Marin IJ Readers Forum May 8, 2022 – Marin Independent Journal

Measure Tax extension supports mental health

The past few years have been times of stress, anxiety and uncertainty brought on by wildfires and the social isolation and loss caused by the pandemic. Seeking healing, solace and connection, multitudes of Marinites have turned to nature through our parks and open spaces for comfort.

It is for this reason that I support the continuation of the Measure A tax which currently finances the departmental and neighborhood parks and green spaces of Marin. As the former mayor of Sausalito, I know that if passed, this measure will continue to care for our local communities and our lands through the maintenance of local parks and trails, the protection of natural resources , fuel reduction and improved access for all Marin residents.

Research shows that parks and outdoor activities have a direct and positive impact on mental health by promoting physical activity, connection to nature and community engagement. I have been providing mental health services in Marin for over 40 years and have witnessed firsthand how nature helps with depression and anxiety, especially within our young, elderly and disadvantaged populations. .

Measure A provides community grants to non-profit organizations to bring low-income children and seniors to parks and open spaces. Parks and trails have been improved so seniors who can only walk short distances have more access. Better signs, maps and facilities help doctors prescribe time in nature for their patients to reduce stress and increase activity. Local parks are revitalized to support continued heavy use by local residents.

Everyone benefits from this measure. Please help preserve and maintain your local parks and open spaces by voting yes to Action A.

—Dennis Scremin, Sausalito

Support measure A for sustainable agriculture

On a recent visit to Black Mountain Ranch near Point Reyes Station, I visited Little Wing Farm and Table Top Farm where I witnessed the harmony between farmers and the land. Grown in healthy soils, chard and strawberries were bursting with color and nutrients. Nearby, Stemple Creek Ranch grazes its cattle on the green grasses of the mountain. As I looked out over the landscape to see many food and ecological benefits, I felt thrilled to live in an area that produces some of the best food in the world. Yet our sustainable food system is in jeopardy unless we renew the Measure A tax on June 7.

Our communities enjoy clean air, good food and healthy ecosystems in places like Black Mountain Ranch. Through Measure A, many farms are permanently protected and managed with scientific stewardship. About 2,000 acres of US farmland are paved over or taken out of agriculture daily, according to the American Farmland Trust. Unless we protect farmland, we face an uncertain future where farms may be taken out of agricultural production. No farms means no food.

Measure A’s sustainable agriculture program ensures the people who grow our food can stay in business. Farms and ranches that use climate-smart practices have the potential to help reverse the climate crisis and reduce extreme weather, like drought and wildfires. Producers can sell their products at farmers’ markets and grocery stores.

Measure A also has huge equity impacts through access to land for beginning farmers and historically underserved groups. A new competitive grant program will fund community gardens, helping to empower communities to grow food through projects such as Marin City Intergenerational Garden, Sanzuma Farm at San Pedro Elementary School and Farm of Community Action Marin production.

Vote yes on Measure A to ensure a safe and thriving local food system for all.

—Andy Naja-Riese, San Rafael

Putin responsible for the deaths of too many Ukrainians

I’m sorry for the Russian war in Ukraine. People there are dying. I think it’s Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fault. I hope there will be no more wars. I think the leaders of the United States should do something to stop the war. I want everyone to be safe from this war.

— Aiden Wells, Larkspur

Melvin B. Baillie