Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for July 10, 2021 – Marin Independent Journal

Second Amendment

Allowing restrictive voter laws bad for our health

As a Bay Area health care executive, I’ve seen that no matter how comprehensive my team’s care is for our patients, our actions in pediatric oncology are no match for the effects of toxic air pollution and the accelerating ecological crisis.

Voting determines what policies get enacted — whether we breathe clean air, drink clean water, live in a safe environment and have access to health care. So it’s hazardous to our health that, in 2021, 389 bills have been introduced across 48 states that make it harder to vote. These are bills contrary to our core American values.

Instead, we need to strengthen our democracy. The For the People Act does that by improving access, integrity and security of elections, ensuring fair redistricting, getting big money out of politics, and holding elected officials accountable. Please call on senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla to make sure a version of this bill passes in the future.

Safeguarding our health depends on safeguarding our democracy.

— Mercedes Roberts, Novato

Dangerous illegal fireworks must be banned

According to news reports, there were 60 fires in Contra Costa County caused by illegal use of fireworks on the night of July 4. That number is in a county with a million residents. While I could not find statistics for Marin County, Los Angeles County reported 500 fires caused by fireworks, but that seems very low for a county with 10 million people.

The witless fools who are mishandling fireworks and causing fires have absolutely no regard for our laws or their neighbors’ rights. What about our firefighters or the needless use of our limited water to fight the fires? California is experiencing its worst drought in 100 years right now. We don’t need to fight fires with our precious water.

I am appalled that our state Legislature has not passed laws to completely ban fireworks in California. These fires happen every single year from fireworks. The situation is exactly the same as our refusal to ban guns every time there is a mass shooting. Fortunately, we do not have a version of the Second Amendment to give fools the right to have fireworks.

Few people are killed as a result of fireworks, but many are injured. Is there a fireworks lobby as powerful as the National Rifle Association? I sincerely doubt that.

Right now, our leaders need to pass laws to completely ban firework sales and their use in California.

— Pamela Lunstead, Novato

Could some institutions go without water now?

If Marin Municipal Water District serves 191,000 people and produces 23 million gallons a day, that’s 120 gallons per person a day. That seems like a lot.

It is true that portions must go to needy and important businesses, hospitals and other key institutions. With that said, I want to know where all the water goes and which allocations we could live without. I assume that the categories include industry, farming, landscaping, washing and drinking.

In my household, I could personally use an astonishing amount and still not move out of Tier 1. What about others?

— Esther Wanning, San Rafael

Leak alert in Novato saved water, money

I want to thank the North Marin Water District for having installed the “smart meters” over the last couple of years in Novato. Recently, I received an email of “irregular water use.” The email advised me about a leak of several hundred gallons of water that was being wasted after an irrigation timer failed to shut off. I was able to find and resolve the problem that day.

Without this automatic type of notice, I am sure that there are many homes in the county who are not aware of the many instances where leaks go unnoticed until their bill is received.

Why didn’t the Marin Municipal Water District install them when North Marin did? I assume it was for perceived cost, but evidently no consideration was given to the cost and waste of water to their customers resulting from any form of leak.

It is my understanding that they are finally beginning to make these meters available, but at user’s cost in some areas of their district. It’s nice to know that, with my water provider, problems are noticed the day after they happen and not delayed by one or two months.

It is one of the best existing conservation methods available.

— Lou Bartolini, Novato

Learning how to read meter makes difference

I am writing in regard to the IJ’s recently published editorial about the water shortage (“Track water closely for best conservation,” July 5).

Perhaps a far simpler approach is to provide residents with a little bit of knowledge. Does everyone know where to find their water meter and how to read it? Ours is at the top of our lot. I go up there roughly once a week and take the reading, calculate the water usage by subtracting the last reading, multiply the total by 748 (to get gallons instead of centum cubic feet, the unit provided on our bills) and then divide the total by the number of elapsed days. It’s not perfect — in fact, I can get an inflated sense of my conservation efforts if I take the reading before the next irrigation cycle. But it does enable me to have a more immediate connection to our household’s water usage.

I have a long way to go, given that I did all the easy “fixes” during the last drought, but I do understand the importance of having the information now — rather than two months from now.

The Marin Municipal Water District’s website includes a nice flyer titled “How to read your meter.” I read it and found it helpful.

— Carole Garcia, Kentfield

Change of billing not answer for water crisis

A recent IJ editorial suggested that Marin Municipal Water District add $1.4 million to its spending to create a monthly billing statement (“Tracking water use best plan for conservation,” July 5).

The editorial board’s suggestion appears to be based on the belief that some customers want to monitor their water usage more closely. There was no empirical data presented to support the opinion that the added cost can be justified by reductions in usage more than just occasional monitoring of the water meter that we each have. Keep in mind that there is no empirical data suggesting that Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s monthly billing has reduced energy usage during times of energy stress.

If someone is unclear as to their water usage, which is hard to believe, the meter is easy to check on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

What it is time to do is change the whole water district board of directors and CEO. During the 20-plus years I have lived in Marin, there have been no major additions to water sourcing, storage or general availability. The only change I have seen in the last 10 years is that, in times when I reduced my water consumption, the district said it couldn’t meet its obligations. It then increased its fixed component of the bimonthly bill from between 12-15% of my bill to now approaching 50% regardless of my usage.

It is time for a change of leadership, not billing procedure.

— B.R. Lensing, Tiburon

Storek a key contributor to public art in Canal

After reading the IJ’s recent coverage of the beautiful new mural created to mark the entrance to the Canal neighborhood in San Rafael (“Canal mural first in San Rafael public art program,” July 3), I want to highlight the contributions of the architect Rich Storek of Greenbrae.

Storek enthusiastically promoted this public mural as well as the colorful mural inside the Canal Alliance building. He is helping to make future murals in the district possible.

Storek worked to obtain funding for these projects and worked many hours with the artists, both before and during the installations. He is passionate about bringing multicultural art into public spaces, thus creating beauty, joy and dignity for this vibrant community.

— Arden Wood, Nicasio



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