The Coastal Post - January, 1998

News And Notes Of Novato

BY BETTY MACHADO

Hello, Dear Hearts-Happy New Year!

Doesn't 1998 sound great? Let's hope it will be one of the best years of our lives. Lots of things are happening. Before I leave 1997, let me remind everyone of a tradition not acknowledged this year. Frank Galli left us on October 25, and this Christmas there will be no traditional eggnog made, bottled and delivered personally by the mayor of Ignacio to his special friends.

The IJ carried a feature of "whether it's plain or fancy, eggnog remains a holiday treat," but not one of the recipes sounded like anything Frank would have made. Traditions are hard to replace. Frank's wife, Jean, was patient through the whole Operation Eggnog, but can you imagine the time and effort that went into this great tradition.

Novato Hospital

The idea of a parcel tax to fund a new birthing center for the upcoming Sutter hospital in Novato went into the ash can when the Council was told there is no support for it. Thank goodness for Channel 23 so we can view the City meetings while the action is taking place. Worth the price of cable. Listen to some of the Council remarks on the subject:

Mayor Carole-Dillion-Knutson: "I think Novato Community Hospital has abandoned Novato's families. Encouraging mothers to go to Marin General Hospital is ignoring the realities of the highway traffic."

According to Councilmember Cynthia Murray, "The only babies born in Novato in 1998 will be emergency births and their lives will be in jeopardy."

These are the same two ladies who voted out the birthing center when the Memorandum of Understanding was on the agenda this summer! This is leadership? They could still amend the MOU if they felt strongly enough now that reality has set in. But they won't and the public will forget until one of those birthing emergencies turns into a tragedy.

I am disappointed with William T. Eckoff. As a member of the task force designing the new hospital, he resigned over the birthing center issue. The one in Novato Community Hospital was named after this first wife, Faith Eckoff. During her lifetime, this was a major project for her. Bill just walked away from the subject. There were enough public debates over the birthing center issue-I even had a TV program on the subject-but he would not join in.

Time will tell if we even have a new hospital in view of what has happened with the Buck Center. Back in 1975, Salem Rice was hired to write his opinion on the use of Mt. Burdell and the flood plain for placing building sites in both areas. He strongly opposed the use. Now that we know what is happening with the Buck Center, do we have to wait to see how the hospital will turn out? Gail Wilhelm always quoted the Salem Rice Report. Salem Rice is still alive in Davis, but in ill health. What a joy if his report would be acknowledged and followed before we let Sutter start construction on the flood plain for the new hospital.

Buck Center berm removal

This has turned into a real fiasco. Rick Carlson, Public Works for County of Marin, is absolutely right in demanding the due process of the permit he applied for, for moving that dirt, like any other contractor would have to do.

Politics has been the arena for the Buck Center long enough. Mary McEachron has had her way too long. Now we have the mediator John Griffith get into the act. According to Jack Schwartzman, an attorney in the mediator's office, the dirt was being hauled to the Tony Silveria quarry because, "There was no place at the landfill to store it."

With the Novato Sanitary District being paid for the sludge being brought to Marin from the East Bay daily, the landfill has to have a supply of dirt for the filling and covering operation going on at the Redwood Sanitary Landfill. Does anyone realize Joe Silveria sits as a Director on the Novato Sanitary District? That could certainly be a conflict in this whole operation.

The residents of Partridge Knolls are certainly in a bad place. Let's talk about the City Council meeting of December 9 when the Partridge Knolls residents came in to discuss the removal of the berm. Would you believe the subject came up on the agenda after 10:00 p.m.? Let me insert right here who does the agenda-it is the City Manager, Rod Wood. He is totally responsible. Yet, here is the hot issue about Partridge Knolls, and he has the agenda rigged to place the master plan discussion by staff of Hamilton for two and a half hours! We don't even have the deed transfer to do Hamilton and he decided that had priority over the Partridge Knolls problem!

There was an ordinance at one time which spelled out the responsibility of doing the agenda, and had the City Manager and the Mayor doing it. Not anymore. Just the City Manager, by City Policy, according to Shirley Gremmels, City Clerk. Because of the late hour, a lot of the residents had to gone home and never were involved.

Leslie Griffin of Channel 2 was over. Shirley Graves and I were interviewed about the berm removal. I am amazed how many people watch the 10:00 p.m. news.

Be careful on Highway 101 as the dirt operation will be starting soon.

Final note: While the Buck Center has agreed to pay for the berm removal, it has yet to be resolved who will pick up the final tab for the operation. Since the City is involved, thanks to that emotional "Right Here, Right Now" vote to annex the Buck Center into Novato, the County does not have to pay for a thing although they did the planning process.

Skateboard Park

This situation is taking a major turn since the Planning Commission does not like the Marion Park site. Chairman Ned Lagin really took on staff for the bogus negative deck report on the subject of locating the site at Marion. Can you believe, Alan Leizure, Zoning Administrator, has requested AG-2 zoning, which is agricultural, on Marion? Eugene DeBrecht fought to keep the horses and dogs off school sites, and now the City has requested Agriculture zoning for our parks!

The skateboard park location will come before the Council on January 13. A group of us are offering an alternative of private enterprise being encouraged to build the skateboard park in Novato. I would love to see a hanger at Hamilton with the sponsorship of Goldman-Sacks in New York as the financial backers, since that is what they are doing at Hamilton now. Hate to lose the DMV if the City Council decides to relocate it back at Goodman's. Lobby the City Council now as to what you want to see happen with the skateboard park.

Thanks to Fred Baker of Mill Valley

He had a wonderful letter in the Coastal Post and the IJ on the subject of retaining the Renaissance Faire at Black Point. I have not been able to reach Fred Baker by phone, but I would love to suggest he reach Mary Jane Burke, County Superintendent of Schools, and have the Marin County Board of Education sponsor a grant with the Buck Marin Foundation to purchase the site from Spieker Properties and turn the site into an educational, cultural site operated by the Marin County schools office. It could serve the nine Bay Area schools as an educational center, the teachers with a conference center, and Novato would have a tourist attraction that is already established. I feel it would be a "win-win" situation. Cancel out the February 17 election. No one has stated what would happen to the land if it is returned back to wetlands.

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