Thursday, July 4, 2019

June 25, 2019 Maintenance Shed update


Here is an 8 minute update about the Marinwood Maintenance Facility that Eric Driekosen gave the Park and Rec Commission last week.   It was a violation of the Brown Act because it was not listed on the Agenda.  In fact,  a few weeks earlier the public asked for Park Maintenance Facility update and were denied the same from Eric.  Jon Campo knows that they need to be transparent but Eric is refusing

Eric Driekosan talks about their strategy about getting the project approved.  They are meeting with the top planners Brian Crawford, Jeremy Terjirian and Tom Lai, CP attorney Damon Connolly to gain "unofficial approval" prior to submisssion of their plans.

It is alarming that the CSD is completely dismissive of our technical concerns with the project and believe that politics alone will gain approval.

Here are the untractable problems that I see with their current plans.

1.) A total violation of the Stream Conservatikon Ordinance when an environmentally preferred solution is available.  The ENTIRE project is in the "no build" zone.
2.) The impact area of the project has grossly been misrepresented.  There will be no walkpath and half of the field to the East must be used for vehicle turnaround
3.) The turning radius of their Ford F250 truck or the space requirements for loading operations.has not been considered.  This is a project killer.  There is not simply room either inside or outside the facility for loading and storage of landscaping waste. This is the PRIMARY function of this work area.  The CSD is actually trying to build a facility that is NOT FUNCTIONAL.

Former CSD Politician Bill Hansell was hired as an architect for an "ALL INCLUSIVE COST ESTIMATE" in February 2018 for $13,800 for the entire project.  As of today he has billed over $30,000 and STILL HAS NOT PRODUCED A PLAN that conforms with Marin County Standards.

The Hansell plan will need to be scrapped.  It's design violates the Marin County General Plan ordinance of 2007 that requires 100' setback.  Hansell, a residential /commercial architect has little understanding of county regulations and needs of maintenance facilities for material handling and the movement of vehicles.  His "Eichler like design" cannot accomodate our maintenance vehicles, tractor and loading requirements.  Instead he has included "custom home" featues like custom glue lam beams, iron work and windows which inflate the cost of the utilitarian structure. The worst part of the design is not the aesthetics but the fact that it requires trucks to drive around the facility at take up an enormous footprint in our park.  

A sensible alternative design was offered by Irv Schwartz in 2017 known as "Option 3" The conventional design  would cost far less and be more useful to our department. Locating it about 50 to the West of the proposed Hansell design would avoid encroachment on the Stream Conservation Area and most of the environmental concerns with the Hansell design.
This maintenance facility could be built in a few months and cost a fraction of the Hansell "Whte Elephant"

Option #3 was offered by Irv Schwartz in 2017.  



The People that Marinwood CSD choose to ignore



Angry citizen responds to Jeff Naylor, Izabela Perry, Leah Green and Parks and Recreation Commissioners, Jon Campo and John Tune who claim they have heard the public and are acting for the greater good.  In truth, the Marinwood CSD has rebuffed a request public discussions on a Maintenance Shed proposal designed by a former Marinwood CSD manager.  Over two hundred people have signed a petition and the speaker attempts to read their names.  He is cut off after reading 30 names.  Rude comments by staff and board members interrupt the speaker. Marinwood CSD is acting arrogant and irresponsibly with public tax dollars.  Ironically,  all of the petition signers support a smaller "right sized" facility like the 1200sf shed at McIniss Park

The Big Lie: "Story poles are misleading"



The Marinwood CSD directors and the Architect, Bill Hansell tries to explain why they will not install story poles and lot markers to give the public an idea of the size of the Maintenance Compound.  The citizens have installed their own based on the architects drawing and have asked for "official lot markers and story poles" from the CSD so that the public understands the mass of the Maintenance compound.  CSD Director Perry gives a weak response that it will block the walking path .  (Just as the completed build will).  Then the architect condescends to respond to the public with more weak reasons.

We should certainly be able to agree on the actual dimensions of the building but clearly the Marinwood CSD and the architect want to avoid this.   We citizens will be sacrificing OUR Marinwood Park and paying for this "white elephant".  The very least we should require is full public disclosure about the size of the building.   We will continue our efforts to inform the public by any means necessary.

The new building is 14' high by 80' long with 70' storage yards.
It is FOUR TIMES the mass of the existing 1400 shed and 150' long. In addition, there will be a large outdoor day parking area in front of the compound leaving only a narrow footpath on the edge of the creek for access.

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. 

Proposed Maintenance Facility will be an ugly industrial loading area

The proposed Marinwood Maintenance Compound won't have a grassy area in front.
This area must be used for loading/unloading of landscape materials.


The Marinwood CSD maintenance crew generates big piles of landscaping debris and trash each week. They store this in the large open area next to the horse shoe pits in Marinwood Park to allow the convenient loading/dumping of material.  


Large piles of landscaping waste and trash is stored in the open at the Maintenance shed


A bucket loading operation requires much space as you can see in this video.   Generally, the dump trailer is loaded from the side into the center of the trailer. The operator must do this to balance the load for safety.  This means the bucket loader requires a large area for scooping material and turning.

The truck and trailer must be parked perpendicular to the bucket loader.  

 

In the site plan of the proposed Maintenance Facility below, you can see that the only area where this operation can take place is IN FRONT of the Maintenance Facility.  The architect has drawn a walking path in this area to deceive the planning department.  There is NO ROOM inside the walled maintenance compound to perform a mechanized loading operation.

Our Ford F250 is 22 feet long.and the dump trailer is approximately 20 feet long including tongue.

This means that 42 feet of space will be required for the truck/trailer and an additional 40' to 60' feet to the side will be required for the bucket loader and material. This will occupy all the area between the maintenance building and Miller Creek.


Proposed Maintenance Facility with old facility overlay in brown


This drawing shows the footprint of the proposed Maintenance Bldg and the old building footprint in brown. The brown box on the left is the area the architect calls open storage. In fact the entire area from the current building to the horse shoe pit is used for landscaping debris, parking and tool storage.  Clearly there is no area suitable for loading and unloading material within the proposed Maintenance Building above. The architect shows this area as green space and a walking path but it will not happen. It will be used for parking and storage of debris and landscaping materials. The is no alternative.

What happened to the access road that the architect showed in previous drawings?  It has disappeared.  This is highly deceptive.  The architect must show where essential activities will take place on the building site. Safety vehicles and pedestrians must pass through this area.

The drawings do not show the true impact to the stream conservation area and Marinwood Park.

The proposed Marinwood CSD Maintenance Facility is simply too big and inefficient,  harms the environment and occupies land that should be used for recreational purposes as intended.


My Response to Marinwood CSD's Negative Declaration for the Maintenance Shed Project

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Marinwood CSD Park and Rec Department meeting June 25, 2019



Marinwood Parks and Rec commission consider 6x meetings per year. They also increase the amount of  money that can be spent without following government bidding procedures to $60,000.  The Marinwood CSD has not followed the law for years limiting expenditures to $25,000  Not surprisingly, virtually every contract is made with "friends". The Marinwood CSD  questionable business practices skirt the law meant to stop corruption.  We believe only a full forensic audit will reveal how much money is being diverted .

Monday, July 1, 2019

The War on Backpage

Here’s how much Silicon Valley tech workers actually make

Here’s how much Silicon Valley tech workers actually make


By Madeline Wells, SFGATE Updated 1:12 pm PDT, Thursday, June 27, 2019




Photo: Jens Meyer, Associated Press
According to SEC filings, the median pay for Google employees last year was $246,804.



Surprise, surprise: people who work in tech are rich. But ever since a new law came into effect last year that requires publicly traded companies to report the median pay of their employees, we know exactly how rich.

Silicon Valley led the pack. As reported to the SEC, Google employees are the most made of money: their median annual pay in 2018 was $246,804. That's an increase of nearly $50,000 from what Google employees made in 2017.

ALSO: Report: The most expensive counties to rent in the US are all in the Bay Area

Facebook came in second place, with a median pay of $228,651 in 2018. However, this number fell by nearly $12,000 from 2017. A spokesperson told WIRED there was "no specific reason" for the decline, although Facebook suffered multiple crises last year, including a massive data breach that caused its stock prices to plummet.


ALSO: There is 1 six-figure job open for every 30 San Franciscans in May, study shows

Meanwhile, it's not too rough to work at Twitter, Square, Workday, or Nvidia, either, where employees all made on average over $150,000 in 2018. That's more than enough to afford rent for the average San Francisco "modest two-bedroom" according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition's "Out of Reach" report (they reported you'd have to make at least a cool $127,000).

However, working at Amazon doesn't look so hot: the median salary in 2018 was only $28,836. But that's because the majority of its workforce doesn't consist of highly-paid software engineers — it's blue-collar workers managing inventory and filling warehouse orders. Conversely, Google's median pay was highest because it didn't include any of its many temporary or contract employees.

If it seems to you like Silicon Valley tech employees are especially loaded, you're not imagining things: the average wage for a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area last year was roughly $140,000, while the national average was $104,000. No wonder there are so many Bay Area transplants.

Madeline Wells is an SFGate editorial assistant. Email: madeline.wells@sfgate.com | Twitter: @madwells22



Sunday, June 30, 2019

FABLE: The Blind Men and the Elephant

John Godfrey Saxe's ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend,


It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

MORAL.
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

God vs. No God