A blog about Marinwood-Lucas Valley and the Marin Housing Element, politics, economics and social policy. The MOST DANGEROUS BLOG in Marinwood-Lucas Valley.
Saturday, August 17, 2019
Marinwood CSD full meeting 8/13/2019
Friday, August 16, 2019
Jeff Naylor talks about Marin's New Surveillance and Communications network
When Marin County voted on a tax to replace aging emergency radios, we were promised a quick upgrade of our existing system. They raised an huge sum of money but didn't build the network, claiming technical difficulties. The cost PER RADIO was something like 50k each. It was a ridiculous sum and far more expensive than systems used in other counties. I became suspicious that the money will be used for other thing like pensions and or building a surveillance network for police agencies. New surveillance equipment with facial recognition, license plate readers, audio and video surveillance is being deployed quietly world wide. In this clip, a very nervous Jeff Naylor tacitly admits to the surveillance capabilities of MERA. Marin County welcomes Big Brother. Doesn't it tickle your heart ?
Marinwood Parks and Recreation department discussion about interpretive signs
Long time Marinwood Parks and Recreation commission members seem confused about interpretive signs in Marinwood Park. They are unaware of the history of the joint project and appear to be suspicious of the content. This essential program was started in 2009 by the Friends of Marinwood Park. They clearly have not read the signs like so many park users despite serving on the board for years.
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Marinwood CSD keep the Budgets Vague and the Board Agrees
Marinwood CSD manager Eric Dreikosen avoids answer questions about the budget. Roughly $1.75 MILLION dollars is lacking detail and accountability. Jeff Naylor, Isabela Perry, Sivan Osyerman and Bill Shea collude to keep matters secret. They attempt to bully the public into silence.
Senior Citizen asks for safety rail for Marinwood Park and is ignored
For at least four years, Linda Barnello has patiently asks for a safety rail at the 500 block of Quietwood Dr and Marinwood Park walk path. She has been ignored the Marinwood CSD despite a generous private donation and Measure A funds. It is outrageous and disrespectful that the board does not consider safety improvements to Marinwood Park. Instead they fund private consultants and grand projects costing residents hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Marinwood CSD tripping hazard fixed only AFTER an accident
Linda Barnello has been asking the Marinwood CSD to repair tripping hazards along Marinwood CSD walk paths. Marinwood CSD responds only AFTER an accident occurs. Jon Campo, Parks Director rudely quiets Barnello who only asks for proactive maintenance . The Marinwood CSD managers, Fretwell and Dreikosen blamed the problem on their contractor instead of reviewing maintenance practices
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
"Why not remove the Water Fountains in Marinwood Park?"
We pay our Marinwood CSD managers and three maintenance staff over $500k annually and they cannot keep ahead of an occasional clogged water fountain?
The staff blame THE PUBLIC for complaining instead of getting the job done.
It is time to consider outsourcing our parks maintenance needs with professionals.
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Where You Should Move to Make the Most Money:
Where You Should Move to Make the Most Money: America’s Superstar CitiesA tech-driven concentration of talent since the 1980s has helped the rich get richer. But it has also sharpened an urban-rural divide that, some say, threatens growth.
Christopher MimsDec. 15, 2018 12:00 am ET
Technology is creating an economy in which superstar employees work for superstar firms that gather them into superstar cities, leading to a stark geographic concentration of wealth unlike any seen in the past century.
The latest example of this is Apple announcing this past week a billion-dollar investment in a new campus that could ultimately accommodate up to 15,000 employees in a city already red hot with talent (Austin, Texas). That follows Amazon’s recent choice to put its two new headquarters in existing superstar cities (New York and Washington, D.C.).
When economists talk about “superstar” anything, they’re referencing a phenomenon first described in the early 1980s. It began as the product of mass media and was put into overdrive by the internet. In an age when the reach of everything we make is greater than ever, members of an elite class of bankers, chief executives, programmers, Instagram influencers and just about anyone with in-demand technical skills have seen their incomes grow far faster than those of the middle class.
In this winner-take-all economy, the superstar firms—think Apple, Google and Amazon, but also their increasingly high-tech equivalents in finance, health care and every other industry—appear to account for most of the divergence in productivity and profits between companies in the U.S.
As firms cluster around talent, and talent is in turn drawn to those firms, the result is a self-reinforcing trend toward ever-richer, ever-costlier metro areas that are economically dominant over the rest of the country. Ironically, the internet that many of the firms power isn’t helping. While it was supposed to erase distance, it can’t yet replace high-quality face-to-face communication required for rapid-fire innovation.
Members of the Federal Reserve, among others, have warned that the rise of geographic inequality and a deepening urban-rural divide threaten growth in the U.S. This has led some to declare that rural America is the “new inner city,” plagued by poverty, drugs and “deaths of despair.” Similar patterns of migration of wealth to cities appear to be playing out all over the world.
Rising FortunesThe best-earning metro areas have seengrowth in average annual wages acceleratemore quickly than cities in the rest of America.Index of average annual wagesSource: Brookings Institute analysis of BEA dataNote: Index with 0 level set to 1969. Metro rankingsare determined each year of the data.
Top 2% of metrosMedian metroBottom third of metros1980’95’10100120140160180
For most of the 20th century, this divide did not exist.
“Something changed in 1980,” says Mark Muro, a senior fellow and director of the metropolitan policy program at the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. “What happened was the introduction of the PC.” He adds, “Until about then, metros were becoming more like each other. Incomes were converging, and industries were becoming more distributed across place.”
From the early 1970s through the 1980s, companies like IBM , Digital Equipment Corp. and Apple used mainframes, minicomputers and eventually PCs to make companies—and the first technologically adept superstar workers—more productive. Mr. Muro calls it the first wave of the “digitalization” of work.
The internet was supposed to lead to a golden age of distributed workforces. In some ways it did: The proportion of workers who do their jobs remotely is now at least 20% and growing.
But superstar firms continue to insist that their top-performing employees cluster in global headquarters or at least regional offices, costs and congestion be damned.
Facebook ’s new office is literally the world’s largest open-plan workspace, even though workers generally hate them. Apple’s new HQ in California was designed from the ground up to force people to bump into each other and collaborate. Amazon could have saved a bundle by creating an entirely virtual “HQ2.” After all, the—mostly online—tools for identifying tech talent work anywhere, and can spot a great coder in Arkansas or India.
But even the most modern communication technologies are limited: They can’t carry as much information as a real-life, face-to-face collaboration. Slack, email and instant messaging are famous for their inability to convey tone, and the resulting crossed wires.
The internet can’t yet replace the face-to-face communication required for rapid-fire innovation.
The more a firm is dependent on innovation—that is, leveraging technology to be the absolute best at what it does—the more intense the collaboration of its superstar employees. Famously, Google’s only two “Level 11” engineers (on a scale of 1 to 10) code by sitting next to one another, staring at the same screen and working on a single keyboard.
Technologists who employ both remote workers and people collected into an office have debated and analyzed the phenomenon at great length. Their own experience boils down to this bon mot from venture capitalist Marc Andreessen : There’s a “huge premium to being 10% better at executing,” meaning that while it can be a pain to bring workers to a central office, it’s worth it even if it leads to an incremental gain in productivity.
Johnathan Nightingale, former vice president of Firefox at Mozilla, has pointed out that while remote work can be sustainable, anything that slows down a startup in the critical first few years can mean losing to a faster competitor. Whether or not this is the case, it’s become such an accepted way of thinking in tech that companies—even big ones that only “think like a startup”—obey it as if it were a law.
Attempts to turn cities outside of Silicon Valley into superstar cities by making them tech hubs have met with mixed success. Metro areas succeed when they capitalize on their existing talents. One reason Amazon chose Nashville, Tenn., for a big regional office, says Mr. Muro, could be that it’s already a hub for medical IT and digital patient records.
Using data from time-use surveys conducted by the federal government, Mr. Muro and his colleagues created an index of every metro area in the U.S., ranking them by how much workers in each use computers to accomplish their jobs. This yields a measure of the digitalization of every job, industry and city surveyed.
The results include both exactly what you would expect—Silicon Valley is No. 1—and some illustrative surprises. Salt Lake City, home to the “Silicon Slopes,” is No. 12 on the list, right behind the tech hub of San Francisco and ahead of tech-happy Seattle. Austin, where Apple is expanding, is No. 9 on the list.
Unlike other rankings, from real-estate prices to venture-capital investment, the Brookings index shows us not only which cities have done well and become unaffordable. It also shows which still-affordable ones should, by the superstar logic, do well in the future.
Not everyone agrees that technology is a primary driver of geographic inequality. Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance, argues that many of these trends are better explained by changes in policy, which since the early 1980s have in many distinct ways given large companies free rein to merge, dominate markets, pursue government subsidies and tax breaks, and in general grow larger at the expense of small, medium and local businesses.
“In particular, the 1982 merger guidelines are very specific in that the only thing that matters [when considering antitrust] is economic efficiency, which is translated into consumer welfare and low prices,” she adds.
The cities with the most startups and investment tend to see more business formation, but a long-term challenge lurks: If a superstar city becomes too large, the service workers who aren’t benefiting from the boom will be priced out. In the end, this might limit the size of these cities—at least until many of those workers are replaced by robots.
Top 12 U.S. metropolitan areas in 2016 by mean digital score, according to Brookings Institution analysis of federal data
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
- California-Lexington Park, Md.
- Huntsville, Ala.
- Boulder, Colo.
- Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.
- Trenton, N.J.
- Washington D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Va.-Md.-W.Va.
- Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.
- Austin-Round Rock, Texas
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.
- Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Salt Lake City
What can be done to fix the Marinwood CSD according to the Little Hoover Commission.
When Districts Go Bad from the Little Hoover Commission
The Commission learned of a number of options to right wrongs within the existing system:
• Residents of the district can vote perceived offenders on the board out at the next election.
• Residents of the district can mount a recall effort of board members who exercise questionable conduct.
• The county District Attorney can file criminal charges.
• Whistleblowers can use the State Attorney General’s whistleblower system. The Attorney General also has authority for criminal matters.
• County civil grand juries can investigate special districts and report on findings.
• County Local Agency Formation Commissions can do a Municipal Service Review and initiate a process for dissolution or reorganization.
• The California State Auditor has statutory authority to identify, audit and issue reports on local government agencies, including special districts deemed at “high risk for the potential of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement or that has major challenges associated with its economy, efficiency, or effectiveness.” Audited districts must file reports every six months on their progress implementing corrective action plans until the auditor is satisfied with results.
• The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) can administratively address pension issues such as reports of pension spiking related to special districts and district members.
• The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission has authority to investigate and fine special district officials for elections or campaign financing violations.
• Voters have power to qualify a local ballot initiative regarding a special district.
• Depending on the type of district or situation there may also be recourse through various regulatory bodies, such as the State Water Resources Control Board, the Public Employment Relations Board and others.
See the complete Little Hoover Commission Report" Special Districts: Improving Oversight & Transparency" : HERE
Editor's Note: The Marinwood CSD should have an exhaustive review on its accounting and business practices in accordance to the law. For far too long, the Marinwood CSD has been allowed to operate outside the public view which has led to multiple abuses. The most recent and glaring example, is the secret hiring of a former CSD director for $13,000 for architecture services. Despite billing $30k plus for plans of the Marinwood Maintenance Facility aka "white elephant", the error filled plan is non compliant with Marin County building codes and will likely never get built.
The Marinwood CSD general manager and the board must be held accountable to a higher authority.
Monday, August 12, 2019
Why the Marinwood CSD removed me in 2012 from the Parks and Recreation Commission
Brad Breithaupt: Sometimes local officials pay a price for speaking out
Posted: 02/08/2012 06:19:00 AM PST
THEY CAN PLAY political hardball in the Marinwood Community Services District.
Less than a month after the district board's fire tax proposal narrowly won voter approval, directors voted 5-0 to kick an outspoken opponent of the measure off the park and recreation commission.
Stephen Nestel [Editor's Note: that is yours truly.] bit the hand that appointed him. To be more accurate, he chomped and gnawed on it.The board's fire tax increase won in November by just five votes more than the two-thirds required for passage.
The results were announced on Nov. 18. Nestel was removed from the commission on Dec. 13.
The county has a long-standing policy that when someone is appointed by the board to a two- or four-year term they aren't removed until their term is finished.
In Marinwood, it just takes a three-vote majority of the board to remove someone mid-term.
One of the reasons given for Nestel's ouster was that he had been "disruptive" at a board-sponsored community forum. Nestel doesn't dispute that assessment. He was upset and complained at the meeting that its format was a one-sided "sales pitch" for the board-authored tax measure.
The board also complained that he was spreading "incorrect" information, a complaint Nestel doesn't agree with.
He also crossed the board by putting his title on letters he wrote, including one to the IJ's opinion page. [Editor's Note: See the letter by a candidate supporting Measure H here. Incidentally, I agree with Measure H too, however the CSD Board says that this is different]
Bruce Anderson, CSD Director
District board members give that "stature" to people and, I guess, they can take it away.
Nestel says he used his title because it gave his letter to the editor "context," informing readers that he had some insight into the district's operations and its budget.
It is not uncommon that officials, elected or appointed, include their titles when they write letters to the editor.
For instance, Sausalito City Council members Linda Pfeifer and Carolyn Ford haven't been shy about including their "context" or putting their political titles on letters and columns they have written expressing their individual opinions and opposition to the council-approved annexation into the Southern Marin Fire District.
Anderson says that's different because they are elected. "You are bound to the people who elected you," he says. "We're not supposedly kumbaya on our boards." [Editor Note: Bruce essentially claims "I own all appointees opinions". Maybe this is the reason the Park and Recreation commissioner entered the race for CSD]
When you are elected, you have an individual responsibility to the people you have been elected to represent. [Bruce Anderson was originally appointed. Had only one competitive election and all others he has won by "default" when the CSD failed to vigorously notify the public of upcoming candidate's deadlines. The November 2012 elections were "announced" with 6 pt type like this deep inside a legal ad on a Monday morning in July 2011. The chance is pretty great that you have never had a chance to vote for anybody else ]
Some readers are irritated when I let council members or other elected officials who write use their titles in expressing political views, especially when they part company with their council or board's majority.
Their titles provide context. They also reflect political trust and leadership, whether elected or appointed.
Some Marin councils and boards have policies that require members who write letters or columns to have them first screened by staff or the mayor or board president.
That is wrong.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi doesn't ask Republican Speaker John Boehner to review her comments before she makes them. I'm certain that Supervisor Judy Arnold doesn't run her comments past Supervisor Susan Adams for an OK.
Why should it be different for a city council member or a school trustee?
Should elected officials give up their right to express their individual opinions outside of meetings? They certainly express their individual views when they are running for office.
When votes are cast and a council member is on the losing end of a vote, has he or she also lost their freedom of speech?
Voters have a right to hear the individual opinions of their representatives, not just groupthink where dissent and free speech is supposed to end after the votes are cast and counted.
Nestel's tactics may have crossed the line. The Marinwood board certainly agreed that they had and rewrote his "context" by removing the official title after his name.
Then again, even the title of "former commissioner" offers some context.
Brad Breithaupt is the IJ's opinion page editor. His column runs on Wednesdays.
[P.S. I supported the fire tax like the CSD board at the time as a practical matter . The facts used to support the arguments for the measure did not tell the whole story of the CSD finances or the need for serious financial overhaul. The CSD objected to this public opinion. We have seen a $1.2 Million Dollar deficit since the publication of article. Eventually, we can expect a push for a massive bond issue to bail out our debt instead of sensible cost reductions and budgeting]. Correction: the Marinwood CSD is now over FIVE MILLION dollars in debt as of August 2019.
|It is time for Change.|
Sunday, August 11, 2019
A Bedtime Story: The Emperor's New Clothes
The Emperor's New Clothes
Many years ago there lived an emperor who loved beautiful new clothes so much that he spent all his money on being finely dressed. His only interest was in going to the theater or in riding about in his carriage where he could show off his new clothes. He had a different costume for every hour of the day. Indeed, where it was said of other kings that they were at court, it could only be said of him that he was in his dressing room!
One day two swindlers came to the emperor's city. They said that they were weavers, claiming that they knew how to make the finest cloth imaginable. Not only were the colors and the patterns extraordinarily beautiful, but in addition, this material had the amazing property that it was to be invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.
"It would be wonderful to have clothes made from that cloth," thought the emperor. "Then I would know which of my men are unfit for their positions, and I'd also be able to tell clever people from stupid ones." So he immediately gave the two swindlers a great sum of money to weave their cloth for him.
They set up their looms and pretended to go to work, although there was nothing at all on the looms. They asked for the finest silk and the purest gold, all of which they hid away, continuing to work on the empty looms, often late into the night.
"I would really like to know how they are coming with the cloth!" thought the emperor, but he was a bit uneasy when he recalled that anyone who was unfit for his position or stupid would not be able to see the material. Of course, he himself had nothing to fear, but still he decided to send someone else to see how the work was progressing.
"I'll send my honest old minister to the weavers," thought the emperor. He's the best one to see how the material is coming. He is very sensible, and no one is more worthy of his position than he.
So the good old minister went into the hall where the two swindlers sat working at their empty looms. "Goodness!" thought the old minister, opening his eyes wide. "I cannot see a thing!" But he did not say so.
The two swindlers invited him to step closer, asking him if it wasn't a beautiful design and if the colors weren't magnificent. They pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old minister opened his eyes wider and wider. He still could see nothing, for nothing was there. "Gracious" he thought. "Is it possible that I am stupid? I have never thought so. Am I unfit for my position? No one must know this. No, it will never do for me to say that I was unable to see the material."
"You aren't saying anything!" said one of the weavers.
"Oh, it is magnificent! The very best!" said the old minister, peering through his glasses. "This pattern and these colors! Yes, I'll tell the emperor that I am very satisfied with it!"
"That makes us happy!" said the two weavers, and they called the colors and the unusual pattern by name. The old minister listened closely so that he would be able say the same things when he reported back to the emperor, and that is exactly what he did.
The swindlers now asked for more money, more silk, and more gold, all of which they hid away. Then they continued to weave away as before on the empty looms.
The emperor sent other officials as well to observe the weavers' progress. They too were startled when they saw nothing, and they too reported back to him how wonderful the material was, advising him to have it made into clothes that he could wear in a grand procession. The entire city was alive in praise of the cloth. "Magnifique! Nysseligt! Excellent!" they said, in all languages. The emperor awarded the swindlers with medals of honor, bestowing on each of them the title Lord Weaver.
The swindlers stayed up the entire night before the procession was to take place, burning more than sixteen candles. Everyone could see that they were in a great rush to finish the emperor's new clothes. They pretended to take the material from the looms. They cut in the air with large scissors. They sewed with needles but without any thread. Finally they announced, "Behold! The clothes are finished!"
The emperor came to them with his most distinguished cavaliers. The two swindlers raised their arms as though they were holding something and said, "Just look at these trousers! Here is the jacket! This is the cloak!" and so forth. "They are as light as spider webs! You might think that you didn't have a thing on, but that is the good thing about them."
"Yes," said the cavaliers, but they couldn't see a thing, for nothing was there.
"Would his imperial majesty, if it please his grace, kindly remove his clothes." said the swindlers. "Then we will fit you with the new ones, here in front of the large mirror."
The emperor took off all his clothes, and the swindlers pretended to dress him, piece by piece, with the new ones that were to be fitted. They took hold of his waist and pretended to tie something about him. It was the train. Then the emperor turned and looked into the mirror.
"Goodness, they suit you well! What a wonderful fit!" they all said. "What a pattern! What colors! Such luxurious clothes!"
"The canopy to be carried above your majesty awaits outside," said the grandmaster of ceremonies.
"Yes, I am ready!" said the emperor. "Don't they fit well?" He turned once again toward the mirror, because it had to appear as though he were admiring himself in all his glory.
The chamberlains who were to carry the train held their hands just above the floor as if they were picking up the train. As they walked they pretended to hold the train high, for they could not let anyone notice that they could see nothing.
The emperor walked beneath the beautiful canopy in the procession, and all the people in the street and in their windows said, "Goodness, the emperor's new clothes are incomparable! What a beautiful train on his jacket. What a perfect fit!" No one wanted it to be noticed that he could see nothing, for then it would be said that he was unfit for his position or that he was stupid. None of the emperor's clothes had ever before received such praise.
"But he doesn't have anything on!" said a small child.
"Good Lord, let us hear the voice of an innocent child!" said the father, and whispered to another what the child had said.
"A small child said that he doesn't have anything on!"
Finally everyone was saying, "He doesn't have anything on!"
The emperor shuddered, for he knew that they were right, but he thought, "The procession must go on!" He carried himself even more proudly, and the chamberlains walked along behind carrying the train that wasn't there.
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)