Opening roads for the Latino community will enrich West Marin



“I believe this workshop was a good thing not only for the people that went, but also to all of the Latino community. It is showing us that people are interested in hearing our voice, and that we actually have one. It makes all of us feel included in this amazing community.”

– Adriana Lopez, Bilingual Administrative Assistant, West Marin Senior Services


Over two weeknight evenings last month, at West Marin School in Point Reyes Station, four-dozen members of the local Latino community gathered for an Abriendo Caminos, or opening roads, facilitated workshop. The assembly featured presentations; intellectual, emotional and communication exercises; and small group and large discussions as well as food, conversation and ritual. Its purpose was to train community members in leadership – however each individual might define “leadership” for herself or himself – and to encourage increased Latino participation in solving problems confronting both the Latino and Anglo communities.

This brief but, for participants and facilitators, profoundly moving gathering had been a long time coming, founded on years of work by and support of such local non-profit organizations as West Marin Community Services, Marin County Health and Human Services, West Marin Family Services, Coastal Health Alliance, West Marin Senior Services, Marin County Free Library, West Marin Literacy Program and others.

The goals of Abriendo Caminos were twofold:

1) To have collective understanding about what it means to be a leader, including defining who is a leader, and exploring the barriers and opportunities confronted in and by the community.


2) To create a space for collective learning and healing so that attendees might share their personal stories in an honest way that fosters more meaningful relationships.



“Abriendo Caminos (Latino Empowerment training) is work this community has been hungering for – and we all win. The West Marin Fund will continue to support this heartwarming effort, and its leadership. We invite others who value such engaged diversity to join us. Really, we’re making something happen in West Marin that other communities only dream of.”

– Catherine Porter, Executive Director, West Marin Fund


Abriendo Caminos developed out of a cultural and societal sense of disempowerment that did not begin here in West Marin, California or the United States, but originates in the countries of origin of our Latino and Hispanic friends and neighbors. These issues continued and flourished, and were exploited and accentuated here. Such problems as hierarchy, classism, and being seen and treated as less than equal based on one’s skin color, education, region and country of origin are among such issues. These obstacles were, and are, then played out to the benefit of others – the neighbors, friends, colleagues and community members who do not live under such restrictions or marginalization.

Abriendo Caminos, however, was intended and designed to focus not so much on community as a place of hurt but as of opportunity, and to address the often-expressed question by some in the Anglo community, Why aren’t Latinos involved in the larger community?

  Stories emerge


Through one-on-one case management at such agencies as the West Marin office of Marin County Health and Human Services, Shoreline School Readiness and others mentioned above, a weft of stories began to reveal themselves.

For example, a Latino community member overheard an Anglo neighbor saying, “These Latinos don’t know how to eat well, they just binge on chips and sugar.” In fact, nothing could be more offensive to a Latino. This remark served as a lightening bolt to the heart of how little some in the non-Latino communities understood Latinos, including the degradation of family structure and of community through the traumas of asylum-seeking and of immigration, and how these factors affect and shift Latino behavior.



“We are working on being a united, diverse community, so as the workshop title suggests, opening roads in community inclusion and leadership is essential to take advantage of the strength of our many individual and cultural perspectives – uniting to grow and lift our community.”

­– Maurice “Skip” Schwartz, Executive Director, West Marin Senior Services


Out of such simple but painful occurrences arose an idea for the La Mesa de las Abuelas event. In English it means Our Grandmother’s Table. The event outwardly focused on food but actually served as an exploration of the deeper cultural and familial roots that both bind and distinguish the rich diversity of not only our Latino communities but the entirety of West Marin’s immigrant population, i.e. all of us.

Figuratively switching the tables without coming from a place of hurt or combativeness but instead looking into the personal and collective Latino history, participants in La Mesa de las Abuelas rediscovered healthy family recipes as well as warm recollections of grandparents, in celebration and pride.

Organized as a small potluck, La Mesa de las Abuelas brought together family recipes and food from home, and not simply from Latino community members. Green beans with tomato, onion and chilies; pork in tomato broth; Tepache, a mildly fermented pineapple beverage; Calabasas (sautéed squash) pot black and pinto beans, and more comidas deliciosas were appreciated, honored and discussed alongside roasted chicken, roasted apples, Irish soda bread, roasted beets, beef stew and goulash, in an atmosphere of curiosity, respect and pleasure.

Through this shared experience an allegorical light bulb illuminated the perspective of non-Latino participants, some of whose own grandmothers had in fact prepared meals out of cans and boxes. The realization arose that all of us have something to contribute at the table.



“Collaborative members helped plan, set up, and provide food, but did not attend Abriendo Caminos, so hearing about the training at our debrief was pretty great. We’re incredibly blessed to live and work in a community that wants to be “one” – where we want to know each other and understand each other better and where we want to share in making decisions that impact our lives. I see Abriendo Caminos as an important step toward achieving that goal.”

– Bonny White, Branch Manager, West Marin Libraries, Marin County Free Library



Through the success of La Mesa de las Abuelas two more events were organized, with the addition of storytelling alongside sharing home-cooked dishes and family memories, serving as a cultural exchange. Attendees reminisced about the smell of their abuela’s kitchen and the warmth of the comal (griddle) as she made tortillas, for example.

The third gathering took a different turn, responding to funding requests made to the West Marin Fund by West Marin non-profit organizations. The executive directors and boards of some of these organizations had asked the Fund to provide financing for increased Latino involvement on their boards, a shift indicating a broader interest by the Anglo leadership in including at the decision-making table people who are not yet present in the room, so to speak. That the push to invite Latinos came from the existing non-Latino leadership is significant, a real game-changer.

Using the La Mesa platform to demystify and build community, relationships between individuals and elements of the larger community began increasing and expanding. A general sense developed of prioritizing leaders in community-based organizations who could mingle with existing leadership, and to cultivate and train up-and-coming Latinos leaders based on the shared recommendations of their peers. It was out of this process that an ad hoc West Marin collaborative became a force of exploring who ought to be present at the head table.


 The West Marin Collaborative


The West Marin Collaborative, whose constituent participants include a broad cross section of local individuals, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies, including many already mentioned above as well as public school principals, had been meeting for several years to examine, discuss and address Latino community issues and poverty in West Marin. The Collaborative meets regularly and is open to anyone, and to additional agencies and organizations, who wish to engage in this ongoing partnership.

One of the long-range goals of the West Marin Collaborative has been the opening up of the process to include non-Latinos in leadership training, and to coach leaders who could participate in local governing and non-profit boards, place-specific to this rural community.




“As a Community Health Center, Coastal Health Alliance is governed by a consumer Board of Directors that is expected to represent our patient mix, to best meet the needs of the community. CHA whole-heartedly supports the Latino Empowerment/Abriendo Caminos process and looks forward to greater Latino involvement in determining the future of health care services in West Marin.”

Steven Siegel, Executive Director, Coastal Health Alliance



Again, in response to the question, Why aren’t Latinos involved?, a Latino experience of feeling powerless and of not being welcomed, was common in spite of the best intentions of the Anglo community. Two existing community leaders, Socorro Romo of West Marin Community Services and Maria Niggle of West Marin Family Services (and formerly with Shoreline School Readiness) began researching, inquiring and listening to the comments, yearnings and suggestions of both Latinos and Anglos. It was through that simple process of inquiry and feedback that the idea for Abriendo Caminos arose.

“Learning from each other, valuing what we have and appreciating each other, this is why we feel that building community is important; it is what we want to see happening,” said Socorro Romo. “None of us desires to be separated, but first we must learn to value ourselves. This process is not about taking away power from any of us; it is about how can we enrich the community. How can we hold the communal space so that all of us can feel confident? That is why Abriendo Caminos came about.”

Last month’s two-day gathering was both an empowerment retreat as well as an opportunity for individual and group introspection. “Given the obligations and limitations set by family and livelihood, transportation, time and so forth, not everyone has the leisure time to engage in such meaningful activity, and when we do have it, why not use it?” said Maria Niggle. “The goal of this guided retreat and training was to offer the message that even with limitations we can speak up about what we want to see in our community, and about how can we feel equal and participate in the community equally.”

Maria adds, “Of course none of us, individuals, families or communities, are islands, disconnected and adrift from the rest. Much gratitude and thanks are owed not only for the actual September 23 and 24 gathering but the incubation as well came from the West Marin Collaborative; even choosing the workshop name itself was a collaboration.”

Around the same time, members of the Latino community stepped forward with the proposal to arrange a Mexican Independence Day celebration, as a means for the two communities – Latino and Anglo – to become better acquainted. Held at the West Marin Commons in Point Reyes Station, the September 14 event featured a range of live music and dance performances, homemade food and beverages. At one point, nearly 200 people of all ages and cultures gathered in the brilliant weather. The event was a huge success and shifted the perceptions of many who attended. Cultural dignity, values and celebration are important to the whole community, regardless of their origins!

The supporting role of community-based organizations such as West Marin Fund, Coastal Health Alliance and The Marin Literacy Program, each of which provided generous financial grants, was key, as were the financial contributions of numerous individuals. One anonymous donor even provided $3,000 towards Abriendo Caminos. Additionally, home-cooked suppers and lovely volunteer-created table settings by members of Mainstreet Moms; physical space provided by Shoreline Unified School District’s West Marin School and set up by the staff of Gallery Route One; and childcare coordinated by Madeline Hope, Nancy Bertelsen and Papermill Creek Children’s Corner also served to create a supportive, safe environment.

“We were happy to host Abriendo Caminos at our school and to provide another in a series of leadership opportunities for our Latino parents. From a personal and professional perspective, I look forward to continuing our effort to meet the challenge of providing the best educational opportunities for our Latino and all students by working together as a learning community.”

– Matthew Nagle, Principal, West Marin/Inverness School



‘Feels like the right time’


Socorro Romo, in thanking these community allies, remarked, “In providing the space for this group to think through its issues and opportunities, the success is an outcome of a shared community effort and willingness to make the effort to listen, to go deep, rather than just to get something done.”

“Stepping back from problem solving, we looked instead to explore the qualities of leadership through an internal discussion, rather than simply anointing a leader,” said participant Rebecca Porrata, retired Public Health Nurse. “Thanks to the dedication of participating individuals and our collaborative allies, we built on the foundation of past community efforts by schools, churches, Health and Human Services and so many others, all of whom had been preparing the soil for decades.”

“This feels like it is the right time to begin working towards a unified community, one community that honors and celebrates all of our heritages,” continued Rebecca Porrata. “I feel proud of the fact that we are working together to train new leaders for meaningful board participation, bringing others into the decision-making process and moving these organizations forward.”

Indeed, the spirit of the times is to do something now. Latinos are staying in West Marin longer, they are settling in. Yet our rural immigrants are isolated, unlike the more urban areas of east Marin with its supermarkets, public transportation, and the ability to find work on the street corner. Here in West Marin, many times Latino folks are out on a ranch trying to get somewhere, literally and figuratively.

“The purpose of our exercises was to form a trusting body of people, through individual and group exercises that helped us reflect on leadership, on what we are currently doing in our community, and on the values that we can contribute to our community,” said Socorro Romo. “What can I do for my community? What gifts do I bring to the table, and what opportunities are there to share my gifts? Through lots of exercises, participants explored the intersections of ‘me’ and ‘community.’ Who am I, and how do I give back to the community?”



“The Marin Literacy/West Marin Literacy Program recognizes that a crucial part of our Latino community feeling confident to step into roles of leadership and community involvement is more complex than simply offering literacy services. When this project was first proposed, our board was immediately enthusiastic to be a funding sponsor and has budgeted future funds to continue to support this powerful work.”

– Robin Carpenter, Executive Director, The Marin Literacy Program

  “I can reposition my perspective’


Finally, rituals were held at end of both evenings, incorporating a table for altar offerings presented by the participants, who had been invited to bring an item to which they felt an attachment. On the first evening these offerings were placed on the altar, alongside lit candles. On the second evening participants were invited to organize, and if so moved, to reorganize the offerings, as well as to reflect on what message did they have to share with the group.

“To build a community,” said Maria Niggle, “we need to bring our values, our heart, and to do it with love. It’s okay to make changes, to change ideas, even to make changes to someone else’s altar offering. In the end the product was so beautiful. One participant remarked, ‘I felt power, and no fear in moving my item. I can also reposition my perspective!’”



The West Marin Collaborative has been supporting community empowerment and enrichment activities since its inception as the “Latino Family Services” group that began many years ago. Through advocacy and empowerment of Latino voices, concerns and solutions can be elevated on a local, state and even federal level.

– Kathleen Roach, Public Health Nurse, Marin County Health and Human Services, Point Reyes Station


Evaluations were completed by nearly all of the participants on both days, the results of which are being assessed and will help determine the next steps. One statistic stands out as indicative of the success of Abriendo Caminos and can be appreciated by anyone who has participated in an intensive workshop such as this: more people showed up the second evening than on the first.

Others evaluation summaries include that more than half of respondents felt they are now able to identify oppression in their own life, including identifying institutional oppression; half of respondents can identify leadership skills within themselves; and three-quarters were able to articulate a situation in which they felt oppressed, versus less than a handful of participants at the beginning of the workshop.


“Our Latino community has been behind the scenes for many years; we hope that that is about to change. The leadership workshop “Abriendo Caminos” illustrates that our Latino community is ready to embark on a new journey. Our duty as community members and agencies is to encourage and support this new direction, by becoming culturally proficient agencies that respectfully encourage the participation of all cultures represented in our wonderful community.”

– Lourdes Romo, West Marin Senior Services Board



As an outcome, some Proximos Pasos – next steps – have already been identified, with more to follow. First, to continue these overview empowerment retreats; and second, monthly Talleres de Bienestar Comunitarios (Community Wellness Workshops), therapeutic workshops under the auspices of Health and Human Services on different themes identified by the community. One such topic is bullying, both in school and in the community, among adults and adult bullying reflected in the behavior of our children, and addressing how to put a stop to bullying. Each month’s Tallares de Bienestar workshop will examine a different such theme through a therapeutic lens.

A third Proximos Pasos is intensive leadership training for Latino community members who are ready to serve as organization board members, through identifying individuals who just need a little extra help, support, strategies and techniques. A number of such individuals have already been identified.

As Socorro Romo puts it, “The confidence I saw in the faces of the Abriendo Caminos participants is evidence of the efficacy of such community and individual efforts. This gives us all the energy and inspiration to keep moving forward in finding creative and meaningful ways to contribute.”
If you would like to support, get involved or stay informed of these efforts, contact Socorro Romo of West of Marin Community Services, at and (415) 663-8631, or Maria Niggle of Marin Health and Human Services, West Marin Service Center, at and (415) 473-3807.



Sarah Rolph on Public Scoping

Rolph defends rehash

Ed Nute calls my piece “Weaponizing NEPA” a rehash. That was by design; the repetition seemed necessary to fully make my point that the Park Service at Point Reyes seems to be using the same dirty-tricks playbook against the ranchers that it used against the oyster farmers.

The second half of the story contained new information:  My analysis of the public scoping comments on the Ranch CMP, over half of which were generated by a coordinated effort and sent in by people who have almost certainly never heard of either West Marin or the Ranch CMP. Over 1500 people were duped into believing that greedy ranchers in a national park somewhere are trying to kill off the wildlife.

Instead of setting aside these clearly irrelevant comments, the Park Service tallied them in a report and released it to the public. Just as it did with the 45,000 non-substantive comments about the DBOC Draft EIS–until the very end of the process, when those same comments were quietly discarded, categorized as non-substantive as the law requires.

Abuse of power by a federal agency is not something that should be swept under the rug. If it disturbs anyone’s “healing” process to read about this, I recommend skipping my op-eds. I don’t plan to shut up any time soon.

Sarah Rolph
Carlisle, MA


What a candidate stands for trumps their political party


It’s election season again, and in a few weeks we will be asked to choose those who will represent and govern us in various legislative bodies and local boards.

Some candidates for public office list their party affiliation and others do not. Candidates for national and statewide office do. Those for local office like school boards, fire and utility districts, and local boards of supervisors do not.
In fact it is illegal to inject partisan politics into most local boards.

Imagine what would happen if, for example, school board members were obliged to vote not for what they felt was best for the kids, but for what the party dictated.

Considering how bodies like Congress or our state legislature often become snarled or even paralyzed by fights between Democrats and Republicans. Isn’t it a blessing that political parties are kept away from local politics? Makes one wonder if we really need political parties anyway.

There is not one word in our Constitution about political parties. Our Founding Fathers warned us against them when creating the republic. Yet the Democrat and Republican parties have divided the legislative decision making power of our nation and our state governments between themselves.
They control who is the powerful head of every legislative committee. They decide which legislation gets to be voted on, and which ones are ignored.

In almost every other area of human endeavor such a division of control and power between two large entities would be deemed illegal as some kind of conspiracy. Perhaps one day some prosecutor or citizen’s group
will have the courage to test this question in court because neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are likely to voluntarily give up any of their power.

I for one will be voting for candidates because of what they stand for and who they are, not for what political party they belong to.

Richard Kirschman
Point Reyes Station


Are McMansions the future for West Marin?

By Steve Martinek, Inverness Park

Does a recent building permit application presage a trend?

County planners are examining plans for a proposed single-family residence compound at 135 Balboa Ave. Inverness Park, at the intersection with Drake Summit Road. A legal entity named Hidden Dragon LLC submitted the plans for a Coastal Permit and Design Review. Many may know this address as the site of the former St. Eugene’s Hermitage, vacated by the monks in 2006 when their efforts to improve the property were thwarted by local objections and the planning process.

Hidden Dragon’s proposal to raze all existing structures and replace them with six buildings of a total area of 8,297 square feet warrants closer inspection. Community Development Agency planner Heidi Scoble has examined the documents submitted to date and requested additional information. A public hearing is pending the additional information, but community members are welcome to comment in writing. Chris Stanton of Inverness Construction Management is the permit applicant for Hidden Dragon LLC.

Given the size of the proposed construction, it is hard not to ask the questions, Is this development suitable for the site, sensitive to both the neighborhood and the characteristics of the location? Is it in keeping with the applicable Marin County zoning laws, C-RSP-0.1 and C-SF2?

The parcel is large, nearly 17 acres, and a significant portion is comprised of undesirable steep slopes with an additional area restricted by a conservation easement. Despite this, the proposed construction will have a significant impacted on the site.


Six buildings


The planned six buildings include a single-family home of 5,494 square feet, a 750-square-foot caretaker’s residence, and a 1316-square-foot studio. The remainder of the declared building area is comprised of two garages, a pool house and lap pool.

It is noteworthy to examine these declared sizes in light of the applicable county codes and guidelines. Marin’s Residential Design Guidelines state that a primary design objective is to preserve “the special qualities of a place that attracted residents to particular communities.” And note that “The primary challenge posed by new single-family projects…is to create desirable new development which: (1) preserves the scenic natural setting;” and “(2) allows mixed (sizes and styles of) residential communities while maintaining the predominant community character.” The guidelines further state: “Generally speaking, the floor area of the proposed development should not substantially exceed the median home size in the surrounding neighborhood.”

A review of over 50 property sizes using the internet site, revealed average home sizes of approximately 1400 square feet on Balboa Ave. and 2000 square feet on Drake Summit Dr. Average home sizes on Portola and Buena Vista were even smaller, 935 and 1200 sq ft, respectively. Median home sizes were within 100 square feet of these values, in all cases lower than the average except for the homes on Drake Summit where the median was greater.

Clearly the proposed main dwelling, at 2.7 to 3.9 times larger in size, substantially exceeds the size of the surrounding properties. This proposed dwelling is even approximately 25 percent larger than the largest existing home on Drakes View Drive. It also worth noting that the properties reviewed had on average 2 to 2.4 bedrooms and 1.3 to 2 bathrooms. The proposed main house design at 135 Balboa at present includes six bedrooms, with an additional six possible bedrooms, 11 toilets and nine showers/baths. In an era of water consciousness, 11 toilets, nine showers? What is the impact on ground water resources to support this plan?

An immediate obvious question: What constitutes a single-family dwelling? Nuclear family? Extended family? With a structure of this size proposed as the main dwelling, what happens if the owner’s plans change? What if after construction, Hidden Dragon doesn’t occupy and the property ends up on the market. Do the new owners appeal for a commercial license based on size and seek a change in zoning? Does it become a conference center, a B&B? Or an under-the-radar Airbnb property? What qualities does it then contribute to the neighborhood?


Historic trees cut


It is equally important to consider the other important item from the summarized guidelines mentioned earlier: (1) preserves the scenic natural setting. The placement of the main house has apparently been made in convenience for construction and design concept and in complete disregard for the site. The permit application states the intent to remove 48 trees. A significant number of these are 100-ft.-tall Douglas fir “heritage” trees at the main house site. The existing story poles show an apparent total disregard of these trees when siting the structure. The natural “scenic setting” will essentially be clear cut to build the oversized main structure. Additional trees will be removed to accommodate the driveway, parking area and possibly only to open the view. This cluster of trees is capable of removing a metric ton of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere. County code requires mitigating the removal of these trees, and the plan proposes planting buckeyes and oaks, but is this an equitable remediation?

It is also instructive to consider the proposed caretaker residence. At 750 square feet it conforms to second unit requirements in the code. This residence is situated in an area that also necessitates the removal of a significant number of trees including heritage Douglas fir and oaks. And it threatens a neighboring property with light pollution.

In need of closest scrutiny is the proposed “studio” building. Inconvenient to the main house, the studio is co-located with and shares a deck with the caretaker house. At 1300 square feet, it contains a “living room,” three studios, a meditation room and a bathroom. It could easily be a living room, four bedrooms and a bath. The plans also show a double sink in the bath of the “studio” that suggests a master bath rather than a utilitarian space. But even more troubling is the fact that the caretaker residence is not accessible directly from the garage in this cluster of buildings. Egress from the garage to the caretaker residence is only apparent through the studio space. The layout strongly suggests the caretaker residence and studio functions as a 2066-square-foot house in clear size violation of the second unit regulations. If this was not the intent, the submitted plans fail to be convincing.

The broader question, however, is worthy of more consideration. Does this permit application represent the future of building in West Marin? Where existing structures can be summarily razed and replaced with inappropriately sized homes? All of the existing structures at the site probably do not warrant preservation or could even be rescued, but a more creative and site-sensitive approach is certainly feasible.

County planners face challenges in reviewing this application. Approval of the current plans would set a precedent that might be hard to reverse in the future. The county is accepting written comments on the proposed plan as part of the review process. Send comments to (


Thank you to the Lunny Family

We offer our personal standing ovation to the Lunny Family for showing

us all what it looks like to care deeply about nourishing human beings, protecting

shared land resources and honoring a food producing tradition on Point Reyes

that has been serving the community for 100 years.  We thank you heartily

for showing us how to uphold the highest standards of ethics and practices and inner

direction when the very opposite was being unleashed on you.  We are deeply grateful

for your modeling of tenacity, patience, maintaining hope beyond all reason and then,

moving on in a related vein when the choices diminish.  Our sincere thanks to all Lunnys.

Kate Munger and Jim Fox


Shout Out For The Lunny’s

The fat lady is finally singing for the Lunnys and her tune sounds like a dirge. But whatever side you were on, the oyster farm is now part of the rich history of our small community.

I will always remember watching Kevin Lunny at so many, many meetings conduct himself with courage, grace, intelligence and most of all honesty! In this he never wavered. And in all of my conversations with ANY of the Lunnys, there has never been one vitriolic word against anyone in the National Park Service. Always only facts were stated.
Everyone has the right to fight for what he believes is the best good. I have watched the Lunnys fight a David vs. Goliath battle for Drakes Bay Oyster Company. This commitment has taken tremendous courage, time, money and probably good health with all the hard work he put in to saving DBOC.
I think the Lunny’s have fought a good battle and have acquiesced with grace and sincerity.
In my opinion, they have shown us the Best of the Best of the America’s spirit.
I salute them, each and every one of them (Joe, Sr., Joan, Nancy, Kevin, Patrick, Sean, Bridgit, Ginny, Jorge and Lorreta Murphy, too ) and I wish them all the best luck in the world on their new adventure.
Laura Marcoux

Point Reyes Station

West Marin Sheriff’s Logs


Monday October 13

Stinson Beach 5:17 am Woman walking her dog was concerned about an elderly man who is homeless. Woman came across a walker and some trash and believed it belonged to allegedly homeless man whom she believed may be in jeopardy. Man was located and stated that he is fine.

Point Reyes Station 7:45 am Reporting party stated that partner was having a mental breakdown and threatening to break down the door.

Forest Knolls 3:27 pm Caller has been receiving disturbing texts from a man- someone known to reporting party. Report taken.

Forest Knolls 10:08 pm Woman reported that her ex-boyfriend was breaking their restraining order by continuing to send her harassing texts. Ex was advised to stop texting and woman was educated on how to block a number on her IPhone.


Tuesday October 14

Dillon Beach 3:43 am Man reported that propane fueled refrigerator was on fire. Man left his trailer after fire went out because he feared the fire might be in the walls.

Woodacre 11:21 pm Woman reported that her neighbor was blowing leaves with his leaf blower onto her property. Man reports this is not the first time he has this conversation with his neighbor and agreed he would no longer displace his leaves on her property.

Wednesday October 15

Nicasio 7:39 pm Dispatcher received a call from someone yelling “Oh my God!” in the background. Male subject got on the line and stated everything was okay and then hung up.

Point Reyes Station 7:43 pm Brother called deputies to request they check in on his sister whose phone has been busy all day. Sister contacted and advised to call her brother.


Thursday October 16

Inverness Park 9:03 am Man contacted deputies to report that he lost his drivers license somewhere in his home. Man advised about how to replace his I.D. at local DMV.

Stinson Beach 2:53 pm The fire department passed on second hand information regarding a man walking around saying that he wants to kill police officers.

Stinson Beach 3:21 pm A woman reported that she saw a woman standing in front of a store looking sad. Woman was wearing loose baggy men’s clothing and was accompanied by a man.

Marshall 5:36 pm Neighbors contacted caller to report that they believe someone is setting up a campsite near the Post Office. Deputies investigated and did not find anybody camping in the area.

Point Reyes Station 8:18 pm Man reported that someone next door was having a loud drunken party. Man asked by dispatcher if he believed this could have something to do with the Giants game on T.V. Man said he heard someone yell, “Kill me!” Deputies found everything quiet at the party house and were unable to reach the responding person to follow up.

Bolinas 8:44 pm Woman called to report that she heard a man and woman screaming at each other somewhere in the vicinity of the tennis courts. Deputies at the scene were unable to locate argumentative couple.

Bolinas 9:18 pm Man arrested and booked for outstanding warrant.

Bolinas 10:01 pm Man called to report that his girlfriend is trying to evict him. Girlfriend got on phone to say that he had hit her. Man and woman had been drinking and man agreed to leave for the night.


Friday October 17

Woodacre 5:02 am Reporting party stated that there is a jeep covered with a tan tarp that has been parked in the area for a month. Deputies searched the area and could not find a jeep nor any other vehicle covered with a tarp.

Point Reyes Station 8:19 am Reporting party stated that they had been involved in a road rage incident. Subject allegedly had a gun but when confronted by deputies was found in possession of a knife.

Bolinas 9:48 am Reporting party stated his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend were at their house this morning being aggressive. Party would like some advice.

Bolinas 10:01 am Clinic called to report that a patient, who in the past has been belligerent and is scheduled to come in today, is being told he can no longer get his pain medication from them. Clinic is concerned that man may react badly.


Saturday October 18

Bolinas 4:00 am Man at local hospital reported to staff that he had been assaulted outside a local bar. When contacted he said that it was more of an accidental assault and would not cooperate with questioning as he did not believe any crime had occurred.

Point Reyes Station 10:52 am Reporting party was driving and came upon a group of bicyclist’s driving three abreast and blocking the roadway. When asked to move, driver received the finger.

Forest Knolls 8:28 pm Man stated that his Apple lap top computer had been stolen from under his bed. Burglar allegedly entered through unlocked back door.


Sunday October 19

Lagunitas 4:33 pm Woman reported that her babysitter is stalking her. She also alleges that she beats her child and has been videotaping her.

Forest Knolls 11:51 pm Reporting party stated that there was loud live music playing next door. Deputies responded and asked resident to turn his music down.

Tide Pool Etiquette at Duxbury Reef


Duxbury Reef, located at the edge of the Bolinas headland as the largest shale reef in North America. This reef and its surrounding waters are home to billions of creatures from the microscopic to harbor seals, sharks and visiting whales–in an ecosystem of truly astonishing complexity. Our human experience of the reef is enriched if we know how to respect and protect this ecosystem while learning about its fascinating inhabitants. On Saturday October 25, the Bolinas Museum presents Ocean Wonders: Sea & Sunset tour, (by reservation) a tide pool etiquette walk with Bruce Bowser, who serves on the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) Advisory Council and is a trained reef docent for the GFNMS and the California Academy of Sciences’ Rocky Shore Partnership.

The Gold Rush era ship Duxbury left its name on the reef after briefly running aground, but the three miles of rough reef rock has been the scene of many shipwrecks. The reef’s shale is sturdy enough to withstand the powerful ocean, yet soft enough for such organisms as sea urchins, chitons and rock boring clams to make countless niches for themselves and others. Reef inhabitants evolved ingenious adaptations for withstanding the intense challenge of living in a fierce environment of pounding waves and inundation by seawater alternating with exposure at low tide to drying sun and wind and to predators. They must also adjust salt content in their bodies, have very specific feeding and protective techniques and now face warming water temperatures. Add to these challenges the incursion of humans.

Generations of visitors to the reef have trampled reef life and carried off countless buckets of animals–from Bay area families foraging snails, abalone, crab, clams, mussels and seaweed for food and scientists over-collecting, to casual visitors or bus loads of school children. Toxins from shipwrecks, land run off and chemicals are another threat.
All have unintended but devastating effects on the fragile balance of this ecosystem.

Conservation of Duxbury Reef was instigated by Gordon Chan, a marine biology professor at College of Marin, who intensely studied the reef in the 1960s. Alarmed by his findings, he compiled irrefutable scientific evidence that the health of this reef depended on it being protected. Chan’s leadership resulted in Marin County creating Duxbury Reef State Marine Reserve in 1971. Yet it took decades more to protect the reef as it is today– under firm state and federal regulations, with Marin County Parks jurisdiction of the upland area.

Over several decades Gordon Chan, fellow marine biology professor Al Molina and former County Naturalist Bob Stewart were instrumental in educating and inspiring thousands of students and the public to value the reef. That legacy is carried on today
by educators like Professor Joe Mueller at College of Marin, and dedicated conservation organizations with members like Bruce Bowser who work to protect the reef through monitoring and education.

Bowser’s lifelong passion for ocean advocacy led him to the GFNMS Advisory Council in 2006, where he also chaired the working group that developed the Bolinas Lagoon Ecosystem Restoration Project. Bowser has dedicated much of his adult life to grassroots and environmental non-profit work. He is semi retired as an international commercial interior and graphic design professional. He and his wife Marlie de Swart moved to Bolinas in 1992. Bowser’s deep commitment to preservation and his joy in sharing the wonder of Duxbury Reef are contagious. Tour space is limited so please make your reservation now by calling (415) 868-0330. $20 general / $15 Bolinas Museum members. For more information visit This event is part of the Ocean: Wonders & Wellness exhibitions and programming at Bolinas Museum where admission to the Museum is always free.


Continuing the discussion


By Charles Schultz
Peter Barnes wrote last week in a letter to the Citizen that, whatever the validity of my other observations, he is not a neoliberal or a Thatcherite…
Tony Benn records in his diary in 1999 the introduction of a bill in parliament by Tony Blair’s government to privatize the British postal system. Benn writes that the Conservative Party opposite the supposedly left of center Labour Party were beside themselves, roaring in wave after wave of laughter as the bill was being read out. The Conservatives couldn’t believe that the privatization of this valued and formerly inviolable public service, the destruction of a public institution that they had failed to achieve in ten years in power under Margaret Thatcher, was going to be accomplished by their opponents. The Labour Party? Thatcherite? Neoliberal?
In their long exodus from power, the Labour Party adopted the economic policies of the right, neoliberal economic policies. Peter Mandelson, Blair’s Karl Rove if you like, even declared after a “weekend-long policy brainstorming session” with Blair and Bill Clinton that “we’re all Thatcherites now.”
The man whose work is the basis of Cap and Trade was called Ronald Coase. In 1990, the year before he received the Nobel Prize in economics for the very theory we are discussing, Coase told the man who was to become the leading exponent of the localist opposition to empire and climate change, Paul Fenn, that Milton Friedman had hijacked his idea, that Cap and Trade couldn’t work because the contracts would be unenforceable – polluters would find ways to cheat. Whatever their disagreements, Coase and Friedman are considered two of the thought leaders of neoliberalism and Thatcherism.
That bit about unenforceability is important. Neoliberals have an answer to Coase’s opinion that Cap and Trade would just be a realm for gaming – fraud – by polluters. They call for a strong government, and say so, to extend markets across the world and enforce the rules of these markets. Neoliberals are not for weaker government – that is just propaganda for the Bakersfield chapter of the Tea Party.
Cap and Trade was a Republican policy, but in the logic of “triangulation”, the hallmark of Bill Clinton’s “political genius”, some Democrats decided to make it their policy. Then the Republicans dropped it and moved further toward the right. And the Democrats treat their opponent’s idea as progressive.
If you are proposing the privatization of the atmosphere, to create a new market to fix the old market and call for a strong national government to enforce this new economy, what school of thought (tracking back to which politician) do you belong to?
One definition or aspect of ideology – the limits of the thinkable – runs, “They don’t know it, but they are doing it.”
So much of the poverty of our discourse is the assumption that the field of action for these issues is the national or international, that local democracy must be set aside or is irrelevant. But my message here is that there are no imperial solutions to the problems of empire. Even if the federal government did pursue the reregulation of industry, carbon taxes, or cap and dividend, and the largess of these policies do trickle down to the masses as intended, they will cause new terrifying problems.
How will we organize opposition to new crises, or our current wars, if we are all on the federal government’s payroll? The founders of this project, the Enlightenment, believed you could not both have an empire and a democracy. Jefferson said that independence from the government was a necessary condition for a citizen, as opposed to a subject. What will happen, indeed what has happened, to the idea of a citizen, when the empire has the masses on financial life support?
Cap in Hand?
These mass movements are as bankrupt as the ideas they beg the powerful to implement. They say 400,000 marched in New York. In 1995, 870,000 gathered in Washington for the Million Man March – the lives of the overwhelming majority of African Americans have been in continued steady decline since in spite of it. Marching will not melt the hearts of CEOs or Presidents. Remember all of the idea men and activists that went to DC in ‘08 – and had their meetings with senators and the President’s men – believing that they could get Obama’s ear and convince him to address this or that crisis? And they tell us we should now have a new movement, to influence a new president or even the leaders of other countries. Do they really expect a better outcome from Hillary Clinton, supposing it isn’t Jeb Bush?
Anyone who believes the federal government will hear their prayers, over the inducements of industry and the white noise of imperial power will again be predictably disappointed. Go to the level of politics where citizens still have the ability to impose their will: the municipality is the sleeping giant of American democracy and the best hope for action on the climate and economy.
I invite Mr. Barnes to publicly discuss our differing positions and how to take action on these crises.

New chapter for Drakes Bay Oyster Company


Drakes Bay Oyster Company announced it has settled its long-running lawsuit against the federal government. The legal agreement with the National Park Service, filed today, will allow the company to keep harvesting oysters until the end of 2014.

“We fought long and hard all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Along the way we stood up for family farms, for sustainable food, and for scientific integrity in government,” said Drakes Bay Oyster Company co-owners Joe, Kevin and Bob Lunny.

“At the end of the day, although we lost this battle, it was important for us to be a voice for justice for family farms,” the Lunnys added.  “But we also respect the rule of law.  Even though we believe we were right, as good and law-abiding Americans, we accept this decision and will now move on to other things.”

But wait….

The Lunnys also have good news to announce.  Having fallen in love with the sustainability, ecological contributions, and food value of oysters, the Lunnys are planning a new venture: Drakes Oyster House, a restaurant to be located at the Tomales Bay Resort in Inverness, California.

In addition, because restaurant owners recognize the Lunny’s commitment to quality and service, Drakes Bay will also continue distributing oysters.  Hundreds of restaurants and markets around the San Francisco Bay Area will still be able to depend on Drakes Bay for their shellfish needs.

“This new venture will allow us to continue to provide jobs for many of our oyster workers while supporting other small family farms and fishermen in West Marin County,” said Kevin Lunny.  “We are delighted that we will be able to continue to offer bags of oysters to our cherished Drakes Bay retail customers.  And we are very excited about the opportunity to serve oysters and other fabulous local food at this stunning location on the water, with dining and decks overlooking beautiful Tomales Bay.”

Tomales Bay Resort owner Jeff Harriman said “I am thrilled to have the Lunnys bring the restaurant component to our five acre, 35 room resort and marina.”

“This is a great outcome,” said Corey Goodman, scientist, activist and Marshall rancher who advocated on behalf of DBOC. “The Lunnys remain in the community as vibrant members. Hopefully their new seafood restaurant thrives, and they continue in the oyster world. A good solution given a terrible court decision.”

Goodman is not completely at ease, however. “The worry of course is that the ranchers have bulls eyes on their back.  The press release [from Environmental Action Committee of West Marin] makes it as clear as can be.”

The EAC press release passage he finds specifically worrisome is this: “Now we will be able to find out just what difference, if any, oysters really have, or whether, instead, what matters is controlling what flows into an estuary.”

Editor’s note: Amy Trainer, executive director of the EAC, sent this correction to the Citizen re: the EAC press release:

The quote mentioned is from a “Protect Our Shoreline” News website posting that added commentary about an EAC press release, but the quote Corey attributes to us did not come from EAC.  Amy Trainer


In the settlement agreement, the farm will be allowed to continue harvesting oysters until the end of the year.  The National Park Service wants the oyster farm’s operations ended, and so the Park Service will be taking responsibility for removing all of the oyster-farming equipment and structures remaining in Drakes Estero.  The Park Service has also pledged to provide relocation assistance to the company’s workers.  The settlement agreement has been submitted to the federal district court for its formal approval.

“We’d like to thank our many friends and supporters, starting with Senator Dianne Feinstein and Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey.  We are especially grateful for our employees, many of whom we hope will keep working with us as we move forward,” the Lunnys said.


Couple selects PRNS for their final repose

By Shelly Ingram
Thousands of people come to the Point Reyes National Seashore every year seeking to escape into a natural setting. Tod Fletcher, 62, and Susan Peabody, 66, of Petaluma did just that last weekend. But this was their final journey.
Their bodies were found by hikers near the Sky Camp trailhead parking area at approximately 9:30 on the morning of Tuesday, September 30. According to a close friend of Tod Fletcher the gun found at the scene was most likely his father’s World War II service revolver, but this has not been officially confirmed. A copy of Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma was left on Limantour Road. The hiker who discovered the pair had camped at Sky Camp overnight and recalled seeing the couple earlier the previous evening.
Jeff Stahl, a colleague and close friend of Fletcher’s since they met in Berkeley in 1987, told the Citizen that West Marin had long been a favorite hiking spot for Fletcher.
“I would go to visit him and go hiking and we would always go to West Marin,” said Stahl, recalling that there was a particular beach in the vicinity of Limantour that he enjoyed and visited frequently.
Fletcher wrote and mailed letters of explanation and farewell to three of his colleagues. A letter dated September 28 to Fred Burks, Fletcher’s colleague at the non-profit Public Education and Empowerment Resource Service (PEERS) explains the couple’s deaths simply and directly.
The first sentence of the letter reads:
“Susan has reached the point at which she requires release and as she can’t effect this herself, I must help her, as I promised her long ago I would do.”
Susan Peabody had suffered from a chronic illness for nearly three decades, and had previously attempted suicide. Still, the decision to take the final step seems to have been a sudden one precipitated by a recent extremely painful period.
“Dr. Griffin and I are devastated by this,” Canadian colleague Elizabeth Woodworth told the Citizen “We think it was as sudden crisis. He was still planning to work.” Fletcher had written to her twice on the 27th discussing the posting of an upcoming online review.
Stahl said he had spoken with Fletcher just a few days prior to the deaths and they had talked at length about the challenges the couple was facing.
“I saw him a few days before it happened and I thought he had decided against it,” Stahl said. “I thought they were going to get through this.”
Peabody and Fletcher met in graduate school at UC Berkeley and were married in 1980. They are both survived by siblings, but had no children. Peabody held a PhD in English Literature and Fletcher had a master’s degree in geography. Both pursued teaching careers until Peabody’s illness forced her to remain housebound and finally bedridden. Fletcher, eventually also gave up teaching and accepted work that would allow him to remain at home to care for her. They were extremely close and had made a pact that he would help her end her life if the pain became unbearable, Burks said.
Since 2005, Fletcher had worked closely with Dr. David Ray Griffin, currently a co-director of the Center for Process Studies and one of the foremost contemporary exponents of process theology. Fletcher worked as an editor on ten of the professor’s books and was his frequent representative on interview programs. The past few year he had been working as editor on Dr. Griffin’s forthcoming book, Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis, which is now in publication.
Fletcher was well known as a 9/11 truth activist. Since 2011, Fletcher had been a member of, and has contributed substantially to, the international 24-member 9/11 Consensus Panel, which offers 44 peer-reviewed Consensus Points opposing the official account of 9/11. The Panel derives its “best evidence” from a rigorous medicine-based review methodology, said colleague Elizabeth Woodworth.
Fletcher was born Thomas Christopher Fletcher in Alameda County February 27, 1952 but was known professionally as Tod Fletcher. He was an outstanding student who received both his bachelors and masters degrees in geography from UC Berkeley and had completed all but the dissertation for his PhD in the same subject. He was the author of Paiute, prospector, pioneer: The Bodie-Mono Lake area in the nineteenth century.
He wrote prolifically on a variety of subjects ranging including global ecology under his own name and several pseudonyms. Much of his work is posted on the and web pages.
But it was process philosophy that served as the basis for all his interests, Stahl said. “I would like to have him remembered for his work in process philosophy,” Stahl said.

A tribute to Tod Fletcher from a Davi RaY Griffen can be found at



West Marin Sheriff’s Logs

West Marin Sheriff’s Report
Monday September 29
Stinson Beach 10:40 am Caller reported a gold Honda Civic with its door open and items scattered on the ground. Deputy contacted owner’s mother.

Woodacre 3:17 pm Mom reported that her son was stealing from her. Mom asked for female deputy because male deputies were too ‘macho’.

Tuesday September 30
Lagunitas 2:17 am Reporting party stated that a silver Jeep Cherokee has been parked on the property for the past two years. Owners of Jeep has not lived at home for past two years.

Bolinas 5:15 am Woman stated that a man who lives in a tent near her house may have broken into her property and stolen unknown items. Woman states that the car associated with this individual is not where it usually is, and she is concerned.

Forest Knolls 9:01 am Reporting party stated that there was a man wearing an orange NFL shirt outside their home yelling. Man has been there since 7:30 am. Deputies reminded man of active restraining order stating he could not be near the house.

Bolinas 9:05 am Man reported that cash in the amount of $9,000
was stolen from jacket where he keeps his cash.

Olema 9:33 am Reporting party has come upon two dead bodies. People were older, and the man appears to have a gun near his body.

Point Reyes Station 2:16 pm Reporting party stated that two homeless individuals were fighting over allegedly missing items.
Wednesday October 1

Bolinas 10:08 am A purple camper has been parked at the end of the reporting party’s street. Reporting party’s main concern is where the campers may be relieving themselves.

Bolinas 12:04 pm Woman called to report that man who had assaulted her in the past was now at her house. Woman was told how to obtain a restraining order.

Woodacre 1:24 pm Landlord reports that tenants abruptly left their rented residence and allegedly stole comforters, DVD’s and paintings.

Point Reyes Station 4:36 pm Reporting party stated they lost their medication on the stagecoach.

Bolinas 5:56 pm Woman ran into her ex-husband in town. She is concerned after he stated, “I am dying, I don’t know how I’ll get through this. I failed at everything.” Man assessed for being a danger to himself and/or others, and was let go.

Dogtown 10:15 pm Wife reportedly punched her husband in his privates. When deputies arrived man was sitting in his car and woman was in the kitchen and both agreed to stay away from each other for the night.

Thursday October 2
Stinson Beach 2:26 am Woman reported a physical fight on the street outside her house. Deputies reports that it was a verbal altercation between two friends.

Bolinas 9:58 am Real estate agent reported that a house she is trying to sell had been “egged” and her realtor sign was torn down. She believes that this may be the acts of locals upset that they can no longer afford to buy property in the area.

Bolinas 11:17 am Mom reported that her son, who had been in contact with deputies the night before, was drinking alcohol and had jumped from dad’s car as they were trying to take him to Unit B at Marin General Hospital. Deputies found son lying on beach and he was taken to Unit B.

Point Reyes Station 5:40 pm Woman reported that she lost red prescription glasses on 9/24. She wanted to know if anyone had turned them in.

Stinson Beach 5:46 pm Woman stated that an oil painting of the Cliff House was stolen from her cabin. Painting reportedly valued at $600.

Stinson Beach 9:50 pm Caller had passed by local gym and reports the window had been broken and merchandise was outside on the floor.

Friday October 3
Stinson Beach 7:34 pm Owner of local establishment asked if there was any merit to reports his business had been broken into.

Bolinas 7:39 am Woman reported that her neighbor had sexually assaulted her. Woman reports that she did not know the woman’s name that lives next door and deputies decided there was no merit to assault charge.

Bolinas 11:53 pm Man reported that he is unable to get information from owner of dog that attacked him last week.

Forest Knolls 4:20 pm Man would like advice about neighbor who has been harassing him for the past 12 years.
Tomales 5:27 pm Woman called deputies crying, saying she wanted to give $100 bills to the fire department for helping her.

Saturday October 4
Stinson Beach 4:23 am Reporting party on route to pick up two stranded motorists. Person has not heard from them in several years and was concerned about their welfare. Deputies found stranded couple and confirmed they were still waiting for pick up.

Woodacre 9:22 am Recently evicted persons have reportedly thrown cabinets, a garden hose and a trash can into road.

Bolinas 11:36 am Man in Jaguar was reportedly punched in the face by another driver. There had been mutual physical contact but neither person would like to pursue matter legally.

Point Reyes Station 10:38 pm Reporting party stated that a shorthaired ‘hippie’ woman was yelling at her boyfriend. Deputies unable to locate anyone matching this description.

Sunday October 5
Point Reyes Station 3:16 pm A natural death was reported in town.