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September, 2007



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Local Briefs for September 2007
By Coastal Post Staff

Love Field/Point Reyes Station
Recent events held on Love Field have triggered officials' thoughts of the future of that beloved field of dreams. The Marin IJ did a nice piece on the Love Family and their commitment to community use of the field. The reality, however, is that a Wetland was filled to build the field, and having 'no permits' has 'avoided' the usual traffic, safety and other requirements which might kill continued use, like parking, bathrooms, proper driveways, and the associated environmental impact reports. Why? Because locals love the field and use it. End of Story?
With so many new faces in West Marin, new questions are being posed. With fewer people here, and a great Love Family supporting use of the field, it was a slam dunk of acceptance for community events ad hoc, ignored by county agencies. It will be interesting to see how Love Field plays out now, with increased populations and more demands, especially if the National Park Service is able to finally buy it and make restoration of the Wetland a priority.

West Marin Media
There used to be just the Point Reyes Light, the Hearsay News and the old Coastal Post in West Marin, not to mention a Marin Independent Journal (IJ) which mostly ignored the area. No more! Now the Marin IJ is a definite player on local people and issues, although mostly taking its editorial cues from the 'official' line of the National Park or the County, since it has no real local community assets for information. Still, it is doing quite a good and fun-to-read job overall in its articles on personages and events in West Marin.

Meanwhile, the Light has improved steadily via competition, with better writing, and full local coverage. Editor Plotkin has shown himself to be both feisty and savvy as he moves ahead with both the Light and the redesigned, more extensive, Coastal Traveler. Love 'em or hate 'em, he's here to stay on his own terms (in good West Marin tradition). We all need to get a sense of humor and history, say many.

The new Citizen is producing a comfortable, community-based paper that fills a need for many others. Compliments to Editor Jim Kravets and Bodega Bay publisher, Joel Hack. Of course, only one weekly will ultimately survive. The reason will be long-term profitability, strategic planning and moxey. And don't forget the Hearsay News --- a staple that gets all honors on all levels!

In the meantime, West Marin can temporarily enjoy one daily, two weeklies, one monthly (us) and the Hearsay News while the rest of the country loses local papers and local news. West Marin, as always, is going against the tide.

Do YOU love your CAT?
If you care about the welfare of your cat, you may want to think twice about automatically vaccinating them for feline leukemia or even rabies. It turns out that a local vet has been failing to advise human clients that a possible result of those vaccinations could be a vaccine-associated sarcoma (cancer). There is info on the web that shows that such a possible result has been known about for at least five years. Waiting period for the symptoms of the sarcoma to appear normally exist from several months to several years after the vaccination.

Suggestions are to always ASK about side effects of even the most seemingly innocuous shot for cats. You can then make an informed decision whether or not to proceed. Please do go to a certified vet that your trust when you see small tumor-like growths begin on cats, especially on the neck or on back legs (vaccination spots). The sooner you have those growths tested, the more likely the cat can survive without major amputation or death. FYI from a staff member of the Coastal Post and a cat owner with a cat about to have its leg amputated.

Wind Power
Peter Asmus of Stinson Beach is receiving a grant from the Marin Community Foundation to organize and analyze new models of solar development specifically designed for West Marin. Peter wrote an informative piece on how wind power could ultimately contribute to the future energy resources in West Marin in the Coastal Post of June 2007.

Wind power is a natural in West Marin. The underlying local conversation on how we can 'take care of our own needs locally,' (no one seems to want to use the word 'sustainability' any more) is gaining momentum. Times are changing; energy is getting more expensive; water is at a premium. Population is growing and growing, bringing new demands as those used to the offerings of Tiburon and Mill Valley take up residence in our rural area. Can Wind Power help? Let's hope it can.

Local Wins a 'Grannie!'
The company that provides video service for the County of Marin, also serves agencies all across the country. They hold a yearly competition called the 'Grannies," which has a number of different categories. Their clients from all over the country submit entries.

A video submitted by the County of Marin, staring Walter Pack of Lagunitas, won an award as the funniest! 93-year old Walt was testifying on a land use issue of the San Geronimo Valley when recorded on video. Obviously, instant fame (but not fortune) is possible if you get involved in civic matters at the Civic Center! Way to go, Walt!

Milk Prices at Record Highs!
Got milk? Worldwide demand for milk is at record highs. Go figure! There seems to be a shortage, which is pushing up prices. Happy news for dairies still in operation in West Marin. It seems that milk prices hit an all-time high in the US last month at $3.80 a gallon, compared with only $3.29 at the beginning of the year 2007.

Price for a quart of milk in Paris equates to $1.50; Cairo .50 cents; Mexico City .90 cents; New York $1.20. In Marin, a quart of conventional milk costs , while organic milk (no reduction of fat) costs .

Prices for animal feed worldwide, plus the shrinking production of milk in Europe, as well as long-term drought down-under in Australia and New Zealand (huge milk-producing regions), are big players in the increased prices. In China and the rest of Asia, dairy products are being introduced to rave reviews via cheeseburgers and lattes. Asian populations are thus key in supply/demand pricing.

West Marin dairies have gone through decades of hard times, so hopefully the new international high prices will be translated into some relief for them. Whether they can continue to survive even with high prices in a county considered the most expensive in the nation is another question.

West Marin's Changing Demographics
A wonderful new book, The Politics of Heaven (America in Fearful Times), by Earl Shorris (Norton Publishing/371 pages) asks why George W. Bush happened? It really boils down to fear and the silence of the governed. 'September 11, 2001, or August 9, 1945, or October 25, 2001 (the day the Congress passed the Patriot Act)....or some combination of all three....may mark the day or the event that saw the many forces for silence coalesce and bring down the longest-standing government on earth.'

At the same time, the American (and perhaps West Marin) populations expanded and denigrated local, rural values to New Age pseudo-realities. Here in West Marin, we seem to pride ourselves on our rural realities and our support of those beliefs, but not really. Actually, from Bolinas, it seems like the rest of West Marin has been body-snatched by yuppies. So few people these days, even in Bolinas, speak out or believe in hearing all voices, or in fighting to retain the values that kept West Marin from becoming a huge suburb in the 70s. Are we lost?

Being in Denial Locally
Questioned by a local recently, Superintendent Don Neubacher at the Point Reyes National Seashore commented that he felt justified in going ahead with the long-decried 'land swap' with the Giacomini Trust (which will result in 'developmentable' land along C Street on the environmentally-sensitive edges of the Tomales Bay Wetland). WHY? He told the local questioner that he was doing it because there was silence from opponents. Well, gosh and golly, he is obviously not reading the Coastal Post, or listening to the Environmental Action Committee (EAC) or Trust for Public Land or myriad others willing to lay down in front of the bulldozers before they will allow development to destroy the important, life-supporting edges of the Wetland. Neubacher and Bush are obviously using the same playbook -- deny there are other opinions than their own in the world. Bad policy. Doesn't work.

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