The Coastal Post - February, 1997

News And Notes Of Novato


Hello, Dear Hearts

Happy St. Valentine's Day! Happy Birthday to Ashley Engler! This is our grand-daughter-may her day be very special.

Earl Marshall with a great story concerning taxes

When I received this message, I strongly felt I'd have to share it with you, the public. Taxes intrigue Earl, and he said they also intrigued Frederick the Great of Prussia, who found that he could not balance his budget either, regardless of the level of taxes. So he gave a large banquet and invited many persons of note to discuss the issue, asking how it could be that, despite the high level of taxation, there always seemed to be insufficient funds to run the empire. An old fellow at the far end of the table arose, fished a large piece of ice from the punch bowl, handed it to his neighbor and asked that it be passed hand-to-hand to the Emperor. By the time it reached Frederick, the large lump of ice was the size of a walnut. The Emperor got the message. Either he needed fewer hands between himself and the punch bowl, or large pieces of ice! This is what is happening in Novato with the City Manager's "innovative financing plan." Earl added: I, personally, believe we are getting low on ice and am certain that innovation will not cool the punch.

The purchase of the Goodman building

The City Council clapped when it was announced the escrow had been signed to purchase the Goodman site. Now, the plan is to "borrow" for the acquisition from the Community Building Fund for the Vintage Oak project, charging us six percent interest for the loan. In 30 years we will have paid off the building without going to the vote of the people under Measure D. The intent of Measure D was any project over a million dollars would go to the vote of the citizens. The cost of Goodman's is $1,275,000 plus rehabilitation costs of $960,000. The staff report also lists Due Diligence Costs of $35,000 and financing costs of $30,000. Total: $2,300,000. The City Manager added a "cost of living adjustment" to Measure D and was able to by-pass Measure D. The City Council bought into this statement.

Only Councilman Ernie Gray was on the Council when Measure D was adopted as an ordinance. Section 3 of Measure D states: "For the construction of any new facility or for the alteration or acquisition of any existing facility. Bill Gillen requested I add this sentence for clarification of why Measure D applies!

Would you now believe that staff member Richard Hill, Assistant City Manager, wrote a report to the City Council on January 14, about the General Obligation Bond Election? You can receive a copy by calling City Hall, 897-4311, and requesting it. In it he states: "It has been identified in the financing analysis for the acquisition of the Goodman Building that the City is about $1 million short. This is primarily due to rehabilitation costs. This project is expressly for teen programs and should do well in a general obligation bond election, given the survey results indicating strong public approval for teen programs." The survey was conducted by the City in May, 1996. Watch money for this program to be a big issue in the upcoming November 4 City Council Election. Two seats are up: Ernie Gray's and Pat Eklund's.

New real estate book due in January

Marilyn D. Sullivan...

...a Larkspur lawyer, mediator, real estate broker, teacher and writer, has written The Home-Buying Strategy: Solve Your Cash Crunch with Team-Buying Power. She is advocating a new way to attain the American dream of owning a home. In May, she will have her fifth book out, The Pocket Lawyer: Solve Your Own Legal Disputes. Retired Marin Superior Court Judge E. Warren McGuire was the consultant.

Whatever happened to...

...Channel 7 helping with my bedroom furniture? I hate to report: Nothing. Seems the District Manager for Thomasville, Neil Kapp, refused to honor the agreement to replace the bedroom set due to bugs having been sealed in during the construction, and now they are chewing the wood up and leaving a pile of sawdust. Mr. Kapp doesn't feel the problem is Thomasville's. So I am now preparing a case to take to Small Claims Court. Hope he will reconsider his position since Thomasville is a reputable furniture store and the store in Terra Linda had nothing to do with this problem. Mr. Robert Cameron, the manager, has been more than cooperative with me, but Mr. Neil Kapp has the final say. It is No, with him. So the bugs continue to chew, and I clean up the sawdust.

Skateboard park

The Parks and Recreation Department on Thursday, January 16, approved the design for a 90' x 150' skateboard park to go into the Marion Park site on Grand Avenue. One resident of the Marion Park Apartments voiced his opposition for various sound reasons. There will be no EIR on this project. The skateboarders wanted to know how soon the park would be ready. By June, was staff's reply. Skateboard Park architect Ken Wormhoudt offered a three-dimensional model to the Park and Rec Commissioners and the 20 skateboarders who attended the meeting in the new Hill Gym annex. The design includes bowls, pyramids, curbs, rails, wall steps and platforms all made in cement. Mike Torrico is quoted as saying, "I just want a skateboard park, really. I'll be happy with anything." The project has been on fast track since last February when the City Council approved $165,000 for the construction. The park is expected to cost between $175,000 and $200,000, according to the report of the county newspaper.

The Staff Report has a budget of $165,000, plus the Novato Skate Park Task Force has raised over $5,000 and is committed to raise another $5,000 or more to insure this project comes to fruition. The City Council will hear the issue and vote on February 11.

This citizen did speak at the meeting. I strongly feel Marion is the wrong location. My recommendation: Sell the O'Hair Park to the horse people using it, use the $165,000 seed money from the City Council, add the DeBorba funds of $250,000 for a new historical museum, Mr. John Fitzgibbon's estate money, and approach the Pineiro family on Redwood Blvd. to help develop a Memorial Park with room for expansion for recreational uses. Housing should be limited on this site.

But we must work with the Pineiro family now. Did you know Frank Pineiro gave land for a baseball field off Olive Avenue and that is where baseball was played back in 1960? Along came the new highway and CalTrans eliminated the field. This is planning? The Park and Recreation Commission wouldn't even consider it.

January 16 TV program a success

Linda Remy and Sylvia Siegal both elected in November to the public board for the old Marin General Hospital were the guests on the Channel 23 TV show which I produce once a month. The subject was what is happening now that Marin General is under the operation of Sutter in Sacramento? Nothing good for Marin residents. They strongly advised Novato to steer clear of Sutter. I am standing strong that we of Novato should retain our Hill Street hospital site. Take the structure down, build a new hospital, and create a Hospital District to pay for it. When the hospital is being built, use Kaiser for our medical facility by joint powers agreement. Kaiser is in trouble and we should join forces to save our medical facilities before Sutter decides Marin General will be the only hospital in the county.

The next TV program will be the third Wednesday of February. Tune in please.

Jack Machado's 76th birthday party

Many of you have asked about Jack. He is still in Pleasant Care in Novato. The staff is wonderful with him. He has a birthday on February 6. As you recall, we always had a celebration up at Indian Valley Golf Course. Fermin was always great for this event. This year it will be held in Jack's room, decorated for the occasion, number 411-A, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. You are welcome to come by and see him. Have a cupcake. If you wish to send a card, the address is: Pleasant Care, 1565 Hill Road, Novato, 94945.