David Brower, first Director of the Sierra Club, founder of the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, Earth Island Institute and Noble Prize nominee has denounced in no uncertain terms the Marin County chapter of the League of Conservation Voters for its support of Supervisors Steve Kinsey and Annette Rose "despite clear evidence that the two had strong support from developers [and] had exaggerated their environmental accomplishments" (See "Letter" section on page 4).
Brower accused Kinsey of being a prime mover in the French Ranch Development, setting a ruinous septic system precedent that will speed development in Marin. He also accused Kinsey of making misleading statements claiming credit for securing funds for restoring Bolinas Lagoon, claiming to have led efforts to ban Jet Skis from Marin waters, and securing the largest land donation in Marin County history. He also criticizes Kinsey for voting to poison and trap Coyotes in Marin.
Brower states that Rose cast the swing vote in the rezoning of Baywood Canyon just outside Fairfax, from Recreational to residential, and of later accepting a donation of $5,000 from the developer of the Canyon, Bruce Katz. He criticized her for voting for the French Ranch Development and for ignoring pleas from her constituents to do something about the siltation of Richardson Bay.
But his most scathing criticism is reserved for the Marin Chapter of the League of Conservation Voters accusing Board member of adopting "green camouflage" and "eco pornography" in lobbying the State League of Conservation Voters to endorse Joe Nation "the candidate favored by developers."
The Gannett Corporation's Marin Independent Journal covered the story on its front page, lower right, April 22, Earth Day. Representatives for the Marin and Oakland Chapters of the League of Conservation Voters and Annette Rose are quoted characterizing Brower's criticisms as "ridiculous."
Kinsey, however, apparently losing his usual composure in the face of criticism, was sarcastic. In response to the charge that he was a "prime mover" in the French Ranch development, he is quoted, "I say yawn to that! French Ranch was before I even got on the board". This however is a distortion of his actual role in facilitating the development. While it is true the project was approved before he was elected that was just the first step in a long process. He played a special role in the approval process with the county, in the County's accepting responsibility as the "legal entity" and in the highly unusual and controversial joint sewage system between the Lagunitas School and the development. What is probably most important is that this project did set a precedent. Although Kinsey and county officials denied a precedent was being set, it has and developers have been lining up ever since
He is also quoted saying, " I struggle with who is an environmentalist and who isn't. Does David Brower drive a car, does he know where his electricity is generated"? If Brower reads the Coastal Post, he might well ask of Kinsey if he knows what a building and septic system permits are and why they are issued? And does he know the proper procedure for firing long term County public health employees?
Brower, who will shortly reach his 88th birthday, is still active in mind and spirit according to his son and it seems likely we will hear more from Mr. Brower in the future.