Tag Archives: Marin Community Foundation

With no train can we really clean…

Unedited version published in Marin Independent Journal 7-14-98.  Pictures added.

Marin Voice

With no train can we really clean the air?

Dwayne Hunn

Let’s ponder an imaginary debate on the following topic.  “Is the Marin Conservation League good for the world?”

Team Beemers’ Jennifer Comfy, of Marin’s Platitude High, opens the debate as Team Bikers of Oakland’s Tanning Vocational look on with big eyes.

“The Conservation League merges all those individuals and groups who work to ensure that tomorrow’s children have an environment that blooms with flowers,  billows with fresh ocean breezes, cascades with hiking trails and soothes our eyes with scenic vistas.  Without such a league of the environmentally conscious, not only would the greenery of  our lands and blue of our skies fade and darken, but the tranquility of our lives and creativity it provides our minds would dissipate.   Working locally, these courageous environmentalists institute programs that make the universe an extraordinary partaking….”

While shuffling to the podium, the Bikers’ Dirk Maloney responds, “Well, beam me and my crew up to your world, where life’s a beach and everyone bathes in sunshine and stellar lights.    Conservationists devour resources to save you the blue and green in wavy fields, while leaving others to view concrete and asphalt etched by bars and orphanages…

Zane Farr, the supervising teacher interrupts, “Refrain from being personal.   Use factual references to make your points.”

Bobbing his head, Dirk continues, “A true environmentalist measures his works by how they impact the world beyond the greenery of their county, their hiking trails and their tranquility.  He learns to see beyond a few pretty colors and local scenery when he views the impacts of his efforts.  Thank you.”

“Specifics points, Ms. Comfy,” interjects  Mr. Farr.

“In what is often referred to as Marvelous Marin, we have a richness and beauty of life creditable to the environmental  movement.  Years ago we stopped BART.   Recently we stopped hundreds of beautiful, bucolic St. Vincent’s / Silveira acres from being plied with development, so that our scenic, serene view from Highway 101 will remain.   By disallowing a future train stop and drastically cutting St. Vincent’s developmental potential, we insured minimal nature impacts.  It is such farsightedness that provides for a heavenly, ecologically sound atmosphere.”

“Wonderful vision,” Dirk grumbles.  “While here in Oakland none of your Marin Community Foundation money helps our  serenity.   Yet that money continues supporting Marin’s sereneness deprived environmental organizations.    We support Amtrak and BART to reduce the pollutants your self-imposed congested freeways cause.  Your Golden Drawbridge makes comfortable lives for the rich and famous, while the East Side Bridge relives West Side Stories.   Oakland scrapes for money to make our poverty programs work and spread rail transit, because we want hard working parents to spend as much time as possible with their kids.  Rail-less,  you force hard working families to pollute and commute hither and yon, trading thousands of parental quality hours for  latch-key kiddom.

“You think you’re saving the neighboring pearly mouse and pretty bird, while forcing working folk to exhaust stuff in the air that hurts those same and other critters outside your neighborhood.   The commute time you force on parents increases the likelihood their latch-kids will do time.”

Rolling her eyes, Jennifer retorts, “Conservation, Mr.  Maloney, is not about juvenile delinquency.  It is about saving the environment, so that future generations can enjoy its wonders…”

“Right, Ms.  Comfy.  For you there is no connection and I’m confused…   Someday rest your BMer for a rickety bike adventure on some mean streets or sweat in some poor country, where land use planning for million dollar estates lags far behind putting 1500 calories on tomorrow’s plate.  Then come back and explain to me why your environmental land use crusade to hurt middle class Americans, their kids, and the world’s air is so groovy good for the rest of the earth?”

Mill Valley’s Dwayne Hunn sometimes supervises debates, rides bikes, and gets confused.

“Bad Train….”

Address our housing needs

Marin Independent Journal   January 27, 1988


Address our housing needs

By Dwayne Hunn

Dwayne Hunn chairs the Ma­rin Housing Development

Trust Fund Task Force. 

A recent Marin Independent Journal editorial accurately said:

“Marin land is pricey to the point of exclusivity. We are at risk of becoming a single-class society of landed gentry, served by outsiders who commute be­cause they cannot afford to live where they work.”

In that editorial, the U called for the establishment of a permanent relation­ship between the Marin Community Foundation and a network of non-profit affordable housing associations.

In 1984, when the San Francisco Foundation administered the Buck Trust, a group of affordable housing pro­viders began to develop such a program. Pursuit of this concept consumed sub­stantial amounts of organizational time, showed few results and produced much frustration.

After two years, at Novato Ecumenical Housing’s urging, Supervisor Robert Stockwell convened the Canal Commu­nity Alliance, the Ecumenical Association for Housing, Marin Community De­velopment Block Grant officials and the, Marin Housing Authority to resurrect the idea of a Marin Housing Develop­ment Trust Fund. These organizations have provided the staff and funding for a housing development’ proposal.

More than 70 percent of the speakers at the foundation’s community forums expressed affordable housing as their primary need and concern.

As part of the process following their community forums, the foundation is now discussing specific goals for the fu­ture in their Consultation Group meet­ings. Those of us involved in producing affordable housing are confident that the 38-page development trust fund proposal will be given attention by the new foun­dation.

What would a Marin Housing Devel­opment Trust Fund do? As proposed it would implement a unified long-term strategy to produce affordable housing by establishing:

  • A revolving low-interest loan pro­gram that would support 100 percent of the trust fund’s

administrative costs.

  • A risk capital program to enable non-profit sponsors to pursue outstand­ing property acquisition


  • A pre-development seed money pro­gram, which would use annual earnings on an endowment to

make loans to get projects started.

  • A grant program, which would sup­plement existing sources of such funds to reduce the up-front costs of housing.

The task force requested $5 million a year for four years to implement this model program. At this time, while the foundation’s, income is low for the next few years, $5 million could amount to 25 percent of the foundation’s yearly in­come — certainly, a lot of money. But when one remembers that most people devote 30 percent or more of their yearly income to shelter costs, that kind of foundation budgeting does not seem un­reasonable.

Drawing $5 million a year from the $400 million corpus and securing it on Marin real estate should also be consid­ered as a profitable strategy and a rea­sonable investment in improving Marin’s quality of life.

Each task force member, as well as the other housing advocates who have pro­vided valuable input to the Marin Hous­ing Development Trust Fund proposal, hope that the New Year will find Marin on its way to answering some of the impassioned pleas for affordable housing that were so often heard during the com­munity forums.