Friday, February 15, 2019

Marinwood CSD President Leah Green Threatens the Public with Arrest

Marinwood CSD board president, Leah Green threatens the public with arrest if they violate her interpretation of "public decorum".  A Marin County Sheriff was posted ready to arrest members of the public at the February 12, 2019 meeting.  Her interpretation of "public decorum" is so broad as to include speech that is clearly protected under the Constitution.  Language, tone and content of speech are "off limits".  Later during the public time, she repeatedly interrupts to speakers with whom she disagrees with their point of view.  Such arrogance of power must not be tolerated.  Our democracy requires both public participation and debate.  The "right to redress the government" is explicitly spelled out in the Constitution.  The meeting became tense as Green repeatedly provoked and argued with public speakers.  Though the Marin Sheriff did not respond as she hoped, it was clear that she was trying to set up a response so she could ban the attendance of me and other speakers, thus making their government meetings effectively secret.  

Marin County must intervene  to educate the Marinwood CSD to protect the rights of the citizens.

From the First Amendment to the Constitution:

The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, one's government, without fear of punishment or reprisals, ensured by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (1791).

Attention MTC/ABAG (aka BAHA) Regional Government is Dead

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Amazon Pulls Out of Planned New York City Headquarters

Amazon Pulls Out of Planned New York City Headquarters

Anti-Amazon protesters before a New York City Council hearing in January. The deal to build a sprawling Amazon campus in Queens had also run into opposition from some local lawmakers.CreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Anti-Amazon protesters before a New York City Council hearing in January. The deal to build a sprawling Amazon campus in Queens had also run into opposition from some local lawmakers.CreditCreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times

By J. David Goodman
Feb. 14, 2019

Amazon on Thursday canceled its plans to build an expansive corporate campus in New York City after facing an unexpectedly fierce backlash from some lawmakers and unions, who contended that a tech giant did not deserve nearly $3 billion in government incentives.

The company, as part of its extensive search for a new headquarters, had chosen Long Island City, Queens, as one of two winning sites, saying that it would create more than 25,000 jobs in the city.

But the agreement to lure Amazon stirred an intense debate about the use of government incentives to entice wealthy companies, the rising cost of living in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, and the city’s very identity.

Amazon’s decision is a major blow for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had set aside their differences to bring the company to New York.

To lure Amazon, city and state officials had offered the company one of the largest-ever incentive packages in exchange for a much larger return in jobs and tax revenue.CreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times

T lure Amazon, city and state officials had offered the company one of the largest-ever incentive packages in exchange for a much larger return in jobs and tax revenue.CreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times

But it was a remarkable win for insurgent progressive politicians led by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose upset victory last year happened to occur in the district where Amazon had planned its site. Her win galvanized the party’s left flank, which mobilized against the deal.

As recently as Wednesday, the governor had brokered a meeting between Amazon executives and the union leaders who had been resistant to the deal, according to two people briefed on the sit-down. The meeting ended without any compromise on the part of Amazon, according to the people.

In recent days, backers had begun mobilizing and felt encouraged by polls showing broad-based support for the company. Some could be seen wearing pins in support of Amazon. But those efforts did not sway many critics, who opposed the company for its anti-union practices and for the changes they feared it would bring to Queens.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, a vocal critic who was chosen for a state board with the power to veto the deal, said the decision revealed Amazon’s unwillingness to work with the Queens community it had wanted to join.

“Like a petulant child, Amazon insists on getting its way or takes its ball and leaves,” said Mr. Gianaris, a Democrat, whose district includes Long Island City. “The only thing that happened here is that a community that was going to be profoundly affected by their presence started asking questions.’

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, center, and Mayor Bill de Blasio, second from right, had been forcefully defending the deal they negotiated.CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, center, and Mayor Bill de Blasio, second from right, had been forcefully defending the deal they negotiated.CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

“Even by their own words,’’ he added, pointing to the company’s statement on the pullout, “Amazon admits they will grow their presence in New York without their promised subsidies. So what was all this really about?”

To attract Amazon, city and state officials offered the company one of the largest-ever incentive packages in exchange for a much larger return in jobs and tax revenue.

They agreed to remake plans for the Queens waterfront and move a distribution center for school lunches. They even agreed to give Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, access to a helicopter pad.

Under the plan, within 15 years the company could occupy as much as eight million square feet of office space, including office buildings for as many as 40,000 workers.

But almost as soon as it was announced, the deal was met with resistance, from local elected officials like Mr. Gianaris and progressive groups that held rallies and petitioned in Queens against the deal.

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A view of the Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City. A campus for as many as 40,000 Amazon workers was planned for the neighborhood.CreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

A view of the Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City. A campus for as many as 40,000 Amazon workers was planned for the neighborhood.CreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

Many critics were angered that the deal-making circumvented the normal land-use process and essentially eliminated any veto power by the City Council.

The idea of scaling back plans for the New York campus was a subject that had become increasingly discussed among Amazon’s board, according to a person familiar with the board’s deliberations. The meetings between Amazon and Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio before the company decided to come to New York led executives to believe that there would be greater political support than turned out to be the case.

The company had chosen New York as well as a site in Northern Virginia for major expansion. On Thursday, the company said it had no plans to reopen a search for a second location.

Kathryn S. Wylde, the chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, an influential business group, said, “How can anyone be surprised? We competed successfully, made a deal and spent the last three months trashing our new partner.”

Ms. Wylde said the reception Amazon had received sent a “pretty bad message to the job creators of the city and the world.”

Here is the statement released by Amazon:

After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term. While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.

We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture — and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.

We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and their staffs, who so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can’t speak positively enough about all their efforts. The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.

We do not intend to re-open the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.

Thank you again to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and the many other community leaders and residents who welcomed our plans and supported us along the way. We hope to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.

On Nuance: Van Jones Show Opening Monologue | 2/9/19


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Dixie board majority now favors changing district’s name

Dixie board majority now favors changing district’s name

More discussion needed on finding right name

By KERI BRENNER | | Marin Independent Journal
PUBLISHED: February 13, 2019 at 5:43 pm | UPDATED: February 13, 2019 at 6:23 pm

After a raucous debate and public hearing this week in the Dixie School District, one stunning new fact emerged quietly from the rubble of human interaction: a majority of the Dixie board of trustees now favors a name change.

“I think we made some progress,” district parent Bruce Anderson, a name change supporter, said after Tuesday night’s hearing, which drew more than 300 people to Miller Creek Middle School gymnasium in north San Rafael. “At least we’re not still talking about whether to change the name — we’re talking about choosing a new name.”

All 13 proposed new names were rejected by the board, which agreed to take up the process of name selection at a future board meeting. Neither board member Marnie Glickman, who was pushing for a vote in favor of Live Oak Valley Elementary School District — with the acronym LOVE — nor name change supporters were pleased by the board’s lack of action.

“Saying no to these names is saying yes to Dixie all over again,” Glickman said. “I think a lot of people in this room feel this way. I think a lot of people in the Bay Area feel this way, and I think a lot of people in the nation feel this way.”

Keri Brenner

Amos Brown, president of the San Francisco Chapter of the NAACP, was even more blunt.
“When you leave dishes in the sink, the pests collect,” he said to the Dixie board. Brown then led a loud rendition of the song, “We Shall Not Be Moved.”

Keri Brenner

Dixie meeting ends after 5 1/2 hours with no name change yet. All 13 names rejected but board to take up matter at a later date.
10:54 PM - Feb 12, 2019

During the board’s two-hour debate Tuesday that followed three hours of emotional public testimony, two newly elected board members — Megan Hutchinson and Brooks Nguyen — acknowledged they were both in favor of changing the name, although they were not quite ready to act on it at that moment.

Both board members had declined comment on the issue during the November election campaign and had made no public comment about their positions since taking office — until Tuesday.

“I also think the community needs to be a part of the process,” Hutchinson said. “I’m not quite sure how to reconcile all these feelings.”

Keri Brenner

Dixie trustee Megan Hutchinson.

Nguyen said she wanted to do more research on each name to be sure to get it right.

“I’ve only been in this post for 60 days,” she said. “I personally cannot (make) this decision based on the information I have now.”

In addition, board member Alissa Chacko, who for months had protested that the name change issue was thrust unawares on the community in August by Glickman and had unnecessarily sparked a vicious and angry divide in the community, on Tuesday acknowledged that she might be in favor of the name change if the proper community-wide engagement and board process could be realized.

Chacko and former board member Mark Schott had in December spearheaded a plan for a community-wide non-binding ballot measure in 2020 to gauge all public sentiment on the issue. See the full article HERE

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

And the Dixie Drama continues

Sharp divisions displayed at hearing on Dixie school name change

Public hearing stretches into late evening before any vote

Members of the crowd during a Dixie School District board public hearing on whether to change the name of the district at the Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (James Cacciatore/Marin Independent Journal)

By KERI BRENNER | | Marin Independent Journal
PUBLISHED: February 12, 2019 at 8:52 pm | UPDATED: February 12, 2019 at 9:36 pm

Despite an early plea for “respect and kindness in our hearts,” Tuesday’s major Dixie School District public hearing on a potential new name slid quickly into the sharp divisions that have marked the controversy for the last six months.

“From the beginning, when (board member) Marnie Glickman and Superintendent Jason Yamashiro appeared (on TV) in their official district capacity, to announce to the Bay Area that the Dixie name is racist — ever since then, the community has been excluded from this debate,” said school parent Jessica Freilich. “And now, whatever opportunity there was for the dialogue you described at the beginning (of the meeting) is see Article HERE

Dixie district will lift anonymity of name debaters

The community is pretty sick of this foodfight.

Dixie district will lift anonymity of name debaters

Tensions high in advance of Tuesday’s meeting on name change

By KERI BRENNER | | Marin Independent Journal
PUBLISHED: February 11, 2019 at 6:36 pm | UPDATED: February 12, 2019 at 6:02 am

Dixie School District officials said they will re-release letters submitted for public comment about the district’s hotly debated name change issue that were previously redacted to hide the names of the writers.

Board President Brad Honsberger said Monday that he and fellow board member Alissa Chacko made the redactions after district Superintendent Jason Yamashiro told them the district had received calls from some of the letter writers who were worried that their names would be published.

Honsberger indicated Monday that it was “my understanding” that district staff would repost the letters in unredacted form. He did not say exactly when that would happen.

Almost two dozen letters with redacted names were posted on the district website in advance of Tuesday’s board meeting, public hearing and vote on 13 petitions for new names submitted by district residents. The meeting will be 5:30 p.m. at Miller Creek Middle School, 2255 Las Gallinas Ave.

“After the repository for public comment was set up, we had our regular agenda setting meeting,” Honsberger said in an email. “The superintendent informed Alissa and I that the district has received a number of calls from the public that they didn’t know their comments would be made public and requested privacy.”

“Our superintendent said it wouldn’t be fair to redact only some and suggested we do all,” Honsberger said. “Ms. Chacko and I agreed. Since then, we have found out through legal counsel that the public records act requires all documents to be offered in their entirety.”

It was not immediately clear why some names — such as that of name change supporter Bruce Anderson — were left unredacted while most of the other names were blacked out.

Meanwhile, board member Marnie Glickman said she has filed a public records act request to obtain unredacted copies of all name-change-related correspondence from Dec. 1, 2018, to present. She said it was not fair to the letter writers to have their names blacked out since “anonymous comments are not treated as seriously as comments with known authors. The authors of these letters are the victims.”

In January, the district removed names, home addresses and other personal information on signatories of the 13 name-change petitions after an outcry about privacy issues. Each petition was required to have 15 valid signatures in order to be considered for Tuesday’s public hearing.

In that case, the privacy concerns were warranted, according to a determination by Marin County Registrar of Voters Lynda Roberts.

Legal officials familiar with the California Public Records Act said Monday that names on letters submitted as public comment do not necessarily fall under the “invasion of privacy” exemption of the act — as would personal information such as home addresses, bank records or Social Security numbers.

“(With) the mere name of a person who submits a letter to a public body, it’s hard to imagine how redacting that could be justified under the California Public Records Act, even with a controversy (surrounding it),” said David Snyder, executive director of the San Rafael-based First Amendment Coalition. “It’s understood when you send a note to a public body in advance of a public hearing that (it is public record). It’s hard to make the argument that folks would have the expectation that their identities would be concealed.” See the full Article HERE.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

We Don't Need your Facilitation! Leave us alone!

Fable: An Old Cherokee Tale of Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’
The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’