The Coastal Post - May 1999

News And Notes Of Novato

By Betty Machado
Hello, Dear Hearts

Spring has really developed in Novato. The wisteria is blooming and smells so heavenly. On our 50th wedding anniversary, Antonietta and Silvia Gregori gave us a wonderful wisteria which is taking over the front of the house on a white lattice designed room. According to Antonietta when it finishes blooming, it will require a real hair cut, which she shall supervise. Right now it is beautiful and wonderful! Welcome to the Cracker Barrel restaurant, located at 1516 Grant Avenue. This is the site of Sidney's old restaurant. It is open seven days a week, 6:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Go in and say hello to Tammy and her husband. Dana is the young waitress. That's Patti Harris Natress' high school daughter. Nice to have the local students working in Novato. Former school principal Bob Vaughn holds court every morning for the group known as The Romeros. Ask for the true identity of what the name represents. Local humor!

Superintendent Dr. John C. Bernard Honored at a Welcome Reception Remember on the February 24 Public Advocate show when Dr. Bernard and Jeff McAlprin were our guests and the moderator wanted to know when the PTA and School Board would be having a reception? Answer, April. Well, invitations were mailed out by the district office and I received one. RSVP was required since it was held at the Hilltop Cafe on April 19 between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. It was a lovely event. Dr. Bernard and his lovely wife Judy greeted people in the long old porch area. The food was exceptional, roast beef, sliced thin, with large rounds of cheeses, a beautiful display of fresh fruits and finger sandwiches everywhere. The event reminded me of a wedding reception! Name tags were available. Thank goodness, since I didn't recognize everyone. There were 157 guests according to my source of information. But, where was the PTA? Not to be seen. I did discuss with School Board member Bill King why wasn't this held in the district office at 7th and Grant Avenue? An open house for all citizens would have been great! The school board has been telling the taxpayers the district is broke since we did not pass for 40 million dollar bond issue on March 2 ballot. Yet, again the Novato School Board failed to include the public in the Welcome Reception to meet and greet the new superintendent and his wife. They live in Oakland, and that was the only time you would have had the opportunity to know who they are as new people in Novato. There was nothing in the Novato Advance about the reception. I questioned the editor, J.J. Jackson. He stated Dr. Bernard has visited schools, held meetings, and has been very visible. So he didn't put in a story before the reception. Sure, a paid ad was what the Novato Advance was looking for. The school public relations department failed to take one out. How can the guest of honor meet the taxpayers who are involved with their tax bill only? Senior citizens are a major block of voters. At any rate you have my viewpoint as a retired Board member of the Novato Unified School District. But I do welcome Dr. Bernard and his wife Judy to Novato. Novato DMV will stay one more year despite the skateboard park location

A meeting of the DMV, the mayor and property owner Gerald Hoyt was held after the DMV learned the temporary skateboard park would open this summer again in front of the old Goodman building adjacent to the DMV. Patricia Narez, the DMV manager, spoke at the Novato Planning Commission meeting when the issue of granting another summer use permit of the skateboard park was under discussion. The park will be open May 29 until September 17. To quote the DMV manager, "It is a safety issue; it has become an obstacle course for us to get drivers out of our driving test areas. Somebody is going to get killed." The superiors of the DMV are "even considering closure of the office." Although I did not agree the DMV should place their office in Gerald Hoyt's shopping center, and I wanted a free-standing building to match Petaluma's, I have found the second choice of Hoyt's shopping center better than nothing. Personally, I feel very strongly the DMV was there first and should have priority over the skateboard park. An alternative should have been incorporated with the youth usage at Hamilton. Kids can go out there to swim and play video, no reason the skateboard park couldn't have been part of the package deal. Time will tell!

Clearing up items that have come to my attention: I walk by night

The Novato City Council and the Novato Unified School District will be holding a joint meeting to decide on a Blue Ribbon Task Force to help with the diversity of subjects facing the two agencies. Mayor Pro Tem Pat Eklund and Trustee Cindi Clinton called for the creation of the task force of officials and organizations to identify specific issues related to diversity and come up with recommendations and projects to address them. Wonder if they will take into consideration the recent School Board's mistake of not applying the Brown Act regarding their lack of adding the Novato High School lottery to accommodate students to attend during the fall on their agenda. Mistakes are made, but not applying the law to their operation could be causing the diversity they are trying to overcome. To be successful, committees require a budget, staff, and enforcement, and if you lack these components, forget adding another layer of government!

Ferry port not on metropolitan transportation study

A ferry terminal was not on the list of the Bay Area Water Transit Task Force for the meeting held in Oakland on April 18th. Councilwoman Pat Eklund was very surprised the task force has eliminated both Port Sonoma and Hamilton as ferry terminals. Seems there would be "substantial environmental degradation" according to Russell Hancock, project manager for the Bay Area Water Transit Initiative. Seems like this would be a project for Ken, our paid lobbyist in Sacramento for Novato, and Bill Wagerman and Associates for the County of Marin. We pay them-might as well let them fight the issues!

Happy Mother's Day. Be careful on Memorial Day weekend, but enjoy.

Coastal Post Home Page