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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

May, 2007



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Local Briefs
By Coastal Post Staff

Bolinas X 2

Conversation inside and outside of Bolinas these days always seems to mention the local perception of two villages named Bolinas. Visits to Bolinas seem to bear out the observation that the "downtown" of the hidden hamlet has stayed in the 1960s and the Mesa has been bought up by the rich from San Francisco and beyond. And the twain doesn't meet much apparently. Mark Buell and his wife have made a point over the years of trying to engage everyone, but the present day result is still a serious division of cultures in Bolinas.
Even the downtown dogs are said to have more "attitude" than the Mesa dogs. One has to wonder how one judges what "attitude" a dog has, in Bolinas or elsewhere. Ah, Bolinas...


Dog Food for West Marin

During the recent and continuing brouhaha over tainted pet foods, Marin Sun Farms of Point Reyes Station has been marketing its organic dog food to a growing clientele. Others, in true West Marin fashion, have gone onto the internet to access more esoteric fare for their animals. Organic dog foods are now topped by holistic and more in West Marin. How about organic Amish chickens as the epitome of "doing the right thing" for your pet?

Thanks to Dave Evens for providing a clean and safe alternative to tainted industrial pet foods! But, gosh, Amish chickens sent from the East Coast for your pets? I wonder how much fuel it takes to transport those Amish chickens to West Marin when Dave Even's chickens, cows, sheep and other humainly-grown animals are right here, within a few miles of us. Having a sense of humor in West Marin is a must!


Park Info

There are still cows munching away on the Tomales Bay Wetlands area, which was transferred to full control of the National Park Service beginning of March. So the question was posed to the Park as to why. The answer is that although the Giacomini's permit is technically up, the rancher has a legal grace period of 3 months (perhaps more). The cows in question have already been sold for slaughter later in the year.

The National Park Administration is saying that it wants to maintain a good relationship with the Giacomini Trust, as they will have property adjacent to the Park in the future.

The CP staff can testify to the fact that getting this simple piece of info from the Park was like pulling teeth, necessitating a third party close to the Park to act on our behalf although we have posed this question in person and via email more than once over weeks and weeks.

CP staff has also asked the Park for a full and honest answer for the public to the question of the present status of the proposed "land swap" that has the potential of building out over the edges of the new wetlands along C Street in Point Reyes Station. No response, even via third parties. Silence. This stonewalling, inherent within the Bush Administration, is counter-productive to local trust and the right of the public to know what their public, governmental agencies are doing in the name of that same public. Shame on the Park Administration, following in the footsteps of the Bush Administration.



What's in a Name (Part II)

Last edition, in this column, we mentioned that EAC (Environmental Action Committee) has officially come out in support of naming the to-be wetlands at the head of Tomales Bay....are you ready....Tomales Bay Wetlands. On the surface this would seem to be a no-brainer, but the National Park administration (i.e. Don Neubacher) seems to want to stick with his first choice of naming it after the ranching family that profited from closing off the wetlands from its mother, Tomales Bay, since World War II. Need I mention that that same ranching family was paid 4.5 million dollars for the wetlands recently?

We all need to get behind EAC on this one, folks.. Naming the new wetlands Tomales Bay Wetlands is so common-sensical that you may think it will "just happen." Not. One needs to help it happen by emailing or writing to EAC with your support. Yes, one would think one should contact the Park directly rather than EAC, but the Park will not keep track of your emails and letters, while EAC will. [email protected] or Box 609, Point Reyes Station, Ca 94956 (phone: 663 9312).


Caltrans retreats from West Marin

Caltrans has pretty much left West Marin. Whereas some employees at least were stationed here for emergencies, they are now gone. Which means that response time for emergencies handled by Caltrans are exponentially increased.

If West Marin really wants to be sustainable (like it used to be in the 60s and 70s before the big influx of so many new people), then logic would demand a community response to demand Caltrans pay more attention to West Marin. Look for an analysis of this issue in coming Coastal Post editions.


Grandi Building Redux

The Grandi Building, on Highway One within Point Reyes Station, has been a wreck for a very long time. But in the 1970s, for example, it was hopping, housing a great hardware store and more. The faŤade of the building is marvelous and it has been a shame that it has been left to rot over the years. But now it is in the throws of restoration, thanks to Marshall Livingston and Ken Wilson.

However (there is always a however), the perceived expectation is for an upscale restaurant, shops and perhaps some market-rate apartments (with some "affordable" too maybe in the end, although what on earth does that really mean these days?). What appears in the end, of course, as always, will be different from what is said in the beginning. The upscale restaurant, however, is pretty much a sure thing I would guess. Along with the Kuleto extravaganza to come up in Marshall, the addition of a first class restaurant in PRS will be a magnate for more tourists, as will the upscale shops. Along with cheap immigrant labor to keep it all going, of course.

Those who keep touting the non-Carmelization of West Marin need to smell the flowers and see what is happening. We are pleased the Grandi building will be restored, but in my heart, we am not happy to see it push West Marin further along the path to an area based on tourism, totally unsustainable in an economic downturn.


Water in West Marin

With the coming droughts expected naturally and via global warming, along with the expected heavy increase in population, water hook-ups could become a big expense as well. There is definitely only so much water possible in the high desert called California, even on the coast. One would think that limits in water would be a natural stop to over population in the golden state. But no, builders keep building and water gets scarcer. The human animal can really be dumb sometimes.

In West Marin, everyone needs to take a look at present water usage and understand that it needs to be seriously reduced and conserved. Every additional house here will use water, so it is logical to put water usage and availability high on the list of caveats to builders as they revel in the latest push for density increases in both unincorporated East and West Marin.


Continued: The West Marin Dump

The saga of closing the Dump near Tomasini Creek in Point Reyes Station is still going strong, although little reported on. The local group who worked so hard and so well to reform the bad practices of the Dump in question almost ten years ago need to get together again to make sure the Dump finally installs a clay cap. Unfortunately, the small size of our local Dump, in comparison to the giant Redwood Landfill issues, means everything is moving very slowly, if at all, on a final solution to this big problem.

Let's remember that Tomasini Creek empties into the soon-to-be-restored Tomales Bay Wetlands, which means that its water quality will be part of what makes up that wetlands. The Dump needs to be finally capped and Tomasini Creek needs to be finally and totally protected from what is buried in that landfill.


Public Access or Local Control?

Even though residents voted in heavy numbers for Option D (the most environmentally extensive restoration of the Tomales Bay Wetlands by the National Park Service), some residents who wanted Option C (a less extensive restoration with federally-defined public access trails and an expensive bridge to connect trails) are attempting to add back in those wide access trails for multiple use, along with the bridge.

We feel it would be better for the local communities to not officially sign on to the federal requirements for access trails, which will need to be compliant for needs of bikers, horses, dogs, people and the American Disability Act. Locals also need to speak to the efforts of the Director and General Manager of Marin County Parks and Open Space (who control the White House Pool area and the Green Bridge open space park along the creek) who has proposed multi-model transportation improvements in both areas, including all weather access for the multiple users, which means Disney-like walkways, etc. The Director is also proposing access to the trails from C Street in Point Reyes Station, and has already cut through the blackberry bushes on the corner to begin opening the area up as a trailhead. FYI to those who do not want to add even more to the Carmelization of the area.


Bees

The 2007 aerial-spraying season has come and gone in 'organic' West Marin, but hand spraying of 'weeds' continues. We have become accustomed to spraying deadly chemicals at and around anything that isn't just 'perfect.' Even Vedanta Society has yet again applied for a permit to spray restricted herbicides on its immaculate-looking and peaceful-seeming grounds. Albert Einstein predicted that if the honeybee disappeared, humankind would follow in four years. For two years, American beekeepers have found their hives deserted on such a scale that they are calling it 'colony collapse disorder'. The general beekeeper consensus is that herbicides and pesticides are to blame. Time for West Marin, at least, to seek alternatives, maybe even accept that 'weeds' have an important place in the web of life and do less damage than humans and their toxic inventions. Meditate on that.























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