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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

November, 2006

Letters To The Editor

Marin Judges Conflicts Of Interest Challenged
Marin County Administrator
Mathew Hymel
I am sorry to trouble you with this issue, which appears quite significant. I believe taxpayers and litigants are unwittingly supporting multiple improper conflicts of interest involving the Marin bench and two firms representing public entities.
I am trying to get answers to important questions. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

My name is Barbara Kauffman, and I am a family law attorney in Marin County. I have recently become aware that the Freitas Law Firm and the Ragghianti Freitas Law firm share contracts to represent the County Of Marin, City of Belvedere, City of San Rafael, Marin Municipal Water District, etc. (at least, that is what their respective firm profiles say on the Martindale Hubbell website).

Two of the members of the Freitas Law firm are married to Marin County judicial officers. Neil Moran is married to Presiding Judge Lynn Duryee, and Peter Kleinbrodt is married to our brand new commissioner Beverly Wood. (Wood was selected from a field of 50 applicants--is it a coincidence that Wood and Duryee are friends, their husbands work together, and that they now sit on the family bench together?). Duryee and Wood have a financial interest in the Freitas law firm by virtue of marriage. So not only are Duryee and Wood receiving taxpayer funds via their salaries, benefits, and pensions, they are receiving taxpayer funds through their husbands, who appear to also be paid by Marin taxpayers and appear in front of the Marin courts.

The Freitas firm served as treasurer for the recent re-election campaigns of Judge Michael Dufficy and Judge John Sutro. The campaign disclosures of those judges list the address of the Freitas law firm as the address for the "Friends of Sutro" and "Friends of Dufficy" campaigns.

The Freitas firm was the top contributor to the Sutro campaign. The Freitas firm was the top contributor to the Dufficy campaign.

Key members of the Ragghianti Freitas firm have been instrumental in defending judges accused of cronyism and inappropriate behavior. David Feingold instituted a Marin County Bar Association policy to defend the judges from public criticism, and Gary Ragghianti was active in defending Judges Duryee, Boren and Dufficy against recall attempts.

Ragghianti and/or his firm were also big contributors to the Dufficy and Sutro campaigns. The firm also appears before the Marin bench.

Both firms enjoy lucrative legal contracts representing public entities.

The conflicts described above are apparent.

But my concern is that the conflicts may be even more far-reaching.


My questions are these:
1. Who selects outside counsel to represent the county, towns, cities, fire and water districts?

2. What is the criteria?
3. Is there a conflicts check?
4. Is there a bidding process?
5. Who reviews and/or approves the contracts for outside counsel?

6. Who reviews and/or approves the billings for outside counsel?

7. Do the individuals in charge of selecting outside counsel and/or reviewing their contracts and billings receive campaign contributions from the firms seeking selection as counsel?

8. What is the source of funds for payment of outside counsel?


I would greatly appreciate a prompt response to these questions. I think these matters should be reviewed as soon as possible because what is happening is the taxpayers are funneling money to two judges and their husbands who appear before the Marin bench, who then funnel money to candidates on the Marin bench.

Barbara Kauffman
San Rafael

End Of The Republicans
Is it too early to make a prediction on the upcoming election? Is it San Francisco naivete to look at the revelations of the last two years and foresee a Democratic landslide?

Is it a pipedream to believe America is about to rise up in answer to the un-American regime in D.C.? Perhaps it is the delusion of a dreamer, but this American feels and hopes, this election will be the beginning of the end of The Republican Party. For the sake of The Light that is America, good riddance and bring it on.

One Oshen
Stinson Beach

Why Vote Against "State" Bonds.
• Governor/legislators are abrogating their responsibility to a few-voters, to burden approx. 80% of other Californians.

• The bonds' enormity. $43 billion, will double with interest.

• State leaders spending the bonds, have gerrymandered districts. Please remember their other-raids on our local property taxes.

• The Governor's administration bumbled the special election, and bumbled the bay-bridge construction, wasting millions.

• Giant donors, and giant consultants who are thereby trying to shape public-policy, giant-sized.

• Incomplete rights. The Security and Exchange Commission, has scheduled December to consider whether or not, to give share owners, basic rights in their public corporations.

• Oversight and regulation of many corporations, are now under- scrutiny, about governance/bidding/payroll, bonuses/options/etc. County, city and district bonds and measures more truly deserve your consideration, as your oversight is manageable.

John Bauer
Martinez

Legal Bent Can Be Bought.
At the October 10, 2006, San Anselmo Town Council meeting, Mayor Barbara Thornton said, "We are multi-talented, so our legal counsel will be recording the meeting."

Town Attorney Robert F. Epstein had difficulty with changing the audiotape from side A to side B. Then Mr. Epstein, previously an associate with Ragghianti Freitas & Macias, revealed his true worth.

The Consent Agenda at San Anselmo includes payment warrants, revenue & expenditure reports, planning and tax resolutions, approval of contracts, appointments, etc. The Consent Agenda is an opportunity to review the impact of previous Town management decisions and an opportunity to evaluate future impacts of immediate actions. The published council agenda states: Items on the consent agenda may be removed and discussed separately. Discussion may take place at the end of the agenda. Otherwise, all items may be approved with one action.

A citizen's tape recording reveals the following dialogue regarding the Consent Agenda:

Thornton: Do we have anything from the council? Item C. Pulling A and C.

Councilman Breen: Move the balance.
Citizen Mathews: Uh? The public?
Mayor Thornton: From the public. Pulling A, C and E.

Citizen Mathews: I may want to speak on A, C, D, and E.

Attorney Epstein: May I speak to a point of clarification please, madam Mayor? There is provided at another opportunity for open time. However, for comment on the Consent Agenda, however, the only people in the room who have the power to pull items from the Consent Agenda, as far ass I am aware of, are the council members, not members of the public. That is something that was stated that is incorrect.

Mayor Thornton: [unintelligible]…discuss…

Attorney Epstein: But the members of the public are invited to speak to any items on the Consent Agenda that they wish in the time Council provides for public comment.

Citizen Mathews: Excuse me, Mayor Epstein, excuse me, Attorney Epstein. Can you please put that statement in writing? I want to submit that to the Attorney General.

Attorney Epstein: You're tape recording it, so…

Citizen Mathews: Okay, so this will be suitable. Thank you.

Mayor Thornton: Okay, so the items A, C, E have pulled from the agenda. Item A.

Councilman Cooper: Corrects Item A.
Attorney Epstein: Councilman Cooper and Madam Mayor. I think one member of the public is indicating an interest in addressing the council with regard to the Consent Agenda. So this would be good time to provide the public an opportunity to speak to whichever council pulled off the Consent Agenda.

Mayor Thornton: So I will open it up to comments by the public with regard to the Consent Agenda.

Citizen McEachern: Madam Mayor, could we request that the Minutes be removed and revised from the last … meeting?

Mayor Thornton: No. [Pregnant pause] I mean, you can give us comments on any item on the Consent Agenda.

Citizen McEachern: And the Minutes?
Attorney Epstein: Sure!
Mayor Thornton: Any item on the Consent Agenda.

Citizen Mathews: Any item or just the Minutes.

Mayor Thornton: Any item on the Consent Agenda.

Citizen Mathews: So you are having the public make comments before the council member that pulled it?

Mayor Thornton: Yes.
Citizen Mathews: Whoa. This is a brand new game. Okay, okay. I pulled Item C [requested an answer if Director's salary caused increase in expenditures] Item D [requested verification of the FEMA reimbursement for the Library and if FEMA loss claims were being delayed due to inconsistencies in the Town's claim of actual loss] Item e [requested the specifics on the intent of the bike task force] Thank you.

Mayor Thornton: Thank you. And the last item is Item E.

Councilman Breen: Yeah. I just wanted to assure Tom Peacock that was just a slip. When we talk bikes, we talk bike-peds. [Conversation continues between

Councilman Breen and Citizen Peacock]
Mayor Thornton: Thank you. Your interests are our interests in that area. Okay, we have discussed the items that we pulled off. Do we have any action?

Councilman Breen: Move approval of the Consent Agenda.

Council present: Aye. [Motion carries]

Attorney Epstein: You know, I think it would be helpful at this moment for me to comment on something said earlier so that the public is clear on how the Consent Agenda operates. And, I am reading from the California Municipal Law Handbook (sic), which we city attorneys often rely upon to answer these weighty questions. And, this book [unintelligible] provides that if a body uses a consent calendar for reaching items of business and does not allow members of the public to remove those items from the calendar for discussion and the consent calendar is scheduled before the general opportunity for public comment, that a general audience comment period must proceed action on the calendar to insure that the public has an opportunity to comment on any item on that calendar before action is taken. Which is exactly what took place here tonight.

Citizen Mathews: Can I ask a question?

Mayor Thornton: The last item on our agenda, which is adjourning. So we will do that. Thank you very much.

Citizen Mathews speaking directly to Attorney Epstein: So it your interpretation that that means that the public has to speak first?

Attorney Epstein speaking directly to Citizen Mathews and motioning toward the council seats: Ms. Mathews, respectfully, this is my client.

Citizen Mathews: That is all I needed to hear.

I have attended over 300 San Anselmo Town Council meeting since 1994. Over the years, the Council has tried several maneuvers to avoid hearing from their constituents concerning items on the Consent Agenda. Never has the goofiness and mind-numbingly scandalous action of what Town Attorney Robert F. Epstein advised has ever been established. The Council has never had a regulation (anything approved by the Council) or policy to deny the citizens the right to pull an item from the Consent Agenda.

I believe that Vice Mayor Wayne Cooper is one of the instigators of this latest assault upon accessibility to information at public hearings and perhaps the architect of this restriction to question and directly respond to our town council representatives. Starting this abhorrent process during Mayor Thornton's term protects him from having to assume any ownership. This is a cowardly act that Mayor Thornton had no ethical strength to resist.

Former Town Attorney Hadden Roth said he never took an action without being directed to do so by the Town Council. Taxpayers, advocates and voters are fighting a losing battle against dishonorable local agencies that conspire. The San Anselmo Town Council acts as though our voices are the demon in their dominion.

UPDATE : Planning Commissioner Dan Harris objected to the use of a citizen audio recording during the 10/16 Planning Commission hearing. He requested that Staff consult and see what could be done by way of policy, despite assurances provided that recording by the public is permissible under the Ralph M. Brown Act.

Harris' concern was that my recording is a potential invasion of privacy with respect to members of the public and that everyone should know that what is being recorded is not the official town record.

Isn't that the truth.
Louise L. Mathews
San Anselmo

DJ Foreign Policy
President Bush is really hard up in seeking advice on how to formulate policy on foreign and domestic affairs when he has to call in 5 DJs into the Oval Office for their input? First, it was seeking advice from one of the Vietnam losers, Henry Kissinger, on how to extricate himself from the Iraq debacle, now its disk jockeys?

The White House is given millions of dollars to select professional experienced cabinet officers, choose the best Generals and Admirals to carry out Bush's war with the Iraqi people and what does he do? He calls in 5 DJs for their advice and then give them "marching orders" on how to flood the airwaves with his losing propaganda?

I understand that Bush and his aide, Karl Rove, already browse through the "Drudge Report" every morning seeking info on how to run the country?

Imagine, this guy Drudge with his Walter Winchel hat, operating from his bedroom, tapping out messages to all Americans, the Oval Office and all ships at sea while Bush and Rove read his personal and unverified news reports so they will know how to govern the country on any given day?

Are the 3 Stooges next?
David A. Whelan
Forest Knolls, CA 94933


Egger Should Be MMWD Director
In the IJ endorsement editorial of Mr. David Behar, a number of statements were made regarding the qualifications that the new member to the MMWD Board should have, and were used as a basis for the IJ's decision to endorse. Some of these statements centered on the issues that have been raised in the campaign, others on the personal background and character of the candidates. I would like to comment on some of these topics. Perhaps most important is the personal investment the individual has made in the community.

While Mr. Baher has worked on local campaigns and has been a member of local environmental groups, his involvement in the community cannot compare to the steadfast commitment Frank Egger has demonstrated for nearly 40 years. We should honor such commitment alone with our support. However, most important to local elections and regarding an asset so valuable as the MMWD, we must consider that money has often played a more important role in informing voters of the character of a candidate than that candidate's record.

Following this line of reasoning, it is hard to avoid finding Frank Egger the superior candidate in this election. Egger has spent a lifetime campaigning to protect Marin's environment, there is no better resume for this job than Frank Egger's role in protecting the Eel River or his work on the Coastal Commission. Too many people in recent years have run for elected office who had no local experience with government of any kind. Their only support often came from the special interests they represented, personal wealth or the cronyism of contacts with other politicians. We should be very skeptical of such

candidates as they have little local roots and are often swayed by regional or private interests rather than local needs.

I do agree with the IJ that Mr. Egger's standard for assessing the need for desalination and his concern for ecological repercussions and the appropriate return on investment is a high standard. Unfortunately Mr. Egger relies on the Pacific Institute's recent assessment of Desalination and their analysis of conservation gains still possible. In this I disagree with both Frank and The Pacific Institute. The Institute has produced conservation figures that cannot be produced without increasing the cost of water or services (as San Francisco has done with a sewer charge). Their position on conservation is, as a result, rather misleading to the public and distorts the balance of benefits vs. costs of desalination.

No matter who wins this election, desalination will come to Marin in the future. Water wars will replace oil wars in the coming decades. In 1960 agriculture used 86% of California's water, by 1990 it had only dropped its use

to 78%. Agriculture makes up only about 3% of California's economy, but has a tremendous say in water use. The average human in Africa uses 6 liters of water a day, the average US citizen about 269 liters. The Scientist Magazine, in a summary of studies, found that over 1 billion people today lack enough fresh water, while nearly half the world's population lacks clean water.

The International Water Management Institute reported in August that world water scientists had projected in 2000 that 1 in 3 people in the world would face water shortages by 2025, but they now found that this year we have already reached this threshold. Development, population growth and pollution have all conspired to undermine water availability and quality. As the Institute's Director-General stated recently, "The last 50 years of water management practices are no model for the future when it comes to dealing with water scarcity."

There are more than 11,000 desalination plants in the world today. The customers of this water do no find the product too expensive or they would not be in existence. The water is valued, not only as a scarce resource, but for its quality and that quality will become even rarer if we do not solve the water problem.

To add this problem, financial concerns have been buying up public watersheds and water distribution companies at a remarkable rate in the past decade. Water as a commodity is rapidly becoming a major profit source and target for speculation. In all of this we seldom find allocations of the world's water set aside for wildlife, such shortsightedness cannot be our policy. We are approaching a crisis in water and we had better have someone at the helm of our public water agency who has Marin's citizens and environment in mind.

Niccolo Caldararo
Fairfax

War In Iraq And Vietnam
What's the difference between the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam?

George W. Bush had a plan to get out of Vietnam.

I'm Marc Perkel - And I approved this message!

Marc Perkel
San Bruno, CA.
For verification: 415-987-6272 or [email protected]


Flawed Voting System
Your electronic vote should be available for recount, but it's not, thanks to the Republican controlled Congress. Your vote is lost in the electronic wasteland once you make a choice.

Republicans and the Bush administration have changed the rules of democracy and have created an unlevel playing field where electronic theft is only a hacker away. No paper trail, no independent verification of computer software, assures the perfect crime.

How would Republicans and the right-wing media react if Democrats had created this bizarre and flawed voting system. Will Republican one-party rule and vote rigging come to an end November 7?

* * *
No On Prop 85
Don't be Fooled! Prop. 85 is a rehash of last years Proposition 73, the Parental-Notification act that was rejected. Proposition 85 is another attempt by the fundamentalist right to legislate a woman's freedom of choice.

Are women willing to let a bunch of religious extremists take control of their reproductive rights? The ongoing abortion debate is and has always been a wedge issue used by Republicans and anti-abortion foes to disempower and confuse women about their bodies and sexuality. The preservation of life seems to be a slogan rather than a genuine goal of anti-abortion forces.

On Nov. vote No on Proposition 85 and preserve a female's right to choose.

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

Bush Is Not The Devil
Just because Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called you a "devil" at the UN General Assembly recently doesn't mean that you are and don't let it fester and get under your skin.

He doesn't understand that your messianic crusade in bringing peace and freedom to the Middle East results in catastrophic multitudes of people being killed. It has always been that way. Great leaders cause hundreds of thousands of people being killed and thousands of graveyards throughout the world are filled with people that have been freed through their wars... and you are doing your fair share.

There was much applause and titters of laughter in response to Chavez's remarks at the UN but a lot of the laughter wasn't laughter but were members choking from the sulfur that was still being ventilated from the room. You can take comfort from that and someday the world will recognize you for what you are? Remember this: The great leaders who go down in history and are remembered for generations long afterwards are those that find a "cause" and take thousands of their countrymen and others to their death in implementing it.

So far, your track record looks great in the Middle East for you becoming a distinguished member of that illustrious group.

David A. Whelan
Forest Knolls, CA 94933

Republican Day Of Reckoning
The heavy pall of gloom, tension and anxiety obtaining in the Republican Party is vividly portrayed by the strange behavior of the party's propaganda spin masters who in their frantic attempt to negate the effect of their tail spinning poll numbers, are dramatically showing the bitter reality that they will lose control of the two houses of Congress.

The highly vaunted talk heads of the party who are notable for their ridiculous optimism when the chips are down are over reaching this time. They are candidly describing the low morale within their party by attributing such a state of affairs to the opposition. As the wise men have always maintained: "The truth comes out when you read the lips of liars in reverse."

The most convincing evidence that proves where the Republicans stand in the November elections was very visible in the National Press Club conference held recently. The respective chairmen of the 2006 Election Campaign of the two leading parties were guest speakers. Guess who had beads of sweat streaming down his face during the whole proceeding? Contrast this with the demeanor of his adversary who was cool, collected, made a lot of sense and did not read from prepared notes. Time for Republicans to repent----- your day of reckoning is here.

Antonio Serna
Rohnert Park

Schwartzenegger Alert
This person had gained a governorship for which he has no qualifications or merit--even with less votes than the governor who was recalled--using a flawed recall provision in our state constitution . He managed this, by appealing to the uninformed or apathetic voters, with the clandestine aid of the Bush administration and his many financial supporters who opposed the environmental initiatives of the legislator and former governor. Even a cursory examination of his background would reveal his affiliation to the energy cartel and anti-environmental elements of the republican party.

He has now seized the opportunities to gain support for the coming election by masquerading as an advocate for environmental legislation--which passed despite of him--not because of him. This includes the Global Warming bill.

Given his past ties with the energy cartel and his demonstrated disdain for the democratic processes, one can only assume that his loyalty will return to his financial supporters rather than the citizenry--if he were to be reinstated. No concerned and informed person could vote for this.

Robert Settgast
San Rafael

Poor Leaders Claim Great Purpose
With bullheaded certitude, poor leaders will claim that great purpose has been achieved even through a most egregious blunder. They will also try to deflect leftover blame onto anyone but their most sycophantic followers.

Aside from possibly thinking he could one-up his father by deposing Saddam Hussein, with little forethought George W. Bush launched his "pre-emptive" war into Iraq. Now, in words of justification befitting a juvenile delinquent, he passes off this mistaken venture by claiming that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein.

If a tsunami had swept up the Tigress and Euphrates and gotten Saddam, but in the bargain it took thousands of lives and cost our nation dearly, we might expect George W. Bush to also find great good in the wall of water and take credit for its course.

This man can only lead sheep. To his dwindling flock of followers, have a nice bah, bah, bah.

Sam Osborne
West Branch, IA

Who is the Enemy?
The recently exposed plot to detonate liquid explosives on Commercial aircraft exposed some significant issues in America's war against terrorism. News reports have revealed that several of the perpetrators were English, born of Arab/Muslim parents. How were these presumably loyal English-born citizens so apparently receptive and available to the extremist cause?

In today's global community, how do we distinguish the moderate non- violent Muslim from the extremists who are willing to martyr themselves in a chaos of carnage? Certainly, there should be moderate Arab-Americans among us, for example, who remain loyal to the United States and reject the call to arms of the extremists. However, the current posture of the Muslim community in America makes it difficult, if not impossible, to discern who are the good and bad guys.

Muslims, for example, have been quick to react with worldwide demonstrations in response to virtually every real or alleged insult to Islam. Their reaction has, however, been noticeably subdued when violent attacks have been perpetrated by Muslims on non-Muslims. Although a few American Muslim leaders were persuaded to stand before news cameras with President Bush after 9/11, other Muslims in the world either remained silent or danced before news cameras in celebration of the attack.

Certainly, history provides examples where law-abiding citizens have been intimidated into remaining silent. The overwhelming majority of Italian immigrants in the early part of the 20th Century were law- abiding American citizens. However, the threat of Mafia retaliation often silenced those who might have assisted the police in defeating this crime threat.

Today, Muslim extremists not only use the threat of violence to silence moderate Muslims; these radicals also invoke the extremely powerful and compelling persuasion of Islamic teachings: that every Muslim man must wage religious Jihad on the infidel. And although we have been told that this religious tenet is considered a misinterpretation by some Muslims, similar to law-abiding Italian- Americans at the turn of the 20th century, moderate Muslims have for the most part remained silent in their purported dissent. It is in this silence and inaction, in the face of America's war against terror, that they raise---rightly or wrongly---suspicion of themselves.

Americans should also understand the scale and nature of the threat we face today from Islamic extremists. While providing limited course material on subjects that would prepare young Muslims for the technology driven global economy, Arab elementary schools (madrassahs) emphasize a Koran-centric education that glorifies martyrdom, while vilifying both Western culture and Jews in particular. Financed by Mid-East countries including Saudi Arabia, these schools are increasingly being established in non-Islamic countries, making the threat both real and near at hand.

Irshad Manji, author of the recent book, "The Trouble with Islam", is a Toronto-based television journalist, born to Muslim parents. In her book, she relates her experience during a madrassah class on arithmetic. "The instructor gave us the following example, 'If there are ten Jews and you shoot four of them, how many are still alive?'"

These schools, which are often funded by our putative allies, are turning out young radicalized Muslims that have limited opportunities for employment in an increasingly technical and intensive competitive society. Why would the leaders of madrassahs adhere to such an outmoded curriculum? A closer examination reveals more method than madness in this educational strategy, as it leaves tens of thousands of young men and women unemployed, and with a bitterness and anger that has been cleverly manipulated and directed toward the West. Limited opportunity and an unrelenting diet of bigotry and hate creates warriors willing to die for Allah.

Is it any wonder that British citizens of Arab descent would be nothing other than compliant to the entreaties of extremists. Like the antagonist in "The Manchurian Candidate", that has been programmed by his captors brainwashing methods, these "sleepers" may well be ready and on call for duty, imbedded and assimilated in Western societies.

Given these realities, it is now time for Muslim-American leaders to speak with a clear patriotic voice that is authenticated with decisive actions. How can these leaders continue to support--- through silence---schools that forge the terrorist fodder of the future among our neighbors or worse, here at home?

The continued silence and equivocation of Muslim-Americans, will likely persuade moderate Americans to consider supporting contentious methods, such as profiling, data mining and possibly monitoring of Muslim schools and institutions, as acceptable and indeed necessary means of identifying potential extremists. Clearly, the time arrived when courageous Italian-Americans stepped forward and in a unified and incontestable manner declared their citizenship by "outing" the criminals among them. It is now the time for Muslim- Americans to do the same.

Anthony Gaas
Mill Valley

D Hydrogen Power Ruse
Even basic research reveals that hydrogen power is being promoted as a diversion tactic to forestall development of meaningful fuel efficiency measures by the energy cartel. A simple understanding of the physics and chemistry involved, and its storage and transportation obstacles, reveals that hydrogen power could never present a viable solution to our energy needs. Battery powered electric engines are much more reliable, pose far fewer obstacles--and can become viable relatively soon as battery technology progresses. The resulting electricity requirements could be met through alternative sources such as solar and wind, and conservation.

Hydrogen power is not free energy as implied. It must be produced by one of two means:When derived from fossil fuels, as currently planned, hydrogen produces less energy than contained in the fuel source itself. Morever these processes require energy and emit the same carbon dioxide released by fuel combustion.

When obtained through electrolysis, it requires more electricity to produce than it develops as do all energy systems..

If Bush and Schwarzenegger were sincere about fuel conservation, they would reverse this administrations impairment of California's efforts to mandate milage and air pollution standards, and tax breaks for gas guzzling vehicles--rather than fund this illusive hydrogen smoke screen with our money.

Robert Settgast
San Rafael

Sonoma Developers Should Pay
I don't commute on 101, never have and never will, but my complaint is all the noise and pollution from the Sonoma commute starting at 5:30 every morning.

According to the Transportation and Land Use Coalition - the Sonoma County Developers and County Planners want to add 250.000 more people to Sonoma in the next 40 years. All that new development would bring big money to the Corporations and Sonoma County coffers at Marin's major expense. Probably 50% of those new people would have to cut through Marin to S.F. to work. The people of Marin can't use the freeway because of Sonoma commuters, so we take backroads. I would much rather drive in beautiful scenery than be stuck in the Sonoma commute on 101, even if it takes a little longer.

If Sonoma wants to make all this money on future development, then they should have to pay for a decent transportation system. I think if Sonoma County wants a train and bike path to Marin, then let them have it and pay for it, but they can't just dump all this traffic in Marin, they should pay for a subway starting at the county line and go under 101 to Sausalito. The subway would veer off 101 and terminate in the now defunct Gateway Shopping Center in Marin City. Then Marin and Sonoma could jointly fund a transportation center and a trans bay tube to S.F. , call it an expansion of BART. The new tube could be bored under 101 and out to Richardson Bay and not disturb the residents of the houseboats.

In the late 50's and early 60's Marin opted out of the BART system for good reasons, but times have changed and now Sonoma needs people and money. It's not to late for them to join BART.

In addition to incentives to foster new development, the new employers should be required to pay their employees travel time to and fro ( port to port to port ) . No Overtime please, but if it takes 1 hour each way then the that would be considered part of their 8 hour day. The employers could provide radio phones and computers, and pay for a seamless system throughout the subway system so their employees can be productive while underground.

So vote NO on measure R, that won't help their problem at all now, and especially in the future. Lets face it, it takes money to make money and if the development corporations want to profit , it's time they spend some to make some. I myself cannot afford to subsidize the Corporate Developers. It's perfectly normal for developers to make improvements on the infrastructure, even if they have to pay for the impact on Marin.

As far as the train goes, they definitely need to keep it up in Sonoma County. I once lived up in Petaluma back in 1979 for a few months. The train would come through at 4:00 am and blow the horn. It was the most noisy place I have ever lived, with the train, the freeway 101 and all the old hotrodders burning rubber all night, that urban life is not for me, I had to move back to Marin.

Paul Storace
Mill Valley

Beware Of New-Tune-Candidates
A lot of politicians are making election year conversions trying to fool us into pretending to be someone different than they really are. With the election a few days away they are singing a different tune. Now they are against the war when last year they supported it. Now they say "We've never been Stay the Course". Republicans like Clay Shaw and Rick Santorum are running political ads about how well they worked with President Clinton (not Bush) when a few years ago they were trying to impeach him. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't running special elections this year trying to make power grabs. Joe Lieberman is no longer on kissing terms with Bush.

So if your candidate is singing a new tune - beware. Just as sure as gas prices are going up after the election you can bet that their election personality is going to go away just as soon as they sucker you into voting for them yet again. I say, when in doubt, vote them out!

I'm Marc Perkel - And I approved this message!

Marc Perkel
San Bruno
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