Sunday, November 17, 2019



[25] A GNAT flew over the meadow with much buzzing for so small a creature and settled on the tip of one of the horns of a Bull. After he had rested a short time, he made ready to fly away. But before he left he begged the Bull's pardon for having used his horn for a resting place.

"You must be very glad to have me go now," he said.
"It's all the same to me," replied the Bull. "I did not even know you were there."

We are often of greater importance in our own eyes 
than in the eyes of our neighbor.
The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Marinwood Maintenance Truck destruction of the Nature Trail in Marinwood Park

The Ford F250 and the dump trailer are a combined length of 44 feet.  The Marinwood landscaping crew has no choice but  to turn around 180 degrees in the Marinwood Park Nature meadow 450 feet east of this facility There is no other choice.  The proposed Marinwood facility will be too constrained to turn around any other way.  The only other option is to back up onto Miller Creek avenue. This will require expert skill and attention avoiding walkers, children, dogs and equipment.

The project must be halted IMMEDIATELY until the Marinwood CSD comes up with a solution for material handling and vehicle movement that does not destroy our park. Photos 11/14/2019

Huge piles of landscaping debris/ trash are stored in the open as a part of normal weekly operations
Tire tread is clearly visible in the field

The large 60 foot turnaround is directly behind 515 Quietwood Dr.

The truck is ready to exit the facility after turning around in meadow

The truck will exit the facility several times a day even during rain and muddy conditions. The meadow will be destroyed with deep tire tracks and ruts. Pictured above is a conditions from last winter.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Marinwood CSD meeting November 12, 2019

A New Shed Plan is needed ASAP

A New Shed Plan is needed ASAP

Of all the reasons not to approve the current Maintenance facility Hansell design proposal, perhaps the most compelling is how it will make routine operations very difficult. Now that the story poles are erected, you can see what we mean.  Below are three views of the Marinwood maintenance yard and the Ford F250 truck and trailer taken on November 12, 2019.   Note  approximately 400 square feet of landscaping debris is stored temporarily onsite before removal every week.  It is an essential operational necessity.

If this building is constructed according to current design, regular landscaping operations will be extremely difficult and time consuming to perform due to space constraints.

 The Ford F250 and the Trailer are approximately 44 feet long as seen here next to the current maintainance garage.,  The orange fencing is marking the perimeter of the roof line. The area where the truck is now parked will become a grassy area, footpath and a swail for handling water in the Hansell proposal.  All of the landscape debris, material storage and truck parking will occur INSIDE the orange perimeter and a fenced yard (not shown) according to Hansell.

There are many obstructions inside and outside the facility that will make backing up extremely hazardous to pedestrians, workers, and equipment.  The driveway is not straight and backing up a trailer takes skill and practice. Trucks will be moving in and out of this area several times a day.
A Ford F250 truck has a minimum turning radius of 54 feet to turn 180 degrees.  All turns inside the Hansell facility will take careful manuevers to avoid obstructions.  Realistically, the safest option will be to drive through the facility and turn around in the meadow 400 feet to the East.  But this will destroy the meadow and our beautiful nature trail.

This circle shows an approximate size and location of  the truck turnaround in the meadow on the nature path.

The Marinwood nature trail is muddy during rainy season.  We can expect the meadow to have deep ruts from the abuse of vehicle turn arounds.  The trucks must exit the facility EVERY day regardless of weather conditions .

Fortunately, there is a proven solution for narrow lots... a side access garage as is found in EVERY COMMUNITY Maintenance facility in Marin county.  It costs less, provides easy access for vehicles, and vehicles can exit the facility safely without backing up. This is why this practical design is popular.

Here is an example of a 1200 sf garage at McInnis Park.  They have TWICE the number of employees and equipment, manage 450 acres compared to our 14 acres and the building works for them. It was built in 2018.  Why does Marinwood need a custom building TWICE the size?

These types of building are so common that they are available in modular construction for as little as $25k and can be installed on a prepared foundation in a matter of days.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Beautiful Garage maintenance sheds that deliver high value for Marinwood Park

Sheds built with standard designs improved with architectural details will save hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be invested in Marinwood Park and our employee pension debt reduction instead.

This attractive design is built with cement siding for long life.

This is the Maintenance Garage we need for Appoximately $25k

This is an example of a maintenance garage that can be built in Marinwood Park for about $25k plus foundation work.

The current Hansell design proposal will easily cost TEN TIMES this. Why is Marinwood CSD allowing Bill Hansell, a former CSD Director a BLANK CHECK for his architectural services and building a massive 4400sf facility for our three person crew?

The Sheds Unlimited crew assembed this $25k garage in18 hours of work.

CSD Meeting Agenda November 12, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

Marinwwood Architect Hansell Design accuses senior citizen for questioning billing

If I didn't see the above letter, I wouldn't believe how badly Architect Bill Hansell has behaved.  In February 2018, Marinwood CSD manager Eric Dreikosen hired an "unnamed architect" for the Marinwood Maintenance shed project for the "all inclusive price of $12,000".  Later, we found out that it was former CSD Director, Bill Hansell who had hired Eric Dreikosen in 2016.  Why wasn't this revealed?

I have gotten to know Bill Hansell over the years and know while he can be intemperate at times, he also has a positive vision for the community which I share.  From the start of this project I have wanted to work with Bill but it was not to be. 

Hansells billing stopped before reaching $12,000 and he has worked many hours from May 2018 until December 2018.  We simply wanted to know how much his services are costing the district.

Already, Hansell pushed the design from a small 1200 sf garage to a 4400 square foot compound that easily will cost at least five times the original proposal in 2017.   He refused to meet with the public to work out our concerns with the size, location and environment. Despite a large petition of residents asking for a public process to examine alternative designs,  the Marinwood CSD has attempted to seek a Design Review Exemption that would prevent a public hearing on the Marinwood CSD proposal.  (There are many issues of concern to be considered).

Now, Hansell is behaving quite poorly, as though a request for financial accountability is unwarranted and his character is being maligned.  We will let you judge it for yourself.  

Is Hansell Design's billing practice acceptable for a public project?  

Sunday, November 10, 2019



[13] "WHY in the world do you walk sideways like that?" said a Mother Crab to her son. "You should always walk straight forward with your toes turned out."

"Show me how to walk, mother dear," answered the little Crab obediently, "I want to learn."

So the old Crab tried and tried to walk straight forward. But she could walk sideways only, like her son. And when she wanted to turn her toes out she tripped and fell on her nose.

Do not tell others how to act unless you can set a good example.


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Who Belongs in a City

Underneath every shiny new megacity, there's often a story of communities displaced. In this moving, poetic talk, OluTimehin Adegbeye details how government land grabs are destroying the lives of thousands who live in the coastal communities of Lagos, Nigeria, to make way for a "new Dubai." She compels us to hold our governments and ourselves accountable for keeping our cities safe for everyone. "The only cities worth building, indeed the only futures worth dreaming of, are those that include all of us, no matter who we are or how we make homes for ourselves," she says.

Friday, November 8, 2019



This decade has witnessed an unprecedented expansion of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area (the San Jose-San Francisco combined statistical area or CSA), with the addition of three Central Valley metropolitan areas, Stockton, Modesto and Merced. Over the same period, there has been both a drop in the population growth rate and a shift of growth to the Central Valley exurban metropolitan areas. This expansion was partly justified by the increase in “extreme commutes” – one way work trips of 60 minutes or more.This increased the Bay Area’s already abundant land supply, particularly with the addition of Modesto and Merced. The Central Valley Exurbs added a plain nearly 100 miles north to south and more than 40 miles east to west.
It is notable that the Coast Mountain range did not stop the urban expansion of the Bay Area. Now, nearly 1.6 million Bay Area CSA residents live in the Central Valley exurbs (Figure 1). Much of the growth has to do with the better housing affordability there.

The Bay Area CSA is the broadest definition of the regional labor market, as defined by the White House Office of Management and Budget, using American Community Survey commuting data. It includes the San Francisco metropolitan area (San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Contra Costa, and Marin counties), the San Jose metropolitan area (Santa Clara and San Benito counties), the Santa Rosa metropolitan area (Sonoma County), the Vallejo metropolitan area (Solano County), the Napa metropolitan area (Napa County), the Santa Cruz metropolitan area (Santa Cruz County), the Stockton metropolitan area (San Joaquin County) and the Modesto metropolitan area (Stanislaus) and the Merced metropolitan area (Merced County). The latter shares its southern border with the Fresno CSA.
Population Growth Dropping and Shifting from the Center
Earlier in the decade (2010 – 2015), propelled by the tech boom, the Bay Area CSA experienced strong growth, adding 1.2% annually to its population. This is more than 50% above the national population growth rate of 0.7% (Figure 2). The last three years, however (2015 – 2018) the population growth rate fell to 0.6%, half that of the 2010 – 2015 rate, well below the national rate. Virtually all of the declining growth rate is attributable to the San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas, along with the adjacent exurban metropolitan areas (Santa Rosa, Vallejo, Napa and Santa Cruz).

The San Francisco metropolitan area added fewer than 19,000 new residents in 2017 – 2018, a full two thirds below its 60,000 average increase for 2010 – 2015. The San Jose metropolitan area added fewer than 6000 new residents in 2017 – 2018, down approximately 80% from its annual growth of more than 25,000 in 2010 to 2015. The adjacent exurbs, which had added an average of 10,000 residents from 2010 – 2015 saw their growth collapse to a 2000 loss in 2018.This is all the more remarkable in the face of what has been a remarkable economic boom.
Only the Central Valley metropolitan areas sustained their growth, increasing from an annual average of nearly 13,000 in 2010 – 2015 to nearly 18,000 in 2015 – 2018 (Figure 3).

The shift of growth to the Central Valley is illustrated by the tripling of its share of Bay Area CSA growth from 11% in 2010 – 2015 to 35% from 2015 to 2018. The San Francisco metropolitan area fell from 55% of the growth in the first five years to 46% in the last three. The San Jose metropolitan area growth has been nearly halved from 24% to 13%. The adjacent exurbs accounted for 9% of growth in 2010 – 2015, dropping by more than half to 4% between 2015 and 2018 and losing population in 2017 - 2018 (Figure 4).

Even so, the city of San Francisco, which accounts for much of the urban core population, has maintained its growth share, having captured 10.6% of the 2010 – 2015 growth and a slightly larger 11.4% in 2015 – 2018 (Figure 5).

Declining Natural Increase Rate
The Bay Area’s annual natural increase in population has been declining. This measure, measured by births minus deaths, dropped from 57,000 in 2010 – 2011 to 42,000 in 2017 – 2018, an overall decline of 26%. The decline was similar in the San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas. The largest decline was in the adjacent exurbs, where the natural increase rate declined by more than one half, from 5600 to 2700. The smallest decline was in the Central Valley exurbs, at 17% (Figure 6). The total natural increase was nearly 410,000.

The natural population increase is declining across the nation, due to falling fertility rates. The recent collapse in the Bay Area CSA in domestic outmigration is also a factor. IRS data shows that California’s net domestic outmigration tends to be strongest among households from 26 to 44 years old, ages that produce most of the children. The lowest outmigration rate is among those aged 65 and over.
Meanwhile, Marin County has the oldest median age in the CSA, at 47.2 years. More than nine years older than the national median (38.4). The youngest ages are in the Central Valley exurbs. Merced County has a median age of 32.1, while San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties are at 34.5.
Domestic Migration Collapses
The Bay Area CSA gained an average of 9000 domestic migrants in 2010 – 2015. However, domestic migration collapsed to an annual net loss of 39,000 in 2015 – 2018, reaching a loss of nearly 50,000 in 2017 – 2018 (Figure 7). Net domestic migration dropped strongly in both the San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas. The Bay Area CSA net domestic migration loss in 2010 – 2018 was 71,000.
The decline in net domestic migration was less severe in the adjacent exurbs. The Central Valley exurbs experienced positive domestic migration, reversing the early losses that had been precipitated by the devastating effects of the Great Recession (Figure 7).

The overall 2000 – 2018 net domestic migration by metropolitan area is shown in Figure 8. The overall decline in Bay Area CSA net domestic migration is illustrated in Figure 9.

International Migration
Net international migration has been more steady, ranging from approximately 40,000 to 60,000 per year, with similar fluctuations throughout the CSA. Net international migration was nearly 390,000 from 2010-2018.
Growth Increasing Only in the Central Valley Exurbs
To summarize, the 2010 – 2008 components of population change in the Bay Area CSA are indicated in Figure 10.

The Bay Area CSA has seen a significant reduction in its pattern of growth as the decade has proceeded. The result is that growth has been largely stunted in the San Francisco, San Jose and adjacent metropolitan areas, with growth increasing only in the Central Valley exurbs. The Bay Area may remain the tech capital of the world, people are moving away, despite the continued economic growth.
Photograph: Central Valley Bay Area Exurbs: From the Stockton metropolitan area, looking south toward the Modesto and Merced metropolitan areas (by author).
Wendell Cox is principal of Demographia, an international public policy and demographics firm. He is a Senior Fellow of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism (US), Senior Fellow for Housing Affordability and Municipal Policy for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (Canada), and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University (California). He is co-author of the "Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey" and author of "Demographia World Urban Areas" and "War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life." He was appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, where he served with the leading city and county leadership as the only non-elected member. Speaker of the House of Representatives appointed him to the Amtrak Reform Council. He served as a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, a national university in Paris.

Sunday, November 3, 2019



A WOLF had stolen a Lamb and Was carrying it off to his lair to eat it. But his plans were very much changed when he met a lion, who, without making any excuses, took the Lamb away from him.
The Wolf made off to a safe distance, and then said in a much injured tone
"You have no right to take my property like that!"


The Lion looked back, but as the Wolf was too far away to be taught a lesson without too much inconvenience, he said:
"Your property? Did you buy it, or did the Shepherd make you a gift of it? Pray tell me, how did you get it?"
What is evil won is evil lost.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Cities Need Traffic Laws Recognizing Cyclists As The Most Important People On Earth

Cities Need Traffic Laws Recognizing Cyclists As The Most Important People On Earth

Wes Brinkman - Cycling enthusiast

Every day in this country, cyclists are treated like second-class citizens, barely tolerated by careless motorists and lazy pedestrians who refuse to share the streets. It’s time to confront reality and enact new traffic laws that reflect the inarguable truth: Cyclists are better than you in every way possible.

From cutting down on pollution, to lowering your commute time, the very existence of cyclists in your city is a blessing. Building protected bike lanes and bike boxes for turning is the least you can do. Anyone with a basic modicum of courtesy knows that cyclists should be allowed to do whatever we want, whenever we want—from riding on the sidewalks if the streets are crowded, to blocking the exits of subway cars during rush hour. Today’s laws need to address that.

Anyone with a basic modicum of courtesy knows that cyclists should be allowed to do whatever we want, whenever we want…

If you press them hard enough, motorists and pedestrians will begrudgingly admit that they could do more to look out for cyclists. This is obvious. But they’ll often argue as a counterpoint that cyclists have a responsibility to wear helmets and obey stop signs and traffic signals.

Dead fucking wrong.

Cyclists shouldn’t have to obey your rules. Cyclists should make the rules. We’re done braking for your dogs and strollers while you’re promenading through a crosswalk. Forget new traffic laws—we’re above the law altogether. Parking lanes should be bike lanes. Sidewalks should be bike boulevards. Stoplights ought to be optional for anything on two wheels—or three, if you welded it yourself.

The time has come for all driver’s education courses, safety books, and road signs to reflect the reality that anyone on a bike—from fair-weather riders going 10 miles per hour in the left-hand turn lane, to entire families of tourists crowding the sidewalks—outranks you as a human being. We need laws forcing anyone who so much as sees a cyclist on the street to thank them for their very existence. If a cyclist wants to run down the mayor in broad daylight, you should get down on your hands and knees and kiss the skid marks.

If you don’t think cyclists are the most important people on Earth, prove it. Talk to one of us for five minutes, and tell us we’re wrong.

That’s what I thought.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Marinwood CSD update on the "White Elephant" Shed

Marinwood CSD Manager updates the Parks and Rec Commission onthe Park Shed project.  Dreikosen still is denying that vehicles will need to turn around in the meadow and use the land in front of the building for landscaping trash.  I wonder if he owns a measuring tape?  If he does, he simply needs to see how a 22 foot truck and a 22 foot trailer will manuever inside the maintenance facility.  It really isn't hard and we should DEMAND ANSWERS why Dreikosen has not done this yet.  Of course, he hired Bill Hansell, former CSD politician who gave him his cushy job at the CSD in 2016.  This is really bad news and conflict of interest laws are being broken in addition to managerial incompetence.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Ending the War on Communities: 14 Suggestions

Ending the War on Communities: 14 Suggestions to Protect Neighborhoods While Providing Meaningful Housing Solutions

The debate on solving California’s housing affordability crisis has reached a fever pitch, and the level of noise is drowning out solutions. We are facing a push to indiscriminately force density on neighborhoods and a war on single-family housing, which some in Sacramento paint as inherently “racist” and “immoral.”
As Sacramento politicians spin their wheels on the highway to nowhere, we have an opportunity to find sensible, community-friendly measures to meet the housing affordability challenges here in California and across America.
The fundamental question: do we want to create affordable housing or do we want to promote housing as an investment vehicle? Wall Street, corporate developers and their Sacramento politician friends espouse “trickle down” housing theories which in reality promote luxury development which we have in abundance. The goal of non-profit affordable housing developers is: housing itself.
Huge difference.
With this in mind, sensible housing policies should look to promote affordable housing solutions with non-profit organizations, most of whom are in it for the long-run and want to be integrated within the communities they serve.
Sadly, the discussion of California’s housing challenges in traditional (and some non-traditional) media outlets is so one-sided that people have a right to be skeptical about the agendas being pushed in them.
Publications from the Washington Post to the New York Times devote a serious amount of column inches to housing in California, and almost everything they write places the blame for the housing affordability crisis exclusively on “Nimby” cities. The preferred “solution” is to override local zoning in favor of Sacramento-mandated levels of forced density. Self-proclaimed “housing advocates,” including San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener are freely allowed to state their Reaganomic trickle-down, “the unfettered market will solve it all” perspectives without any counterposing views.
When the communitarian views of those representing the very cities being scapegoated are denied the ability to respond and/or present alternative perspectives, you know something very strange is going on.
And when those who are being faulted are not “just saying ‘no’ to everything,” but have real, concrete solutions to propose, refusing to allow those voices to be heard represents something more than a mere sin of omission.
It’s not for want of trying.
Beverly Hills has been perhaps the poster child of Yimby efforts to make cities “the bad guys.” Sadly, most of the attacks are based on misinformation and, worse, bigoted stereotypes. Even people who should know better seem to be watching too many reruns of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
One would think that a chance to rebut the skewed and false narratives with ideas which have been vetted with affordable housing advocates would at least be worth sharing, if for nothing else than for the sake of fairness and objectivity. And, of course, we have submitted these ideas to all the usual suspects.
But the Washington PostNew York TimesWall Street JournalBloomberg, and closer to home, the Sacramento BeeSan Francisco Chronicle and LA Times all seem to prefer stereotypes to substance, fiction to fairness and diatribe to dialogue.
The LA Times, owned by a billionaire oligarch has a housing writer, Liam Dillon, who bids fair to become the biggest unofficial CBIA (California Building Industry Association) and Yimby spokesperson in the state, in addition to having a storied history of stereotyping and boosterism.
Publications like the Wall Street JournalBloomberg, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee have a history of putting the interests of big business, corporations, and Wall Street above that of individual communities and the people who live in them. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the Wall Street Journal and Co. are organs of Wall Street talking points — wonder how many would like to see densification of their communities in Westchester and Marin, but never mind….
What’s perhaps even more disappointing is that CalMatters, which purports to be a marketplace of various Californian ideas, was unwilling to share the proposed solutions coming from a city that has regularly been targeted by the same Sacramento politicians whose feathers CalMatters evidently doesn’t want to ruffle by allowing our voice to be heard.
One would think that any or all of these outlets might at least have had the fairness to now present our solutions to the state’s housing challenges. One would think they might at least have tried to pay lip service to objectivity, even if it’s just window dressing to create a pretense of journalistic balance.
Fortunately, there are still websites, which are unafraid to feature a diversity of opposing viewpoints. And in this case, it’s not even a question of opposing viewpoints: it’s a question of proactive solutions to the state’s housing affordability crisis (which is what we are really dealing with; it’s not like we have a luxury housing crisis). True, these are solutions that the Yimbys and their Wall Street and tech oligarch benefactors might not prefer, but they i preserve local flavor and preserve community diversity in a way that the standard, virtually identical high-density buildings clearly do not.
What we need are community-based solutions that embrace urban humanism. These include the following measures:
  1. A massive statewide bond, dedicated to building truly affordable housing, specifically directed towards non-profit affordable housing developers. Much of the state’s surplus could also be used to build affordable housing. Locally generated revenue, including linkage fees and local bonds could support local projects.
  2. Land banking: using some of the state’s surplus funds to prospectively purchase properties throughout the state which would be used for purely affordable housing, in addition to registering all current public lands which could be suitable for affordable housing with the input of local agencies.
  3. Reintroduction of redevelopment (or some form of tax increment financing) with a focus on affordable housing (at least 75% of funds would go to affordable housing built by non-profit affordable housing developers). Eminent domain of residential property or any property for non-residential uses could be precluded, so some of the abuses of past redevelopment agencies would be avoided.
  4. Supporting economic development in underserved areas, reversing the trend of population clustering created by job concentration. Increased investment in public higher learning institutions in these areas, such as the Central Valley, etc. Carrot/stick approach to corporations to encourage job creation in these areas, while avoiding the pitfalls of overheated job concentration in already dense areas, thereby also furthering the goals of geographic equity.
  5. Repeal of Costa/Hawkins and the Ellis Acts (which restrict cities’ abilities to implement rent stabilization ordinances and renter protections), along with assisting cities in creation and maintenance of rental registries. Good data can help with the creation of good policy, and particularly accurate information on vacancy rates are crucial.
  6. Vacancy, foreign owner and “speculation” taxes. Vacancy taxes, like in Canada, would progressively be charged to absentee landlords. Additional taxes would be levied towards speculators who don’t actually occupy their properties but purchase them as investment vehicles. Some naysayers to this approach have complained that it would have the effect of reducing property prices – something which would actually be a boon to non-profit affordable housing organizations.
  7. Strengthen state anti-trust rules for speculative ownership of housing and real estate; the securitization and commoditization of housing often stands in direct conflict with the goal of affordable housing and additional anti-trust regulations would aim to curb Wall Street’s influence.
  8. Strengthen CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act). Commercial projects which create a need for additional housing would need to mitigate the impacts they are creating, namely, by requiring the requisite amount of housing (including affordable housing) be built as a condition of project approval. No “kicking the can” to other communities or to the future; no “statements of overriding considerations.”
  9. Institute a “Clean Up Your Own Mess First” principle, including linkage fees. Negative impacts of projects must be mitigated by project owners. If a project creates a need for more housing or infrastructure, the project owner must “clean up her own mess first” rather than place the burden on the public.
  10. Density bonuses only for non-profit affordable housing developers, working in conjunction with individual communities, with continued community involvement/partnership with these non-profits.
  11. Address the root cause of the housing affordability crisis: income inequality. Consider instituting corporate wealth taxes.
  12. Allow regional cooperation/solutions to affordable housing (currently not allowed in California). Cities could through bi- or multi-lateral discussions/negotiations with other jurisdictions share RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Assessment) obligations across jurisdictional boundaries (and could share in revenue generated by projects, if the projects are the cause of increased housing needs which the jurisdictions would be meeting together).
  13. Waive all fees for non-profit affordable housing, with the fees to be reimbursed to cities by Sacramento.
Let these ideas bring debate and discussion which ultimately lead to housing solutions and dynamic, livable and sustainable communities that celebrate urban humanism, our ability to make choices for ourselves and our belief that ‘one-size-fits-all’ doesn’t work well in America. Is there a better time than now?