The Coastal Post - October, 1999

News And Notes Of Novato

By Betty Machado

Hello, Dear Hearts

The feeling of Autumn is in the air. The leaves are starting to fall, the walnuts are about to drop, and winter will follow. The sign of age is how fast TIME goes by.

What has happened to "Rural Novato"?

Our General Plan for Novato has always emphasized "rural Novato," meaning we were always going to retain the feeling of country in Novato. Have you seen the amount of crime that is hitting the newspapers? Murder for hire... 11-year-old student threatens another that he would go home for a gun... students beat up another going to his car on the Lucky parking lot... What is happening? Chief Brady is trying-he has committees designed to avoid this type of behavior. Will the spending of $400,000 for a skateboard park stop these kind of headlines? The City Council is trying, the School District is trying, and the citizens want a "safe, clean environment" in their community, but what will it take to stop the crime from taking place? If you have any ideas, let us know, be it the City Council, School District, or writing letters to the editor. Somewhere there has to be answers and acceptable action.

Which reminds me, I walk in the morning at Pioneer Park. The dogs that are being allowed to ROAM in the park are a real problem. Why aren't the citizens using the Dog Bone Park at O'Haire Park? The Dog Bone Committee should enforce the use of their designated area to free up Pioneer Park for family use. The grass is not healthy to even sit on due to the actions of the dogs! I did bring this to the attention of Mayor Carole Knutson during a recent conversation. Hope she can do something.

Hurrah for the officials of the Golden Gate Transit

They did listen about the Route 50 change. It was reinstated, thanks to Michael Stenburg, who raised a fuss. See, grassroots efforts can be effective!

Political signs are appearing for the November election

Do hope you are registered to vote, as a low turnout is predicted. Take the time to register at the library, City Hall, fire house: just sign and mail-couldn't be easier. Especially if you have moved, make one of your priorities to re-register!

The Marin County Columbus Day celebration

A luncheon for the Cristoforo Colombo Club is held every year, with George J. Silvesetri being the General Chairman. Raymond Raggio is commentator, and then we have committee members, lots of Italian names, even Tally Mastrangelo, Esq. In the middle of them is Hon. Cynthia Murray. Nothing like an Irish name, followed by Richard Nave.

Public Access Television Channel in Novato

This has been a wonderful way to communicate with the television viewers. You would contact Dan Weekly at City Hall, give him your program outline, go to Laurie at Parks and Rec, sign in the use of the City Council room for the live show time, and be ready to go on the air. There are three of us who have formed a non-profit organization to sponsor and produce TV shows with current topics.

We decided to do a show on the Rush Creek Project, which has become very controversial because of how the project has been put together and the fact that there really is no money to take care of the East Grant Avenue drainage out to Rush Creek for this year. This is an embarrassment, since the proper due process has not been followed to create the project. When we announced this would be our subject, we ran into opposition from, of all places, City Hall. When I called to ask the Community Director to send a person to represent her department, I was told only the City Manager could make that decision. Can you imagine not allowing the department head to decide who she would send to a TV program? Okay, I followed through by calling Mr. Rod Wood, and was denied having city representation on the program!

I went to the City Council to seek their aid in the situation, gave a rundown of events to date, and they upheld Rod Wood's decision not to send a representative. Of course, Mr. Wood told them a policy existed which gave him the direction from the Council to have the authority to send an employee to represent the City. I was not able to call him a LIAR, as no policy is in writing. I had to check with Patsy Mederios, City person, plus leaving a note to have City Clerk Shirley Grimmells search and call me back. No call came. There is no written policy, so it does not exist. With the federal government being in a mess over people LYING, what do you do on the local level when it happens?

When we arrived September 16 to start the show, a 1997 tape from the Soroptimist Club was running from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. We were going on at 8:00 p.m. So our guests sat and waited until 8:30 in order to be on our program. The City Council would not allow city staff members to appear. Councilwoman Cynthia Murray did nothing to help with the situation. I did speak to the fact at the Tuesday night Council meeting. If the candidate for the 5th District allowed closed government, we would be in trouble on the county level. Didn't faze the candidate. The show was a success despite the background feud.

I spoke to Mayor Knutson. She had the City Manager call me and arrange a meeting to see if we MIGHT straighten out some of the problems. We will meet with a committee to restructure the City's obligation regarding the use of the Public Access channel. Shirley Graves, Elisa Cleek and I paid $75 for the program.

Happy Halloween

Have a safe one.

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