Monday, March 12, 2012

( UPDATED ) Monday Morning MHS Mission Blues

To the parents and teachers and staff at MHS, who lobbied for this concrete sidewalk against the wishes of the people who live on this Evergreen Avenue :

For the benefit of all involved parties, I implore you to reconsider your support of this proposed concrete sidewalk, and here is why :
Every inch of earth we cover up with concrete is not good for our environment.
This currently proposed impervious concrete sidewalk will negatively impact the animals who depend upon Reed Creek and the residents who choose to live in Homestead for its beautiful green semi-rural environment.
If you are not aware of the environmental effects of impervious surfaces, please click HERE.

To quote one of our residents, all children deserve the benefit of this semi rural environment, "a part of this world that is quickly disappearing."

We can do better. Let's work together on a "community built project." We don't need an impervious concrete slab the entire length of the street. 
Otherwise, residents may have no other choice but to engage in a lawsuit to preserve our historic neighborhood and protect the environment - and our time is running out. 
Please sign our petition to stop the slab.
We are not selfish people. We love ALL children, including yours.
Some of my friends' kids graduated from MHS.
They are awesome, beautiful kids - and kids deserve more green streets, not more concrete.

Dear Marin Horizon School management:
When this sidewalk saga started, I was encouraged by the Marin Horizon School mission. But after being cut short during  my public comment at the Board of Trustees meeting, after I proposed that we work together to convince the County to build a semi rural, eco-friendly path instead of a concrete sidewalk and help to bring about a change in the Speed Limit to 15 mph - and not ONE person in the room signed my petition - I have one question for you :
Is it too much to ask you to practice what you say you teach??
 "Our mission is to challenge students to be self-reliant thinkers and lifelong learners."
  - Doesn't that include teaching all children how to navigate the landscape of a street with no sidewalks and to give them the opportunity to learn to look out for traffic?
"We inspire academic excellence, nurture students’ natural love of learning, and encourage them to be confident, creative individuals who are responsible to each other, the community, and the world."
 - Which community is that? How is it that you claim to teach students to be responsible to the community and to the world, but you use your power and influence to stomp all over this community where you CHOOSE to place your school?
How can you say you are being responsible to the world, when you are collaborating to pollute a creek that supports local wildlife?
How about a few of those cornerstones?
* Academic Excellence promoted by an integrated, spiraling curriculum that challenges young minds, fuels imagination and fosters a deeper understanding of concepts and their connection to real-life issues. 
 - This is a real life issue. What is the lesson you are teaching here?  That it is OK to lie on a grant application, keep secrets from people who will be most impacted and then FORCE them to accept something they never asked for and do not want? In this case, an impervious concrete slab with curbs and gutters, which will increase storm water runoff and and drain into a creek that flows into one of only two streams in San Francisco Bay Area, designated by the CA Department of Fish and Game as crucial to the recovery of Coho Salmon?
* Values-based Learning fostered by real experiences that develop social conscience, self -reliance, collaboration, and multicultural respect and competence. 
  - Social conscience? please see above. Self - reliance & competence? You mean like learning to look out for traffic? collaboration? or - how to cozy up to County officials to get what you want, no matter the cost to people or wildlife?
* Dedication to Environment cultivated by exploring the interconnectedness of all life on earth and learning ways to protect, respect and live in harmony with the environment. 
  - All life is connected - we are all connected. Everything we do impacts the world around us.
How about you start by learning to live in harmony with the semi-rural environment in which you CHOOSE to place your school?
Why can't we work together to enhance and preserve this historic neighborhood?
* Sense of Community nurtured by the support, commitment and dedication of parents, teachers, students and neighbors working together. 
  -  How about your neighbors on Evergreen Avenue? We are willing to work with you.
Are you wiling to work with us?
* Respect for Diversity promoted by awareness of and responsibility to each other within our community and the world. 
Again, please see above.
We are not selfish people. We love ALL children, including yours.
Some of my friends' kids graduated from MHS.
They are awesome, beautiful kids - and they deserve more green streets, not more concrete.

Related Post : Letter sent to MHS on 5/12/2012 (LINK)


  1. To my neighbors opposed to the MHSw (Marin Horizon Side walk), I have to say, don't write any more letters! Writing letters to county officials is what those promoting the sidewalk want you to do because appealing to County is part of the much touted "process" you've been told to "trust." It's a process rigged to keep you silent, occupied, trusting, hopeful and impotent. Nobody at County ever gave a damn about Evergreen Avenue before, never wrung their hands over pedestrian safety when kids living HERE went to Homestead School, never once in the century-long history of Evergreen Ave. obsessed over building a sidewalk until they started drooling at the sight of dollar signs. Make no mistake. This isn't about safety, it isn't about gutters and curbs for flood control — it's about the money!

    The shameless distortions and fabrications cited in the grant application for funding the sidewalk make it clear that logic, facts and appeals to reason are of no more use than a bath towel to a barracuda. Letters to Kinsey will go in the trash with the others, public comments at meetings of the Board of Supervisors will be met with pasty smiles, efforts to work with MHS' board of trustees will be tolerated with disdain and appeals to HVCA to find a compromise all can live with will be met with arrogance, patronizing lectures and flat-out rejection (as they already have been).

    The only thing to which your opponents will respond is visible, public opposition. Plant a sign in front of your house saying "NO SIDEWALK!", set up a picket line in front of the school for the Marin IJ to cover, get together and make a short video telling your story and publish it on Youtube for Steve Kinsey, HVCA and parents considering sending their kids to MHS to watch over, and over, and over — for the next 10 years! Will you get stuck with that sidewalk? That depends on how many of you there are and whether you're willing to stand up and fight for what you value. If you do, I'll stand with you.

  2. I'm with you and both ready and available to take action. Lets get some signs made!

    I babysitt a boy who lives in the Berkeley hills and on the drive to his school I noticed that many of the residents have posted signs in front of their yards that read,
    "Drive like your kids live here!"

    How poignant is that?


  3. Thanks to you both - but despite the fact that this site gets about 500 views per week - a lot of people aren't on the computer.
    Rebecca, I like that sign, but we already HAVE a sidewalk. It is made of grass, gravel, woodchips, etc.
    And - to be honest - it's not just the MHS folks who speed.
    I'd rather see a sign that just says "15 mph" - can you help me make those??

  4. Hey, Mari, have you ever tried to walk on the purported existing sidewalk on Evergreen? Totally impossible due to all the cars that are blocking access, including YOURS I might add. Your hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me.

    1. Born and raised on Evergreen Ave.March 14, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      We have always walked ON THE SIDE of the middle of the freakin street!
      Ever since I was little AND WAY BEFORE Marin Horizons School moved into the Homestead neighborhood. I have NEVER EVER felt unsafe for a moment walking up or down Evergreen.
      Anonymous- do you even KNOW what used to be there before Whole Foods Market? Not that you would care... but my little brothers and I used to walk down Evergreen to the old Pharmacy that used to hold Jerry's Meat Market.

      Lastly and and MOST importantly LEAVE MARI ALONE! Good god you people are Aggressive!! She or her dear husband can park their cars on the street THEY LIVE ON in front of their house! Why shouldn't they?? Are you really telling me that if their car wasn't parked there that you would walk over near those shrubs in the dirt hugging the side like a paranoid goof? Hahaha!
      Oh let me go ahead and answer that for you, if you actually ever walked down Evergreen, yes you would. Anyways that little part on the side of the street does not continue the whole way up to Melrose so you are only "safe" for so long. After that "big scary cars" that are out to get you are driving around like you have targets on the front of your shirt! Its Pandemonium!

  5. Hey Anonymous - yes - I walk along Evergreen Avenue just about EVERY DAY.
    MOST of the time, there is so little traffic, there is no need to USE the sidewalk.
    That said, it is MY CHOICE, as it is the CHOICE of Marin Horizon School to place their BUSINESS in a neighborhood with NO SIDEWALKS, or people to CHOOSE to live in an area that has NO concrete sidewalks.
    You think Sycamore is so picturesque? Go take a walk down Sycamore - you will see many cars parked on the cracked sidewalk.
    Just because you think your child will MAYBE will walk to school more after they build this "iconic" concrete sidewalk - doesn't mean you have a right to force it on someone else.
    A Twinkie is an icon too - but I don't see anyone shoving it down YOUR throat!

  6. and that is not my car. I park my car in the driveway.

  7. if you have a problem with where my husband parks his car - ask him to move it!

    1. He/She would never do that Mari, because they are a passive aggressive coward and have no concept of how to come to a mutual peaceful compromise or agreement where BOTH parties Win.

      If a HUGE ugly CONCRETE Slab is built to demolish the beauty and setting of our rural street then NO ONE WINS

      You want your school in a neighborhood with sidewalks- MOVE YOUR SCHOOL!
      Don't try to force it on the neighbors and community of homestead!

    2. You claimed to have asked people not to park their cars in the way of a safe walking path for people and yet you haven't even asked your own husband? It's an simple, temporary at least, bandaid to the safety problem on the street that is pathetically easy to implement if people really care about safety, and you won't even do that?

      You really don't care about safety, you don't care about an alternative pathway, all you care about is preventing the sidewalk because you don't like what it looks like. SELFISH!

    3. What - does your husband do everything you ask him to do?

    4. Many of us have sent alternative pathway suggestions.
      The reason DPW can't or won't implement them is because they had already spent a lot of time and staff and money designing the one they have now.
      From what I could piece together from over a year and half of research is :
      The reason DPW designed THAT sidewalk that doesn't fit in the first place, is because the FORMER head of Marin Horizon School decided that SHE wanted a sidewalk to try to coax her clients not to drive into Homestead, because she got tired of hearing people complain about the traffic generated from Marin Horizon School - so she hired someone who does not live in Homestead to design a sidewalk.

    5. If you cannot convince your own husband to do the right thing, what makes you think you can convince anyone else?

      No one clears the path for pedestrians. That's why a raised sidewalk is needed. Or will your husband park on a sidewalk too?

    6. As if it is any of your business, he's been parking on the street because we had to close our business and we ended up loading our garage with a bunch of junk. Same as my yard, I'm afraid.
      We are working on cleaning that all up, but people have priorities. Unfortunately, most of my time since July 2010 has been occupied trying to prevent this horrible concrete sidewalk from being FORCED onto the street - where I live.
      My husband is right - we should have just sued - Mr. Sands is right, too - maybe the school ought to just do what they PROMISED - or maybe the County should just start enforcing the requirements of the Use Permit.

      A raised sidewalk is NOT NEEDED.

  8. Why do you call it a business? MHS is a non-profit school, just like the school that was on the sight for years before it folded and MHS came in. Do you not know the difference?

    1. Richard,

      By definition MHS is a multi-million dollar a year commercal educational business that pays no property taxes precisey because it is a not-for-proit educational busines. 99.6% of its clientel lives outside of Homestead Valley as a result MHS vehicles have doubled the traffic volume on Evergreen Ave. (MHS' Traffic Consultant & MHS Head Mistress R. Hammar) The 100 year +/ original public Homestead Valley elementary school on Jane and its "new" replacement on Melrose generated less than 10 vehicle trips per day as its studens walked or biked to school.

    2. You are wrong, Charles.

      By definition, business are profit seeking enterprises. This school is no such thing.

      Check this link to an actual dictionary:

      Here's the relevant entries for "Business"
      - "the purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit."
      - "a person, partnership, or corporation engaged in commerce, manufacturing, or a service; profit-seeking enterprise or concern."

    3. A business (also known as enterprise or firm) is an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers.[1] Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and administered to earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. Businesses may also be not-for-profit or state-owned. A business owned by multiple individuals may be referred to as a company, although that term also has a more precise meaning.

      The etymology of "business" relates to the state of being busy either as an individual or society as a whole, doing commercially viable and profitable work. The term "business" has at least three usages, depending on the scope — the singular usage to mean a particular organization; the generalized usage to refer to a particular market sector, "the music business" and compound forms such as agribusiness; and the broadest meaning, which encompasses all activity by the community of suppliers of goods and services. However, the exact definition of business, like much else in the philosophy of business, is a matter of debate and complexity of meanings.

  9. Richard : MHS is a non-profit "business." For profit and not for profit (or non-profit) businesses are similar in many ways. Both are generally corporations in which assets are held and business transacted in the name of the corporation rather than the individuals involved. To survive and grow, both need to generate or bring in more revenue than they spend on operations. Both are involved in producing a good or service for society.

  10. You don't know what you're talking about, and it shows.

  11. How about I just send you to the link?

    1. Like you, chuck hasn't a clue either.

      Government fits your/his description too. You/he missed the chief rational for incorporating and it has little to do with commerce. See if you can guess what that is. I say 'guess' because you clearly do not know.

      And while chuck shows how they're supposedly similar in many ways, he ignores how they're different in very real ways. Can you figure it out? Doubtful, so here's the answer:

      A school's prime objective is to maximize the education of its students.

      A business' prime objective is to maximize the returns to its shareholders.

      The funding source of the school is totally irrelevant to this discussion, the sidewalk and its prime objective.

      You want to make it an issue to play on the antagonism felt by the vast majority of people in the area towards business - a la the occupy movement. Again, you're treating people like they're stupid. They're not.

    2. You are mistaking KINDNESS and COMPASSION for weakness.

  12. Dan Brousseau

    12:16 pm on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    This article leaves a lot out. The school may be not-for-profit and it has a nice local story. But it's upwards of $20,000 per year to send a kid there. Most kids that graduate there go to private high schools. Make no mistake, this is a school for the privileged. There's no charity here and while it has a great mission and values, it's still a business. There's nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is when a business moves into the middle of a neighborhood and causes changes to the detriment of the neighborhood. More traffic (119 extra cars every day is huge traffic for our quiet streets), a sidewalk thrust upon us that will change the rural appeal of the street, and so on. Sure the district gets dollars for the lease, but for that there are tax breaks, etc and the HV community sees none of that. Perhaps if there were reduced rates for Homestead Valley kids to go to school there, or scholarships, or something to make up for it.
    But as is, Homestead Valley got a bum rap with MHS moving in and expanding. Why are we using tax dollars for a sidewalk to solve a problem that the school caused?

    1. Dan,

      It'ds not 119 extra MHS cars every day.

      Would you believe 281 MHS vehicle trips every school day ???

      See Marin Horizon School's traffic consultant Dowling & Assocites 2005 Enviromental Intial Study.

  13. "You want to make it an issue to play on the antagonism felt by the vast majority of people in the area towards business - a la the occupy movement. Again, you're treating people like they're stupid. They're not."
    Well some people are acting pretty stupid - and inconsiderate, I might add.
    Actually - the problem here, mr./ms. "anonymous" is you fail to see the discord that exists here is very much like the occupy movement - and your snide, condescending tone only proves the point.
    People can only reach a compromise when BOTH sides are willing to come to the table -
    When one side is doing all the giving and the other is doing the taking, there is no relationship, there is no compassion, there is no community.

  14. why aren't the people who state we need a "sidewalk" willing to help the residents build a path?

  15. btw - I found this during my research -
    "Cars don't keep children safe. The incidence of serious road accidents suffered by children doubles between the ages of 10 and 11 years:
    It is clear that cosseting children from traffic, depriving them of the opportunity to learn about risks and road skills is not a sensible or responsible approach this merely defers the danger to later in the child's life."

    Transport Select Committee Report 2008