The Coastal Post - July, 1998

Fractured News In Marin

By Don Deane

$300 Million November Sales Tax Moving Forward

Most of the political players in Marin seem to be coming together in unison on that grand $300 million sales tax measure slated for the November ballot. Watchdog conservation groups are being paid off with promises of funds for to buy open space. The general public is being sold on the idea that widening Highway 101 will solve traffic gridlock. City governments are getting on the bandwagon because of promised funds for local road repairs.

Adding a commuter railroad to transportation options in the county is the best one of all. Great idea, but the studies and consultants are admitting on the front end trains won't be used enough to even bruise freeway gridlock and rail won't begin to pay for itself.

In conclusion, what an enormously slimy dung-nugget wrapped in colorfully transparent weasel words.

There isn't a traffic study in the world which proposes that freeway construction solves traffic congestion. What freeway expansion does is catch up with development-generated traffic and encourage more development. The freeway capital of the world, the greater Los Angeles Basin, is the finest example of free-wheeling freeway expansion. Want to destroy the exceptional environmental characteristics of a unique and beautiful area? Just add freeways and then expand them as needed.

Affordable housing is the other flag flying over this "you can't stop progress" development ritornelle. If you haven't checked, affordable housing is harder to find in the county today than Miwok Indians. All the rhetoric about priorities for more affordable housing over the last 15 years continues. In the meantime commercial space has exploded in every direction leading to the current traffic nightmare that was predicted ten years ago in exhaustive county traffic studies which never saw the light of day as commercial traffic- generating projects were approved one after the other by supervisors and council members..

The one spot in east Marin which still looks agricultural and open from the freeway to the bay is the Silveira-St. Vincent Property. Called the "last undeveloped land along Highway 101" by the Marin IJ. The previous plan for the property had hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial space and 2,100 homes. Affordable housing has become the Trojan Horse in which developers and speculators get pulled past the gates of good sense into the citadel of lousy planning. Then there's hundreds of millions of dollars of development slated for Hamilton coming right along.

Will the tax measure pass in November?

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