Tag Archives: Marin

AWSC RESOLUTION NO. 2008-3-18-08, Marin County

RESOLUTION NO.  2008-_3-18-08


WE, the Marin County Board of Supervisors, hereby proclaim our support for People’s Lobby American World Service Corps Congressional Proposals (AWSCP) that will create an additional one million American volunteers serving in pockets of need at home and abroad; and

WHEREAS, the AWSCP proposals’ mission is to dramatically increase the number of can-do Americans voluntarily serving through existing effective organizations (such as the Peace Corps, Ameri-Corps, Habitat for Humanity, Head Start, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, OxFam, and State Conservation Corps, etc.) in order to help make the 21st century safer; and

WHEREAS, the AWSCP proposals, as reflected in the core missions of the recognizable organizations, would offer peaceful, productive, skill building service to Americans ages18 through 70+ in a time when Americans desire and need to serve; and

WHEREAS, the AWSCP would be more cost effective and produce more skilled, trained, can-do Americans with a deeper understanding of domestic and international policy needs; and

WHEREAS, the AWSCP would produce service completion educational bonus payments or Medical Savings, home down payments, IRA Account investments, or tax credits, and thereby strengthen our knowledge, economy, and competitiveness; and

WHEREAS, the World Service Corps proposals will exhibit America’s team building skills that exemplifies our productive skills, courage, and determination to the world; and

WHEREAS, such service offers Federal, State, and local governments the means to more effectively deal with the aftermath of calamities, build knowledge and understanding among American and world citizens while reducing foreign and domestic crisis management costs; and

WHEREAS, AWSCP will save money for all branches of government who can then dedicate revenues to improving the quality of life for its citizens.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Marin County Board of Supervisors encourages other local governments to pass similar resolutions encouraging bipartisan congressional representatives to promptly introduce and pass the AWSCP proposals into law.

PASSED AND ADOPTED at a regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Marin held on this 18th day of March 2008, by the following vote:


NOES:         0


Charles McGlashan                                            PRESIDENT, BOARD OF SUPERVISORS




Marin Democratic Central Committee 2007


WHEREAS the American World Service Corps (AWSC) cost-effectively involves a million more skilled, can-do Americans aged 18-60+ into working on world and domestic problems, and thereby gives them a deeper understanding, concern for, and ability to practically address domestic and international policy needs, while raising America’s political IQ and,

WHEREAS the AWSC invests in America’s education, health, and economy through tuition, Medical Savings, or IRA Account investments, (which at approximately $17,000 is one-sixth or less of the recruitment bonus presently offered to military recruits) to those who complete AWSC service; and thereby helps strengthen our knowledge of world and domestic needs, educational and economic competitiveness, and our citizenry’s understanding of and voting on public policy needs at home and in the world and,

WHEREAS a one million strong AWSC offers a, robust, peaceful volunteer civilian corps to augment out courageous 1.4 million military personnel; and thereby productively answers the increasingly alarming and costly spread of the critically dangerous Ugly American image, terrorist recruitment, poverty, environmental degradation, and misunderstandings that inspire hatred, by involving many more of America’s best assets, its concerned, patriotic citizens, in addressing needs; and it does so cost-effectively by legislating the use of the following funding mechanisms: 1) Public web sites: Listing public education incentivized donations by the Forges Riches 400. 2)  Public education incentivized donations by corporations that have paid little or no taxes.  3) Miniscule import levee on those developed nations with which we have a significant trade deficit.  4) Foundation grants.  5) General tax revenues.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Marin Democratic Central Committee proclaims our support for the introduction and passage of the AWSC concepts into legislation, which encompasses the goal espoused by President Kennedy’s words:  “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.  My fellow citizens of the world: ask not whatAmerica will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Marin Democratic Central Committee requests that during these critical times all our elected representatives support and congressional representatives introduce and pass Peoples Lobby’s citizen-initiated American World Service Corps Congressional Proposals as promptly as possible.

The Marin Democratic Central Committee adds its support, as did the California State Democratic Party on January 28, 2006, to Peoples Lobby’s citizen-initiated American World Service Corps Congressional Proposals, which by the seventh year after its enactment will add one million additional American volunteers into serving country and world through such organizations as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Head Start, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, OxFam, Mercy Corps, and State Conservation Corps.

Author: Dwayne Hunn, Executive Director, People’s Lobby, 415-383-7880

Dwayne@dwaynehunn.biz; www.worldservicecorps.us; www.peopleslobby.us

‘Smart’ planning needed in Marin                        

Marin Voice, Marin Independent Journal

Published May 15, 2001 (unedited version)


Recently strategy/economic consultant Stephen Roulac spoke on Marin’s Economic Future to a Marin Community Development hosted public gathering.  He concluded that Marin’s # 1 priority must be bringing back rail. Then the IJ editorialized about the need not to forget the train as a means to address Marin’s land use instigated traffic mess. Then the Chronicle published a Texas Transportation Institute study listing San Francisco-Qakland commute as the 2nd worst in the nation and stated, “cities will have to judiciously invest in new roads, public transit, affordable housing along transit corridors…”

Several years ago local government commissioned a Calthorpe Associates Study that concluded Marin and Sonoma needed and can justify a train. Fifteen years ago Peter Calthorpe and I did local radio shows trying to educate people on the benefits of building European style communities along the large parcels adjacent to the existing rail line.  These villages would more effectively address affordable housing, traffic, resource conservation, and open space then would downzoning developments into auto-dependent suburban sprawl communities.  Peter gave up on Marin.  He moved his home and office to Berkeley where he designs projects through out the nation for developers and cities concerned about using the earth’s limited resources efficiently.

For decades, environmentalists world-wide have pushed for increased train and mass transit use to address air quality, resource conservation, and cargo and travel costs.

Back in Marin a handful of people continue controlling groups with environmental nametags who oppose the train, fight housing projects for decades and downzone them into mega-costly suburban sprawl, building resource devouring, auto-dependent exclusive enclaves.

Where did Marin lose its definition of enviromentalism?  It lost it when working people allowed the county’s policy decisions to be dominated by a handful of people with myopic environmental views. Consequently, too often Marin has a NIMBYized (Not In My Backyard) definition for environmentalism.  Marin lost a true environmental perspective when elected officials a decade ago would say to me, “Oh, but I can’t support pedestrian pockets along the rail line, my constituents won’t vote for it.”

Responding, “Well, gee, isn’t one of your responsibilities as a public official to educate the community on what might be in their long term best interests,” didn’t help.  Well, today we suffer the consequences of that short sightedness in California’s oldest median aged county with gridlock, high labor costs, outrageously priced housing and crowded rentals for our hard working, imported workers.

What’s part of the answer?  Involvement by people yearning for more housing who, unfortunately, are stuck wasting hours in gridlock while working a couple jobs and trying to raise a family.  Also needed is leadership, guts, and common sense foresight from elected officials as well as planners and media makers on land use issues.

How government officials force developers to use the land determines how the people who eventually live on it must get around.  St Vincent’s Silveira is Marin’s largest remaining developable piece of land, and it has a rail line running through it that can connect to Sonoma, Sacramento and Tahoe.  Environmentally conscious, far sighted, regionally concerned leadership would make sure that land was used to design a large, oriented to the train, mixed-use development.

What do policy makers continue to hear from the leadership of many of Marin’s s self described environmental groups on St. Vincent’s Silveira?  1) No development.  2) No train stop.  In fact, some of Marin’s misnamed environmentalists got the Marin Supervisors to put a Memorandum of Understanding into the two year St. Vincent Silveira Task Force Study to expressly remove the historical train stop from the site’s existing tracks.

Of course, governmental leaders can take these Task Force suggestions and make them better.  For the long-term benefit of the region – and by reverberation – the world, Marin should change the Task Force’s narrow parameters and help developers do smart land uses on the few big sites remaining.  Smart land uses helps true environmentalists get away from auto-dependently polluting our sky’s lovely birds and the people who share the same air.

Dwayne Hunn  provides solar  photovoltaic net-metering systems for homeowners and businesses and rides his bike to the rail road tracks to throw stones at the weeds covering the ties over which trains used to glide.


Oh, God, have mercy on our failures

This is unedited version published in Marin IJ  January 18, 2000

Heavenly pictures and angel added by forlorn altar boy author.


Oh, God, have mercy on our failures

Slipping into cushy slippers on a billowy cloud, he called out, “Gabriel, update me on my blue, green gem.”

“Sir, globalization is beefing up the bigs, strengthening some middies, while your poor continue arduously climbing their hill of needs.”

“Are my beefies being generous and creative in their good times?” he asks, as he sprinkles light into a black hole.

“Bill Gates and  Ted Turner have….”

“No, no, Gabe.  I don’t need to know of their endowments, or Ted and Jane trading aerobic sessions.  Give me an analysis of community actions addressing values extrinsic to mankind.”

“Extrinsic values, sir?

“Gabriel, you mastery of earthling jargon slips.  For planet Earth that means clean and ample water, air, food, shelter and peoples’ actions that help children’s eyes and dreams gleam from birth and far into their sunset years.  You remember, Gabe, it takes a village to raise a child?”

“Yes, sir, and extrapolations of that to raise a region and a world.  Shall I focus the window of your upgraded Deep Universal Problem Evaluating (DUPE) computer on your Golden State, sir?”

“Yes.  Zoom into my Garden of Eden County where they have set aside 301,314 of my 388,352 acres into open space, agriculture and park lands.”

“Zoomed, sir,” the archangel replies, as the 4-D panaview of Marin reels up over one of God’s universes.  “Goodness, look at the brake lights on their ‘freeway’.”

“Hmmh, looks like Chicago Bulls parking lot in the Airness days I dished them… Gabriel, where are those wonderful, friendly trains we watched years ago from this  view?  They zoomed north into surrounding counties, west into small towns and red wooded mountains.”

“Sir, big oil and auto companies derailed those trains 4 or 5 decades back.”

“Tssk, tssk,” God said, shaking His head, “Right.  My bigs sometimes think ‘Might makes right.’ But other parts of my Golden State are returning efficient, community enhancing trains.  What is My Golden Gated County doing?”

“Sir, four times in the last 40 years some have tried to revive them but…

“Who opposed them?” God interjected.

“Groups referred to as ‘environmentalists’ in your blessed county.”

“Gabriel, are you forgetting your earthling vocabulary again?”

“No, sir.”

“Environmentalists oppose trains that move more people while putting less pollution in my skies?  Trains that encourage friendly mingling and wondrous viewing of my open spaces?” God rhetorically asks.

“It is a little confusing, sir.  You might blaze read the DUPE computer folder “St. Vincent’s Silveira Stakeholders Task Force.”

God blinks His version of Evelyn Wood’s speed reading through 8,769 pages of county documents, “It says the environmental groups want no building on the ‘view corridor, flood plain or near 101 and some environmentalists want 37 units allowed on 1240 acres.  Where’s my colorful train that used to whisk people through this land and into Sonoma, Sacramento and Lake Tahoe?”

“Sir in the file titled, ‘Memo of Understanding’ the environmental stakeholders and politicians removed the train and station.”

“These ‘stakeholders’ are offering no alternatives for those stuck in traffic trying to get home to their loved ones?”

“Should we send them wings, sir?”

Hmmh, Gabriel, your jokes are far from divine… Wasn’t part of this stakeholders’ site owned by a Boys Town place?”

“Yes, sir.  Now St. Vincent’s wants to use development there to endow their future work with troubled children.”

“But without being more creative, thoughtful and logical how will these ‘tempholders’ of my land get the highest and best land uses to endow that hallowed work?  Provide enough housing for my middie and hard working strugglers?  If they continue being self-centered and deplete the region’s air and people’s quality time with myopic land uses, they will rob my not so well off children elsewhere.”

“What would you like done, Lord?”

“They must consider the bigger picture.”

“Shall I put some of them in space, for a bigger view, sir?”

“Perhaps it would be easier to put some of them in my struggling African villages, where the experience would adjust their priorities.”

“That would greatly alter their comfortable lifestyles…Should I zap them there now, Lord?” as Gabriel reaches for God’s staff leaning against a comet.

“For now, let’s just plant this with that IJ staff and see if they get people thinking more about values extrinsic to mankind.”



While listening to the St Vincent’s Silveira Task force meeting of January 6th discuss  “extrinsic values,” one-time forlorn altar boy Dwayne Hunn received this winged transcript from above.

…but, from where I sit, they’re part of the problem

Marin IJ April 11, 1999  by Dwayne Hunn

 In  February the IJ reported that Senator Boxer introduced legislation that would guarantee $2 billion of oil companies taxes be siphoned off to maintain public parks, expand urban parks and protect the country’s wildlife. It would be titled “Permanent Protection for America’s Resources 2000.”  Ann Thomas of Marin Baylands immediately saw the most pressing need for this money, “We would love to acquire Canalways.  It would be an absolute jewel for San Rafael to preserve that site.”

Because the nation’s people face  more pressing needs and spending  $2 billion differently could better help the environment, why not have a better title and spending program?   Although comfortable Marin does not typify national needs, even here it is easy to spend on more humane and environmental needs..

In the last 20+ years Marin has:

  • spent $32.3 million acquiring 13,107 acres of open space ($2,466 per acres)
  • allowed only about 12% of its land to be open to development, much of what little remains rings the freeway
  • consistently forced developers, thanks to myopic environmentalists, to downzone developments so that affordable units became fewer and harder to deliver
  • grown .08% per year over the past 29 years, with about half of that growth due to people born into or inheriting homes in the county
  • averaged a yearly growth of —-that modest increase is not the overpopulation causing Marin’s traffic congestion
  • pressed to become the oldest median age county in California
  • seen the median home cost rise to a Bunyonville number of $545,000
  • gagged its freeway with solo caring northward workers unable to live in Marin
  • leached more congestion pollutants into canals, farm fields, air and lungs due to its myopic land use policies

Where should conscientious leaders spend the $2 billion in oil  revenues?  In Marin, and elsewhere, take the oil money and put it where Californians need it more, into:

Þ     transit (so freeways won’t continue sucking quality time out of  people’s lives)

Þ     logical land use (quit talking about smart land use and start building smart communities for regular people) along transit corridors

Þ    delivering affordable workplace housing (state statistics show …..

Marin could have had several 100% + more affordable workplace housing units if myopic environmentalists  HADN’T CONTINUOUSLY opposed physically reviving the train. Worse than that, these so-called environmentalist have strategically tried to kill the train’s future by drastically downzoning and forcing designs on communities (Novato Oaks, Hamilton Air Force Base,  the areas surrounding the Civic Center, and now St. Vincent’s Silvera)  that could have produced mixed used communities that provided train ridership, jobs and ridership for the environmentally beneficial train. How environmentally healthy it could have been to have compactly built along Marin and Sonoma’s train tracks a string of  compact communities whose residents walk, work, live, shop and ride the train..

Since about 88%  of  Marin’s land is set aside in open space, agriculture or park land, perhaps it’s time $32.3 million of that $2 billion be shuttled into a Workplace Housing & Transit District  rather than into acquiring St. Vincent’s and Canalways.  Why not treat people as well as we have treated open space?  Let some smart, truly environmental politician, who is concerned about the quality of peoples lives,  call for using the expertise in the Open Space District to perform the same miracles for today’s crisis needs — workplace  housing and transit.

Let St. Vincent’s be a affordable town oriented to give ridership to the train.  Let Canalways be a mixed use project that provides workplace housing, perhaps a neighborhood school and a high tech campus for the Lucas company types who consistently leave this aging, too narrow minded  and pricey county.

Would Senator Boxer and  Congressman Miller re-title their legislation “Permanent Protection for America’s Resources and  Working People 2000”? Would Marin’s leadership support such?

Dwayne Hunn, a public educator, knows Senator Boxer’s fax number is 415-956-6701    and her email is senator@boxer.senate.gov.

Above is unedited version run by Marin IJ on April 11, 1999.

Additional notes not published:

Since its formation in the 1970’s the Open Space District obtained contributions from Proposition 70 money, Marin Community Foundation, Assessment Districts, CSA {County Services Agreements.

Open Space district collected $32,316,931 and acquired 13,107 acres…

This amounts to $2,466 per acres spent in acquisition.

1995 largest acquisition year = 2,426 acres

1996 = 206 acres

1/97 – 6/98 285 acres (18 months)

Acquisition money is approaching bottom of barrel.

Big Green must see big picture

Marin Independent Journal   Wednesday, May 10, 1995



 T 00 MUCH GREEN power? No, not enough true green power.

Most people don’t have time to become knowledgeable about environmental issues. They let only a few set the agenda for, and define, green power. They live in communities where they have little control over design. From the immigrant era through the Depression, when financial power and resources seemed limited, many designs gave us neighborhoods where amenities were within walking distance and neighbors lent eggs over fences.

Then came a war. Winning, we found we bad plenty of re­sources. We designed our living spaces accordingly, around the car, isolated from vibrant com­munity interaction.

Today, we import about half our oil, and a slug of our nation­al debt lies ignored in that bill. Today, the middle class seems to be shrinking and the poor growing. Consequently, the economics of greenback and people power is striking back at green leaf and mouse power.

If Marin and its 88-percent protected space are a microcosm of superbly organized Green Power, then Marin shares in provoking attacks that true envi­ronmentalists are about to suffer. Consistently, Marin’s established environmental movement has deft­ly used its network and media access to foist ruses involving density, traffic, open space, view corridor and neighborhood character to block the following:

  • Housing developments that would provide a fair number of moderately priced residential units and instead forced the building of a few pricey, ex­clusive units.
  • Healthy pedestrian-pocket communities near rail lines that enhance the economic viability of returning to environmentally sensitive trains and provide almost enough high-quality, affordable condos ~and townhouses to finally put two Marin cities in compliance with state housing laws.

Is that healthy Green Power? If Marin ‘a environ­mental power structure does not show opposition from the get-go, it bides its time with delays, calls for studies, etc., with no concern for the developer’s land, staffing costs or needs of the long-distance commuting middle class. Too often the developer,

trusting the faith of environmental­ists, believes he has addressed their concerns, only to rind that a last-minute attack leaves bun broke, exhausted or ready to accept whatever the supposed environmental group will allow.

What’s allowed seems good in the short run for the island of Marin, but in the long run it harms re­gional and global environmental and economic needs. Marin’s Green Power needs more true envi­ronmentalists such as the Greenbelt Alliance, which looks at the larger picture.

Marin’s environmental power structure sees little reason to work with businesses, councils and devel­opers toward a win-win solution that benefits mice, people, economics and the environment. Suppose a. developer took a large low-land parcel, proposed en­hancing a mouse habitat around an existing pond and then proposed a mixed-use development that provided affordable housing, a tax base, park, open space and view.

What would likely happen? The power elite, in­stead of working with the developer for the best regional win-win possible, would probably demand, “Since this was wetland 60 years ago, it should be returned to such today!”

Ah, for the way things were before we had 250 million Americans, before budgets needed balancing and we didn’t know Newt Gingrich could preach and teach.

Dwayne Hunn, a MW Valley writer, worked as a People’s Lobby Steering Board member on the Clean Environment Initiative of 1972.



Marin, why not think ‘regional’?

Marin, why not think ‘regional’?

Dwayne Hunn  Marin Voice

Published Marin IJ February 15, 1995

Everyone’s knocking government.  From Rush Limbarf and Orphan Newt’s cat calls to Gaebler and Osborne’s Reinventing Government advice — everyone’s ripping or reinventing it.   But you know, some public sector ideas are worth a private sector pick up.

In the early 90’s Sacramento and the Bay Area were abuzz with “regionalism.” Transportation, housing, pollution, employment and local revenue needs required a more relevant, comprehensive approach.   By the 90’s Minnesota’s Regional Fiscal Disparities Act had decades of experience addressing 9 counties ‘regional’   needs through sharing a small percentage of sales taxes from each county.  Why not does creative stuff like that in California?

That vision/goal brought together some high-powered Bay Area leaders. Unfortunately, in their pursuit they didn’t hear the warnings that their power profile and media pitch wouldn’t sell parochial locals on the vision. Too many local politicians saw ‘regionalism’ weakening their authority, and its benefits too difficult to convey to constituents.  Given the choice of spreading more common   good   through regionally confronting problems or re-electing themselves. Through simplistic NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) – oriented needs analysis, these politicians opted for the well-worn, yellow political brick.

Unfortunately, the supposedly smarter entrepreneurs also didn’t, and still don’t, see the benefits and inevitability of regionalism.

Take Marin, for example. Whether developers propose projects, which include affordable housing, office complex, light industry or pedestrian pockets, Nimbys turn out in droves   crying: Traffic! Neighborhood Character! Cut Trees! Open Space!  Property Values!  The Environment!……….A Bombay Slum Is Falling From The Sky!

Result?  Each developer succumbs to putting up fewer, more expensive homes or spaces.  The middle class, whom all politicians support, commutes longer for an affordable home, workspace, childcare, or community atmosphere.

In Marin this happens to every noteworthy development. Hamilton Air Force Base could’ve been a large, rail oriented, affordable pedestrian pocket instead of an expensive suburban sprawl community.  Bel Marin Keys could have provided a significant number of affordable homes through innovative financing.   St. Vincent/Silveira could’ve been another affordable rail and pedestrian oriented community whose development could provide Catholic money to keep kids out of trouble and orphanages. (It is still in the  “thousand cuts” stage, as the so-called environmentalists fight to boost Marin’s meager 88% protected space, and lessen reasons for a railway.)

Only benefits would accrue if the major landowners in any region sat down together and said, “How can we cooperatively structure each of our plans so that our land, effort and profit will address the region’s pressing economic and social needs?   How can we educate the public and politicians so that they will understand the benefits?  Can we do this as a united front, so we don’t suffer a thousand slashes from environ­mental guerrillas?”

If they did that as smartly as they are supposed to be, middle America might find time to break out of their freeway chains, bring their latch key kids to project approval meetings, and break the strangle hood ‘naysayers’ have in throttling progressive developments.

Result?   The private sector would have profitably answered huge, pending public needs.    There would be less government maligning.   A fresh public-private chapter would be opened in America’s New Covenant.

The Renaissance Faire space, planned as a pricey housing mecca with a golf course mural shining through its windows, after cutting its project in half, still got slashed and burned.  All developers should learn from Robin the Regional Hood.  Robin gatherer a regional band of the weary addressed their needs and became loved leader of an improved hood.

Dwayne Hunn, a freelance writer, has consulted on affordable housing, land development and transportation issues.

(Uncut version. Boxed text includes text not included in published IJ edition.)

Pedestrian Pockets II

Mill Valley Herald  April 7–13, 1993
Dwayne Hunn

Last week’s interview with Architect Peter Calthorpe touched on some of the economic consequences of short-sighted land use policy. This column touches on some political and policy problems.

We have no technological problems with providing the answers. Architects and engineers can design cost efficient housing and transit solutions. Build it and they will comeapplies as well to the heavy on the brown mustard, hot dog eating baseball fan, as to the American desiring enjoyable and affordable housing and transportation. The snobbish estate dweller, however, doesn’t want one blade of grass touched in his Fields of Green to allow Joe Sixpack to live nearby.

Houseboat liver Calthorpe’s architectural work hinges on the belief that:

“We need to design communities and housing for a more diverse cross section. We need to think about affordability in terms of transportation as well as mortgage and rental costs. This all adds up to design that is more integrated– mixed-use, walkable communities where every trip doesn’t have to be in an automobile.”

This week’s column refers to the decade long 101 Corridor Study Plan which, wounded from its Transit Tax defeat in 1990, stumbles along. That plan concluded that Rail/Highway & Bus/Highway transit alternatives would yield the most effective transit solutions for Marin and Sonoma counties.

Rail and Pedestrian Pocket developments offer an invigorating symbiotic mix for what ails our nation today. The diversity and self-sufficiency offered in Pedestrian Pockets is given environmentally sound travel mobility when built adjacent to a rail line. Being able to move from one PP to another, or to a shopping center while viewing patches of open space in between, or to work in the big city–offers economy, free time and pleasure– three gifts lacking when strapped behind a freeway wheel.

 What hinders Pedestrian Pockets implementation?

Main hindrance is inertia. Inertia of: existing zoning regulations, existing vested land use designations, a financial community which feels safest repeating last year’s products, and developers who only want to deal with their isolated site rather. than regional concerns. And, quite honestly, the inertia of envinonnienta1ists who see their role in resisting any development rather than defining and advocating an ecological pattern of growth for an entire region.

The sum total of this inertia is what propels a pattern of growth which we know is bad for the environment, costly to communities, individually and socially stressful, and quite frankly, esthetically repugnant to most. But we do it anyway.

How do PPs fit with the 101 Corridor Committee’s two preferred alternatives Rail/Highway and Bus/Highway?

A difficult question. I believe ultimately a healthy pattern of growth for a region will require and sustain light rail. If the BART study’s 40% utilization can be generated by PPs, this demand could only be satisfied by light rail. But it is a bit of the chicken and egg problem — how do we get there from here? If PPs are built without light rail, they would generate too much auto traffic. Without PPs, light rail would have a very low ridership and need to be heavily subsidized.

It is the transition time that is tricky. One scenario would use the right-of-way for express buses and carpools while the PPs are developing. When they mature and the ridership is high, a light rail should be installed. The danger, of course, is that it would never be installed and the pressures to turn the bus way into an auto expressway would be great. Although less efficient in the short run, I favor the light rail as a way of committing our growth to this compact transit oriented future configuration.

If we look 20-30 years down the road, we know we have to make such an investment. Even though it seems expensive now, it will be just more expensive later. I recently read that the CEO of Exxon expected to be out of the oil business by 2010 because US oil reserves would be depleted by then. We must plan our communities with that perspective in mind.

 How much of Marin and Sonoma’s projected population do you believe could be housed in PPs?

Anywhere from 50-70% of the Association of Bay Area Governments’ projections could fit in viable sites for both counties. The numbers are much lower for Marin because we have only a few viable sites left. Sonoma, however, has a great capacity for this type of development. The Marin sites along the North West Pacific right-of-way are limited by their adjacency to wetlands. Sonoma really doesn’t have this limitation north of Petaluma.

So the concept is not to eliminate all of our single family subdivisions and office parks, but merely to create a land use pattern that offers an alternative to people in businesses seeking more convenient accessibility and more affordable options.

Does Marin still have time to do this?

Unfortunately, in Marin these sites are dropping by the wayside as they develop oriented toward the freeway or lower density single use activities. The fabric of these developments should be diverse–townhouses, condos, elderly and young, in-law and rental units. We don’t need to build isolated, segregated apartment blocks. We should be integrating our needs for private ownership with the need for affordable rental, housing for elderly and college students by allowing in-law apartments in our communities.

Mixed-use zones, where you have jobs and retail, must be the center these developments. Our current land use policies segregate our land uses, we must get away from that. Diversity is the idea. Ground floor  retail. Second floor apartments.

Most popular office parks are now integrating retail and services. In the East Bay a lot of the areas that are being focused toward carpooling understand that if they want people to carpool they have to create a pedestrian environment for their mid-day and afternoon trips.


Neighborhoods at St.Vincent’s-Silveira?

Mill Valley Herald  March 29–April 4, 1993

Meanderings  by Dwayne Hunn, 

Final interview series on Pedestrian Pockets.

 If you are interested in various Pedestrian Pocket designs, visit St. Vincent’s Design competition on display through April, sponsored to provide the city with development ideas on one of Marin’s most significant remaining pieces of land.

Eight years ago Peter Calthorpe’s business was struggling. He was struggling to get people to listen and build the old fashioned way—with neighborhoods embedded in Pedestrian Pockets (PP). Remember the neighborhoods—playing in the street, biking to a neighborhood park, returning a coke bottle to the Mom and Pop store—for pennies or a stick of licorice?

Sometimes the best quality of changing, growing, adapting is in returning us to where we began. In a shrinking world where ideas, change, competition and dollars fly ever faster, shortsightedness and political selfishness can damn a nation’s development if her most basic resource—land—is used wastefully.

Today Calthorpe continually appears in print and has appeared on network nightly news. His Sacramento Laguna West Development, about 1,000 acres for 10,000 residents with bungalows from $20,000 to custom homes at $400,000, is the nation’s largest Pedestrian Pocket. Nonetheless, not enough people understand the importance inherent in moving the political process that stymies this common sense land use approach which fosters economic security and a healthier life.

At least, however the idea of community centered development woven together by narrow streets, front porches, easily identifiable civic buildings and walkable thoroughfares has moved beyond idealized discussion into market reality. Even housing market analyst and owner of Market Perspectives, John Schleimer, reversed his critical PP market beliefs based on the results of his survey of 619 homeowners at Laguna West and three other “neo-traditional” neighborhoods in Florida, Washington D.C. and Memphis. Those homeowners were willing to pay a “premium” because they felt their homes would appreciate more than the traditional suburban neighborhood.

Here in Marin it remains to be seen whether the debate over the need for Pedestrian Pocket development reaches the level of sense. Marin’s environmental movement, long controlled by a handful of politically astute, so-called environmentalists, has been opposed to PPs. If some fresh thinkers, concerned about community, affordability and environmental sensitivity ever get into the inner sanctums of these organizations, an interesting debate over true environmental issues might ensue.

Are PPs working anywhere else?

They work all over Europe where the traditional towns are mixed use communities in which rail transportation provides a healthy alternative to auto use. In Canada there are regions that have directed growth into transit oriented communities. In Marin, prior to the Golden Gate Bridge construction, we had many fine models that grew around rail stops. These town centers, such as Mill Valley, are among the most desirable places to live because of their mixed-use qualities.

If you were a planner in charge of the remaining land in Sonoma and Marin, what would you have cities, counties and developers do?

Zone for mixed use growth along the North West Pacific rail corridor. In some cases, this would merely mean transferring development rights from one part of a site to another.

For example, take the St. Vincent site. Presently San Rafael has St. Vincent’s thousand acres zoned for low density housing spread over a large portion of that land, along with some commercial uses. This development could be clustered into a 100 acre of mixed-use adjacent to the rail line leaving the wetlands and beautiful rolling hills as open space. None of the development would be visible from the freeway. The community would gain valuable open space, transit ridership would be reinforced and the land owner would still be allowed a reasonable level of return for his property.

    Some environmentalists fear that PPs development and rail transit may impact the wetlands. What is your response?

The wetland areas are critical issues mainly in northern Marin and south Petaluma. Much of the rail corridor is to the north as will be much of the growth. Therefore a lot of the PP development should take place in areas away from the wetlands.

In Marin there are few viable sites for PPs. In these sites development in the wetlands should be avoided. Once again, clustered development would provide the means to preserve the open space permanently by exchanging the development rights in the pocket for permanent open space easements on the wetlands and other important open space areas.

What is needed to move the PP concept to the next stage?

Some model PPs that the environmental and financial community can look at and judge. We are now working on opportunities along the new rail line in San Jose and in Sacramento. If these are built they would generate the concept and test its results. These two cities with their existing light rail systems are in an advanced position to test the idea.

In Marin and Sonoma the next step must be for the 101 Corridor Committee to study a transit option which forces transit oriented land uses. If such a study proves the case, we would have the basis for moving ahead with financing for transit and land use studies in each county and municipality. But such a regional unifying study has to be a prerequisite.

Rail/Highway alternative best with development “pockets’

News Pointer September 7-13, 1988

One point of view

DWAYNE  HUNN Community Contributor

The 101 Corridor Commit­tee has been meeting since 1986. It is now finalizing cost estimates for either rail/highway or bus/ highway construction that will take the 101 corridor into the 21st century. Their consultants’ esti­mates show rail/highway having higher capital but lower operat­ing costs. The bus/highway has lower capital but higher operating costs. The result is that both are estimated to cost about $1 billion dollars. That money could be obtained by ratifying a 1 cent sales tax in Marin and a 1/2 cent sales tax in Sonoma.

Chief consultant to the 101 Corridor Study, Bob Harrison, succinctly sums up years of research and discussion when he says, “The costs are about the same. What’s important is how you want the corridor to develop In the future.”

Three reasons make me hope the train/highway option is our choice.

1) By continuing to over-rely on the automobile, America dis­regards good logic that tells us to not rely on Middle East oil and to seriously begin dealing with our atmospheric degradation., Car­bon dioxide produced by the in­ternal combustion engine is one of the big villains in destroying our ozone level.

2)America should lead, not be led, in the high tech manufac­turing areas of the 21st century. The United States not just, Japan, France and Disneyland, ought to be noted for effective, efficient long-lasting trains..

3) Marin is one of America’s most beautiful counties. From almost anywhere in the county, one can ride his/her bike for five minutes and be in open space agricultural reserve or a national park. Only a little of the 19% of land that can be developed re­mains to be developed, and much of that land lies adjacent to the101 right-of-way and just hap­pens to butt up to the North West Pacific right-of-way. Already apartments, business centers, and residential units are planned along the eastern side of Marin’s portion of the 101 corridor that runs from San Rafael to points further north.

Many argue that we should stop all that development. In America that means buying the land at fair market value, which is not feasible. Many argue that we should downzone what is pro­posed — reducing tax revenues for the involved cities and forcing the prices of the allowable homes up even higher. This produces
more suburban sprawl and con­tinues our over-reliance on the automobile.
Hopefully, Marin will not be burdened with years of debates and delaying tactics over how the eastern portion of 101 should be developed, it only delays the needed tax revenues, allows pro­ject costs to escalate and continues the inefficiencies that long commutes promote.

What is planned by devel­opers of the eastern portion of 101 are a series of development “pockets.” Can this develop­ment movement be joined Into something that is positive for all concerned?

Yes, with some coordina­tion. These pockets could be developed in a Mariner that would fall within the efficient land use patterns that are propos­ed by Sausalito architect Peter’ Calthorpe in his “Pedestrian Pockets.” Such development could also serve as the start for pocket developments all the way up the existing railroad line.

Calthorpe’s “Pedestrian Pockets” call for dense, mixed use development within a 1/4 mile of the railroad right-of-way with, large open spaces surrounding the development. A series of such developments through Marin and Sonoma’ would allow increased opportunities for people to live and~ work at one of the mini-neighborhood pockets. This would increase the likelihood that they would hop a train to go to and from work, as well as to shop and socialize. The proposal Is so logical, efficient and sensible that it is bound to cause debates, ar­guments and lost opportunities.

Dwayne Hunn is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canal Community Alliance and’ is Assistant Executive Director of Novato Ecumenical Housing.