Highway 101 litter a sorry reflection on Marin
Updated: Jun 2, 2018
POSTED: 09/02/17, 1:53 PM PDT
Author: Dick Spotswood
Publication: Marin Independent Journal
Dick Spotswood, seen on Tuesday, Jan. 05, 2016, in San Rafael, Calif. (Frankie Frost/Marin Independent Journal)
Highway 101, from the Waldo Grade north to southern Novato, looks like a dump. Litter, garbage and refuse sit aside our unkempt main artery.
The scene mocks Marin’s much-proclaimed environmental commitment. It’s not just ugly; the resulting sludge seeps into creeks, marshes and the bay.
Keeping 101 clean is the job of Caltrans’ Division Four, headquartered in Oakland ,and its longtime director Bijan Sartipi.
The cost of removing the mess is born by scant funds emanating from deposit fees consumers pay when purchasing cans and bottles.
It simply isn’t enough.
Now that the Legislature has increased the gas tax, you’d think a small amount could be reserved to clean up this mess.
It’s not for want of locals trying.
The Marin “clean” groups, including those in Novato, San Rafael and Mill Valley, stand out for tirelessly eliminating litter from their communities. Even state Sen. Mike McGuire’s office is involved.
No matter the pressure, Caltrans does little, claiming lack of funds inhibits its ability to better respond.
In the interest of safety, Caltrans no longer permits volunteers to “adopt a highway” in most of Marin. Instead it contracts with Conservation Corps North Bay.
With funds short, even that effort is becoming ever more infrequent.
Roadway squalor is made worse by trucks roaring along 101 with trash flying out of their open beds. County supervisors passed an ordinance mandating trash and bulk supplies be tarped.
Nice try, but the law isn’t being enforced, despite the availability of free tarps from the California Highway Patrol.
We’ll soon see if Caltrans is willing to finally conduct regular bi-monthly clean-up patrols.
Marin County’s aggressive Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program is scheduling a “Trash Summit” for Nov. 1. All involved parties, including volunteer “clean” organizations, municipalities, legislators, CHP and, most importantly, Caltrans, are invited. The prospects for a refuse-free 101 will be discussed. That’s the time for Caltrans to either commit to doing its job or give up and divert available funds to a more motivated agency.
There’s quite a kerfuffle at Ross Valley’s San Domenico School. Founded in 1850 by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael as an independent Catholic school, some years ago the good sisters relinquished control of the institution to a lay board of directors.
The school is not affiliated with the Catholic Archdiocese or with any religious order, though it’s vaguely “sponsored” by the Dominican Sisters.
Now, some of its religious artifacts, mostly statues, have been removed or relocated on the Sleepy Hollow campus.
Some Catholics are offended by this. It’s surprising that any would care. Statues exist mostly as an aid to teaching the faith and a gentle reminder of the need to pause and pray.
What puts off many Marin Catholics is that the school still holds itself out to be “Catholic.”
Given that the trustees previously removed Catholic theology and its catechism from the school’s curriculum in supposed deference to their many non-Catholic students, continuing to use the term is misleading.
While San Domenico has a Catholic “tradition,” that’s about history.
Harvard too has a religious tradition, but that’s no longer part of its present.
Any school that doesn’t teach Catholic beliefs as part of its core curriculum by definition isn’t a Catholic school. It may be a fine secular, deist or Unitarian institution, but a Catholic school it isn’t.
San Domenico’s lay trustees need to finally bite the bullet and acknowledge that while the school remains an excellent K-12 independent institution, it’s no longer a “Catholic school.” Given the lack of Catholic religious teaching as its driving principle, holding it out to be such is misleading, particularly for Marin parents seeking faith-centered education.
Columnist Dick Spotswood of Mill Valley writes about local issues on Sundays and Wednesdays. Email him at email@example.com.
To read original article posting, click here: http://www.marinij.com/opinion/20170902/dick-spotswood-highway-101-litter-a-sorry-reflection-on-marin