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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

February, 2007

 

The Plotnik Thickens: Coastal Post Surges Troops Into West Marin
By Stephen Simac

"Just what the hell is going on over at the Pt. Reye's Lite?" , Coastal Posters have been asking ourselves for the last year. A nice, bland community newspaper acquired a new owner, a new slant and was stinking up Pt. Reye's. Actually that's just the same old cowshit. He began pissing people off from the start and didn't look back as he passed across double yellow lines.
It seems like nearly everyone, even the old owner, wanted to strangle the brash newcomer to West Marin. For all their progressive reputation west Marinades hate anything new, so we figured the new owner was just going through his baptism by fire.
Anyone who finally muzzled Dave Mitchell can't be all bad, although he couldn't be shut up even with a restraining order. Mitchell now has a blog mypetrattler.com.

Plotkin has certainly roiled the swamp of West Marin. If parents don't want to see news photos of their pubescent teens getting their freak on, call for supervision not censorship. If they'd really wanted to publish embarrassing pictures, they should have trolled the local bars for old hippies and cowpokes drunken dancing. There's no shortage of curmudgeons ready to smash the presses if something is printed they don't like.

The life size photo of the arrested Steep Ravine Rapist on the cover of the Christmas week a year ago issue was a little like spitting on baby Jesus. Within your first amendment rights. Still I was glad when the rangers and sheriff's deputies stopped asking me to show 'em my calves. Evidently they hadn't read past the second.


CP On The Warpath In West Marin
During our staff meetings we talked about the new Lite, different than the old Lite. Perhaps Plotnik had mistakenly bought the wrong newspaper in West Marin. Thought he was buying the one that is supposed to piss people off. He was horning in on our territory. Now that really makes us irate. Trust me, you didn't want to be in that meeting. If he thinks he can just speed into town and chip away at our loyal readership, our angry base, then the Coastal Post would carve out West Marin community news from the Lite. Main problem: it's too boring to sit through the frigging public meetings.

West Marinites must have some iron asses. Nothing like a little fury to pump us Posters up, which should cushion the plastic chairs a bit.

We decided to start by doing our own Town Columnist schtick. No sense in copying his bad ideas. Unfortunately we'd have to actually write about where we live, and we all consider ourselves foreign affairs specialists. So we had to draw straws to choose who went first, and I lost.

I protested, I can't be the Stinson Beach town columnist, I just moved there a month ago. They'll call me a carpetbagger. And with the volatile rental market there's no guarantee that I'll be there next month.

I only agreed after Don Deane agreed to put me up at Smiley's hotel if angry Stinsonians ran me out of town. Bolinasians would welcome me. They love a free press, he claimed.

First, nothing about my relationship problems. No relationships, no problems is my motto. Next I don't care how unfriendly and non-huggy Stinson Beachers are, they're damn good looking. And Tan?


Destroy The Road In Order To Save It
Stinson Beach. It's much more than just a wide spot in the sand. Not its motto, but it should be. Visitors driving on Highway One, which Stinson straddles, might not know this. The wide spot includes many fine restaurants and businesses clustered around the four way stop, an asphalt town square.

This nexus is complemented by a pair of town pocket parks, fronting the larger federal beach park. Miles of traffic on summer weekends line up to stop in Stinson. Braking their way down Mt. Tam to get to a parking spot somewhere near that four way stop sign.

It slows down a lot in the winter, especially when the coast road is closed to repair last winter's damage. When you have to close the road to save it, twice in a decade, it starts to feel like a losing battle.

All of southern West Marin is one mud slide on Panoramic away from having travel time to east Marin doubled. The coast road should re-open this spring, but we'll see how long it holds. For $22 million-the cost of this year's Highway One repair bill, (the last major one cost almost $30 million, with mitigation costs to Bolinas Lagoon tossed in because Caltrans dumped dirt over the cliff into a marine sanctuary)-you could fully fund west Marin bus service for years.

For a lot less than one winter's repair bill to Highway One, an electric gondola line or human powered CycleTrain! on a monorail could be built and run frequently and sustainably from Marin City through Muir Woods to Stinson Beach. "Environmentalists" would oppose it, of course, preferring their global warming Volvos and Subarus, but it would probably disturb less habitat than the Dipsea race. Save tons of greenhouse gases, transit costs, brake pads, etc. It could reduce motor vehicle traffic so much that the southern, dirt parking lot of Stinson Beach park could be restored to the original Willow Camp Lake the Park Service filled in when they acquired the property.


When Are You Going To Leave
Stinson Beach. There's a hillside crammed with cottages just up from the four way stop. There's the low lying Calles and the gated community of Sea Drift beyond. Fragile mansions jut out into the Bolinas lagoon like a middle finger raised to global warming. There's the canyon creek that supplies town water. There's a lot more I know nothing about, but I'm new in town. Hold the uproar Beachies. Who better to write about your beautiful town astride Highway One, than a frequent visitor with his brakes on?

Don't worry. I'll cover the controversial subjects that the Lite town columnist won't touch. Like why is the warning siren tested twice a day? How will I know when it's for real? It's like the whistle that cried wolf twice a day, noon and five. I can understand the appeal of a five o'clock whistle, time to open a bottle of wine or beer. But noon? That siren is wicked loud, sets a dozen dogs off, even a lone rooster, or is that a local?

All good, if your next move is hightailing it up the hill ahead of a wall of water. Over the top simply to rattle the salt out of the baffles or whatever the twice a day sounding is for. It's a road town, so any sidewalks don't go far. There's plenty of trails and the beach nearby, so it's easy to leave the traffic behind. Stinson has a classic beach strand, go left to Rocky Point, right to the lagoon channel that separates the continents. There's Bolinas drifting off to the northwest. Here's Stinson finally winning the 4th of July tug of war with me, new town columnist, beefed up from eating out at the fine local restaurants. I hope they don't think they can influence my rave reviews with special considerations. Although I've never criticized a free meal.

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