The Marin Post

The Voice of the Community

Contributor Profile

Amy Kalish

Activist for rational state housing policy
Mill Valley, California

My Website

I’m a long time Mill Valley resident.

Since finding out about new housing laws and RHNA in 2020/21, I’ve devoted most of my time to the cause of waking people up to ruinous policy decisions that have very direct impact on every city and county and community in the state.

I took on the dormant mantle of Citizen Marin from Susan Kirsch, after working with her current organization, Catalysts for Local Control. My concept was to provide a resource for an easy understanding of RHNA, and the new, extremely punitive top-down zoning approach the state has taken. Communities statewide are being primed for dense housing infill at the hands of private industry, regardless of resources, safety, infrastructure, and need.

Citizen Marin has accumulated a growing following as neighborhoods across the county — and state — are jolted by out of scale projects proposed in their communities.

My outreach is through email updates, the site, blog posts at and letters to the editor and op-ed pieces in various publications. I’ve also been interviewed on California Insider. I keep a lively conversation going on NextDoor, and host occasional in-person meetings. I have participated in several events in Sacramento and in-district, lobbying against flawed legislation.

I have recently welcomed members of Sustainable TamAlmonte to Citizen Marin, after the untimely passing of long time Marin activist Sharon Rushton.

The nonsense of outsized RHNA and one-size-fits-all growth demands dumped on all localities in the state runs counter to reality, and among other things the state has refused to acknowledge the reality of stable /shrinking population, job losses, change in work habits, increased risks from fire and flooding — even the inability for most Californians to insure their property. The stripping of local control to enforce density will eventually lead to catastrophic consequences in places like Marin, with constrained evacuation routes and ever growing vegetation. This is beyond negligence.

The legislature and Governor Newsom are full steam ahead with an agenda that is creates a stranglehold on our ability to control our planning, or even — literally — to have input in how our communities grow.

My most recent previous activism was in response to the first PG&E PSPS. I was infuriated by the careless way PGE treated vulnerable customers, and took it upon myself to spread awareness of fire safety and food insecurity issues created by the lengthy outages. I launched a successful Go Fund Me: “Help me do what PG&E won’t: Feed People;” that resulted in funding over 10,000 meals served by the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

My increased awareness of our vulnerability to outages and fire — and PG&E’s criminal negligence and felony manslaughter convictions — woke up an intense interest in evacuation safety. Marin is full of hazards, but has few evacuation routes. When I realized the state knew but didn’t care about dangers posed by increased density and overdevelopment, my work in this area ramped up.

I am a strong believer in community volunteerism, and I’m an active neighborhood FireWise leader, NRG block co-captain, and I am CERT certified. I currently serve as chair of the Tam Design Review Board, one of three County appointed design review boards in Marin.

Before all of this hijacked my life, I was a full time artist. I am a member of Marin Society of Artists, where some of my work is usually on display.