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July, 2007



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Local Briefs for July 2007
By Coastal Post Staff

Dying to Own Property in West Marin?
How many places are there in West Marin where you can buy an 8' x 3.3' plot of land for only $2,300? That's the total price for a single plot in the Olema Cemetery on Highway One. There is a new area opened up, offering very few sites, most with a good 'view' of the coastal hills. Plots are going fast. In West Marin, the sites at the Olema Cemetery are complimented by sites still available at the Bolinas cemetery and at the cemetery in Tomales.
Many of these sites are historic, going back to the European founding and building of West Marin villages. It is one thing to pass through West Marin, staying a while, and it is another to stay forever.

For those of you who are dying to own land in West Marin, know that you can make an appointment to view sites in Olema via 415 663 1619, in Bolinas via 415 868 2652 and in Tomales at 1 707 878 2208.

Update on West Marin History
Over Western Weekend (June in Point Reyes Station), both the Point Reyes Light and the partial version of the new Pilot start-up made mention of the gambling which took place in Forester Hall during former Western Weekends. Forester Hall, which was the site of many a dance party in the old days, is now an upscale apartment complex, with BMWs, AUDIs and Mercedes parked in front.

What was not mentioned was that gambling was a staple of Western Weekends of the past, with the ol' Red Barn (now green) hosting gaming upstairs, with a bar along the wall and gambling for liquor! Downstairs, ranchers' wives maintained more conservative booths for the Lions Club, offering food and items for sale. There were times when some ranchers didn't bother sleeping that weekend, what with the set-up, the gambling all night at multiple places, and parties going on everywhere... and then doing the chicken BBQ the next day! Fifteen years ago, there were an average of 10,000 people at Western Weekend. Too many, locals thought, so it has been pared down. These days, things are not nearly as fun!

Tourist Tacky (TT) on Highway One
On weekends now, one can see a make-shift outdoor "chochka' market next to the Whale of a Deli at the south end of Point Reyes Station. There doesn't seem to be a permit taken out, and the traffic on that corner on tourist weekends is a nightmare. Critics are aghast at this jump, with gusto, into tourist tacky for the town. Those who are willing to give it a pass, site other tourist tacky items already seemingly accepted in the town, such as clothing racks on the sidewalk around the Bovine Bakery, outdoor offerings in multiple shops, along with ad-hoc outdoor dining areas. All of which are technically against county regulations agreed to by the town previously via much public discussion and energetic hand-to-hand combat at the Village Assoc.

So who is monitoring all this, as the town slides into what some are calling 'slovenly tourist trappism?' If, however, we all agree that we want things to be sold on the public road, and catering to tourists a high priority for all, then we need to change the county regulations and admit that we have opted to do so.

The Organic Conumdrum
The recent 'do' at the lovely Stubbs Winery, to fete author Michael Pollan at $150 a pop, has engendered a bit of angst among the hoi-polloi of organic farmers and supporters. Conversations and sound-bites have started on the fact that the best produce of local organic farmers now too often go to high-end venues rather than local farmers' markets. Other questions, as to why a simple veggie should cost $4 a lb these days, are getting louder out here in OrganicLand.

The also-recent visit to the Ferry Bldg market by Slow-Food guru Carlos Petrini is a case in point. Petrini was not shy about his horror at the obvious excessiveness of 'chichi' and elitism. A certain point has been reached when non-farmer advocates of organics term the Ferry Bldg market the 'St Peters Basilica' of Organic and those particular vendors 'our clergy.' Gosh, can we all get over ourselves out here on the edge of the continent?

Marin Organic has become an efficient advocate for organics, but also a symbol of the division between

a marketing approach to organics and an earth-based reality for the rest of us. The Board of Directors of Marin Organic needs to see what is going on and address the widening divisions of thought and practice.

Murray Suid of Inverness has come up with a practical and efficient idea for those of us who make regular trips over the hill to shop or pick up stuff. He has built an email list of interested people in West Marin who would be willing to keep others informed if they are going over the hill and might have a little extra time to do an errand for someone else, saving that someone else a trip over that same hill.

Seems like a good idea in theory, so why not give it a shot. If you want to be included in the mailings of offerings, see [email protected] Yes, its now a Google group thing. But it works! So take a look and participate if it suits you. It can't hurt!

The Need to Communicate
The ideal, many say, would be for everyone out here on the edge of the continent to list their email addresses in one place, with trust that it would only be used for the necessary missives. Of course, the issue turns on who would be designated as the person chosen to decide what the definition of "necessary" is. It really is a good idea, however, for emergencies and necessary info. Convincing the majority to give their email addresses, however, seems to be quixotic at this point. One never knows, however. Maybe

In the meantime, enter A brainchild of Donna Sheehan/Paul Raffel and friends, it is a free source of comments on subjects YOU can introduce. The concept is big in Europe and here it is in West Marin, free and available.

Pssst! There's a kid's playground on Giacomini Street.

While we all honor the on-going TOTLOT building fund, it should be noted that a very nice little kid's playground is already existent in Point Reyes Station, on Giacomini Street, only a very, very short walk from the to-be TOTLOT, even near enough to Toby's lattes for the moms. One does have to smilingly wonder if people are actually looking at what is available in the town already. Take a look, as the Giacomini St kid's playground is really quite nice. Wasn't the TOTLOT touted because there was no such playground already in town? If we are missing something, let us hear what's wrong with the present little kid's playground?

Tomales High's New Principal
July 1 saw the arrival of a new principal for Tomales High School. Dino Battaglini, bilingual, was the vice-principal of Antioch High in the East Bay, and has now replaced Trina Legacy, who has moved to the Sacramento area to be closer to family. Battaglini was raised in South San Francisco. His father is from Italy and his mother from Argentina. He is fluent in Spanish, speaks some Italian and his wife is Mexican.

He has a B.A. in psychology from Santa Clara University, an M.A. in counseling from San Jose State University and credentials from what is now California State University, East Bay. We wish Mr. Battaglini and his family welcome to West Marin and hope his tenure at Tomales High will result in success for both him and for the students of our wonderful West Marin high school.

Defining West Marin
'Who we are' seems to be a new question being posed by recent articles published in Marin and Sonoma papers re 'the journalism wars.' West Marin starts at White's Hill, encompassing everything on a line from Muir Beach to Tomales and Chileno Valley and the San Geronimo Valley. But really, West Marin is also a state of mind. At its best, West Marin is not insular, instead respectful of its own heritage and local reality, but interested and knowledgeable about the rest of the world. It is hard to believe that the majority of us in West Marin think shutting the door to the outside world and only gazing at our navels, while congratulating ourselves on our good fortune in living here, is a plan and a program for the future viability of the area.

Contrary to myth, West Marin is not an island apart, but a part of the whole of everything. We are all connected and interdependent. The so-called 'sustainability' of the area, in reality and philosophically, is a chimera. Our lifestyles cannot be sustained here without the annoying infrastructure we sometimes decry elsewhere. Who among us, from Muir Beach to Tomales, is going to commit to never again shopping 'over the hill,' or going to a doctor in Mill Valley or Petaluma, or subscribing to a magazine published in New York or Paris? If you have termites in your house, who in West Marin is going to tent the place and take care of it? ETC. Let's get real here and see who we really are in July of 2007.

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