Thursday, March 29, 2012

Evergreen Sidewalk Project : Letters to DPW

Can you guess which pile is support and which is opposition?
I just came back from County Counsel office.
I was  able to read all the correspondence from Planning, about the Traffic Use Plan, and how the County tried three times to get the funding for a sidewalk for Marin Horizon School, so they would actually consider participating in the Safe Routes to School program.
I read emails from the DPW, asking "who said there was a risk?" and a response "the school has determined the risk." Seems the parents don't want to walk their kids down Evergreen, and the road use studies indicate that Marin Horizon is having a hard time adhering to their Use Permit. 
I was able to read letters from the original "Traffic Calming Committee" and the walkabouts, where it was suggested that if the parents were concerned with safety, they should use the sidewalk on Montford, then Linden Lane - and walk on the South side, where there is plenty of room to walk, between Linden and Melrose.  That idea was rejected because they would have to walk past the "Senior Housing."
I saw many form letters from the school.
I read letters from a parent of a child at MHS, who stated that Evergreen was the most direct route, so she would like a sidewalk. I saw photos of happy, smiling children, walking five abreast, sharing the road with a car. The car was three feet away from them.
I read a letter from a concerned parent on Evergreen, which mentioned he was afraid of the big yellow bus, so he wants a sidewalk. 
I read a letter suggesting that MHS switch their big yellow bus for two smaller shuttles.
Also, I was able to read the letter from my neighbor, which Steve Kinsey referenced in our conversation. Curiously enough, he led me to believe that she asked him to just build the sidewalk.
Her letter actually said,
"Do it, or don't do it - just get it over with - do what is right."

Full report to follow.


  1. How many of those were from the same person/people? If you took out all the duplicates how would the stacks compare?

    Did the DPW survey the neighborhood?

  2. More than half of the "support" letters were form letters from the school.
    I didn't see any survey of the neighborhood residents. I have to go back. I welcome you to join me to look over it together.

    I marked a bunch of pages with post-it notes.

    There were many creative alternatives proposed, but none could be considered because the County has too much invested in this design. I saw the other proposals and can understand why, for the DPW - it is this or nothing. I saw all the correspondence.

    Honestly, we could create a path in the blind curve if we wanted to - with just a little bit of the County's help.

    If I can convince Kinsey that we could do a path - he won't force the sidewalk. He basically told me that he has to let the project go forward because :
    1) that's the only way the County will be reimbursed for the work they have already done
    2) he doesn't think the community wants a path or sidewalk enough to build it ourselves, but HE thinks we need it and we will like it after it goes in
    3) he said he wants a path for the seniors
    4) His attitude seems to be what's the big deal? He actually said to me last week - "No one's life is going to be negatively altered because of this sidewalk."

    what we have here is a bunch of people who don't live on Evergreen - many who don't live in Homestead, telling us that we need this concrete slab - whether we want it or not.

  3. I notice you answered Richard's question with another one of your typical non-answers.

    He asked how the stacks would compare if the duplicates were removed and you responded with more than half the support letters were from the school.

    You didn't describe if the bulk of the opposition letters were from one person, or just a few people, or not. Since you deliberately ignored that side of the equation, we have to conclude, once again, you're hiding something, like facts that aren't favorable to you.

    And really, you expect us to believe the school sent in so many letters? Yeah right.

    If you're not going to be honest, and treat everyone like they're patsies too stupid to see through your misdirections, how in the world can you come to the conclusion people would ever want to work with you?

    It doesn't really matter. The sidewalk is a done deal. The chances of you suing is very low but if you manage to find a lawyer stupid enough to take the case, your chances of winning are even lower (especially given the dumbass lawyer that can't recognize a big loser case, that you'll have to find).

  4. Did you miss the part where I said there were too many to read and I welcomed him to join me?
    I have nothing to hide.

  5. How convenient.

    Would've taken no time to check the authors like you did with the supporters.

    And you hide plenty, like the details of your "survey" or what you would do when you find out the majority supports the sidewalk.

  6. I'm sorry you are so upset, really. I don't see any evidence that the majority supports this sidewalk. Most of the emails were from the hear us group, but there were a lot that were not. I was surprised.
    It was easy to see how many letters were from the school, because they were all clipped together and had the school logo on them.
    I already know who doesn't want the sidewalk. I was more curious to know who did want it.
    What I found interesting was how people were open to discuss in the beginning, when we thought we were actually being listened to - but after we realized that the DPW was just taking our input and using any real safety concerns - as ammunition to force this sidewalk onto the street - people shut down - and then we started getting angry.

  7. So you're going back for more? If so can you note the duplicares on both sides and differentiate the MHS ones from the rest of the community? I'm curious as to how many people on each side are so moved by this issue to write letters.

  8. Honestly, Richard - I have requested the entire file for analysis, but they can't give it to me - at least not right now. There is another binder as well. I'm telling you, enough opposition exists for this sidewalk for the DPW to step back - and that is why Kinsey stepped in to force it onto our street and THAT is why they had to ask for a year extension.
    I know that it seems it's just a bunch of "againstors" - but this is a special case - Homestead is a special place, worth preserving.
    We need to help the DPW serve our community.

  9. Mari,

    I've been casually following this debate for a long while. I think what Richard and anon were trying to find out is how you can conclude people don't want a sidewalk meaning what objective evidence is it that you have to make that conclusion. And, I have to say you are simply not showing that other than what appears to be nothing more than your gut feeling you have any such proof. Gut feelings are heavily influenced by our own personal biases.

    I think you started getting somewhere with the letters, but letters themselves aren't proof, especially given the duplicates that are sure to be in there. Also, Richard hits on a good point which is that the tally of letters is only a tally of the sentiments of just those people moved to write letters not the whole community itself.

    1. btw, Mike - (I'm assuming you are the same Mike M who bikes to MHS.) I really appreciate your input. It's productive and I appreciate that you want to keep your children safe.
      I saw the letter you sent in favor of the sidewalk project, but suggesting the North side. Many people have suggested that.
      Mr. Reck's idea was also productive - clear the right of way and make paths on both sides.

      btw - those cars on Evergreen that block the natural path - at the intersection of Melrose, next to Volunteer Park - are parked illegally.
      There's a Traffic resolution against parking on BOTH sides of Evergreen, commencing at Melrose, and extending 105 in the Eastern direction.

      It was enacted in 1973 - "in the interest of public safety." Maybe because there used to be a firehouse there - but as far as I know, it's still on the books.
      originally called Resolution 73-271 A
      it is now Resolution 236
      So, maybe you might want to mention that to the folks at MHS who park there every day school is in session.
      Because if they don't start moving there cars - I'm going to apply to get deputized as a meter maid, start ticketing the cars - and ask that the funds be donated to restore the culverts around Volunteer Park.

  10. I see your point, but actually - does it matter who WANTS or doesn't want a sidewalk? Shouldn't it come down to NEED? and what is specified in the Community Plan and CEQA?
    What is the goal here? A concrete sidewalk? Or a "safer route" ?
    If people are parking on the natural path because they don't have off street parking - why can't we work together to create off street parking for them? If people have drainage problems because there is too much impervious pavement - Why not just remove the excess pavement?
    If County has repaved the street so many times to the point that it need to be replaced, then they need to figure out how to replace it. They don't have to do the whole thing!
    The problem here is we are trying to adapt our street to accommodate something that shouldn't be here in the first place - a concrete sidewalk!

  11. ok, fine - whatever, yes I get it - you don't like the fact that the school expanded. It's here - if they have outgrown the space, maybe they should get smaller or find a new location.

    But that still won't reduce the storm water runoff and drainage problems for our neighbors, now, will it?
    We need a priority shift here - forcing this concrete sidewalk is NOT respectful of Evergreen residents OR the environment -
    Seems to me that if we approach this situation with what IS respectful of the residents and the environment - i.e., remove the excess impervious pavement from the road or right of way to help Evergreen residents with their drainage and increase filtering of stormwater runoff - the side benefit is that we will create more room for pedestrians to walk - without messing everything else up.

  12. I agree.. we don't need a concrete slab for eternity.... There is plenty of room on the existing right of way with a little help the path could be and will be beautiful... it could work at a fraction of the cost...

  13. I made an appointment and went to DPW myself. Mari's observation is inaccurate and borders on deception. That photograph proves nothing. There are countless duplicates in that pile of emails as those emails are part of chains. I challenge any one reading this to make an appointment and see for yourself as I did...shame on you!!!

    1. Shame on me???
      Are you kidding?
      That's the pot calling the kettle black! What about the FOUR YEARS this project was hidden from residents who would be most impacted?

  14. BTW - I hope EVERYONE makes an appointment to see that file - be sure to read all the emails that prove this was orchestrated just for MHS. The fact that the parents complain the Traffic Plan is "draconian" and how the poor DPW engineer begs Roz to at least attend the TAM meetings so it can look good on the application.
    It is APPALLING the way some people feel so entitled that they can manipulate the system and WASTE the DPW's time - trying to FORCE a concrete sidewalk onto this street - just like they FORCED that school upon this community.
    Don't forget to read the email that shows extra help from Cal Trans - and the one that says "Thank you, my friend. It's always nice to have friends in high places."

  15. Did you notice that, Mari? S/e made an APPOINTMENT with the DPW. I'm sure s/he didn't throw a temper tantrum that got him/her kicked out either. You could learn a thing or two from him/her.

    If you act more civilly, maybe you'd have better results. Or at least it might've spared you the embarrassment of finding out at the worst time about the DPW's survey showing a strong majority of support among Evergreen residents.

    Instead, you've been sanctimoniously screaming all over the place only to be proven so horribly wrong.

  16. wow - you are so off the mark. I did not get thrown out because I threw a temper tantrum. Someone else threw a temper tantrum. I was asked to leave because it was after 5 o'clock.
    You were not there and I am not going to be forced to tell that story, because if anything, it proved to me just how much the DPW staff cares about the communities they serve.
    They are caught up in bureaucracy just as much as we are.
    They need more funding from the County.

  17. Having observed your actions over the last two years, I'll believe the version provided by the impartial witnesses at the DPW who said you didn't make an appointment, snuck by the receptionist without approval and even though they did hear you out, you threw a tantrum for being asked to leave and told to make an appointment.

    Had you done so, perhaps you would've heard about the results of the survey which now, apparently because you're embarrassed by it, you seem to try to ignore it's very bad news for you.

  18. and by the way - NO ONE wants this slab. They want their drainage fixed, and are being told this is the only way to fix it.
    Truth of the matter is
    - the COUNTY is responsible for over paving the road - which has caused storm water to drain onto private property.
    - the COUNTY is responsible for approving driveway paving projects which have INCREASED storm water runoff, causing it to drain onto private property.
    In the file, there is an email from an engineer - noting that the "new facilities may not solve existing problems..."
    During this process, homeowners have been told that the curbs and gutters may IMPROVE their drainage situation.
    So, they are reluctantly accepting this sidewalk, because they think they have no choice in the matter.
    Very few are "supportive."

  19. See?!? There you go again - ignoring the DPW's survey that shows the strong majority DO WANT the sidewalk. You are just making assumptions about what you think people really want, you have no clue. The survey is the clearest indication and they WANT the sidewalk. Sheesh! When will you ever come clean?

  20. The DPW survey was from March. It showed that 49% of people on the south side had contacted the DPW and did not vehemently oppose the sidewalk.
    It showed that more people on the North side accepted it, because :
    1) they're glad it's not on their side of the street
    2) they were neutral because they had NO IDEA how WRONG it was for the street.

    This process is/was flawed - and it has resulted in a flawed design.
    that flawed process was made worse by LACK of COMMUNICATION - within this community - which continues to this day.

    - and a FEW people who insist on clinging to OLD methods that do not work any more.

    I have not been trying to vilify anyone - I've been trying to get to the TRUTH - and make sure that the people who live on this street are being treated fairly -
    and to make sure that the people who actually WANT to serve this community do not get blamed for something that is not their fault.
    I can't stand when liars and cheaters BULLY good people.
    YOU - not so anonymous - are a BULLY.
    and you are MHS' worst enemy.

    oh - the irony.


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