Here are the current or emerging Democratic Party endorsements:
San Rafael CandidatesMaribeth Bushey Lang (San Rafael)
Maribeth's campaign manager is Marin Democratic Party Central Committee chairman Paul Cohen. He's established himself as the power broker for Marin. Cohen's position on fast growth is fairly clear - he pushed for Redwood Villages opposing community input from the adjacent San Rafael Meadows neighborhood. Cohen also pushed for housing at St. Vincent's / Silveira, when even Susan Adams was opposed to this, that's where his career as a candidate appears to have ended. But now he peddles his influence and desires for growth as an insider. So it's little surprise that Maribeth would get the endorsement from her own campaign manager Cohen as committee chair. Both she and her campaign manager have been pro fast-growth.
Maribeth has been a little hard to pin down on her growth views even before the election - so one can guess where she'll go if elected - build baby build! In the Marin IJ candidates forum she first stated she would rescind both of San Rafael's Priority Development Areas. However at the September 16th city council meeting she took the opposite position defending retaining the PDA designation for Civic Center, be it with a classification with a lower number of housing units. This flip flop is well documented by the IJ.
It might also be mentioned that Maribeth is endorsed by some that would likely support fast growth:
- former Mayor Al Boro who foisted SMART upon us (which turned out to be about building high density housing)
- Ghilotti Construction
- councillor Barbara Heller who continues to support fast growth in Civic Center, repeatedly casting votes for 5 storey high density housing to be put there (yes, that's 1 storey higher than the already monstrous Win Cup site in Corte Madera).
It is now a matter of record that the mayor and the majority of the council disagreed with Maribeth and voted to rescind the PDA 3 votes to 2. (However with Maribeth on the council the vote would likely have gone the other way - so any Terra Linda resident opposed to 5 storey high density would be best off avoiding voting for Maribeth).
Greg Brockbank (San Rafael)
Greg is less apologetic. He's still a little inconsistent. He has also pushed for growth and stood up alongside Marin Grassroots when they declared a State of Emergency due to racist lynch mobs at housing meetings. An event he now states publicly was absurd and that he was only an observer. Greg can be great in conversation - but as mentioned he can be a panderer and appeaser - agreeing with whatever you want. He's a modern day Neville Chamberlain at a time when we need a Winston Churchill.
Who to Vote for in San Rafael if you Oppose Growth
There are two clear choices emerging for those who want to see San Rafael's steady slow growth, in the architectural low rise character we're used to. Randy Warren has come out firmly against fast growth. This is his primary reason for standing.
Then Kate Colin has emerged as a listener and a supporter. She still has strong Chamber of Commerce and business connections which pose concerns. However she has gone on record with her vote at council to rescind the Civic Center PDA. She is also making great efforts to improve outreach and transparency - areas that had they been addressed years ago might have negated the need for everyone in San Rafael on both sides to get so worked up.
Corte Madera CandidatesThe sight of fast-growth has been very effectively demonstrated in Corte Madera with the 4 storey Win Cup development. If you are told this is for low income people (as Senator Darrell Steinberg implied to me in a conversation just yesterday outside the Dining for Democrats event) put them right by informing them that just 10% of the Win Cup units are low income. This is blatant high density housing to be sold at market rate.
Lately I have compared the sustainability crowd to adopting almost cult-like thinking. It imposes its doctrines in a manner similar to the lead character in the excellent book "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver. The Congolese ignored Kingsolver's character - and we should do the same with Kunhardt. I've spent some time in East Africa and have deep respect for the hard working, highly educated, sincere and polite people from that area.
Kunhardt is bought into the myth of "workforce housing". He was on the Workforce Housing Trust.
Kunhardt believes that Marin should somehow build housing for all the people that in-commute into Marin and that this will diminish traffic, congestion and emissions. Of course this is a complete nonsense as laid out in a 1991 paper by UC Berkeley's Genevieve Guiliano, "Is Jobs Housing Balance a Transportation Issue?". If you build new houses sure some unproven number may move into Marin, but then the houses they vacated by new people who will commute to Marin. And the new Marinites , who were disposed to commute before for a higher income, may now commute instead to San Francisco with higher jobs and salaries. So this just shifts people around without achieving anything - apart from putting up lots of new buildings in Marin and making developers and carpenters etc.. lots of money.
It would be interesting if this same "build to stop in-commuting" philosophy was applied to San Francisco and Oakland each with hundreds of thousands of in-commuters. The story of King Canute leaps to mind - I don't want to see my taxpayer dollars wasted , or Marin built out in such a futile manner.
So Who to Vote for in Corte Madera if You're Opposed to Growth?
Despite Win Cup going up on her watch, Diane Furst is not a supporter of fast growth. She has my endorsement. Win Cup went up as a result of a bureaucratic error by ABAG which set a preposterously high growth target for the city of Corte Madera which covers only a small area, much of which is subject to sea level rise. The city managed to find a single site where such an imposing building would not be right up against single family homes. (However if Kunhardt gets in such protection may likely be removed).
Update: After careful consideration, the Marin Democratic Party has now endorsed Diane Furst. I welcome this decision. I also endorse Diane Furst.
The other candidate opposed to fast growth is Carla Condon. Carla is a Republican so clearly would never receive the Democratic endorsement. I know less about Carla but if she is opposed to fast growth that's a very good thing in my book.