Marin IJ Readers’ Forum April 6, 2022 – Marin Independent Journal

Worried why Pt. Reyes water testing halt

The National Park Service’s story about water quality at Point Reyes National Seashore, as relayed in a recently published article by Marin IJ (“State to Review Point Reyes Water Contamination Strategy”, April 3), does not match.

It is true that monitoring stopped in the watersheds of the Pacific Ocean in 2013 and that water quality improved between 2000 and 2013, even if to say “in some areas up to 95% is classic cheating and makes no sense. But I think David Lewis, the director of cooperative extension at the University of California in Marin County, was misleading when he suggested that testing had stopped because officials were convinced the measures were sufficient. .

Why do I feel this way? Because I read the Park Service newspaper, which generated this optimism, which I find naïve or feigned. When testing stopped, measurements in those watersheds were still illegally high – between 47% and 76% frequency. Additionally, I believe it is well known that Best Management Practices (BMPs) in this area have a steeply decreasing efficiency curve.

The San Francisco Regional Water Quality Board highlighted the issues in comments on the Park Service’s problematic management plan. This was done under the heading “Technical or financial infeasibility of implementing best management practices, management or mitigation measures to eliminate or reduce impacts”. To quote the comments: “the requirement to eliminate stormwater runoff in areas containing waste may be technically or financially impractical”.

Lewis’ own paper regarding management practices in the nearby Olema Creek watershed admits that 85% of measured benefits were realized by the first 15% of actions taken.

The most likely reason the tests ended was that the previous year, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had ordered the Park Service to pursue 20-year lease extensions. It seems obvious that more water quality data would not have been practical.

—Ken Bouley, Inverness

Vote yes on measure A for parks, open spaces

Marin County voters overwhelmingly approved Measure A in 2012 to support local parks, maintenance and improvement of open spaces and trails. Prior to Measure A, maintenance of Marin County Parks and Open Space Preserves was on life support. Measure A has been a real success, helping to make Marin an incredible place to live, enjoy and practice outdoor activities.

These funds also provide equity-focused programs to connect people to parks and ensure that all of our communities have access to safe and accessible parks.

Measure A also funds teams to clear flammable vegetation on open space reserves, restore our local ecosystems and maintain our trails, while helping young people get job training. As residents observe the annual goat grazing schedule, which provides a much-needed fuel break between open spaces and residential dwellings helping to protect against wildfires, they should remember that these fire protection breaks from forest are financed by measure A.

We must continue to support these efforts. Please join me in supporting extending Measure A on your June ballot without increasing your tax rate.

—Pat O’Brien, San Rafael

Vote for Ida Times-Green in the race for the National Assembly

I would like to express my excitement and joy regarding Ida Times-Green’s candidacy for Assembly from District 12 of California in the upcoming June 7 election. I am a longtime resident of Marin County, I now have grandchildren who attend schools in Marin City and the Sausalito Marin City School District. I watched Times-Green in expert action.

During the historic state-mandated school district unification and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic (with its essential development of prevention protocols, online school platforms and the reopening of real schools), Times- Green persevered in his roles and responsibilities with focus, care, and unwavering determination on behalf of students and families in the school district and the community at large.

Times-Green is organized, listens carefully, and promotes concepts and actions related to better health and improved overall well-being in Marin County and beyond. She understands and articulates concerns and raises awareness of causes important to this district and the state. From healthcare to caring for the planet, she embraces them with energy. It meets the requirements of elective positions requiring commitment, collaboration and accountability.

Times-Green brings her experience, intelligence, heart, strength and dedication to her work. District 12 would be fortunate to have such representation in our State Assembly.

— Jeannie Pimentel, Greenbrae

PG&E cannot be allowed to operate this way

I want to comment on the editorial published March 29 in the Marin IJ written by the editorial board of the Bay Area News Group with the headline “California PUC fails to oversee PG&E wildfire safety.” I object to the tactics of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in its efforts to get out of self-made financial trouble.

Business leaders have asked the California Public Utilities Commission to approve a venue for steep rate hikes. It seems the CPUC just can’t say no to PG&E.

From my perspective, it seems impossible for PG&E to serve the public and be a for-profit company at the same time. Most of us use PG&E’s service, but we seem helpless as Northern California burns. Part of PG&E’s neglect has resulted in the loss of human and animal life, as well as the loss of many homes and businesses, due to past decisions not to spend enough money to maintain their infrastructure. It seems shareholders and management came first.

Now, after multiple disasters, PG&E has the insufferable nerve to want us innocent taxpayers to pay more to cover up vile mistakes fueled by negligence and greed.

Reading about PG&E’s high executive salaries feels like the ultimate insult. It is beyond disgusting.

—Sally Seymour, San Rafael

Other part of the Florida Schools Act regarding

“Don’t say gay” is a catchy slogan. However, this saying has nothing to do with the Florida “parental rights in education” law in question. New state law prohibits teachers from teaching students about sexual orientation or gender identity in schools before fourth grade (“Marin students protest Florida’s ‘don’t say gay’ law “, April 2).

How controversial is it? I didn’t even know how babies were born until I was in third grade. I guess the problem would be a third grader saying “my dads are gay” and a panicked teacher disciplining the kid. But I’m sure students won’t be punished for using the word gay.

As for the teachers, they are supposed to teach reading, writing, arithmetic and a basic introduction to science and social studies to these young students. I suspect that no elementary school teacher in Marin is currently preparing lesson plans to teach their students what sexual orientation means. Nor do they teach children about gender identity, which our society does not even agree on the definition of.

Young children are innocent. They may know that they have two fathers or two mothers, while most of their friends have one father and one mother, but they don’t need to know more. At that age, I don’t think they care.

The other part of the law is worrying. It does not seem clear whether this could require mental health professionals in schools to hand out notes to parents. It would be a breach of confidentiality.

— Anne Rettenberg, Saint-Raphael

Melvin B. Baillie