The Editors of the Marin IJ recently posted an editorial entitled, "Mill Valley lawsuit wasting time in fight to make Marin fire safe." They call the lawsuit a "head-scratcher."
The only thing that's a head-scratcher in this story, is the Marin IJ editor's complete lack of understanding that in this country we have something called the "rule of law."
So, for their benefit, here is a primer on our legal system: 101.
What it posits, for the good of all, is that we have laws that are, hopefully, applied equally for the protection of all. These laws were created by our legislature and voted into existence by our elected representatives. These laws apply to everyone, regardless of their position, influence, power or privilege or the prevailing circumstances.
Regardless of whether it's a traffic speed limit, the right to vote, or a law created to provide a public process to assess the need for environmental protections, the law, as they say, is the law. So, one can't whine about a law being unfair just because one personally "believes" that some situation is somehow special that it should magically not apply.
Try telling that to a traffic cop the next time you're caught speeding. If you disagree with a law, then work to change it. But, in the meantime, know that every law is supposed to apply to everyone.
Most people learned about this stuff in middle school. Apparently, this is still a steep learning curve for the Marin IJ editors, who I'm sure are rightfully aghast when they watch laws being broken every day in Washington DC, but are somehow unable to grasp the principles of the rule of law when applied to something they may disagree with, locally.
Lesson 2 then is this: That is why we have courts: to settle legal arguments. This is another thing the IJ seems unable to grasp. They always label lawsuits as somehow being a pejorative rather than the exercise of a basic right. But, to be dismissive of citizens' legitimate right to petition the court to rule on an alleged violation of the law, is no different than calling Congress's pursuit of their Constitutional authority to pursue impeachment, a witch hunt.
Of course, legal proceedings are often inconvenient, just like going to traffic school is inconvenient. But what the Marin IJ editors completely miss, in their gross ignorance of the law, is that this suit was the result of the City's failure to address a legally required process: a CEQA Initial Study assessment. That would have taken the city about three months to complete and could have easily been done prior to the Council's decision-making hearing.
The City is at fault. It was completely within their control to adequately address the law. But they CHOSE not to and attempted to avoid it with full knowledge that they were violating the law.
The City's intentional avoidance of the requirements of CEQA in such an environmentally sensitive area is the ultimate head-scratcher.