The Coastal Post - June, 1997

News And Notes Of Novato


Hello, dear hearts

June means graduation time, and school will be out for the summer. Before you know it, half the year will be over and we will be discussing Christmas. This was one of the best times I had when I served on the Novato Unified School Board. Board members give out diplomas, and when you knew the graduating students from babyhood, it was a real thrill to be part of their achievement.

Correct the record of Letter to the Editor, May 1

Title: "Oh, Betty, Not Again," written by Bradford R. Beedle, Novato: You would think when you were writing a letter to the editor where the person you were criticizing had a final word through a column, you would think and choose your subject with caution. I do have the last word. My only retort to Mr. Beedle's letter is two lines: After 52 years of marriage, I have earned the title of Mrs., not Ms.; and secondly, what do you do with cockroaches and beetles? You step on them! End of comments.

Fiddler on the Roof, Mother's Day performance

Betty Scherba and Antonietta Gregori attended with me in the Hill Middle School Theater. Barbara Schoen was an outstanding producer. Don Williams was the director, and Dorie Green, musical director. The students were all great! They did four shows and sang their hearts out. Michelle Banner as Golde, Marty Anderson as Yussel led the play into wonderment, with all the rest of the cast: Amber Attell (Sasha), Whitney Cameron (Lanya), Stephanie Dixon (Anna), Allie Grib (Mendel), Courtney Griffin (Tzeitel), Lauren Lees (Louisa), Alina Calderone-Mankin (Shprintze), Madge Mohun (Peter), Kristen Nehasil (Avrham), Meredith Ostling (Nachum), Caitlin Parker (Chava), Lauren Preston (Yente), Elena Rodriguez (Mordcha), Louisa Salisbury (Thom), Stephanie Schoen (Bielke), Anne-Marie Street (Frumah-Sarah-Constantine), Robin Teeters (Shandel-Grandma Tzietel), Karen Whitener (Hodel), Tim Attell (Lazar Wolfe), Joshua Curtis (Feyedka), Andrew Mei (John), Kevin Oliver (Perchik), Michael Portman (Tevye), Stephen Rice (Rabbi), David Rollison (Motel), and Eric Stohler (Constable).

Take a bow, students, you all were great! These are sixth graders through middle school, and everyone played their parts like Emmy winners! They are a credit to the community. Now we must provide them with a stage and sound equipment equal to their talent.

Partridge Knolls report of May 13 City Council meeting

The report was on the Consent Calendar from Jeffrey A. Walter, City Attorney. Request: For the City Council to ratify, by minute action, the City contributing 20 percent of the mediator's and expert consultant's fees and costs pertinent to the Partridge Knolls matter, not to exceed a total of $25,000.

Remember the April 8 City Council agenda where I challenged the $100,000 request from City Engineer Tom Nolan to pay for Wood Hollow slide located in Partridge Knolls? It was on the Consent Calendar, the April 8 minutes read. City Manager Ron Wood requested the fee be cut to $25,000, since he was worried over "the liability" should we pay the $100,000!

My claim was based on the fact that Special Master John Griffiths had not submitted a budget, nor did he have one ready when I asked him at the public hearing on the Thursday night before the April 8 meeting. At any rate, I do feel you can "fight City Hall" when you can reduce a request from $100,000 to $25,000 and save $75,000 despite the City Manager taking the credit in the final minutes.

I did write a protest to Shirley Gremmels, City Clerk, prior to the adoption of the April 8 minutes, but to no avail. John Griffiths proposed a cost-sharing arrangement whereby the various parties involved in the mediation would pay for the mediator's and the expert consultant's fees and costs. The "formula" is as follows: Developers: 45% (Westworth 15%, Rago 15%, and Westbrook 15%), the Buck Center (25%), City of Novato (20%) and the Homeowners (10%). So on May 13 the City Council did ratify the contribution and adopt a resolution. Wait for the next chapter. But at least the Buck Center is paying more than the taxpayers of Novato, thanks to the Right Now, Right Here vote last November.

TV program of May 15, history of Novato Community Hospital

Dr. George Mohun and the Public Advocate Betty Machado did have an hour program on the subject. We did receive telephone calls supporting keeping the hospital on Hill Road, not joining Sutter but seeking alternatives to do it ourselves. One Senior Citizen wrote me a note to say she desires to keep the hospital on Hill Road. She wanted to know what she could do to not join Sutter and keep our hospital as Novato Community. The only suggestion I have is call Mayor Pat Eklun, 883-9116 and leave a message on her answering machine as to how you feel about signing our hospital over to Sutter in June. This will be the final Memo of Understanding on a City Council agenda.

On the April 8 City Council agenda it was noted that the City of Novato did have the deed to the Novato Community Hospital. I requested a copy. The staff can't locate it. The title company is doing a search for it. Sutter will not grant us a birthing center despite their promise when the master plan was presented to the City Council.

Dr. Ralph Wessman donated the seven acres on Hill Road to create the hospital. His daughter, Fern Johnson, wrote a beautiful letter for the May 15 TV program, and it was not read into the record. Fern feels very strongly about carrying out her father's wishes to have "obstetrical services available in Novato. During the time before the hospital was built, my father would come home and cry over a lost infant and/or the mother. To see my father's blue eyes swimming with tears is something I will never forget," says Fern in her letter. In the years of planning for the hospital, my father, who was the founder of the hospital, and other doctors of the community, had as a priority to have obstetrical care along with the other departments." Fern ended her letter with the following statement: "Let us not go back to times before Novato had a hospital."

So now it's up to the community to let the City Council know how you feel about Sutter taking over the Novato Community Hospital.

May 15 Teen Center meeting

I attended expecting to see a huge crowd of teens to see Kevin Conklin, Novato Parks and Recreation staff member, and Bill Kelly, local architect, present the $72,700 rendering of how to transform the Goodman Building into a Teen Center. No one was there to present information about how to develop the building. A group was given extra points by their teacher to attend. The poll taken at the schools did state that billiards are a top priority. One boy wanted a large TV screen so he could play pool and watch TV. Leather couches around the room, food...but the students do not want to pay for anything.

I called the Classic Billiards on Redwood Blvd. to see how they handle teens with their building. No problems. The students pay $2.50 to play. Hours are according to demand of management to make a profit. The teens do go to the pool hall in large numbers. I have been invited by Bob to go and see what Classic Billiards has to offer. Mr. Allan McIsaac owns the facility. I will report to you next month on what I found for the alternative to city government providing pool for our teenagers. Going back to the May 15 meeting, a teacher from Hill Middle School went to Taco Bell and offered a ride for the skateboarders to come to the meeting and express their viewpoint during the planning session. No one would come. He left in disgust.

Follow-up on private skateboard park

David Marshall is in Alaska building a new facility. When he returns, he would like to close the one in Sacramento and come to Novato with a new facility. He strongly feels a private skateboard park in Novato would produce champion skateboarders to go into the Olympics. We need to find a warehouse location. He could have it ready in two months once his permits are in place. Great alternative to Marion Park site.