Saturday, November 30, 2019

The 16 Commandments of Growing Older

The 16 Commandments of Growing Older
1 - Talk to yourself, because there are times you need expert advice.
2 - Consider "In Style" to be the clothes that still fit.
3 - You don't need anger management. You need people to stop pissing you off.
4 - Your people skills are just fine. It's your tolerance for idiots that needs work.
5 - The biggest lie you tell yourself is, "I don't need to write that down. I'll remember it."
6 - You have days when your life is just a tent away from a circus.
7 - These days, "on time" is when you get there.
8 - Even duct tape can't fix stupid - but it sure does muffle the sound.
9 - Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes, then come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller ?
10 - Lately, You've noticed people your age are so much older than you.
11 - "Getting lucky" means walking into a room and remembering why you're there.
12 - When you were a child, you thought nap time was punishment.  Now it feels like a mini vacation.
13 - Some days you have no idea what you're doing out of bed.
14 - You thought growing old would take longer.
15 - Aging sure has slowed you down, but it hasn't shut you up.
16 - You still haven't learned to act your age, and hope you never will.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

CSD special meeting on a rainy Tuesday at 6:00 PM to raise Marinwood CSD taxes

Marinwood CSD board ( missing Sivan Oyserman)

It happened again.  The Marinwood CSD meet in a special meeting last night on a rainy Tuesday at 6 pm to raise our taxes to maximum allowable amount.  This shameless manuever is to keep hidden from the public the Marinwood CSD relentless tax increases.

Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD likes to brag how much more the district has in revenue, conveniently leaving out the fact that it is 100% due to the increase of real estate sales values, not shrewd managment.

In fact, we have seen a huge increase in the feckless spending under Dreikosen's watch.  

1. Fire station kitchen received a generous donation to remodel the kitchen was REFUSED so the district could hire a "friend of several CSD directors and employees at THREE TIMES the cost. 2.) Architect Bill Hansell was hired at an "all inclusive project cost of $13,000 only to see his fees skyrocket at five times the original estimate BEFORE PLANS HAVE BEEN APPROVED.  3.) A repair in Marinwood Park to a drain pipe was billed at $39,000 for a days work.  Not a single competitive bid was solicited by Dreikosen despite many alternative contractors.   4.) several former CSD directors are profiting from no bid contracts given to them by Dreikosen.

All tax initiatives by the Marinwood CSD should be rejected until they actually engage the public with financial transparency and fiscal accountability.
Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD manager

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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 25, 2019

Who’s really leaving California, and why does that matter?

Who’s really leaving California, and why does that matter?

Many California homeowners are cashing out, picking up, and moving inland
By Patrick Sisson Oct 22, 2019, 8:00am EDT

Idaho’s capital—from the city of Boise itself to the surrounding towns that have shifted from farmers’ fields to subdivisions over the past few years—is in the midst of a building boom. While Boise’s economy has been attracting new residents, much of the boom is fueled by migration from others trying to escape expensive coastal cities out west. Even so, the specifics of these moves don’t map exactly onto the stories we tell about who is leaving the coasts and how they’re changing noncoastal cities.

It’s instructive to look past the construction and zero-in on the type of housing being built to get a better sense of what is driving this growth, according to Phil Mount, Boise’s regional realtors president. A lot of the new construction he’s seeing around towns like Eagle and East Boise could best be described as nice single-level homes—with a few added touches, including low-threshold doors that are easier for owners who are disabled, spacious hallways, wide showers, and maintenance-free features. These are easy-to-live-in homes in neighborhoods with clubhouses and walkable access to stores. They are perfect places for older, wealthier retirees to spend their golden years.

“I just had a client, a 70-year-old widow from Northern California, Darolene Mullin, who came out here because she didn’t like what was happening to her home, and the lifestyle here suited her,” he said. “She’s in the area affected by the blackouts (due to fears that downed power lines would spark wildfires), and just decided that Boise is where she’ll spend her retirement years. It’s so much easier here.”

Are wealthier retirees, or those near retirement, having an outsized impact on housing markets? In Idaho’s Ada County, which includes Boise, the inventory of available single-family homes has dropped every quarter since 2014, and the median sales price has increased from $209,990 to $324,950, a 54.7 percent jump. At the same time, demographics have shifted. Between 2012 and 2017, the number of baby boomers in the region, those aged 52 to 70, grew by 30.5 percent.

While much of the inbound migration to Boise comes from elsewhere in Idaho, many newcomers are from high-cost metros on the west coast. Per census data, 17,000 of the roughly 80,000 new Idaho residents in 2016 came from California. According to an analysis by, homebuyers from 82 California ZIP codes made up 4.5 percent of the page views for Boise real estate; many of them were concentrated near the Bay Area.

A Boise realtor report about local residential trends identifies this group as impacting what housing is being built, noting that local builders are focusing on “higher-end homes and amenities versus entry-level projects to meet profit margins and consumer preferences.”
The “myth” of the California retiree

California homeowners are cashing out, picking up, and moving inland, pushing up prices in other states as they look for more affordable places to live and to retire. Boise is just one of many cities seeing this influx, which some have labeled “Californication.” But the story, and the underlying demographics, are a little more complicated.

California is losing people at a fast clip. Between 2007 and 2016, the state lost 1 million residents who picked up and moved elsewhere in the U.S., about 2.5 percent of the state population (the state is still gaining population overall, due to births and immigration). The state lost 38,000 last year alone, part of a migration trend that’s speeding up (the state ranked 49th in total amount of domestic outmigration last year). A LinkedIn analysis of the last four years of profile data found that California professionals aged 55-64 are mostly likely to move to Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, New York City, and Portland, Oregon.

But Mount says the “California fantasy”—that it’s just older Golden State expats causing the rapid escalation of housing shortages and home prices—is a simplification.Anaheim, California. California is becoming stratified, a statewide gentrification that is holding back economic growth and leaving the vaunted California lifestyle “available to an increasingly select few who can afford it.” Shutterstock

“I’m seeing a much bigger mix of demographics coming to the Boise area,” he says. “Recently, it’s a much larger mix of folks, coming from all across the U.S., including New York and Seattle. The 40- to 50-year-old work-from-home group is one of the biggest we’re seeing, as well.”

Is it millennials? Despite recent headlines suggesting an exodus of young adults from large cities, there doesn’t seem to be statistically significant movement of young adults out of big metros.

Maybe it’s just that in a Venn diagram of demographic groups that many like to blame for economic issues and the hoarding of wealth, California baby boomers would be near the center of the chart.
A California exodus

In California, a significant number of older homeowners are hitting retirement. State residents over 65 years old made up 18 percent of the population, a group that grew by 3 percent in 2018 alone, and 80 percent of the baby boomers in the state own their homes. That’s a lot of potential for downsizing and moving out. California citizens aged 65 to 75 are also the most likely of any age group to own property. Some analysts have even said the rush of boomers downsizing will create a “shadow inventory” of housing that will help alleviate the great shortage of starter homes.

These homeowners are feeling an additional push to leave the state thanks to the recent tax reform and the SALT exemption repeal, which increases the tax bill for homeowners. According to Dan Walters, a researcher with the state think tank CALMatters, there’s been a rush of retirees or near-retirees making the move to neighboring low-tax states such as Arizona and Nevada. Researcher Joel Kotkin found that a majority of Californians expected to leave the state in the next 10 years.

These older former Californians have also zeroed in on Texas. According to the Economist, a quarter of those moving out of the Golden State between 2007 and 2016 have relocated to Texas. A city employee in Plano, Texas, who had been helping dozens of new arrivals apply for drivers’ licenses, joked that “Everyone is from California. Are they kicking y’all out?”
The main movers are middle class

But the scapegoating of rich Californians ignores many of the facts about who’s really moving. In a survey of economists taken by the San Diego Union-Tribune seeking insight into the state’s retirement climate, the consensus was that older and wealthier residents had more reasons to stay (and California has been a magnet for residents moving from similarly expensive states). Proposition 13, the state ballot measure from 1978 that froze property taxes for long-time homeowners, is a massive subsidy for the wealthy (it saved homeowners an estimated $7.4 billion last year alone).

The working middle class are “fleeing the state,” according to Kelly Cunningham of the San Diego Institute for Economic Research, due to the state’s “dysfunctional nature.” A large part of the problem is housing; per Zillow, the average house in California has risen from roughly $300,000 in 2012 to $550,000 today. Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties have seen massive outflow of residents over the last few years. California is becoming stratified, a statewide gentrification that is holding back economic growth and leaving the vaunted California lifestyle “available to an increasingly select few who can afford it.”

Public sector workers from California have long sought greener, cheaper pastures. According to a report by the Sacramento Bee, 15 percent of the 561,000 pensioners in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System live outside the state. Cops and firefighters have clustered in Grants Pass and Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and other state employees can be found in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Florida.

“Compared to California, Las Vegas was a no-brainer,” Joe Beck, a former Southern California school district maintenance administrator who moved to Las Vegas, told the Sacramento Bee. “I decided that if I could handle the heat three months out of the year, I needed to move to where my retirement check would be tax-free.”

Vegas, which is close enough for an afternoon jaunt back to Southern California, also offers plentiful sunshine, lots of activities for seniors, and the same single-family-home-style subdivisions that retirees had back home.

The national challenge of finding affordable housing is having a trickle-down effect everywhere. And if Boise is any indication, few cities are adequately preparing for shifting populations and new migrations across the country.

Sunday, November 24, 2019



[76] A BULL once escaped from a Lion by entering a cave which the Goatherds used to house their flocks in stormy weather and at night. It happened that one of the Goats had been left behind, and the Bull had no sooner got inside than this Goat lowered his head and made a rush at him, butting him with his horns. As the Lion was still prowling outside the entrance to the cave, the Bull had to submit to the insult.

"Do not think," he said, "that I submit to your cowardly treatment because I am afraid of you. When that Lion leaves, I'll teach you a lesson you won't forget."

It is wicked to take advantage of another's distress.