Marin IJ Readers Forum May 7, 2022 – Marin Independent Journal
Vote yes on measure A to connect young people to nature
Since the beginning of the pandemic, mental health problems have increased considerably. As a mental health clinician and community advocate for improving self-regulation and coping skills in young people, I ask you to vote yes on Measure A to extend the tax to parks, open spaces and agriculture in the June 7 elections.
A few years ago, Opening the World, the non-profit organization I founded, received Measure A funding. Throughout our partnership, OTW has given young people the opportunity to appreciate our local parks and their natural beauty through photography classes. Many of the young people we serve had never experienced Marin Parks before.
Under the guidance of local artist and photographer Marianne Owens, OTW youth have become nature observers and photographers. They have acquired a creative and tangible skill that they can apply throughout their lives. Most importantly, this funding enabled local disadvantaged young people to attend, enjoy the benefits of a quiet environment and be impressed by the surrounding area.
As one participant stated, “I never knew this park was here, or that it was free.”
It’s an understatement to stress how important it is for everyone to enjoy our environment. They help us find meaning, peace, purpose and connection. They give us moments to slow down. These experiences are needed more than ever, especially for those who have struggled a lot during a turbulent time in their developmental years.
Please vote yes on Measure A to ensure our young people have places and spaces to be in nature and take care of their mental health and well-being.
— Jeannine Curley, San Rafael
Wise Choices for Girls supports Measure A
As the founder of Wise Choices for Girls, an organization dedicated to creating a culturally enriched community of girls who are positive, productive, determined and successful individuals, I would like to announce that we are joining groups such as the League of Women Voters in full support of the proposed Measure A Extension of the tax (without increase) for parks, green spaces and agriculture.
Thanks to funding from organizations like ours, we can explore parks in areas of the Marin. Given this opportunity, we have brought together girls, families and community members to join us in this nature enterprise. Good Girls and Good Families have reported that their most effective outings have been our community park events. Our girls now range from middle school girls to college girls and beyond.
One of our visits was to the San Rafael duck pond. None of us were aware that the same space was used for the county fair. We were pleasantly surprised to know that we could use the space for grilling with picnic areas to feed the community. We were fascinated by the rituals of the ducks. Although some of the band members’ parents had been here all their lives, they hadn’t used the space at all. That has now changed.
With this opportunity, it has allowed our members and families to explore the world outside of our “brick and mortar” existence.
Nancy Hoang, one of our students, said it was refreshing to get away from technology, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The parks were big enough to keep our social distance, but still together. Instead of seeing each other on Facetime and Zoom, it was more authentic to meet in person and in nature.
It was an honor to discover and explore Marin County Parks outside of our usual habitats. Please join us in supporting Measure A, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn more about their own parks.
—Alexis Wise, Sausalito
Vote yes on measure A for parks, green spaces and the ag
I fully support the proposed fiscal extension of Measure A for parks, green spaces and agriculture. The distribution of funds over the past nine years has done much for county parks and open spaces, as well as towns and cities across the county. With 65% of funds going to county parks and open spaces and 15% to cities, towns and special districts with parks, the vast majority of the money goes to these important needs.
The 20% of revenue used for sustainable agriculture is shared by the Resource Conservation District. It restores riparian vegetation and helps train ranchers in carbon sequestration, among other environmentally positive activities. It focuses on sustainable food systems that benefit the county’s climate goals, improve water quality and soil health, promote community gardens, and improve public access, as well as contributing to the purchase of perpetual agricultural conservation easements. Easements acquire development rights for ranchers to continue to provide food, fireproof fields, and prevent new towns from appearing in West Marin.
If the measure fails, open space reserves will lack rangers to provide visitor services. Improvements, like those that helped McNears Beach and Stafford Lake parks, won’t make it to other parks. Municipal parks will suffer from a lack of maintenance. Improvements, like those that took place at Dogbone Meadow in Novato and Albert Park Playground in San Rafael, will not happen. When maintenance is not maintained, assets quickly decline and it is more expensive to restore them later.
Marin IJ’s editorial board did well to approve Measure A (“Extend Measure A Tax for Parks, Open Spaces and Agriculture,” May 1). Please vote yes on measure A.
—Susan Stompe, Novato
Good time for the Community Foundation to step in
I am writing about the article published on April 27 under the title “Marin funds programs to stimulate child care”. I am very proud of Marin County and the Marin Community Foundation for their efforts to address the economic and racial disparities that plague Marin County, the State of California, and beyond.
As a teenage student whose parents work for the public sector in Marin, I have seen firsthand the complications of teacher shortages, as well as the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (lack of supply of masks and tests, for example). Many teachers have been affected by this situation. As a result, I think it’s imperative that local governments provide as much support as possible around finances, incomes, child rearing and food insecurity – especially as we pull through the recession. health, academic and monetary caused by the pandemic.
There are many children on the verge of being supported who are not getting the help they deserve. I hope Marin’s funding will succeed in remedying their peril.
— Jacob Laba, Kensington (Contra Costa County)
A student’s story inspired by “Meadow in Starlight”
I am a seventh grader at Good Shepherd Middle School in Novato. Our class was tasked with writing a story inspired by the “Meadow in Starlight” GIF posted on the New York Times website. Here is what I wrote:
It was Mom’s favorite place: In the meadow where no one could find us, at 10 p.m. sharp on Saturday. We would bring our grandma’s handmade blanket and lay it on the dewy lawn. Our backs were on the ground and our eyes were looking up at the starry sky.
We brought our dog, Louie, an adventurous white lab, who chased fireflies until they all flew away.
“From here, you can barely see the houses in the neighborhood,” I said. “What if we get lost?” Mom was laughing lightly and saying, “We can never get lost. We have the stars.
Now, when I look at the sky, I don’t think of the stars. I think of mom. I thought if I came to her favorite place, she would be closer to me, like I could almost hear what she was saying. It’s been 28 Sundays without her.
Every night I thought I could hear her voice, telling me that she loved me and missed me. I looked at Louie, who just nodded silently. Maybe it was just the howling wind. Maybe it was just the buzzing of the fireflies. Maybe it was just the chirping of the crickets. But I knew it was her, whispering through the wind, “I love you.”
—Lucca Chao, Novato