Joe SixPack returns — from the head

San Rafael Newspointer
Dwaye Hunn, unedited version 7-23-1991

Last week Joe started his long weekend at the Positvely 4th Street  bar  where he started talking with  two  idealistic  grad school  graduates,  Tommy Enthuse and Benny Design,  about  their desire to move to Marvelous Marin.  After a half-time trip to 4th Street’s  designer bathroom and the phone, he returns to his  bar stool.

“Did you get through to your friend?” chirpy Tommy asked.

“Got  his answering machine again.  It says he left an  hour ago  to meet me, which means he’s probably trying to be  environmental and ride his bike here from Mill Valley.”

“That’s neat.”

“Yeah, well, if he’s not here in about 20 minutes it  probably means someone ran him off of the bike pathless San Rafael hill and  the  ambuilance picking him up will polllute more  than  his little car would have.” Joe added, as he continued his  aluminnum recycling campaign.

“So what did you mean about us having to soon become  important  players with Lucas or Autodesk in order for people like  us to live here?”  Tommy asked, resuming their earlier discussion.

“Fellows, over the last ten years only 350 of you  outsiders a  year have been allowed to move into this county.  The  average single family detached house sells for about $390,000, the  average  condo for about $190,000.  The agenda calls for less of  you outsiders  to be allowed to move in, more expensive  housing  and more freeway commuting by workers coming into Marin.”

“Well,  someone  must be working on  changing  that.”  Tommy said, as he showed his first frown of the day.

“Most polls and elections indicate that Marinites like doing business as usual.  Most observers feel that the so-called  Marin environmentalists control the electoral process by  pontificating on  the merits of preserving mice rather than  air  quality  and people.   And most politicians prefer to follow the  polls,  lead the mice and remain elected.” Joe responded.

For  once the bubbly one did not have an instant  reply,  so Joe continued.  “Now if you guys were policy makers with Lucas or Autodesk  or their friends whose products train today’s  kids  so they can  fly F-15’s and plant the images in grown up  minds  of what  our world should be, then you could change that.   You  and those like you could have a chance to live around here.”

“Explain.” quiet Benny said.

“In  days of yore, people and particularly people of  impact probably  read a lot more than most people do today.  From  their readings, they generated their own pictures in their own shoulder mounted computer of how things could or should be.  They  probably walked in the park, in the fields or in their neighborhood  under that  thought-provoking  blue  sky to embellish  on  those  heady ideas.  Often they then took those ideas and made them happen for the benefit of the larger community. Today, after being stuck  in single occupant vehicle traffic, driving to the store, child care center, hither-and-yon, and working a hectic day trying to figure out how to get through their personal and work-life   bureaucracy; they want the picture of how things should or could be drawn  for them.  After it’s drawn for them, they want someone else to  take the time to implement it.”

“Are  you suggesting that image makers can provide  the  answers  to affordable housing, traffic and air quality  problems?” Tommy asked.

“Look, in a county where 88% of the land cannot be developed and  where  the neighboring county wants to move  toward  setting most of its land outside of development, there are two places for young bloods like you to live compatibly with the environment and without  being  indentured servants.  One is in the  already  developed  urban cities.  The other is in mixed-use,  village  settings along the rail line.”

“That’s  the obvious, logical and environmentally  sensitive answer  that we work on in grad school often. Why isn’t it  being done here?”  the quiet designer asked.

“When  implementing  such ideas are proposed, a  handful  of influenital  people distort what the results would be and  it  is killed.

Lucas, Autodesk and others could take the Northbay Rail Line and  envision  how sensitive, environmental planning  along  that corridor  could  provide  a rail oriented future  with  jobs  and housing balanced through a series of mixed-use villages linked to commercial,  retail and light idnustry developed along  the  rail line.   Clean,  partially solar powered trains linked  to  demand responsive vans and interconnected ground travel could be part of the electronic visioning.  Today’s traffic, unaffordable  housing mess could be envisioned  as tomorrow’s community planned for the environment  and  people. Electronic wizzardy is needed  to  get people  to understand and support the doability of  that  healthy future.”

“Then,”  Joe continued, “they could take almost any  section of  San Rafael — the Paul Street office park or the Albert  Park area — use those Autocad programs to show how it is now and then show how adding some 2nd and 3rd story living spaces could  provide  affordable housing and a community to the unused air  space above  and  community-less ground below.  Now that air  space  is just breathing  the fumes of those 101 commuters  who  could  be affordably  renting  and  owning and birthing a  community  in  a downtown within walking distance of shops, parks and jobs.”

“You  think Lucas, Autodesk, Industrial Light and Magic  and their  friends  are  interested in doing  something  like  that?”  Tommy Enthuse quietly asked.

“Somewhat interested.  But they need a couple hot shots like you  guys to get it going.  Why don’t you ask them  on  Monday?..  Excuse me, I’ve got to use my other head again and call to see if my friend is in some roadside ditch.”  Joe said as he carried his aluminum canteen to the back of the bar.

When not working on Northbay Ecumenical Housing (NEH), North  Bay Transportation Management Association (NBTMA) or trying to put  a solar  powered  train on the tracks, Dwayne sometimes  rides  his bike to help Joe recycle aluminum.




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