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February, 2003

Moo Town News
By Judy Borello

Perception-Deception

A month and a half ago, I was reading a newsletter from the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin written by Executive Director Catherine Caulfield. Under the heading, "Current Threats We Face," the following paragraph caught my curiosity, and I quote: "On the East shore of Tomales Bay, an unlined septic dump could send hazardous chemicals into nearby Tomasini Creek which flows directly into bay."

I was in a quandary since she never mentioned the name of the "sewage dump" and Tomasini Creek is in proximity to the Martinelli garbage dump. The Borello sewage ponds sit a hundred feet high on a bluff above Millerton Creek and we don't accept hazardous chemicals such as portapotties, industrial waste or even grease into our ponds.

When I showed the article to my good friend Marty Medin, he took it down to Catherine Caulfield's office and talked to her. She admitted that she was referring to the "Borello Ponds" in the article. Marty then pointed out that her facts were wrong and would lead the public to believe false information. We never have received an apology from her nor a printed retraction -- not that I truly expected it. So many times environmental groups spout off any distorted, non-factual perceptions they want and are not held accountable for. In spreading false information such as this, the community reacts and rumors are spread publicly resulting in people being slandered and businesses put at risk. This is definitely a very irresponsible practice among certain environmental leaders who should be held personally accountable for their actions so as not to bring discredit on the association they represent.

Communication is the key to much of this problem. So many times those of us who have been maligned never even received a phone call, a visit, or even received copies of the disparaging remarks written against us that were sent to county, state or other government departments.

In the way the environmental leadership has been operating, they do nothing but cause unnecessary disturbances at great cost to not just the victims of their distortions but to the community and taxpayers.

We all love the bay, not just a chosen few of us, and we are a community of wonderful people. To isolate and attack any one of us without direct communication with the person under fire regarding the perceived problem is an injustice to our community as a whole. Communication and respect should be the first priority in solving this problem of perception - deception.

Moving on to the Brubaker home -- not a compound, as Ms. Caulfield termed -- hopefully it will soon be built on the east shore of Tomales Bay. Mr. Brubaker's land consists of 200 acres which are zoned A-60 -- meaning one home is allowed per 60 acres. He is actually legally entitled to build three homes on his land except that the county extorted two of these building sites by forcing him to place a permanent easement on the property so that he can never build the other two homes. Such action is considered a "taking": when any government agency takes your land use rights away from you without fair compensation.

Mr. Brubaker was forced to jump through rings for years -- changing plans to appease certain people, spending unnecessary money to hire attorneys and redo plans -- and then losing his land use rights -- all because he wanted to build his family home.

After three years of stress, the county relented and graciously allowed Brubaker to build his home after extracting his property rights only to have another monkey wrench thrown into the project when E.A.C.'s Catherine Caulfield decided to protest the project at the Coastal Commission. Her reasoning was that the home would "violate" the viewshed on the east shore of Tomales Bay. What about the homes along the west shore of Tomales Bay which east shore residents have to look at? What is fair? If the west shore residents of Tomales Bay do not want to see a house two miles across the bay on the east shore, they should purchase the land themselves instead of taking away the land use rights of the owner through bogus excuses regarding their endangered viewshed. Such actions are elitist, unfair and stink of first class snobbery.

When I read the letter in the Point Reyes Light from Andrew Romanoff, Inez Storer, Jane Vaits, Terri Elaine and Carla Steinberg defending the Brubaker home, I thought that things were looking up when five Invernessians defend a controversial home proposed for the east shore of Tomales Bay.

All of this was happening when the Straus family dairy is building a whopping 28,000 square foot creamery along the east shore of Tomales Bay without a peep from Miss Caulfield. Was it because the late Ellen Straus was an environmental co-hort of Miss Caulfield's? Perhaps Miss Caulfield was unaware that before Ellen Straus passed, she went and visited Brubaker personally while, as he stated in the Point Reyes Light, he never heard anything from Ms. Caulfield.

Not only would Mr. Brubaker's home be a nice addition to the community, he himself would also be a very nice addition to our community as he is a very nice, amiable and intelligent man. He should be welcomed wholeheartedly.

P.S. Happy 80th Birthday to Andrew Romanoff! Much love and good health from the east shores!

 

 

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