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A Remarkable Place

Marin residents, look around: We have much to be grateful for.



Photos by Barbara Ries

What i appreciate about Marin is how people come together. This summer there were parades and art and film festivals; the Marin County Fair drew record crowds; and almost every day, a colorful farmers’ market occurred somewhere. This is community. Moreover, it’s not just quantity but quality. Marin has creative people who willingly share with others.

Let’s face it: The county is doing well. Marin General Hospital, the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) and the Marin Energy Authority (MEA) are all gaining momentum. Challenges lie ahead, but they’re speed bumps, not dead ends; top-caliber people are leading these enterprises. In addition to new county supervisor Kate Sears, the county gained another strong leader in Dominican University of California’s outstanding new president, Mary Marcy — an Oxford graduate and former provost of Massachusetts’ Bard College. Not to be outdone, David Wain Coon, with a stellar 20-year career in higher education, is College of Marin’s new president. Again, Marin is fortunate. And as the late Steve Jobs would say, “Wait, there’s more.“

We are blessed to have the Marin Community Foundation (MCF). The MCF, along with hundreds of Marin nonprofits, support local causes and concerns with over $100 million a year (and countless volunteer hours). The county also has outstanding public schools (let’s retain that quality, vote yes on Measures A and B); remarkable private schools; excellent libraries; top-tier city and county services; and such enriching institutions as Book Passages and the Marin Symphony, Marin Theater Company, Mountain Play, Marin Arts Council, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Marin Speakers Series, Dominican’s Leadership Lecture Series, Lark Theater, Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center and Marin Agricultural Land Trust.

I will say this with great hesitancy: Much of what you see and hear in today’s world and national news doesn’t apply to Marin.

If Marin were a city, based on population it would be Buffalo, New York; both have approximately 258,000 residents. As for area, our county compares with Phoenix, with 520 square miles of land. Yet Phoenix has nearly 1.5 million residents — almost six times Marin’s population. Our county is instead filled with natural beauty — Phoenix and Kent lakes; Mount Tamalpais; Angel Island; the Marin Headlands; Muir Woods; China Camp; Mount Burdell; and incredibly scenic West Marin — and all provide opportunities to hike, surf, bird, bike, golf, swim, run, sail and fish. And after a 30-minute ferry ride, you can be in downtown San Francisco. Enough said.

For a city experience in Marin, go to San Rafael’s Fourth Street. Catch a movie; see a live band; visit one of a dozen galleries; and have a Thai, Indian, Italian, Greek, Japanese, Mexican, Middle Eastern or French meal, or go American at San Rafael Joe’s. Sure, on Fourth Street you’ll also see the gritty side — but that’s life in the city. And if you choose to stay home, Marin has more than its share of unbelievable food markets and take-out spots; an entire column could be written on all of them.

Marin is a remarkable place; now is a time for being thankful. That’s my point of view. What’s yours? Email pov@marinmagazine.com.

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