Your Letters

Eds.: Jim Wood’s July editorial, “Stay CALM,” tackled the controversial topic of high-density housing in Marin and looked at the groups both for and against. The column obviously hit a nerve — we received many letters, phone calls and social media posts on both sides of the issue. We feel this topic is very important, so in place of Jim’s column this month we are running letters reflecting points of view both in agreement and in disagreement.


I gave Jim permission to use the quote (“Stay CALM,” July 2014) from me as a realtor. And it is true that most new residents want walkable, more bike-friendly communities. It does not mean, however, that I believe we need or want more high-density development, and the way the column is written makes it sound like I support that. I don’t. There are ample opportunities for improvements now that are already approved that would have tremendous impacts on bike and pedestrian access. We need to get this critical infrastructure funded, environmentally cleared and built. Corte Madera left ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) — the first and only city to do so — several years ago, while I was mayor. We did so to protest the unfair housing allocations being handed to us by them. We continue to hope other cities will join us in our protest against ABAG and housing allocation numbers that are unfunded mandates from the state. BOB RAVASIO, CORTE MADERA

I think that by continuing to give column space to Jim Wood and his views that Marin should build more WinCup-style high-density projects the magazine appears to be promoting this viewpoint. When a magazine that ostensibly represents Marin and all that is interesting and unique about the county diverges into publishing views that represent about .03 percent of the population and gives much ink to people like David Kunhardt and others with vested interests in urbanizing the county, something’s really off. Those who like a more urban experience are free to move — but to aim to change Marin under the auspices of “doing good” (as the CALM group is), when that “good” is nothing but self-promotion, makes people who love the area turn off. JENNIFER LARSON, VIA EMAIL

Jim, your POV inaccurately misrepresents and distorts the opposition all over Marin that led to the Larkspur city council’s unanimous rejection of the proposals for housing at Larkspur Landing. The WinCup apartments in Corte Madera set off this widespread outcry. What most of us want now are plans that will deal with the housing, traffic and population increases and will sustain the quality of life we treasure in Marin. I suggest you do your homework on this issue, instead of providing arguments that miss the point. The various opposition voices are proposing viable alternatives. PETER MELLINI, LARKSPUR

Jim, the activist citizen groups you label as the herbal tea party are not against all growth and development. We are against massive high-density development — like WinCup in Corte Madera and the ones proposed for Larkspur Landing. We need affordable housing, and it needs to be scaled to be compatible with its surroundings. We have called ourselves “MAD” (Marin Against Density) but we are the true champions of livable Marin. MAD is calmly carrying on the decades-long tradition of protecting this county against overdevelopment. ANN PECKENPAUGH BECKER, KENTFIELD


Thank you for giving a voice to CALM (“Stay CALM,” July 2014). Green environmental planning is well articulated in environmental platforms from the Sierra Club to the Green Party, and it would seem a perfect fit for liberal, environmental Marin. Indeed, the landmark Marin County Plan that down-zoned almost all of West Marin explicitly stated that new development should be focused in the City Center Corridor, be mixed-use, and be served by transit. This is not a top-down regional dictate but the very heart of what Marin has always been and was meant to be. WENDI KALLINS, FOREST KNOLLS

Jim, thank you so much for your article in the recent Marin Magazine. It is great to have a voice that commands a public audience come out against the knee-jerk anti-housing movement. I agree with everything you say in the article. It is very hard to have a reasonable conversation about housing in Marin without people panicking and spewing thinly veiled NIMBY rhetoric. Much of this rhetoric is anti– working class at best, racist at worst. ABBY YOUNG, VIA EMAIL

Hello, Jim Wood. I grew up in Marin and moved away to buy my first house because I couldn’t afford to live here. When the housing market was at its lowest I was able to move back with my two young children. I wanted them to be closer to nature and also want them to experience openness to differences and diversity. The beautiful open space and agricultural lands we all appreciate are safe and we need to include some opportunity for more compact development. Places where seniors can age in place, local workers can afford to live and young people can rent their own apartments. We need affordable homes to help Marin remain a vibrant place to live and where our children can learn to be citizens of the world — it shouldn’t be an enclave that lacks diversity. LEELEE THOMAS, WOODACRE

My husband and I have lived in Fairfax for the last 26 years. I am in support of sustainable, affordable housing in Fairfax. I do not agree with the people who are so antigrowth in Marin. They say building more housing along transit corridors is a bad idea. It is essential if we hope to get Marinites out of their cars and into public transit. More housing puts a strain on our water supply? Marin does a great job of conservation and I feel certain there is a large percentage of the population who could do much better. I know many young people who cannot afford to live here, even though they have grown up here. Many of our public safety people cannot live in the communities they serve. Doesn’t this strike anyone as crazy? Fairfax has an opportunity to do something wonderful. With careful planning, and finding the right developer, I believe we can have affordable housing. We need a diversity of people, incomes, etc., to have our towns thrive. LIZ FRONEBERGER, FAIRFAX


I’ve often enjoyed the magazine but the oyster article (“Shell Games,” July 2014) threw me. It’s so one-sided in support of Kevin Lunny I can hardly believe it. Nowhere is it mentioned that Lunny bought the lease knowing that it would expire in 2012. That’s what Salazar based his decision on as much as anything else. Sure, maybe the park service has made a few mistakes, but in my opinion they are fighting the good fight. Under other circumstances, it’d be great to have this oyster farm, but not in a wilderness area. MICHAEL MOONEY, MILL VALLEY

I recently read the article about the Drakes Bay Oyster Company and found I had to write to express my concerns. Nowhere in the article does the author even mention the fact that the federal government purchased the Johnson Oyster Farm in 1942 for $79,200 and gave the owner a 40-year lease to operate it. This is certainly the most important fact in the entire controversy. Looking at the entire chain of events it seems the most rational course of events was that Drakes Estero be allowed to revert to wilderness. Lunny seems to have been a careful steward of the marvel that is Drakes Estero and it will be unfortunate that people will lose their jobs. However, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case, I would hope the process of removing the pilings and oyster pens from the estero can begin. TOM ROSKO, SAN ANSELMO