Senior Services shopping/outing shuttle bus: it’s not just for seniors any more

Last year, the new West Marin Shopping Shuttle, sponsored by West Marin Senior Services, successfully launched from Point Reyes Station. Priority is given to senior riders, and when space is available, non-senior shoppers are welcome to climb aboard. The Shuttle seats 12 shoppers and is equipped to accommodate persons who require use of a walker or a wheel chair.

Departing from Toby’s at 10:30 am, with a brief stop to pick up Walnut Place riders, the December 7, 2013 maiden trip drove shoppers to Safeway, Trader Joe’s and a lunch stop, all in Novato. Shoppers are invited to determine future Marin destinations in the weeks to come.

This week the Marin Transit officials renewed grant funding of $25,000, to WM Senior Services. A new schedule started in November for what is now called West Marin Shopping/Outing Shuttle bus, now open to all ages.

First Tuesday of the month: Point Reyes Station to Novato (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Safeway, Dollar Store). Departs from Toby’s at 10:15, Walnut place at 10:30 am.

Second Tuesday: Stinson Beach and Bolinas to San Anselmo/ Red Hill Shopping Center (Safeway) and San Rafael (Trader Joe’s and/or Whole Foods). Departs downtown Stinson Beach parking lot at 10:00 am and Wharf & Brighton in Bolinas at 10:20, Bolinas Fire House at 10:30.

Third Tuesday: Point Reyes Station to Novato (Costco, Target, Ross, Marshall’s). Departs Toby’s at 10:15 am, Walnut Place at 10:30, SGV Community Center at 10:45.

Fourth Tuesday: Point Reyes Station and the San Geronimo Valley Fun Outing-film or other activity to be announced.

Fifth Tuesday: Point Reyes Station and San Geronimo Valley Fun Outing-to be announced.
For more information call West Marin Senior Services. 663-8148







Which side ???


By Richard Lang, published Nov 2012.

Friends have asked, regarding my letter to the West Marin Citizen 11/15/12, “Exactly which side are you on? Was that Letter To The Editor simply another, ‘Why can’t we just get along? Kumbaya?’” Maybe…but really, it’s a plea to shift gears. Here in West Marin, two groups fought an internecine struggle while mutually engaged in a shared vision for sustainability, biodiversity, low carbon footprint, healthy farming practices—these two groups have divided themselves into what I’ve come call the Agriculturati and Wildernistas.

As I said, I’d been on both sides of the issue, but now that the decision has been made by Sect’y Salazar, my feelings have settled like silt in a pond and now, I’m profoundly sad about how this went down. Families with children are affected, the Lunny family who has put heart and soul into this endeavor is affected, we are all affected by the loss of a viable and rich source of sustainable food. Food. Not only food but also, the mighty oysters function as nature’s kidneys cleaning the estuary.

Judith, my wife, and I were in DC early this fall to give a presentation at the NEWSEUM about plastic pollution in the ocean. We were put up in a hotel used mainly by out-of-town lobbyists. During our stay we kept running into large, blond, thick-fingered folks speaking with dipthonged A’s—the accent we heard in the movie Fargo. They all had big yellow buttons saying “Ask me about the farm bill.” We did.

They were in DC from North Dakota, Iowa—Midwestern farmers lobbying for an extension of the Crop Insurance Act, a program that allows family farmers to compete with big agribusiness. The Cargills and ADMs of the world can absorb the vicissitudes of weather and pricing, but family farms, always at the edge of financing, have a harder time. The farmers told us the thrust of not allowing crop insurance has allowed the agri-giants to absorb family farm after family farm. Bad news for the environment especially as the chemical industry is in the business of making farming drug-dependant—the pushers are Dow, Monsanto, Bayer, BASF—getting farmers hooked is their idea of better living through chemistry.


Disinformation abounds, just last summer the nationally distributed report from Stanford that became a media meme, said organic food wasn’t any better for you than chemically farmed food. Hmmm…. who supported that report and pushed its distribution? Although Cargill had no traceable link to the funding, they fund the department that did the study. And a group from the UK, using the same data came up with opposite results. The crucial and unspoken issue was not the food itself but what “conventional” farming does by destroying the soil, increasing dependency on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.


In January of 2009 the Supreme Court acceded to the Citizen’s United case. However, corporations are not people or alive, they are robots whose only purpose is to maximize profits. The “good guys” in the contention are all of us who value the complexity of living systems. The “bad guys” are entities who have little at stake save a quarterly report. And they are not “bad,” per se, there is no evil 007 bad guy working the levers—corporations are simply mindless automatons, disconnected from biological life. Although Lunny was figured in some press reports as a corporate giant, he’s a family farmer, a neighbor and a vital member of our community.

Specifically, here in West Marin we have the opportunity to be a little more free of the burgeoning corporate food business and blessedly free of the corporate “fun” business of a Leisure World Theme Park. Handmade cheese and lettuce that doesn’t kill the soil goes a long way in my book. Let’s be a model of acting like an organism and feel our way through this. So, which side? What I’m for is creative solutions to our problems like Peggy Rathman and John Wick’s Marin Carbon Project. Lunny actually tried to DO something about the environment, raising food with sensitivity while doing an admirable of tidying up the mess at Johnson’s. Kumbaya? There are some scary forces at work, I’m just sayin’, “lovers of the biosphere Unite!”

Having just seen the terrific new movie Lincoln, I’m reflecting on the history of the passage of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery — how congressmen basically on the same side, were blocking passage because they weren’t getting exactly what they wanted. And, how Lincoln was masterful at making a coalition to get the bill passed.

And Lincoln, as a model for making tough legislation work was also a prescient follower of money interests. Before his presidency Lincoln was an early version of a corporate lawyer, defending the interests of the mushrooming corporations. His specialty was railroads so he knew the danger of the growing giants.

As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.

The passage appears in a letter from Lincoln to (Col.) William F. Elkins, Nov. 21, 1864


Today, we are poised at another history-changing moment, easily as momentous as ending slavery. It’s clear our environmental problems need another Lincoln—our relationship to the natural world must be corrected or we’re finished. And, maybe, in the end we can even get the vote for Harbor Seals.




The “Wave”

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…

And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark — that place where the wave finally broke, and rolled back.” Hunter S. Thompson from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1971

The “Wave” coming ashore actually did leave some gifts washing in and one was the PRNSS. This was no hallucination dissolving into pop materialism and commodification but a tangible monument to the marriage of the practical and spiritual. It was shaped as an experiment of cooperative arms embracing something precious—contentious factions worked together to make a new vision of how to be in the natural world. It was a union of the Wildernistas and the Agriculturati. A National Park that made food, what an idea…perfectly suited to this very place. The ranches and oyster farm want to do a better job at harnessing nature’s gifts, lets help them instead of proving legalistic or scientific points. It’s been said that DBOC’s renewed lease would set a dangerous precedent. We are not talking about fracking in a National Park or, god forbid, something like the damming of Hetch Hetchy, but the engagement with our ancient connection to the ultimate solution to our problems, the ultimate solar power—making food that enhances our relation to the natural forces of the world…all you need is love.

Richard Lang

Forest Knolls

Published September 2013

On the loss of Drakes Bay Oyster Farm

Significance beyond the obvious

I have spent the past 35 years exploring, through both theory and practice, the many challenges attendant to producing food in a manner that is ecologically benign or, at its best, beneficial. I have enjoyed oysters from Drakes Estero throughout that time, but it was not until I watched the evolution of the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm under the stewardship of the Lunny family that I came to fully appreciate how closely the Farm approaches perfection as a truly sustainable food production system. This simple fact is made all the more poignant by the juxtaposition of the imminent loss of the Farm and the particularly critical juncture in human history at which we now find ourselves.


Whether one views the Anthropocene as beginning with the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, or with the agricultural revolution of 8,000 BCE, the era is rapidly approaching endgame. We are now witnessing the sixth great extinction event on Earth. The Northwest Passage is no longer a fantasy. The most recent sea-level rise projections, expressed in feet, soar to the double digits. Wild oceanic fisheries are projected to collapse within the next 35 years, just as the human need for protein doubles.


Shellfish aquaculture is widely recognized as one of the few sustainable options for marine protein production, even as oceans acidify, placing natural shellfish reproduction everywhere at risk. The US already faces a worsening shellfish deficit without the gratuitous destruction of over half of California’s production capacity. We cannot replace this resource without effectively stealing it from the mouths of others, though, to be sure, we have shown ourselves to be very good at that.


Arguments by opponents of the oyster farm, that its destruction is an environmental good, have been repeatedly exposed as without scientific merit. If Department of Interior policy is derived behind a smokescreen of distorted and falsified pseudoscience to fit political whims, the future of our public lands, already at dire risk from underfunding, archaic management paradigms and rapidly advancing climate change, is dark indeed. If the National Environmental Policy Act can be manipulated by politics and ultimately ignored, as has been done repeatedly in the Drakes Bay tragedy, what recourse do we as citizens have in the ongoing effort to protect our environment against actual threats? And if the constitutional rights of the people of our state can be so easily bought and sold, what hope can there be for the emergence of a functional democracy in America?


I cannot help but wonder upon what planet those who have fought so diligently -and so obscenely- against the oyster farm, imagine themselves to be living. Earth, this planet, is in ecological crisis. A single species, ourselves, is claiming over half of the annual biological production for its own use, and fouling its land, water and air with total disregard for the limits of the global system upon which we are utterly dependent to absorb or purify any of it. Wilderness?  We will be lucky to survive this century, and no amount of diddling with magic markers on a map will make a bit of difference to that calculus.


What might make a difference, what could make a difference, would be for us to wake up and recognize that we are part of this astonishing web of life, this vibrant blue sphere, this mote of dust in the sun. Our actions matter, for better or ill, as we choose. The oyster farm epitomizes the potential for our constructive, exuberant engagement with the full complexity of the living world. Perhaps this is why it cannot be allowed to stand by those who view mankind apart from that, who are incapable of imagining no role for our species but that of despoiler.


The discretionary elimination of the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm is but one more tragic, foolish, volitional step along our rapidly accelerating path to self-destruction. We have the capacity to build a world of abundance, but, thus far, have chosen another road.