By Ron Ford, Lesley McTaggart and Mary Lou King
THE MARIN Civic Center Vision Committee began with six Marin homeowners in August 2006. The committee now lists more than 120 supporters and five support organizations.
The committee opposes the Marin Board of Supervisors' proposed location for a future Public Safety Building. The Field of Dogs Park and Petanque Courts would be paved over and used as parking lots. The committee has designated two other sites that will fit all criteria for a PSB site.
In August 2006, the committee questioned the location proposed by the Board of Supervisors. The site chosen had no public input and the public had no information on alternative locations. The committee specifically requested information including comparative site analysis, comparative cost analysis and community support. The county stated no comparative site analysis, no comparative cost analysis and no polls of the community were conducted. The county stated it would cost too much ($100,000) for these analyses. The projected cost of the Public Safety Building in 2006 was $80 million.
The vision committee decided to take this issue to the electorate as an addendum to the 1992 Marin Civic Center Open Space measure that covers all structures on the west side of Civic Center Drive. The addendum would expand coverage of this measure to include the entire Civic Center campus. It would require voter approval of any construction at the Civic Center over 250 square feet in size.
Members spent hundreds of hours collecting signatures. The drive garnered huge support. The committee turned in 12,122 signatures, more than any initiative in Marin history, only to have the Registrar of Voters' office declare more than 2,000 signatures invalid and that the effort did not get the required 10,596 signatures to place this initiative on the ballot.
The vision committee supports two other locations: the facilities structure lot and the area next to the Pit parking lot. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright's vision for the campus, from numerous historical documents, indicates the architect's intent was for "cultural, recreational and fair activities" on the east side of Civic Center Drive. The west side of Civic Center Drive was designated for administration and court buildings. Wright's model included a future administration building parallel to Highway 101. His model is on view at the Civic Center. These two locations are adjacent to Highway 101 with access via an "emergency only" freeway ramp. The Heller Manus report, the county's hired consultant, concludes either of these two sites would support a 93,000-square-foot building.
The vision committee has followed the law when stating this "Save Our Parks" initiative would not require a special election. The committee hired an attorney, a California Elections Code specialist, and sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors asking the county to cease stating this initiative would require a special election. There was no response from the Board of Supervisors. The committee is requesting the Board of Supervisors cease making these incorrect statements concerning special elections.
The committee has filed a "Letter of Intent" with the registrar of voters to once again start the drive for the June 2010 regularly scheduled election. The Marin Civic Center Vision Committee will be in shopping centers and markets soliciting your support and your signature in support of this important initiative.
Ron Ford, Lesley McTaggart and Mary Lou King are members of the Marin Civic Center Vision Committee.