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I’ve taken a close look at Dick Spotswood’s column regarding the investigation into what appears to be an assault of a Latino man by members of the San Rafael Police Department (“City attorney faces challenges as investigation of San Rafael police unfolds,” Sept. 25).
I was one of the outraged speakers at the San Rafael City Council who demanded the officers be fired. I also started a petition on MoveOn.org. It has 2,500 signatories demanding the same. The video appears to clearly show that an officer punched the man during the arrest.
I appreciate Spotswood’s clarity when he concludes that, whatever the decision, it will be challenged by the officers or by the supporters of the man who was arrested.
However, I take issue with him describing that San Rafael police “began an internal investigation.” Why was this even necessary? I believe the chief of police was negligent by not viewing the body camera footage immediately after the man was bloodied and jailed. Had he seen that footage, he should have determined there was excessive use of force and began an internal disciplinary process with no need for “an internal investigation.”
What is the protocol for viewing body cam footage? Did Chief David Spiller follow the protocol as expected or not?
I have the same question for Marin District Attorney Lori Frugoli. Why did she charge this man with assaulting an officer at all? Did she not see the footage beforehand? Was there a breach in protocol within the DA’s office where she should have seen the footage and then made the decision rather than charge the man, before reversing the decision after seeing the footage?
This question reflects a systemic problem in both the San Rafael Police Department and the DA’s office that needs to be addressed above and beyond holding the police officers accountable for their excessive force and inappropriate policing.
— Mark Solomons, Fairfax
I would like to suggest that voters take advantage of a candidate for the Division 3 seat on the Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors who has real-world experience in the area of water conservation. Ranjiv Khush is a water scientist who founded a nonprofit to bring clean water and sanitation to the developing world.
Khush’s opponent, attorney Larry Bragman, is the eight-year incumbent who promises to continue addressing climate change, drought and water insecurity. If reelected, I think Bragman will bring more of the same.
These problems need new, data-driven, scientific solutions. Khush has expanded water access into the most difficult environments. Imagine what he can do for Marin.
— Marsha Hallet, San Anselmo
The recent Marin County Civil Grand Jury Report pointed out the long inaction of the Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors to truly address our water supply crisis, as well as any serious planning to insure a four-year supply to its customers. MMWD has had multiple studies done at great expense, but has completely failed to act on the recommendations.
We need Ranjiv Khush, Matt Samson and Jed Smith to be elected in November to change what I believe has been primarily a “conservation only” message from current members of the board.
Khush is a water scientist with global water supply experience. He will greatly help MMWD come up with the best combination of options for the short and long term, as will Samsom and Smith. It is the most important MMWD directors election in a generation. Please act and vote.
— Carsten Andersen, San Rafael
During the tumultuous past year of drought and deluge, I promised myself I would support a candidate for the Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors who didn’t merely urge me to conserve, but who would have a plan for our water future. Ranjiv Khush is that candidate.
A local person, he is an experienced water scientist. He will help Marin plan for its water supply into the future. Further (and this is not said enough), Khush will foster transparency on the board, as well as open communication with us, the ratepayers. Vote for Ranjiv Khush.
— Elaine C. Johnson, Greenbrae
I agree with Richard Rubin’s take in his recently published Marin Voice commentary regarding the board of Marin Municipal Water District (“MMWD needs to move beyond continuing era of water denial,” Sept. 30). It’s past time to replace this board with members who will move beyond yet another study.
But Rubin lost me on his advocation of desalination before building more reservoir space and possibly another reservoir. We have a two-year capacity. Most studies, including the recent Marin County Civil Grand Jury report, recommend a four year supply. This means the reservoirs are going to need to be dug out to provide more capacity. Additionally, I would like to know more about plans for another reservoir. We need to increase capacity as a first step before jumping into desal.
The San Diego County desalination plant, finished in 2015, cost about $1 billion and provides water for about 400,000 people. Bonds were sold to finance the plant, which was sold to Poseidon Water and other private investors. It took about 15 years of planning and 14 legal challenges to build the plant.
If San Diego’s experience is any indication, it could take well more than a decade to build a plant in Northern California. The cost could be $2 billion or more, a steep price even in wealthy Marin.
We need to do things in the right order and expanding storage capacity is the logical first step. There will be environmental challenges to overcome but I’m guessing they will be small compared to a desal plant, which will have huge environmental impact and be very costly. Those who have MMWD directors on their ballot this year need to think carefully about how they vote. It’s time for new blood and term limits.
— Diane Lynch, Tiburon
As a current high school senior, I’ve found the education system here in Marin to be incompetent in a self-defeating manner.
From my perspective, it is designed to encourage regression to the mean in terms of academic behavior and performance. While this thinking and system raises the bottom line, it combines with various cultural trends (primarily fear of positive differentiation inferring negative differentiation) to disincentivize unique performers who disproportionately drive progress and further innovation on a communal and societal level later in life.
Building out systems to encourage and support these behaviors and endeavors is proven to improve mental health and performance throughout this group in the short run. It results in better decisions and output further down the line. This is not to disregard the importance of the education system, but merely speaks to an inefficiency present in such and the resulting price we pay as a community and society.
In Marin schools, not providing flexibility and support for high-performing youth furthers cyclical regression. Those who have the support systems outside of schools (typically the result of wealth and connections) leverage their skills and opportunities to do so. But those facing less fortunate circumstances remain in meat-grinder schools that lead to the regressive trap of socioeconomic mobility.
Some alternative systems do exist — Tamiscal High School, for example. However, they are too little and too late. I propose thinking on the ways in which our schools may leverage the wealth and knowledge available in Marin to encourage students to pursue interests in a professional manner at earlier ages (as well as develop a stronger baseline in terms of professional knowledge).
— Jon Law, Corte Madera
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