Coastal Post Online


October 2001

The Kinsey Report:

"Bitter" But Won't "Tattle"

By Jim Scanlon

After a year and a half of delays and excuses, Supervisor Steve Kinsey has finally applied for and received approval from Environmental Health Services to modify the illegal septic system he installed 14 years ago. As the site is unsuitable for conventional waste water disposal, approval special permission was given for an experimental system which will be monitored and tested for two years. Based on this approval, he has now applied for county permits for the two buildings he constructed on his property.

Kinsey is reported in the Point Reyes Light saying "...he will work to change the regulations that are requiring him to replace his well running septic system replaced in order to bring his permit-less structures into compliance with county codes".( Sept. 20, 2001, Supervisor Kinsey seeks to legalize sheds).

Kinsey, a Supervisor sworn to enforce county codes, has, in fact, been working tirelessly for the past five years to change the county codes even though it has been more apparent since he was "outed" that he is a flagrant violator of those same codes. His fellow supervisors have irresponsibly allowed him a free hand and rubber stamped everything he has done, on this issue, particularly in his appointment of, and participation in, an advisory committee to change septic codes (SEPTAC).

Patrick Faulkner, the County Counsel recently was asked to clarify county rules on conflicts of interest, since many of Kinsey's appointees appear to have business or personal interests in weakening these codes. Faulkner's narrowly interpretation avoids any determination of conflicts of interest if the term on the committee does not exceed one year.

No determination has yet been made as to the ethics, the propriety or the legality of a county supervisor, in violation of county codes, revising the codes of which he is violating. In the Light account he appears to be acting as if he were the victim of some kind of political vendetta! He is a victim because "Everybody does it." It is also outrageous that county enforcement workers are forced to be involved in supervising and unrepentant violator. It has to be stressful and difficult for them.

Kinsey's attitude seems all the more outrageous in that he is a licensed contractor, who has remodeled and built many homes in West Marin. When his is quoted stating, "...most West Marin homes have some permit-less improvements," and, "I have to replace a septic system that's not failing", and "it's an atrocious practice," one has to wonder about the work he has done as a contractor.

As reported in last month's "Kinsey Report", the capacity of his the approved septic system does not allow his unpermitted buildings to be used as living space and one of the buildings is too close to a neighbor's property and needs a special permit.

From the quotes in the Pulitzer Prize winning Light, Kinsey lacks any remorse for his actions, admitting, nevertheless that one structure " two feet too close to a property line," and claiming , "...the neighbor does not object" and that a survey found that two of his neighbors building "are partially on his property" and that he has 'no problem' with that."

With his acknowledgment in the Light article that his son occasionally stayed overnight in what he referred to as "the garden shed" he admits the structure was used as a living space. He goes on to claim that the structure is not a living space and doesn't require a county permit as it has no plumbing, heating, kitchen or closets. Kinsey seems confused about what rules are and how they are broken.

Kinsey told the Light "...he remains 'bitter' over the incident (sic), but will not tattle on his opponents because he was raised not to be vengeful" One gathers from this that he is upset and angry at being caught and forced to comply with common sense rules and regulations that most people may, or may not like, but nevertheless abide by them. If he is upset, then that is actually a good sign that this experience may lead to his rehabilitation---although we doubt it, as he seems to have little insight into what he has done.


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