Quantcast
Authors Posts by Nikki Silverstein

Nikki Silverstein

10 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

hero and zero

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: Two observant Marinites saw something and said something when they spotted a suspicious fellow with a Ferrari on East Francisco Boulevard. The first person called the San Rafael Police Department after the odd man attempted to panhandle gas money for his 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB.  The next caller reported that the guy was acting strangely and appeared to be showering the car with gasoline. Police arrived and questioned the man, who said that he owned the car and had left it in the shop for two years. Unconvinced, the officers contacted the Ferrari dealership, which confirmed that the car, valued at $245,000, had been stolen from their service department two days before. Police arrested Rocky Jimenez, 36, of Georgia, for vehicle theft and other charges.

Zero: Folks attending Tam High’s graduation received a peculiar welcome. Parking tickets. A meter maid and law enforcement were waiting to give tickets to visitors who dared to park on Almonte Boulevard, a side street near the school. Whose bright idea was that? Think about the decision-making process that led to sending cops to the annual event. Let’s ruin the once-in-a-lifetime celebration for seniors and their families by writing tickets or forcing a futile drive to find legal parking—in the rain. Yep. It was raining. We think it might have been a better use of resources to direct folks to areas where they were allowed to park, or better yet, the school and community should work together to devise a parking plan for their guests.

hero and zero

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: Let’s give a toothy grin to the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) board for voting to continue adding fluoride to our water. A contingent of false science followers lobbied against it, claiming that fluoride is a toxin and reduces the IQ of children. A lone board member, Larry Bragman, supported their misguided belief by voting against fluoridation. We aim to set the record straight: Fluoride strengthens teeth. The American Dental Association states, “Drinking water with fluoride (called ‘nature’s cavity fighter’) is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to help prevent cavities.” We commend the reasonable board members for recognizing real science and following the well-founded state order that requires the MMWD to keep fluoride flowing from our taps.

Zero: In a heartless move last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied Hugo Mejia an immigration hearing before a judge, despite the fact that he has been a law-abiding resident since entering the U.S. from Mexico 17 years ago. As we reported on May 24, Mejia, of San Rafael, was picked up by ICE for illegally entering the country, and is on the fast track to deportation without due process. The Marin community has provided overwhelming support of Mejia, including organizing rallies and gathering thousands of signatures on a grassroots petition to protest his incarceration and demand a court hearing. It’s absolutely disgraceful that the U.S. government is hell bent on taking this honorable man away from his wife and three children. Banish criminals instead.

hero and zero

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: Marin’s first responders received a special thank you last week on National Donut Day.  Volunteers with the San Rafael Corps of the Salvation Army delivered fresh donuts to more than 40 locations throughout the county, from the Coast Guard rescue station under the Golden Gate Bridge to the Tomales Fire Station in West Marin. Honoring our men and women in uniform by giving them donuts actually has a rich history dating back to World War I, when a group of resourceful women, Salvation Army volunteers, cooked donuts in a soldier’s helmet to bring a taste of home to our forces on the front lines. We appreciate the Salvation Army for recognizing our first responders and taking care of those in need.

Zero: John is an avid runner on the trails in the Marin Headlands, where paid dog walkers and their charges are a common sight. Sometimes as many as 20 dogs at a time rush him, bark and eventually take chase as he continues his run. The maximum number of dogs allowed with a licensed commercial dog walker is six, with at least three leashed. Unfortunately, some walkers exceed the limit and add insult to injury by packing up with other commercial walkers. With that many pooches to watch, it’s inevitable that poop is left to litter the trail. Certainly the walkers are in the dog house, but we also blame the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which fails to enforce its own rules. Ruff.

hero and zero

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: A whopping 28 percent of Marin’s homeless are young men and women aged 18 to 25. Though they have many needs, the top three services that they request help with are housing, jobs and dental work. The nonprofit group Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity has assisted with housing and employment for the past 13 years, but there are no dentists on their staff. A team of local dentists came to the rescue last month by launching the Bay Area’s first free, ongoing dental clinic for this underserved population. Housed at SMA Dental in Corte Madera, the clinic has already delivered $40,000 in services at no charge. Big smiles for the generous dentists, Drs. Claudiu Marin, Laleh Sotoodeh, Richard Schmotter and Alex Schmotter, and oral surgeon Alex Kashef, MD, DDS.

Zero: Oy. Enough already with NIMBY Marinites and the Marin County Board of Supervisors that kowtows to them. Last week, the board upheld a decision by the county administrator and denied the appeals of seven vendors who wanted to open medical cannabis dispensaries. We guess they forgot about Proposition 215, passed in 1996, which gives Californians the right to obtain and use pot for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician. How do our ill residents do that without a nearby dispensary? Apparently, that medicinal need is secondary to the wishes of Marin homeowners who don’t want dispensaries in their town. The supervisors said they’ll consider alternatives. We certainly hope that consideration takes into account the needs of the sick folks in our community.

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: It’s scary to think that last month more than 500 motorists in San Rafael were caught using hand-held cell phones while driving. Thankfully, the fine officers at the San Rafael Police Department (SRPD) were out on the roads keeping us safe from these distracted drivers. During a month-long, high-visibility crackdown, the SRPD issued 502 citations to motorists who violated California’s distracted driving law, which states that it’s illegal to hold a cell phone to text, call or use an app while operating a motor vehicle. The offenders face fines starting at $162 and soaring higher for second violations. “Distracted driving kills too many people for us to ignore the facts and pretend it’s OK—it is never acceptable to text and drive,” says SRPD Lieutenant Roy Leon. Well done.

Zero: Hugo Mejia, of San Rafael, was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and now must brave deportation without a court hearing [see ‘Local Outrage,’ May 17, for more info]. An undocumented Mexican immigrant, Meija, 37, has lived in America for 17 years and is married with three children who were born here. He is gainfully employed and has no arrest record. Years ago, he was caught entering the U.S. and removed, but he later reentered. Under the draconian reinstatement of removal statute, Meija is on track to exile without due process. Too bad about his productive life in our country. Trump claims that his strengthened enforcement policy against illegal immigrants merely targets criminals. Try telling that to this law-abiding Marin county family that has been torn apart. Absolutely shameful, Trump.

hero and zero

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: Lana shopped at the Safeway in Strawberry Village and paid for her groceries with money tucked in her small purse. Hours later, she realized that her clutch was missing. She hurried back to Safeway and frantically retraced her steps. Nada. Cash, credit cards and personal identification had vanished. Though the store took her contact info, days passed with no news and she accepted that it was gone for good. Then, a package arrived at her Sausalito houseboat, via U.S. mail, with no sender’s name and only a P.O. Box for the return address. Inside she found her tiny tote, totally intact, with not a dime missing. Lana would like us to hail her humble, honest hero. Glad to oblige: Many thanks and much appreciation.

Zero: We hold particular contempt for a man who preyed upon immigrants in the Canal neighborhood of San Rafael. The suspect, Tifano Ariel Rodas Maldonado, 38, of San Rafael, posed as a landlord and posted ads at laundromats under a fictitious name. Victims who responded were offered housing in exchange for sex acts. In early May, a San Rafael Police Department (SRPD) undercover officer spoke on the phone with Maldonado, who said he wanted $2,000 a month and sex in exchange for the apartment. When arrested for felony, fraud and prostitution, he admitted that he didn’t have access to real estate and had posted the ad numerous times. The SRPD emphasizes that anyone, regardless of immigration status, should report crimes without fear of deportation. Contact them at 415/485-3000.

hero and zero

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: When Jake Straus was 14, his parents weren’t happy that he spent hours and hours in his room playing video games. Today, he’s 24, and his parents are supportive of this activity, because now GernaderJake, as he’s known online, is paid to do it. He’s a full-time professional video gamer on Twitch, a live streaming video platform, where 140,000 followers watch as he plays a game called Destiny. Viewers tip the CorteMadera resident cash to thank him for the entertainment or to entice him to answer a question about navigating through the game. Last weekend, he asked his viewers from around the globe to donate to the Marin Humane, in lieu of tipping him, and raised more than $38,000.

“I wanted to do a charity event and I noticed how strong and bonded the community is,” Straus says. A lifelong love of animals motivated him to choose Marin Humane as the recipient. Straus is proud that fellow gamers, who sometimes get a bad rap, were enthusiastic about the event. So is Marin Humane. “By far, this is the biggest peer-to-peer fundraiser (i.e., asking your neighbors to donate to a cause) that we’ve ever had,” says Lisa Bloch, spokesperson for Marin Humane. “It’s a huge boost to our budget.” Straus hopes that the success of the event will inspire other gamers to raise funds for the charity of their choice. Bravo!

hero and zero

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: Give the gift of life by joining the Southern Marin Fire Protection District for a blood drive with Blood Centers of the Pacific. Sign up now, because the first 30 confirmed donors receive a free reflective street address placard and a San Francisco Giants blood donor hero shirt, too. To qualify for the prizes, email Captain Cary Gloeckner at cgloeckner@smfd.org to schedule an appointment. Include your name, phone number, street address and preferred time to donate and he’ll get back to you within 48 hours. The blood drive takes place on Friday, May 12, from 3-7pm at the Southern Marin Fire Station 4 on 309 Poplar Street in Mill Valley.

Zero: Supervisor Kate Sears usually has nods of approval from us, but this time we’re aghast at her eight secret meetings with a small group of Strawberry residents, the last two of which included the developers of the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary property. Come into the light, supervisor. Your explanation that “ … the focused study and input that must occur when there is a complex land use application that will shape a community for years to come simply can’t be achieved in a gymnasium filled with 300 people … ” is absurd. That scenario is the setting where such development issues should be hashed out. Why throw away transparence? Why didn’t you give advance notice of the eight “confidential” meetings and enlighten us about why you wouldn’t hold an open forum?

Marin Oaks High School teacher John Sanderbeck along with “dirt divas” Anita Jones and Annie Spiegelman, who volunteer weekly to teach students to grow pollinator-attracting plants.

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: Spring is abloom and Annie Spiegelman, the Pacific Sun’s own Dirt Diva, and Anita Jones are busy at Marin Oaks High School in Novato teaching students to grow vegetables, fruit trees and flowers that attract pollinators. With the mission close to their hearts, they’ve typically opened their wallets and paid for the plants themselves during their five years of volunteering. This season, enter Chip Young at Pini’s Ace Hardware in Novato, who recently donated a gift card valued at several hundred dollars to the program. Thank you heroes Chip, Annie and Anita for your substantial contributions to Marin Oaks High School and for enabling the bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and other important pollinators to alight on the new plants from Pini’s Ace Hardware. May they grow, bear fruit and blossom.

hero and zero

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: Most feared that Yoda, a beautiful yellow Labrador retriever, had drowned after the boat he was on capsized in Tomales Bay on April 6. Two friends and two dogs had been on the boat during the tragic accident in which one man died. The other man and one of the dogs were rescued soon after the boat

Three days after a boating tragedy, Marin County firefighters rescued a missing pooch named Yoda.

overturned. That left only Yoda. Three days after the tragedy, Marin County firefighters involved in a training exercise noticed a yellow dog on a remote rocky shore north of Dillon Beach. The firefighters rescued the missing pooch and brought him to the Tomales Fire Station, where he was warmed by the fireplace and ate a hearty meal. Yoda, unharmed from his ordeal, was returned to his grateful family.

Zero: When you drink and drive, you’re stupid. Drink, drive and hit a car, you’re a menace. Drink, drive and just happen to run smack into a Marin County Sheriff patrol vehicle head-on, well, you’re a stupid menace in a big heap of trouble. Justin Satterfield, 34, of Mill Valley, hit the jackpot in the wee hours of the morning last Sunday when he allegedly crossed into the opposite lane while he attempted to round a curve on Shoreline Highway, which put him straight into the deputy’s path and caused the head-on collision. Fortunately, the deputy’s injuries were minor and Satterfield wasn’t hurt, not physically anyway; however, he was arrested and booked on suspicion of a felony DUI. Goodness gracious. Call Uber next time you drink.

SOCIAL

BEST OF MARIN

0 1240
We know what you’re thinking: “Romance? Ewww!” But come on—anyone can find love in Marin … even if it’s just with that cocktail you’re...