Coastal Post Online


August 2002

Letters To The Editor

West Marin Stage A Hit

A most pleasant experience for me last Wednesday was a trip on the new bus service "The Stage" which I took in each direction thus knowing both drivers on the Bolinas run. A pleasure. The drivers are local and there is a friendly conversation all the way. On the return trip I learned some of the Stinson Beach secrets! Yes they have their moments too!

We must all support this service. It is on a trial basis and we need to keep it. I urge patronage. It is a connection we need and we could have future restrictions on our car usage.

There is adequate service from Bolinas to Marin City via Stinson Beach and Mill Valley Safeway and also from Point Reyes Station to San Anselmo Hub with transfers offered to Marin destinations via Golden Gate Transit at no extra cost, Fares are nominal at $1.50 or 75 cents for seniors and youth. Drivers are well trained and not only pleasant but informative and amusing. Try it!

Brian Spencer


Corporate And Government Criminals

I think it's somewhat amusing to see Congress Critters scrambling to create the illusion they are doing something about corporate crime as the desperately try to restore investor confidence. What Congress doesn't understand is that the corporate criminal are the ones who run this country. They are in charge, and they call the shots.

America was bought and sold by Kenny Boy Enron and corporate criminals like Ross Perot who taught the electrical producers how to scam the public with artificial energy shortages. Our president's election was funded by these criminals as he leads America into war, bankruptcy, and poverty. Bush and Cheney are the same breed of criminal that Congress is pretending to crack down on.

Bush made almost a million bucks himself in a stock options scam when he was on the board of Harken Oil. If anyone believes he is supposed to restore investor confidence, I have some Enron stock to sell you. What's sad about it is that a lot of good honest people who worked hard their entire life aren't going to be able to retire because Bush's cronies have stolen everything they have.

Marc Perkel

San Francisco, CA.


[email protected]

Citizen Corps TIP

I want to report a suspicious organized crime family. I'm positive they're involved in international terrorism. The grandfather worked with the Nazis. The father was an arms smuggler. Two sons have engaged in insider trading and money-laundering. A third tampered with federal elections. They've all used threats, intimidation, and malicious harassment to terrorize rivals. Where do I call?

Jay Taber

Mill Valley

Good Time Republicans

Re: 'Thompson shifts to crime fighter', July 10, 2002.

The AP article tells us that Larry Thompson, President Bush's choice for the nation's top corporate crime fighter spent much of his career defending clients from allegations of fraud and white collar crimes. Any surprises here? What's wrong with this picture? Doesn't anyone get it? We've got Bush and his buddy 'Kenny Boy' Enron swindler (major republican donor, loaned Bush his jet during the campaign, Bush's largest campaign contributor, shafted all us Californian's royally in the energy ripoff schemes.), these guys are taking us for a ride. It's a ride about greed, extremist right wing Republican styled GREED! Let's talk a little bit more about Harken Energy (what's that smell, or is it a stench?) add Global Crossing, World Com, Anderson... does it surprise anyone that now something's sour with Cheney's reign at Haliburton? (If it does surprise you why don't you try to get a life.)

How can anyone believe the polls that show the Bush/Cheney pony show to be in such high regard? What patriots for sure! After just over a year with the current administration in office we now have; war without end, nuclear waste shipments thru our communities (to support the flawed and failing nuclear energy agenda), tax cuts (the wealthiest get the most, of course), the rolling back of clean air laws (to allow greater electric utility profits), RECESSION, DIVING stockmarket (aren't these the guys that wanted to privatize our social security system?). Isn't it time to vote as many of these Republican vultures out of office as soon as we possibly can? A nose diving stock market, a ballooning military budget, recession, fat cats on the take, the $80+ billion dollar giveaway to the big corporate ag businesses (it's an 'election' year courtesy for those of us who didn't get the huge tax breaks), when does it all end? I will not vote Republican again anytime in the near future, that's for sure.

Michael Lind


Great Paper

Visited Stinson Beach recently from Las Vegas and picked up a copy of your newspaper at the grocery store. I was absolutely "floored" by the quality of your monthly. GREAT WORK! Although you post your paper online, I like to recline in my easy chair for thoughtful reading, so I'll shortly be sending off a check for a mail subscription.

Bob Bencivenga

Las Vegas

Marin Citizens Betrayed

Guided by arrogant hubris, impelled by greed or more taxes, and with insolent disregard for both law and honor, Marin's four appointed Golden Gate Bridge District board members on June 28 demonstrated their contempt for Marin citizens by voting for a 67 percent increase in the bridge toll.

They thereby violated the Marin County Initiative Ordinance enacted by the voters in June 1988. That Ordinance requires them -- Supervisors Hal Brown and John Kress, San Rafael Mayor Al Boro, and public member Dietrich Stroeh - to oppose any and all toll increases until the bridge district board is made an elected instead of an appointed body.

Those four betrayed the people of Marin. They abandoned integrity, violating their oath of office. They are no longer fit to hold any office of public trust.

Fielding Greaves

San Rafael

Let's Encourage Woolsey

Representative Lynne Woolsey is correct in saying (Marin Voice, MIJ) that Washington should not rush headlong into a Homeland Security Bill which creates an expensive regulatory monster, and threatens the constitutional and personal rights of American citizens. However, Lynne evades the real issue.

Homeland Security, more accurately termed Operation Hunker-Down, is a cowardly and expensive bandaid whipped together by a Washington unable to face the fact that our government is responsible for having placed millions of Americans at physical risk with a foreign policy guaranteed to provoke anger in a Muslim World of over 1.2 billion people.

It should not have required a Bin Laden to warn us that our continuing biological and military genocide of over 1.2 billion Iraqis, plus our economic and military support for Israel's brutal and illegal occupation of both Palestinian and Syrian lands, would in time produce a violent blowback.

Let's encourage Lynne Woolsey to initiate a debate on our Mideast foreign policy in the House of Representatives, and see what happens.

Edward Miller, MD

San Rafael

Reject Transportation Sales Tax

Assemblyman Joe Nation held a hearing July 19 at the Civic Center on the proposed light rail and his pet bill, AB 2224. It was pointed out by train opponents at this meeting that: 2/3 of Marin's residents live south of San Rafael, would not use train but pay sales tax to subsidize the actual users - riders along 101 from Sonoma. Any rail serving distances of less than 100 miles is presently a big money loser. All light rail throughout California is heavily subsidized, Amtrak being a good example. Ten speakers were in favor of the train and fifteen opposed it.

AB 2224 would create a joint Marin-Sonoma Rail Transit taxing district to build and operate light rail passenger service between Cloverdale and the Larkspur Ferry. This special district would be governed by twelve representatives who are appointed, as opposed to elected. The affected taxpayers don't get to vote for this special district that will be representing their interests, nor will its 12 appointed representatives be accountable to the public. Interestingly, most special districts in California, such as fire, water and sanitary, have elected boards (Golden Gate Bridge is not a district but an authority with no taxing powers).

To date, the county has been making its plans around the train going to San Rafael, where train riders would transfer to a bus that takes them to the ferry in Larkspur. So I was surprised to hear San Rafael mayor Al Boro and other "smart" officials say the train is going to Larkspur. I contacted Larkspur city officials who stand by their currently drafted plans that won't allow the train through Larkspur, nor are they expecting to revisit the matter in the foreseeable future.

Could the recent allocation of funds by MTC and the county for opening the Larkspur-San Rafael tunnel to bicyclists have something to do with possibly jamming a train through this tunnel?

Assemblyman Joe Nation assured everyone that any sales tax measure would need a two-thirds voter approval. He misled the audience by concealing his collaboration with John Burton on a new bill, AB 433, which intends to eliminate the two-thirds vote requirement for enacting new or increased taxes.

AB 2224 has already sailed through the assembly and will probably pass in the senate. AB 433 will have a tougher time. No matter what the outcome, I put my trust in the wise judgment of Marin and Sonoma voters to reject any transportation sales tax for such an expensive boondoggle as this proposed train - even if they are forced to accomplish this with a majority vote of 50% +1.

Basia Crane


Fox in Chicken Coop

Democracy in our country after the 2000 presidential election can be compared to a chicken coop where a fox has been assigned to be in charge of the security and safety of its inhabitants. In less than a year and a half, we can see a horde of foxes feasting on the poor chickens inside the coop. The fox in charge, as expected, is making all attempts to appear in charge and therefore barks at his brothers to be subtle in their voracious onslaught, lest the napping farmer gets wise to what is going on.

The fox has met today with his brothers exhorting them not to behave like foxes or at least not to appear to be so. He, however, reminded them that the safety and well being of the chickens in the coop, or whatever is left of them, is his paramount responsibility. Asked about his own assault on the poor chickens, he responds that he could not remember if he ever did so. The question in the minds of his brother foxes is what he will do if they continue with their foxy ways? Will he stop feeding them the chickens? Will he drive them out of the chicken coop? Or will he merely make certain that the slumbering farmer never wakes up. He is reminded by his brother foxes to remember that it is them and not the farmer who put him where he is. It is therefore just as easy for them, not the farmer, to replace him.

Antonio Serna

Rohnert Park

Far Beyond Mere Scandals

The recent collapses of many corporations due to the financial crimes of their corporate executives go far beyond mere scandals. They constitute fraud and warfare against America on a mammoth scale. They have done to America's economy and people what Al Qaeda could only dream of doing.

The CEOs, CFOs, auditors, lawyers and others who caused these events are criminal scoundrels of the foulest sort. In their insatiable for money and power, they have managed to defraud their government of taxes, betray their employees and their stockholders, bring the American economy to its knees, and destroy the savings and ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of ordinary Americans.

Those scoundrels deserve to spend many grim years at hard labor in our most unpleasant prisons, not in some soft, congenial federal country club prison, but doing hard time in the same prison population with thieves, muggers, arsonists, pedophiles and murderers -- whose equals they are in unregenerate, vicious criminal behavior.

Fielding Greaves

San Rafael

Investigate Novato Refuse

Recently the Novato Disposal Service asked for another pay hike. I am sure most can remember when they were referred to as garbage men. Now they want to be called sanitary engineers. When we had the prior system of refuse containers in Novato, we had a 45 gallon can. The can was placed by the side of the house. We do recycle and have been for years, can, bottles and paper. All recycling is good and it does have its rewards.

With the new container system in Novato, the 45 gallon refuse container was dropped from their program. It was replaced with a 32 gallon cart. We have the same amount of garbage here, but now have to do a River Dance on top to cram it all in. With the new 32 gallon can, this is 23 gallons less space per week for our garbage. We were paying $35.46. With the new pay increase, we now pay $37.14. Yet we have 23 gallons less space per week in the new can. Of course, there is the option of a 68 gallon cart, at a higher charge.

Novato Disposal Service informed us that they selected carts manufactured by Otto Industries. This was based on their fine reputation, quality, durability, and pricing. They further stated Otto Industries does not manufacture a 45 gallon cart and they are not aware of someone that does. You would think that with 16,000 plus customers per week in this area, they could find a manufacturer that would accommodate the manufacturing of a 45 gallon cart.

We do know that all communities in California are under a state mandate to reduce the amount of material being landslide. Accordingly, Novato Disposal then distributed two stacking bins to each household. These to be used instead of buckets for cans and bottle pick up as well as paper. They also gave us a green 96 gallon cart for yard waste. So now each household and apartment resident had a 32 gallon refuse can, a green 96 gallon grass and shrub cart, plus the two stacking bins. We place these at curb side each week and the automatic trucks pick them up.

We now have as of July an additional automated single stream or mixed recycling collection. We have received a blue 96 gallon cart to be used in place of the curbside containers.

At present, we are to set the 45 gallon refuse cart, 96 gallon green yard waste cart, and the new blue 96 gallon mixed recycling cart at three feet apart on the sidewalk, or in the street with the wheels against the curb. This represents about 12 feet along the street or curb with the three foot spacing. If you live on a block that has a six unit apartment with three cans per unit, you have 72 feet of carts lined up in front. that is if there are no vehicles parked in front. With 16,000 plus customers per week times three carts is 48,000 carts out per week at any given time. Is Novato the Refuse Container Capital of the World?

It is my understanding a similar program was done in Sacramento and Fresno. The CONTAMINATION level of the mixed recycling in these areas was higher than standards and a "cease of this program" is in effect. Are we going to receive additional carts in yellow for light bulbs, a red one for hard cover books? What's next? Are we to have a full time small dumpster parked in front of each home set on a concrete pad, and everything is tossed into it?

The collection trucks must burn more fuel as they go up one side of a street, turn around and come down the other side for cart pick up. Before they came up one side and a helper would pick up the trash on both sides of the street. I have watched elderly walkers pushing empty carts out of their way to get past. I have seen some areas where parking and cart placement is a nightmare. Recycling is good and we do it, but this system is somewhat getting out of hand and should be accounted for to the public



Where's The Arab Islamic Outrage

On July 6th there were about 4 inches of reporting in NY Times and local press of a vicious bomb attack by Islamic terrorists in a crowded market in Larbra, Algeria killing 35 people and injuring about one hundred. The space given to this catastrophe by the New York Times and our local paper in contrast to the 3 to 4 feet of news coverage in the same papers of the conflicts in the Middle East clearly demonstrates the concern for emphasis where the Arabs want the news to be. It is not at all surprising that there was no mention of this bloody Arab fratricidal massacre in the Jordan Times, the Gulf News, the Daily Star of Lebanon and probably all other Arab world newspapers since they consider this a tribal family affair. Perhaps they are too afraid of antagonizing the brutal wings and elements of their Islamic religion. On the other hand these papers were full of the stories of the perceived brutality of Sharon's military.

How can Israel be expected to deal as human beings with a culture which can so brutalize its own realizing that they would find it easy to decimate as many Israelis as they could if given half an opportunity? The lack of Arab outrage at their CO religionists suicide indiscriminate massacres makes the Israelis very nervous when they realize that they would as a community reap the same violence. The Arab world acceptance of the Algerian fratricide as well as the attempted Saddam Hussein rape of Kuwait, Syrian massacre of its own citizens, the Jordanian massacre of Arafat's Arabs and the brutal Arab war between Iraq and Iran in our life time all make Israel and it's friends very nervous in believing any promises of Arab leaders to behave rationally and live up to signed pledges. Israelis must be cautious when dealing with Arabs who are powerless of purging their ranks of violence as they interpret their Koran.

Dr. Norman Mann

[email protected]

San Anselmo Ignores Own Development Rules

At a time when most Marin cities are trying to find a fair and thoughtful balance between open space and development, it might come as a shock for people to know that at least one city -- San Anselmo -- seems blithely willing to ignore its own development standards and General Plan.

For more than six months, dozens of neighbors in the Sequoia Park neighborhood tried in vain to get Town councilors and officials to follow the town's own rules regarding a proposed single-family new house beside us at 24 Knoll, property owned by Mr. Atwater, 75 Jordan, San Anselmo. That property has a slope of approximately 39 degrees, a key fact ignored by Town councilors and officials that forced us to sue the Town.

The short history of the proposed development is: Mr. Atwater bought 75 Jordan in July 1998, and was essentially "given" 24 Knoll as part of the sale. The seller made it a condition of sale that the buffer lot at 24 Knoll "cannot be built on." On or about June 26, 2001, Mr. Atwater submitted an application to the Town of San Anselmo's Planning Department to construct a new 2,973 square-foot home on the 9,600 square foot property.

At the March 12th Town Council meeting this year, The Council willfully disregarded the input of 10 neighbors and a petition of 51 signatures and voted 4-1 for the development of a 2, 654 square-foot house. At the meeting, San Anselmo's Town Attorney, Mr. Roth, imperiously forced Mr. Atwater to indemnify the Town if the Mehlings decided to sue. Was that cynical or what? Why does a Town have to force a citizen to defend its decisions in court?

As we, the Mehlings, have a direct, substantial and moral interest in ensuring that the Town and Mr. Atwater comply with all laws AND as we have exhausted all administrative and political remedies, we had no recourse but to sue the Town and Mr. Atwater. We filed a Writ of Mandate on June 10. Our suit alleges that the Town's decisions re: the development were arbitrary and capricious ? THE TOWN ABUSED ITS DISCRETION (or POWER).

THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE IS TAKEN VERBATIM FROM THE TOWN OF SAN ANSELMO'S CONDITIONAL CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE ISSUED TO MR. ATWATER ON OCTOBER 14, 1998: Although the property is in compliance with the Subdivision Map Act of California, development of the property shall be subject to: a survey confirming that there are no encroachments; removal of any such encroachments; the regulations of the Zoning Ordinance, which include the development standards of the zoning district, applicable at the time of construction; obtaining permits from the Building Department; and any other regulations in effect at the time.

San Anselmo Municipal Code 10-3.409 includes a slope density/lot area table, a development standard applicable to the R-1 zoning district. This table is clearly one of the development standards referenced in the conditional certificate of compliance issued to Mr. Atwater. Based upon a 39-degree slope, the slope density/lot area table indicates that the minimum lot area for development of the parcel is 19,500 square feet. The two substandard lots comprising 24 Knoll Road total approximately 9,600 square feet, more than 50% below the minimum required by the applicable development standard.

Based upon the development standards for lots with a 39 percent slope, the lot at 24 Knoll Road may not be developed, as it does not meet the minimum size requirements. Mr. Atwater cannot reasonably rely on the conditional certificate of compliance as a basis for contending that he has a legal right to construct a residence at 24 Knoll Road as that document specifies the property is subject to all applicable laws and zoning ordinances.

In addition, we allege that the Town failed to follow the rules because it ignored San Anselmo Municipal Code section 10-3.2703, which requires that:

When any one of two (2) or more contiguous parcels or units of land, which are held by the same owner or owners, does not conform to the standards for minimum parcel size under the applicable zoning designation, the contiguous parcels shall merge if certain requirements are satisfied.

Mr. Atwater's non-conforming lots at 24 Knoll Road and 75 Jordan meet the requirements of San Anselmo Municipal Code section 10-3.2703 for merger of lots. The Town of San Anselmo failed to require Mr. Atwater to merge his two non-conforming lots when he sought planning permission for the project.

Our third allegation is that the Town's approval of Mr. Atwater's application is a discretionary decision that should be subject to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The construction of a large residence at 24 Knoll Road may have significant environmental impacts, including cumulative impacts, impacts to drainage, slope stabilization, and public safety. The Town failed to prepare an environmental document prior to its approval of the project as required by CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines.

Finally, we note that The Town violated its own constitution by ignoring San Anselmo General Plan Objective 11 / Policies 11.1 which states that "new development" shall be of a scale, intensity, and design that integrates with the existing character of the surrounding neighborhood."

The character of the surrounding neighborhood and the square footage of the adjacent homes clearly reflects that the proposed home at 24 Knoll Road would be substantially out of character for the neighborhood. The immediate neighborhood consists of homes ranging from approximately 800 square feet to approximately 2,100 square feet, with most ranging from approximately 1,300 to 1,600 square feet.

The proposed structure clearly fails to meet the standards of San Anselmo General Plan Objective 11.

We believe, and allege in our suit that the Town's approval of the project was arbitrary, capricious and/or without evidentiary support in that it does not conform with the policies and goals of the General Plan or the Town's development standards.

Lujza and Herman Mehling

San Anselmo

Living With The Bomb

I read with much interest Norman Solomon's piece on nuclear weapons. It directed me to his book on the internet. He has done a great service for the Marines who suffer so much as a result of working at ground zero at Hiroshima and Nagasaki . I in no way take issue with what he is saying; but feel the need to tell my own story in the light of all the revisionist history that abounds about the use of the bomb.

Those members of the armed forces who had some direct experience with the bomb are dying off at a rapid clip and some aspects of what happened are being lost. There is a lot of misinformation about those days. Some feel that Harry Truman was a bad guy, that the Japanese were getting ready to surrender anyway, that the bomb should have been used on a military target or not at all, and on and on.

This is my story

When the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima I was working in intelligence with the 13th Air Force on Leyte in the Philippines. My job was to monitor Japanese Air Force radio transmissions. One of the nets I covered included Hiroshima. The radio traffic was heavy from that location which indicated that it was a major military base. I have no doubt that it was also a place populated with many civilians.

A few weeks before the bomb was dropped we had a briefing from one of our officers about the coming invasion of Japan. We were given the sobering news that we were going to be shipped out to Formosa in preparation for that invasion and that there was a good possibility we would end up losing our top secret specs, and that we might be going ashore with every one available. In short we could end up in the infantry.

Our work had shielded us pretty much from harm, from New Guinea, to the Dutch East Indies and now in the Philippines. It was deemed by the brass that we should, in no circumstance, find ourselves in a situation where we might be captured. What we were doing was one of the best kept secrets of the war. We had broken all the Japanese codes.

It was explained to us that the invasion would probably be the bloodiest of World War II. The Japanese military had been exhorting the Japanese population to rise up en mass and meet us on the beaches with anything they could lay their hands on, including sticks and stones. We were told that it was estimated that the Japanese had some 5000 planes of every description with enough gas for one mission. These were to be turned into kamikaze. A short time before some eighty Kamikaze hit our fleet with devastating effect, so one could only imagine what 5000 would do. This officer estimated that as many as one million Americans could die in that invasion and many more millions of Japanese would perish. Needless to say we left that briefing in a state of shock and went back to our work. Work, by the way, that gave no indication that the Japanese were ready to surrender.

A date was set for our embarkation to Formosa and we waited with some trepidation. On the day before we were to ship out the bomb was dropped and our orders were canceled. Most of us felt that, just maybe, that bomb had saved our lives. Even so there was no celebration over that event. There was a general feeling of unease as we tried to comprehend the magnitude of that bomb. We had become accustomed to block busters; but a bomb that could wipe out a whole city was beyond comprehension.

When the Japanese surrendered we were assigned to monitor the transmissions between the Japanese and MacAurthur's headquarters. There was heavy traffic as efforts were made to get Japanese troops all over the Pacific to surrender. Some never did until many years later.

Because of my experience I came away with the feeling that Harry Truman was faced with a catch 22. Let's put it this way: Suppose I put a button in front of you and said,, "If you press that button 200,000 people will die. If you don't press that button several million people will die." This is the paradox that the bomb presented. What would you do?

I don't know about the choice of targets or other details. Was there a better place to use that weapon? I don't know. I do know that Hiroshima was a major military base. I am left with the belief that the bomb, for all it's terrible aspects, saved many American lives. Perhaps even my own. It also saved untold Japanese lives because the invasion of Japan never happened. I am also convinced that it prevented World War III. Without it I feel certain we would have gotten into it with Russia within the next decade.

I realize that it is strange to suggest that the bomb saved many millions of lives during the war and after. To suggest that a weapon so terrible could have had a positive effect seems beyond belief. Even so, as one who had a direct experience with those days, I feel compelled to suggest just that. It needs to be said, before all of us whose lives were directly effected by that fearsome weapon during World War II are gone from spaceship earth. Most folks writing about the bomb were not even alive in those days. They tend to get caught up in the tragic horrors experienced by those who were killed or maimed by that awful weapon. There is a flip side to that coin and it should always be kept in mind when writing about the history of those times.

Jack Welpott

[email protected]

Marijuana Battle Coming To DC

The California Supreme Court has unanimously confirmed that Proposition 215 really does what voters wanted it to do: Protect seriously ill medical marijuana users from arrest. Because the vast majority of marijuana arrests and prosecutions are carried out under state law, this represents a huge victory for patients.

The next step in protecting Californians who need medical marijuana to help them battle AIDS, cancer, and other terrible diseases must come at the federal level. The Drug Enforcement Administration's raids on medical marijuana dispensaries -- often conducted over the vehement objections of local officials -- have threatened the health and well being of thousands of seriously ill Californians who depend on these dispensaries for a safe, reliable supply of medicine. Congress can put a stop to this by enacting H.R. 2592, the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, sponsored by US Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).

Congress will face another critical decision on medical marijuana shortly: The voters of Washington, DC, will consider a medical marijuana initiative this November, and "drug war" ideologues in Congress have begun a move to block it before the vote even takes place. Californians need to let their representatives know that they care about this issue, and they want the federal government to respect the will of the voters.

Bruce Mirken

Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project

Washington, DC 20013

<a> href=></a> -- [email protected]



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