for entry into more mature womanhood. Another aspect of a quinceanera involves the birthday girl wearing a fancy, colorful and glamorous dress along with a shiny tiara. She will also have a “court” of individuals to help her celebrate on a special day. These friends and family members will have matching dresses and tuxedos, and will also have to memorize a few different dances for the actual celebration part of the day. There will be a DJ playing both Spanish and English songs, lots of dancing, food, and fun for everyone involved. 


Sweet 16 Celebration

Another birthday bash for a teenage girl, popularized in the United States, is the Sweet 16. Again, this is typically a spectacular celebration of a young lady turning 16, blossoming into a woman and in many cases, obtaining a driver’s license. A Sweet 16 party doesn’t have a religious component to it, or a multitude of cultural and religious traditions like a quinceanera does. There is oftentimes a theme or at least a color scheme for the party. Sometimes the birthday girl may request that guests wear that color to the celebration, but that isn’t always the case. Depending on the budget, some parties are over-the-top elaborate and include ice sculptures, live bands, a photo booth, high-end food and ‘mocktails’, a multi-tiered cake and swag bags for those in attendance. The birthday girl and her closest friends may even arrive in a limousine for the evening and some parents will book a hotel room for them to continue the party after it’s time to leave the banquet hall.
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Marinwood CSD explains "actions taken" to improve security since the April 7, 2019 sexual assault.





Marinwood Wildfire Prevention Tax discussion 9/10/19


Lester Maddox and Jim Brown on Racism

Thursday, September 12, 2019

It's a beautiful day in Marinwood


The constant personal attacks levied against members of the public has created a climate of acrimony at the Marinwood CSD. I open my public remarks with Mr. Roger's theme song: " It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood" to remind us all, myself included, that we are all neighbors living under the same sky

My opening remarks on Tuesday, Sept 10, 2019.  Leah Green, Marinwood CSD preside left the room in anger and went home later in the evening after failing again to shut me up and intimidate me with threats of arrest.

Forest thinning projects won’t stop the worst wildfires. So why is California spending millions on them?


Forest thinning projects won’t stop the worst wildfires. So why is California spending millions on them?


Four months after the town of Paradise was incinerated in the most destructive wildfire in California history, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an emergency proclamation, ordering agencies to thin trees and clear shrubs near some of the state’s most fire-threatened communities.

Saying the $32 million in projects were vital “to protect the lives and property of Californians” he swept aside environmental reviews and competitive bidding requirements to speed the work.

But the state’s recent fire chronicles are riddled with examples of how such fuel break projects don’t guard against the wind-driven infernos that have laid waste to communities the length of California.

Consider the case of Paradise. Officials there spent years doing exactly what Cal Fire contractors have been doing this summer — thinning vegetation along roads and near development where firefighters can take a stand.

It didn’t work. The wind-whipped Camp fire hurtled over the fuel breaks and destroyed the town, killing 86 people and burning nearly 19,000 homes, businesses and other structures.

Chopping down trees and shrubs is “an easy approach because people think ‘Oh, the thing we can change is vegetation’ … and people want the problem to be fixed,” research scientist Alexandra Syphard said. “But unfortunately, it’s more complex than that.”

Syphard — who conducted one of the few scientific assessments of the effectiveness of fuel breaks in California — worries that the state’s focus on fuel reduction gives “people a false sense of security.”

“Time and time again in my research,” she said, “I find that fuel is one of the least important factors when it comes to protecting the home.”

To stem the escalating loss of life and property, Syphard and other experts argue the state needs to curb development in high fire-hazard zones, help homeowners ember-proof their houses and do a better job of enforcing defensible space regulations.

The hot, dry winds that howl down California mountainsides every year go by different names: Santa Anas in much of the Southland, sundowners in Santa Barbara, Diablos in the Bay Area.

They are a function of the state’s dramatic topography. And they are unstoppable — the predictable protagonists in California’s lengthening narrative of wildfire catastrophes.

The state’s 10 most destructive wildfires on record have all been wind driven. They have destroyed a total of 39,440 structures and claimed 170 lives. Seven of the 10 have occurred since 2015, including the Tubbs fire in Northern California’s wine country, and the Thomas and Woolsey fires in Southern California.

Paradise officials knew they were in dangerous wildfire country. The Sierra Nevada foothill community sits on a windy ridge amid pine and oak trees, grass and shrubs that have burned before and would inevitably burn again.

So beginning in 2001, they obtained roughly $2 million in mostly state and federal grants to remove underbrush and young trees on the edge of town and nearby communities. The 100-foot wide strips were partially thinned, creating miles of what are called shaded fuel breaks — the same approach Cal Fire is using in many of this year’s projects.

But when the Camp fire broke out the morning of Nov. 8, winds rocketing out of the Jarbo Gap launched firebrands and glowing embers over the fuel breaks as if they didn’t exist.

“It jumped over anything that we had done by a long range” said Jim Broshears, the former Paradise fire chief who oversaw some of the fuel reduction projects. “By the time the main fire hit Paradise, we had fire all over the place from spot fires.”

One, he noted, started “at least five miles from the front of the fire” and burned backward into town.

In the deadly Tubbs fire, Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood was set ablaze by blowing embers that soared over the 101 Freeway, a de facto fire break. The Thomas fire — the state’s second largest wildfire on record — burned over a number of fuel breaks around Ojai, including one that runs atop a mountain ridge for 13 miles.

Santa Ana winds sent embers flying over a river and a reservoir in the massive 2003 Cedar fire, which left 15 dead in San Diego County. Four years later, fierce Santa Anas drove the Witch fire over some of the same scrublands, tossing firebrands over Interstate 15.

Cal Fire director Thom Porter nonetheless defends the state’s fuel break projects, saying they can be helpful even in wind-driven fires. He pointed to thinning that reduced the Camp fire’s intensity as it burned along the lower portion of Skyway, Paradise’s main evacuation route.

“It did save lives,” Porter said.

The fast-moving front of a fire that spews embers across the landscape is just one part of a blaze, he added. When a fire’s flanks and heel hit a fuel break, they will slow — “and that is why we continue to do them,” Porter said. “They help us get people out of the way.”

Local and state agencies have been cutting fuel breaks across California’s chaparral and forest landscapes for more than half a century.

They take different forms and sizes, but generally consist of a strip of wild land where the vegetation has been completely or partly removed. They are not designed to stop wildfires on their own, but to give firefighters a place to establish control lines and set backfires.

The breaks can be effective under the right conditions: If high winds aren’t spitting red-hot embers over them like a fire-breathing dragon, if fire behavior isn’t extreme and firefighting crews can get to them.

But by their very nature, catastrophic wildfires rarely obey those strictures.

“Why don’t you address the fires that are killing all the people?” said Richard Halsey, director of the nonprofit California Chaparral Institute and a fuel break critic. “Would you tell me how any of [the thinning projects] would have saved Coffey Park?”

The state, he says, is focusing on the wrong thing.

Use the money to retrofit houses with fire-resistant features, such as ember-proof vents, and “you would save more structures than any fuel treatments,” Halsey says.

There has long been controversy over the usefulness of fuel breaks and their effect on the landscape. Their snaking lines have scarred mountainsides, destroyed wildlife habitat and are fertile ground for invasive grasses that ignite more easily than the shrubs or trees they replace.

They need to be maintained but often aren’t. There is no guarantee that a wildfire will ever burn near them. Most of the evidence of their effectiveness is anecdotal and based on firefighters’ accounts.

In a research paper published in 2011, Syphard and her co-authors analyzed 30 years of data on fuel breaks and wildfires in Southern California’s four national forests.

Many of the fires never hit a fuel break. When they did, the percentage that stopped ranged from 22% on the San Barnardino forest to 47% on the Cleveland forest. In every instance that a break halted a fire’s progress, Syphard found it was because firefighters were on it.

“The only reason a fire ever stops at a fuel break, regardless of the weather conditions, is that a firefighter is there, using the fuel break to fight the fire,” said Syphard, who is affiliated with the Conversation Biology Institute and is chief scientist at Sage Underwriters, a homeowners insurance company.

It is typically too dangerous or logistically impossible to station crews on breaks in wind-whipped fires, which during peak runs can race across several hundred acres a minute.

A few miles north of Ojai, the Nordhoff fuel break zigzags along a prominent ridgetop in the fire-prone Los Padres National Forest.

Part of a decades-old network of breaks established to protect the town that sits in a picturesque bowl on the forest’s southern boundary, the Nordhoff was widened in 2009.

Crews used heavy equipment to clear a 13-mile-long, roughly 300-foot-wide strip that was easily visible in Google Earth photos — a twisting band of brown amid the rich green of the forest’s robe of chaparral.

In environmental documents, the U.S. Forest Service said improving Nordhoff and other breaks would lessen the wildfire threat to the Ojai Valley and also help prevent fires from burning deeper into the Los Padres, destroying sensitive wildlife habitat.

That’s not the way it worked in late 2017. The evening of Dec. 4, powerful Santa Ana winds snapped power lines in the Ventura County hills north of Santa Paula, igniting the explosive Thomas fire.

In the first 24 hours, the Thomas blasted across 86 square miles, unimpeded by several controlled burns that Ventura County had previously conducted near the city of Ventura. The town lost several hundred homes.

“Nothing was slowing that thing down” said John McNeil, assistant chief of the Ventura County Fire Department.

John Smith, a Los Padres forest district ranger, spent the first night of the Thomas in the burning hills, checking on fire crews. He watched as a sheet of wind-flattened flames “just reached out across” the two paved lanes of Highway 150, “picked up on the other side and kept going.”

At one point he drove off a dirt road to a spot that felt safe enough to use his radio. It was bare earth flanked by trees and an orchard. When he returned later that night, the trees were gone and a fence was in flames. The fire “had leaned across and burned across bare ground.”

By day three, a branch of the Thomas hit parts of the Nordhoff break — and ran right over it.

Post-fire images from Google Earth show the Nordhoff ridge embedded in an ashen landscape extending several miles north into the Rose Valley, where the fire licked the edges of a gun club and scattered private inholdings.

“Everything we see was burned in the Thomas Fire,” Bryant Baker, conservation director of the nonprofit Los Padres ForestWatch, said as he walked along the ridge this spring.

The winter’s rains had washed away ashes and sprinkled the slopes with the fresh green of new growth sprouting beneath the charred limbs of chaparral.

Initially, firefighters didn’t even try to use the Nordhoff. They were too busy defending homes in Ventura and Ojai and frantically knocking on doors, telling residents to get out.

A few days later, incident commanders sent bulldozers to another portion of the break to clear space for engine crews to set backfires.

“It didn't happen because the forecasted weather was so extreme,” and the winds were carrying spot fires more than a half mile from the flame front, McNeil said. "We never did get engines up there."

Several other fuel breaks to the west of Ojai, near Lake Casitas, also proved ineffective in the face of long-range spotting. "We weren’t able to contain the fires at any of those,” he said.

Firefighters had more luck at another break, called the Shelf, that hugs the northern edge of Ojai. There they were able to station engines and set backfires that steered the flames away from neighborhoods.

But when asked what saved the town where he has lived most of his 53 years, McNeil doesn’t point to the miles of fuel breaks that embrace the Ojai Valley. He cites the roughly 200 fire trucks that descended on Ojai, as well as a favorable wind alignment that blew arms of the Thomas fire to the north and south of town, rather than into it.

About a year later, Santa Ana winds pushed the Woolsey fire — the most destructive wildfire in Los Angeles County history — over eight lanes of the 101 Freeway. As it rushed to the sea, it inevitably burned over old fuel breaks in the Santa Monica Mountains, said John Todd, deputy chief for prevention in the county fire department.

Todd, like other fire officials, says fuel breaks can be useful in battling wildfires under certain conditions. But the county — where 10 million people live amid one of the earth’s most flammable landscapes — has stopped clearing big strips of chaparral from its rugged mountainsides.

Of the 35 fuel reduction projects that Newsom greenlighted this year, only one is in L.A. County — a 25-acre break next to homes on Big Rock Mesa in Malibu. And the county decided not to exempt it from environmental reviews, as Newsom’s emergency order allows.

"Going back to the '60s and '70s, L.A. County maintained a very extensive network of fuel breaks that covered ridge lines,” Todd said. “Our goal used to be, the more vegetation clearance the better.”

At one point the county employed a brush crusher — a large, toothed roller that crews attached to cables and lowered down hillsides. When the smashed shrubs dried out, they were burned.

But the back country breaks, often the width of 10 bulldozer blades, or 120 feet, “were frankly causing tremendous damage to the resources, tremendous erosion and habitat loss," Todd said. What’s more, no one could be sure they were in the right places to ever be used.

There is more bang for the buck, he said, in making houses resistant to the glowing ember blizzards that set buildings ablaze in firestorms.

"Vegetation clearance is an expensive proposition and it needs to be addressed often times on an annual basis,” he said. "You can change a vent and protect an attic space for 30 years instead of clearing miles of weeds [every summer]."

But home hardening is not the state’s current priority. Vegetation management is. The $32 million earmarked for the Cal Fire projects is part of $1 billion — primarily from the proceeds of California’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas program — which the state plans to mostly spend on fuel reduction projects over the next five years.

Meanwhile, the Legislature this year stripped the funding from a proposal to establish a $1 billion low-interest loan and rebate program that would help homeowners pay for fire-resistant retrofits.

Porter, the Cal Fire director, said state agencies are committed to finding programs that would help disadvantaged communities make residences more fire resistant — but most homeowners can undertake the work on their own.

"In California every acre that can burn, will burn someday — and we all need to recognize that," he said.

Calli-Jane DeAnda, executive director of the Butte County Fire Safe Council, which coordinated much of the Paradise fuel break work, said both thinning and home hardening deserve funding.

During the Camp fire, "it wasn’t the flames of the wildfire approaching” that ignited the urban firestorm that left much of Paradise in ruins, she said. “It was embers landing on homes and eaves and vents."

She tells of one family that had followed all the defensible space rules. "Their property was as clean as anybody could have asked for. They had been using herbicides and maintaining grass …Their home was good construction,” she said. But “as the fire started to pick up its pace, they saw embers get sucked into their vents and come into their attic — and the house was on fire.”

Post-conflagration photos of Paradise reveal row after row of houses reduced to heaps of ash, while nearby trees and vegetation stand green and largely untouched by flame. In the Camp fire, the primary fuel was houses, not vegetation.

Jack Cohen, a retired Forest Service research scientist who studied ignitions and wildfire spread, said he’s been asked to explain the “unusual pattern of destruction” in Paradise.

His response: “It’s not strange and unusual — it’s typical. Every investigation I’ve done comes up with that pattern."

"We do fuel breaks because the premise is we've got a wildfire containment problem” when in fact, Cohen argues, we have a home ignition problem.

Until firefighting agencies recognize that, he said, their efforts are doomed to “further failure at ever increasing cost.”

In the deadly Tubbs fire, Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood was set ablaze by blowing embers that soared over the 101 Freeway, a de facto fire break. The Thomas fire — the state’s second largest wildfire on record — burned over a number of fuel breaks around Ojai, including one that runs atop a mountain ridge for 13 miles.

S anta Ana winds sent embers flying over a river and a reservoir in the massive 2003 Cedar fire, which left 15 dead in San Diego County. Four years later, fierce Santa Anas drove the Witch fire over some of the same scrublands, tossing firebrands over Interstate 15.

Cal Fire director Thom Porter nonetheless defends the state’s fuel break projects, saying they can be helpful even in wind-driven fires. He pointed to thinning that reduced the Camp fire’s intensity as it burned along the lower portion of Skyway, Paradise’s main evacuation route.

“It did save lives,” Porter said.

The fast-moving front of a fire that spews embers across the landscape is just one part of a blaze, he added. When a fire’s flanks and heel hit a fuel break, they will slow — “and that is why we continue to do them,” Porter said. “They help us get people out of the way.”

Local and state agencies have been cutting fuel breaks across California’s chaparral and forest landscapes for more than half a century.

They take different forms and sizes, but generally consist of a strip of wild land where the vegetation has been completely or partly removed. They are not designed to stop wildfires on their own, but to give firefighters a place to establish control lines and set backfires.

The breaks can be effective under the right conditions: If high winds aren’t spitting red-hot embers over them like a fire-breathing dragon, if fire behavior isn’t extreme and firefighting crews can get to them.

But by their very nature, catastrophic wildfires rarely obey those strictures.

“Why don’t you address the fires that are killing all the people?” said Richard Halsey, director of the nonprofit California Chaparral Institute and a fuel break critic. “Would you tell me how any of [the thinning projects] would have saved Coffey Park?”

The state, he says, is focusing on the wrong thing.

Use the money to retrofit houses with fire-resistant features, such as ember-proof vents, and “you would save more structures than any fuel treatments,” Halsey says.

There has long been controversy over the usefulness of fuel breaks and their effect on the landscape. Their snaking lines have scarred mountainsides, destroyed wildlife habitat and are fertile ground for invasive grasses that ignite more easily than the shrubs or trees they replace.

They need to be maintained but often aren’t. There is no guarantee that a wildfire will ever burn near them. Most of the evidence of their effectiveness is anecdotal and based on firefighters’ accounts.

In a research paper published in 2011, Syphard and her co-authors analyzed 30 years of data on fuel breaks and wildfires in Southern California’s four national forests.

Many of the fires never hit a fuel break. When they did, the percentage that stopped ranged from 22% on the San Barnardino forest to 47% on the Cleveland forest. In every instance that a break halted a fire’s progress, Syphard found it was because firefighters were on it.

“The only reason a fire ever stops at a fuel break, regardless of the weather conditions, is that a firefighter is there, using the fuel break to fight the fire,” said Syphard, who is affiliated with the Conversation Biology Institute and is chief scientist at Sage Underwriters, a homeowners insurance company.

It is typically too dangerous or logistically impossible to station crews on breaks in wind-whipped fires, which during peak runs can race across several hundred acres a minute.

A few miles north of Ojai, the Nordhoff fuel break zigzags along a prominent ridgetop in the fire-prone Los Padres National Forest.

Part of a decades-old network of breaks established to protect the town that sits in a picturesque bowl on the forest’s southern boundary, the Nordhoff was widened in 2009.

Crews used heavy equipment to clear a 13-mile-long, roughly 300-foot-wide strip that was easily visible in Google Earth photos — a twisting band of brown amid the rich green of the forest’s robe of chaparral.

In environmental documents, the U.S. Forest Service said improving Nordhoff and other breaks would lessen the wildfire threat to the Ojai Valley and also help prevent fires from burning deeper into the Los Padres, destroying sensitive wildlife habitat.

That’s not the way it worked in late 2017. The evening of Dec. 4, powerful Santa Ana winds snapped power lines in the Ventura County hills north of Santa Paula, igniting the explosive Thomas fire.


See article in the LA TIMES HERE

Serena Williams demands Pickleball lines on Marinwood Tennis Courts



She says seniors and adults of all ages are taking up Pickleball by storm.  Why is Marinwood behind the curve in serving the community? Marinwood Tennis Courts at Miller Creek can be modified with pickleball lines without affecting the tennis program.   We pay plenty in CSD park taxes.  The public park is for ALL AGES and people should have a pickleball court to play on. Send your request for pickleball to lfretwell@marinwood.org 

for more on pickleball, visit https://www.usapa.org/what-is-pickleball/

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Marinwood CSD "White Elephant" design explained in two minutes.




Architect Bill Hansell explains his "drive through" maintenance shed compound to Marinwood CSD Parks and Recreation department on April 24, 2018.  Only five members of the public were invited to attend while the rest of the public was in the dark.  The CSD violated the  Brown Act .


Bill Hansells design is obviously flawed from a workflow standpoint.  The dimensions do not support the activities he proposes.  Recently, he has downplayed the parking garage and says these are workshops. If so, this means our equipment will be out in the rain and subject to vandalism.  Wasn't security and storage an essential goal of the project?

Any one of these sheds could house our 3 person Maintenance Department (one truck, two golf cart trucks and a tractor)




Any one of these sheds could house our 3 person Maintenance Department  (one truck, two golf cart trucks and a tractor) with some modifications  Instead the Marinwood CSD wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on custom design that is FOUR TIMES the Size and ten times the price.   

Pre engineered Sheds like the above start at $10,000 installed.  The architects fees for the Marinwood CSD project have already exceeded the cost of a prefab unit.

I'd rather see us use the hundreds of thousands wasted on a custom design to be used for improving our parks and paying down our pension obligations.  I do appreciate good design but think it should be concentrated on the public areas of the park. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

If you attended this Community Workshop in 2017, your voice is being ignored.



In 2017, the Parks and Recreation commission held a workshop to gather public feedback on a new maintenance shed.  The Marinwood CSD subtly tried to push its preferred design but were surprised at the amount of community concerns about the size, location and cost of the new facility.  There were three locations discussed including one next to the fire station and at the end of the meeting, the CSD board promised to "take the feedback in for a future proposal"

Instead in 2018 the Marinwood CSD decided to ignore the public altogether and only informed five neighbors of the new design proposal.  The meeting was deceptively noticed as a discussion but instead it was an hour long presentation by the architect, Bill Hansell to lay out his plans.   

I happened to attend the meeting to present a concern to the Park and Rec Commission and had a chance to film the meeting.  The Marinwood CSD openly violated Brown Meeting Act "Sunshine Laws" so they could escape public scrutiny.

At the June 12, 2018 meeting, Eric Dreikosen, CSD Manager was asked again about the submittal of documents for consideration and he evasively answered the question to make it appear that nothing was happening.

Three days later on June 15, 2018 Dreikosen submits a 109 "Negative Declaration for Environmental Review" which essentially gives the Marinwood CSD a free pass to build with minimal environmental review.  He continued to hide this from the public until Friday, June 29th with a cryptic note before a major holiday and when Marin County workers were threatening a strike.

A required public meeting was scheduled at the most inconvenient time possible shortly before comments are due on the plan. 

Clearly neither Eric Dreikosen, the Marinwood CSD Board or Parks and Recreation members wants the public to interfere with their plans.--  AS IS OUR RIGHT IN A DEMOCRACY.

Below is the Bill Hansell proposal on 4/24/2018



The Marinwood Maintenance Compound is roughly as long as this Carwash

Carwashes in the 1950s and 1960s were roughly 40' x 150' or the same size as the proposed
 "White Elephant" Maintenance compound in Marinwood Park.




The Marinwood CSD proposes a new Maintenance compound that is 40’ x 150' or roughly comparable to the size of this car wash but with a higher roofline.  The front wall of the building is 15' tall by 80’ long.  This is an enormous footprint for a building meant to house 1 truck, 2 utility vehicles, a tractor, tools and work area.  It is roughly FOUR TIMES the cubic volume of the existing maintenance shed. 
A conventional side door garage offers the same amount of functional space in less than half the size.  Let’s build a “right sized Garage instead.



Sign the Petition Now


A conventional side access garage offers maximum access and flexibility. It offers more efficiency in less than half the space.  When vehicles are removed, a large work area is available for temporary projects.  This is the type of facility used in every other government agency in Marin County

Monday, September 9, 2019

Why is over 1/3 of the Marinwood Maintenance Compound Wasted Space?

The Maintenance Shed compound is huge because over 1/3 of it must remain open for vehicle and equipment access.  The above drawing approximates the areas that will need to remain open. It does not show the support columns in the center of the building which further restricts movement.


It is easy to overlook practical concerns when creating an initial design.  The first design of the Marinwood Maintenance Compound is an excellent example.   A huge access corridor must remain open at all times to allow vehicles and equipment to move in the long and narrow facility.  In addition each "room has support columns in the middle that further restricts movement.   This is a FATAL DESIGN ERROR and  why a new design must be created.

Almost everyone will support a well designed facility that minimizes the impact to the park and the creek while also providing enough space for our 3 workers.  The current building is approximately 3200 square feet inside a 5400 square foot compound.  This is TWICE the size of neighboring homes.  We are storing 1 full size truck, 2 utility vehicles, a tractor and equipment.  A conventional side access garage as seen in every government agency in Marin will take up about half the size at less than half the cost.

We need your help to stop the "White Elephant". Let's build a "right size" garage instead.
Sign the Petition HERE

Why is Marinwood still messing with the White Elephant?

Attractive prefab garages like this one start @ $10k.  Marinwood has wasted $30,000 on incomplete plans on a fantasy compound designed by a former CSD politician that have no possibility of being built.


The Marinwood CSD has paid former Marinwood CSD director Bill Hansell over $30,000 so far for an unfinished design of a new Maintenance facility dubbed the “White Elephan” .In April 2018, Marinwood CSD manager, Eric Dreikosen estimated Hansell’s fees would be $12,000 for the complete project. Hansell has not even completed an approved plan due to its numerous violations of county codes. It is a drive through design which requires a massive footprint in Marinwood Park that stretches from Miller Creek road to the meadow 600 feet to the East. It is MUCH larger than the existing facility despite claims to the contrary.


Why is the Marinwood CSD allowing this collosal waste of money? What is happening here?

Saturday, September 7, 2019

FABLE: THE BELLY AND THE MEMBERS

ALL the Members of the body conspired against the Belly, as against the swallowing gulf of all their labors; for whereas the eyes beheld, the ears heart, the hands labored, the feet traveled, the tongue spake, and all parts performed their functions; only the Belly lay idle, and consumed all. 

 Hereupon, they jointly agreed, all to forbear their labors, and to leave their lazy and public enemy to take care of himself. One day passed over, the second followed very slowly, but the third day was so grievous to them all that they called a common council. The eyes waxed dim, the feet could not support the body, the arms waxed lazy, the tongue faltered, and could not lay open the matter; therefore they all , with one accord, desired the advice of the Heart.  
Then the Heart told them: "It is true that the Belly receives all the meats, but it sends them out again for the nourishment of all parts of the body, and all must work together for the common good. 

The Belly cannot do without the Members, nor the Members without the Belly."

[Illustration]

Marinwood CSD Board Packet September 10, 2019

Social Credit Score, USA

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

A Tale of Two Parks Maintenance Sheds. ("Why is Marinwood CSD building a White Elephant?)



Marin County just completed a new staff building for McInnis Park in 2017 . It is 1205 square foot facility including a 640 aquare foot garage and serves a staff of six employees.


McInnis Park, located at 310 Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael, is a 450 acre park that offers an award-winning skatepark, two softball fields, two soccer fields, a canoe launch, four tennis/pickleball courts, a group picnic area, and nature trails. It has a full time/seasonal staff of six. They are housed in a 1205 square foot garage and office.


Marinwood Park is 14.2 acres with approximately 6 acres improved space which features four tennis courts, two large fields, a playground, pool, picnic area and a community center.  It has a full time landscaping staff of three.  

Marinwood CSD wants to build a 4400 square foot facility for Marinwood Park to replace the old garage. The main building is 3200 square feet and features a 14' tall x 80' long front wall and is surrounded by another 40' x 70' long fence.  It is enormous, yet the drive through design means that 1/3 of the interior space must be left open for access. A staff shower was recently added to the design.  The building is TWICE the size of neighboring homes.  Outside storage of landscaping waste, bulk materials and parking for the dump truck and trailer will be in front of the building now shown as a lawn in the fanciful architect's rendering.
   
The McInnis Park building is on the park road leading to the tennis courts and skate park. It is an practical shed roof design with a 640 square foot garage and an attached 565 square foot office. McInnis Park has a much larger staff and equipment storage needs but somehow find they find a much smaller facility than Marinwood CSD Maintenance Compound will serve them.  It was recently completed in 2017.

The McInnis Park staff facility is an excellent model for Marinwood CSD to copy for our needs.  It is a modest, organic design and will fit well in our nature park setting.  If Marinwood CSD adopted such a design it will certainly win widespread support from citizens of Marinwood.

Why DOE MARINWOOD CSD propose a Maintenance Compound that is THREE TIMES the size of McInnis Park Staff facilities for our tiny staff with minimal needs?

Stop the White Elephant

Sign the Petition HERE

Editor's Note CORRECTION:An earlier version of this story mentioned $985k construction cost but that bid proposal was for two buildings and included significant lot improvements in addition to the construction of the building. You can see the RFP from Marin County Parks here. Prevailing wage work is very expensive but not as bad as the original version of the story implied.   The Marinwood CSD has not discussed the planned budget for the RFP.  It seems like a basic step for planning a major capital project, doesn't it? The Marinwood CSD should not hide budgets from the public before moving the project.  That is why we will insist on a PUBLIC FORUM to weigh the project against alternative design proposals.  A sensibly designed project will win public support.