The Coastal Post - May, 1997

History Repeats Itself


In a shell game that boggles, we the people have spent $397,000 for land we already own. The money came from the King Mountain assessment, according to the file at City Hall, Spring 1997.

The land William T. Coleman granted to the North Coast Railway in 1884 for public use was bought again for the public with public funds by Marin County Supervisors, the deed signed by Bob Roumiguere as Rails to Trails in 1983. Included in the county's purchase was the Baltimore Park cutoff in Larkspur, originally granted in 1908 and 1916 to the Northwestern Pacific Railroad by the Union Trust Co., trustee for William T. Coleman, deceased; Robert L. Coleman, trustee for Carrie M.P. Coleman, decreased; Mary Bousan (widow); Kate Forbes (unmarried); Isabella Williams; Edith A. Neames; Alice Maud Wilson; and William D.B. Forbes (unmarried).

This beautiful bit of yesterday, located within the heart of one of Larkspur's oldest neighborhoods, wisely labeled refuge on old maps of Larkspur, remains a refuge for people of all ages anytime of day, any day of the year. We have made it ours by using it, to escape from our java-hyped world.

We almost lost it when Dick Spotswood, then-mayor of Mill Valley, quietly purchased it from the Northwestern Pacific Historical and Technical Society for $20,000 in 1988, while Golden Gate Bridge Director's county records indicated he also purchased the cherished Miwok Meadow. Spotswood's plan for a three-story house was approved by Larkspur's Design Review Board. Marin Municipal Water district gave him a water permit.

Six months after the Coastal Post published the article on the meadow (after the entire county was aware of this political brokering) and concerned citizens brought this to the city's attention, when all was quiet six days before Christmas 1990, Spotswood abandoned his plan for a house on the railway. With his partner Thomas Gille he donated and granted the land to the City of Larkspur for $54,900.

Spotswood returned to the City of Larkspur the substation and the meadow.

If we are going to give away land and money, when we are the people going to get our cut?