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Who Can You Trust on Measure D?

I have loved the beautiful lands of the San Geronimo Valley ever since we moved to Marin from Chicago thirty years ago. I first knew them as a golfer. More recently, I came to know the work of The Trust for Public Land, after they purchased the property, and have attended some of their community outreach and planning workshops. I was so impressed with their work and excited about the possibilities at San Geronimo that I joined the “No on D” committee.

Here are some thoughts for voters to consider as they weigh Measure D:

All of Marin is fortunate that an excellent land steward like the Trust for Public Land stepped up when they did and bought this property, instead of it going to a private buyer. That alone is reason enough to Vote "NO" on Measure D.

Another reason is the fact that there is an excellent community planning process now underway to determine the highest and best use of these lands.

As a golf course, it was poisoned with hundreds of applications of pesticides, annually: herbicides and rodenticides. Other environmental offenses included the unconscionable water use and the way inconveniently located creeks were put into pipes, depriving wildlife and the ecosystem.

Instead of using our resources to begin to restore these lands, we instead have been fighting this battle against Measure D -- a vengeful initiative begun by angry golfers, led by a West Marin realtor and a co-signer who has become so combative, I’ve been asked to not name him.

This individual has been in the background until recently, when a Marin Voice editorial noted that he was a principal of a Colorado development firm whose website touted expertise in oil and gas and industrial projects. During the next day or so, not only was this company website taken down, but the same red-faced man showed up at a “No-on-D” event in Corte Madera to seek out and promptly box the ears of the volunteer who had authored the guest editorial. There were witnesses. A police report was filed.

This is the same man who signed the Measure D ballot initiative, who worked with lawyers to sue the County to block the purchase, and then went to the considerable effort and expense to qualify a ballot measure. Yet nobody seems to know much about him. Even some of the D advocates say they don’t know who he is. The Marin IJ has reported only briefly about D’s organizers.

On the other side of this issue is highly regarded The Trust for Public Land.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) got its start in 1972, when the people of Marin decided they didn’t want the new city of 30,000 people being proposed by Gulf & Western, in the Marin Headlands. The TPL has since saved 3.9 million acres of land from development, for people and for nature. This award-winning organization has also created over 5,000 community and city parks. TPL is on a mission to create a world where everyone lives walking distance to the healing benefits of a park.

At one of their workshops, sixty or so people worked in groups, to brainstorm ideas. Each group then reported back to the whole. There was consensus about many things:

There were also ideas about nature education, and possibly a market and/or a farm-to-table restaurant. The former club house could also be a venue for weddings and community gatherings, and importantly, somewhere on the property there was room for a new fire station, which almost all agreed should be located along the main road, near the MMWD property, and not replace the clubhouse.

All of these ideas will be stopped in their tracks should Measure D pass.

No matter which way things go on Tuesday, Measure D will have been a colossal waste of time and energy. The hurt over the divisiveness in the San Geronimo Valley has been intense. It will take some time for wounds to heal. Only the lawyers win if D passes.

Even an impartial review of Measure D questions its constitutionality. And The Trust for Public land isn’t going anywhere. They are committed to following this project through, and they deserve our support.

Voters get to choose. Do you trust the angry golfers, even though Measure D won’t bring back golf, but will only end up being settled in the courts? Or do you trust The Trust for Public Land?

Let’s support TPL’s work to create something remarkable in the San Geronimo valley for both nature and people.

Vote NO on Measure D.