Authors Posts by Pacific Sun

Pacific Sun


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Photo by Andria Lo, courtesy of Headlands Center for the Arts

This week in the Pacific Sun, our cover story, ‘Reflective Retreat,’ spotlights Headlands Center for the Arts, with a focus on its renowned Artist in Residence program. On top of that, we’ve got a story on an unwanted shed in Bolinas, a piece on Wise Sons coming to Marin, an interview with an actor from Broadway Under the Stars, a review of ‘Roe’ at the Berkeley Rep and a piece on musician Jai Uttal. All that and more on stands and online today!

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This week in the Pacific Sun, our cover story, ‘Downstream,’ explores how aggressive logging is endangering Northern California rivers and residents. On top of that, we’ve got a piece on Dennis Rodoni’s recent talk at the Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station, an interview with Heather Wyatt, creator of Salt Point’s Moscow Mule, a story on the secrets of success for the 87-year-old Ross Valley Players, a piece on gospel folk band Birds of Chicago, and our annual kid’s camps guide. All that and more on stands and online today!

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Logging and an industry-friendly state agency imperil the Elk River and other California waterways

In the mid-20th century, a logging boom swept across California’s North Coast. The region’s legendary timber stands went south to frame the suburban housing tracts of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles Basin.

By Will Parrish

As a long-time resident of the Elk River basin, which drains the redwood-studded hills southeast of Eureka, Jesse Noell lives in fear of the rain. During storms of even moderate intensity, the Elk River often rises above its banks and dumps torrents of mud and sand across Noell and his neighbors’ properties. The churning surges of foamy brown water have ruined domestic water supplies, inundated vehicles, buried farmland and spilled into homes.

It first happened to Noell and his wife, Stephanie, in 2002. As the flood approached, he remained inside his home to wedge bricks and rocks beneath their furniture, and pile pictures, books and other prized possessions atop cabinets and counters. The water level was at his thighs; his body spasmed in the winter cold. Across the street, two firefighters in a raft paddled furiously against the current, carrying his neighbors—military veterans in their 60s, who were at risk of drowning—to higher ground.

After crouching and shivering atop the kitchen counter through the night, Noell was finally able to wade through the floodwater to higher ground the next morning. But the home’s sheetrock, floors, heating equipment, water tanks, floor joints, girders and septic system were destroyed. This experience wasn’t an act of nature; it was manmade.

“California has a systematic and deliberate policy to flood our homes and properties for the sake of corporate profit,” Noell says.

Cause and Effect

The cause of the flooding is simple: Logging. Since the 1980s, timber companies have logged thousands of acres of redwood trees and Douglas firs, and constructed a spider web–like network of roads to haul them away, which has caused massive erosion of the region’s geologically unstable hillsides.

The deep channels and pools of the Elk River’s middle reaches have become choked with a sludge of erosion and debris six-to-eight-feet high. Each storm—such as those that have roiled California’s coastal rivers in recent weeks—forces the rushing water to spread out laterally, bleeding onto residents’ lands and damaging homes, vehicles, domestic water supplies, cropland and fences, while also causing suffering that corporate and government balance sheets can’t measure.

“The Elk River watershed is California’s biggest logging sacrifice area,” says Felice Pace, a longtime environmental activist who founded the Klamath Forest Alliance in northernmost California.

For roughly 20 years, the North Coast division of the State Water Resources Control Board, the agency in charge of monitoring water quality and hazards in the area, has deliberated on how to address the Elk River’s severe impairment. But they have failed to take bold action, largely because of opposition from politically well-connected timber companies and the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the state agency that regulates commercial logging.

Since 2008, the watershed’s major timber operator has been Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC), part of a 440,000-acre North Coast logging enterprise owned by the billionaire Fisher family, best known as founders of the Gap and Banana Republic clothing empires.

Jerry Martien, an Elk River basin resident and former Humboldt State University writing instructor, says the government’s failure to protect basin residents—and the aquatic life that calls the river home—should concern everyone in California.

“If they are getting away with it here, they can get away with similar things in other places,” he says.

Forests and Rivers

California’s northern coastal mountains hold some of the world’s most geologically unstable terrain, as well as some of its most ecologically productive forests. By anchoring mountain soil—which enhances the soil’s ability to absorb water—these forests play a critical role in keeping these watersheds healthy.

In the mid-20th century, a logging boom swept across California’s North Coast. The region’s legendary timber stands went south to frame the suburban housing tracts of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles Basin. For the first time, clear-cutting occurred on a large scale here—a practice of razing virtually every tree in a large swath—and, in many places, has continued to the present.

Logging roads tend to be the main source of soil erosion and landslides in disturbed forests, and they also alter runoff patterns and disrupt subsurface water flows.

In addition to causing flooding and reducing stream flow, sediment smothers the eggs and disrupts the reproductive cycles of fish, especially salmon and steelhead, which require pools where they can rest and feed. Erosion fills in those crucial pools, while removal of canopy can raise stream temperatures to inhospitable levels.

“The majority of the water bodies in the North Coast are impaired from excess sediment, much of it associated with past logging practices,” said North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board geologist Jim Burke during a Nov. 30 agency hearing concerning the Elk River.

Regulator or Rubber Stamp?

The 1973 California Forest Practice Act instituted a uniform code for timber harvest practices in California, which are overseen and periodically updated by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, whose nine members are appointed by the governor. The rules are then implemented by CAL FIRE, which reviews and authorizes logging permits.

But the damage has continued despite the state’s rules. In the 1980s, for example, a junk-bond-financed conglomerate named Maxxam Corporation engineered a hostile takeover of Humboldt County’s largest timberland owner, Pacific Lumber Company. They acquired more than 200,000 acres, including more than 20,000 acres in the Elk River watershed—roughly two-thirds its total land area.

The company saw the redwoods and Douglas fir forests as underexploited assets, which could help pay off its bonded debt, and moved to liquidate the last remaining stands of private old-growth redwoods—but only after first raiding the pension fund of its employees. Numerous North Coast rivers, including the Elk, were buried under soil and debris.

In a landmark 1987 lawsuit by the Arcata-based Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), a Humboldt County superior court judge ruled that Cal Fire was “rubber-stamping” the logging permits that came before it, rather than meaningfully reviewing them for compliance with laws and regulations. The court further ruled that CAL FIRE needs to assess the “cumulative impacts” of logging on water quality and other aspects of the public trust.

Three decades later, agency leaders say CAL FIRE is now faithfully discharging its duties. Russ Henly, assistant secretary of Forest Resources Management for the California Natural Resources Agency, says he thinks CAL FIRE staffers are “doing a very good job” of reviewing timber harvest plans. “I know they give a hard look to the cumulative impacts of logging as part of the harvesting plans.”

But numerous environmental and public interest groups disagree, including representatives of the group that filed the cumulative impacts lawsuit. “The long, sad history of the Elk River is one example of how we can’t rely on our state forestry agency to deal with the multiple impacts of logging,” says EPIC’s Rob DiPerna.

Environmentalists and commercial fisherpeople alike note that numerous river watersheds—and the life they harbor—have continued to spiral downward in the modern regulatory era. In the North Coast, coho salmon have been particularly hard-hit by the degradation of redwood forests.

A Statewide Concern

Here in the North Bay, a controversy over timber industry damage to the Gualala River in northwestern Sonoma and southeastern Mendocino counties has been raging since 2015. First came the Dogwood plan, a 320-acre timber harvest plan filed by Gualala Redwoods Timber company (GRT). It involves tractor-logging hundreds of stately, second-growth redwoods that line the lower Gualala River, in areas spared from axes and chainsaws for a century or more.

Next was the German South plan that GRT filed last September, which looks to harvest an additional 96 acres of floodplain redwoods, in an area immediately adjacent to Dogwood, and clear-cutting 85 acres directly upslope. In September came GRT’s Plum plan, which involves felling floodplain redwoods along the Gualala’s north fork in Mendocino County.

According to environmentalists, these unique floodplain redwood groves serve as a thin green line against further severe damage to endangered and threatened species of salmon and trout, which feed, rear, shelter and migrate in them. Environmental groups—including Forest Unlimited, Friends of the Gualala River, and the California Native Plant Society—successfully sued to halt the Dogwood plan, though the others are going forward as of this writing. They say that CAL FIRE and other agencies have failed to require rudimentary surveys of endangered and threatened plant and animals species in approving these logging proposals.

“CAl FIRE is handing over the Gualala River’s floodplain on a silver platter to the timber industry,” says Jeanne Jackson, a nature columnist for the Independent Coast Observer. Gualala Redwoods Timber argues that it is only cutting these forests selectively and leaving riparian buffers, in compliance with state regulations designed to protect streams.

CAL FIRE’s watershed protection program manager Pete Cafferata, who is involved in many of the department’s activities concerning the Elk, Gualala and other rivers, says the forest practice rules have helped improve river health overall.

“Monitoring work conducted over the past 20 years has demonstrated that California’s water-quality-related forest practice rules implementation rate is high,” Cafferata says, “and that when properly implemented, the current [regulations] are generally effective in protecting water quality.”

Others note that logging-impacted rivers and the life they harbor continue to decline in numerous areas of the state. And the worst impacts typically occur from clear-cutting. From 1997 to 2014, CAL FIRE approved more than 512,000 acres of clear-cutting, or about 800 square miles, an area larger than either Napa or Marin counties.

Peer Review

Most of those clear-cuts were completed by Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI), the United States’ second largest timber company, which owns roughly 1.8 million acres across California—nearly 2 percent of the state’s land area.

Battle Creek is a 350-square-mile drainage fed by water from melting snow that drips down the western slope of Mount Lassen in northeastern California where SPI owns more than 30,000 acres. Because of the creek’s ample year-round flow of cold water, state and federal wildlife managers have deemed it the most welcoming area in California for the reintroduction of endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, prompting the federal government to invest over $100 million in its recovery. Juvenile Chinook must have cold water to survive.

Not only has CAL FIRE failed to prevent SPI’s clear-cuts from severely damaging this critical watershed, critics say, but it has even attempted to prevent publication of scientific research concerning the logging’s impact on Battle Creek.

In 2016, recently retired US Forest Service hydrologist Jack Lewis co-authored a research paper analyzing Battle Creek water-quality data, collected largely by the environmental group Battle Creek Alliance, and submitted it to the journalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment for peer review. It is the first-ever study to examine the cumulative impacts of SPI’s logging in the Sierra Cascade region.

The journal’s editor invited two professional hydrologists, including CAL FIRE’s Cafferata, to peer-review the study. Cafferata strongly criticized it, prompting the journal’s editor to reject it. In an email to the Bohemian, Cafferata writes that “the literature suggests that” a large fire “was a more probable mechanism than logging for the [water-quality impacts] described in the paper.”

In emails obtained by the Bohemian, Cafferata wrote to another CAL FIRE’s hydrologist, Drew Coe, concerning the research essay. He stated that a “key piece” of his objection was that the paper was “advocating limits on [SPI’s] harvesting rates” in Battle Creek. Coe responded that he similarly saw the article as “an advocacy piece rather than an objective analysis.”

The research paper’s co-author, Jack Lewis, stood by his analysis. “We believe that roads, logging, fire, and post-fire logging have all contributed to the degradation of water quality in Battle Creek.”

The Fate of the Elk River

By 1994, Maxxam’s liquidation style of logging was resulting in severe flash-flooding of the Elk River. Ironically, a simultaneous campaign further up the watershed sought to save the largest remaining area of unprotected old-growth redwoods in California, and thus the world: The Headwaters Forest. California and the federal government purchased the 5,600-acre tract in 1999, creating the Headwaters Forest Reserve, a deal that many lower Elk River residents contend left the rest of the watershed vulnerable to continued degradation.

The Fisher family scooped up Maxxam’s land in 2008, after Maxxam went bankrupt. Ever since, CAL FIRE’s main counter to the call for limiting the logging in the Elk River watershed has been that HRC’s logging operations are significantly better than that of Maxxam, and that it is unclear in the scientific literature whether HRC’s logging is actually exacerbating the river’s water-quality problems. HRC has forsworn traditional clear-cutting, though.

In the meantime, the Santa Rosa–based North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board voted to delay taking action to limit sediment inputs into the watershed multiple times, dating back to 1998.

In 2015, a study by consulting firm Tetra Tech, hired by the water board, concluded that the Elk River is so impaired that no more sediment should be allowed to enter it. This study formed the basis of the board’s development of a so-called total maximum daily load (TMDL), a calculation of the maximum amount of pollutants a water body can receive and still meet health and safety standards. Finally, this past spring, the board voted to adopt its own TMDL action plan for the Elk, which largely echoes Tetra Tech’s recommendation.

“It’s pretty damn unprecedented for a sediment TMDL to call for zero additional sediment input,” says North Coast Water Board executive officer Matt St. John.

The water board’s staff members proposed to restrict all logging in the five most impacted areas of the watershed and create a wider buffer between timber harvest zones and water courses, among other new restrictions.

But HRC representatives have strongly lobbied against any additional state-mandated environmental protections in the Elk River, as has another company with timberland in the watershed, Green Diamond Resource Company. The watershed is especially important for HRC, since the watershed and one immediately north of it, Freshwater Creek, account for roughly half of what HRC logs every year.

Jesse Noell and another Elk River basin resident, Kristi Wrigley, formed a group called Salmon Forever in the late ’90s to conduct their own water-quality monitoring. Wrigley is a fourth-generation apple farmer in the watershed, whose cropland has been destroyed by flooding.

Between 1997 and 2008, when there was a moratorium on Elk River logging followed by low harvest rates in the Elk River watershed, suspended sediment concentrations in the river’s south fork diminished by 59 percent, according data collected by Salmon Forever funded in part by a State Water Resources Control Board grant.

From 2011 to 2013, after CAL FIRE permitted increased harvesting by HRC, the sediment concentration increased by 89 percent. The sediment concentrations below HRC’s land is at 27 times the level of the Headwaters Forest Reserve, located upstream.

A New Precedent

At a Nov. 30 hearing, HRC watershed analyst Mike Miles told the North Coast Water Board that his company already has strong restrictions on where, when and how to log in the Elk River area. “In this watershed, we have the strongest set of rules you can find in the state of California for private forestlands,” he said.

In addition to his work for HRC, Miles is a political appointee of Governor Jerry Brown and presides over the state’s timber harvest practices: He is one of nine members of the Board of Forestry, and is the chairman of its committee that is most directly involved in the enforcement of the forest practice rules. Gov. Brown’s wife, Ann Gust Brown, is a former attorney for the Fisher family, the owners of HRC.

The water board members had also received comment from CAL FIRE that opposed restrictions on HRC’s logging beyond those already prescribed by the forest practice rules. CAL FIRE executive officer Matt Dias, a one-time forester for Santa Cruz–based timber company Big Creek Lumber, expressed the same point.

Elk River basin resident Jerry Martien was among those who also spoke up at the meeting. He had advocated giving “the Upper Elk River watershed a rest, for at least five years, with the possibility for another five, if that is bringing us cleaner water.”

EPIC’s Rob DiPerna said the North Coast Water Board should be taking action, precisely because the alternative would be to leave the river’s well-being in CAL FIRE’s hands. “Do we really think that falling back on CAL FIRE is the way to make sure that water quality is protected from timber operations in the state of California?” he asked.

The water board’s Greg Giusti, an extension service adviser for the University of California, strongly opposed the water board staff’s proposed restrictions. His objections were similar to those of CAL FIRE, the Board of Forestry, Humboldt Redwood Company and Green Diamond. Only one board member, John Corbett, spoke up in the Elk River residents’ defense, noting that “they are the only ones who have always been right about what’s best for the river.” Ultimately, the board voted not to adopt the logging restrictions proposed by the staff.

Elk River residents, whose suffering has been a silent residue of state agency decisions for two decades, were outraged but not surprised. Kristi Wrigley notes that the water board’s new waste discharge permit for HRC allows the equivalent of 2 percent clear-cutting of the entire watershed per year—thus guaranteeing that more sediment will continue to wash into the river.

On February 22, the State Water Board met in Sacramento to decide whether to certify the Elk River TMDL. The Activists at EPIC have filed an appeal to the water board’s waste-discharge permit, and residents have filed a separate appeal calling for a cease and desist order forbidding any more logging by HRC until the river’s water again flows clean.

“To people whose lives are already destroyed, their land is destroyed, and their water is destroyed,” says Wrigley. “Do you think a permit allowing that much logging is really going to do anything to make our lives better?”

Folk duo Birds of Chicago flocks to Novato

Songwriter JT Nero and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Allison Russell merged their talents to form the folk duo Birds of Chicago. Photo courtesy of Birds of Chicago.

By Charlie Swanson

Songwriter JT Nero was living in San Francisco, fronting a soul-rock band and hanging out with members of The Be Good Tanyas in the early 2000s when he first heard about multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Allison Russell. After Nero moved to Chicago, he and Russell kept finding time and reasons to collaborate on music for nearly a decade before they officially formed the richly resonant folk duo Birds of Chicago in 2012.

“I was writing a lot of songs that felt like they were Allie’s songs,” Nero says. “We realized we needed to carve out space and time for the thing we had together.”

Now a project that plays on the road some 200 nights a year, Birds of Chicago hits the stage at HopMonk Tavern in Novato on Friday, March 3. The band is built on Nero’s soulful writing and Russell’s striking tones, in a style that is self-described as “secular Gospel.”

Last year, Birds of Chicago released their most impactful album yet, Real Midnight—a mix of melancholy and wistful beauty. And though Real Midnight is a softer side of the band, Nero prides their ability to offer acoustic moments and bring heavier grooves when the moment calls for it. “We try to have our cake and eat it, too,” he says with a laugh. “The project was conceived to ebb and flow on that front.”

The music came first, but Nero and Russell’s chemistry soon blossomed into romance, and the couple was married in 2013. The following year, they welcomed their daughter into the world. Now a family unit on the road, Birds of Chicago has refined a touring life that feels normal, whether it’s as a duo or a quintet.

“Something flipped a few years back; [touring] became the natural state,” Nero says. “The road life is a lot more square for us than people would imagine. But, I like the rhythm.”

Nero knows that they’ll have to cut down on travel when their daughter starts going to school, so he’s embracing his time with his tribe. “It’s a good circus,” he says.

Playing in the North Bay is a lot like a homecoming for the band, not only because of Nero’s time living in San Francisco, but for the fact that Birds of Chicago found their first large fan base locally, playing big stages at the High Sierra Music Fest and the Strawberry Music Festival.

“People don’t mess around with their music [in Northern California],” Nero says with a laugh. “You’ve got to bring your A-game.”

Birds of Chicago, Friday, March 3 at HopMonk Tavern, 224 Vintage Way, Novato; 9pm; $18-$23; 415/892-6200.

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Summer is just around the corner, so now's the time to pick a summer camp for your little ones.

With the rain gone (for now), the sun shining and summer just around the corner, it’s easy to picture the kids of Marin heading to camp—whether it’s an outdoor adventure camp, a martial arts camp, a science camp or a music camp. Because there are so many options available for every type of personality—and so many picturesque locations in which children can thrive—we’ve created a handy list for when it comes time to choose the right place. The only question left will be, “What will my little one love the most?”

2023 Music Summer Camp

Corte Madera; 415/470-4821


Activity Hero

Listings of camps all over Marin County; 800/437-6125


Academy DeTurk

Performing Arts Workshops;



Acting Out at the Throck

Mill Valley; 415/383-9600


Akido Kids of Tamalpais

Corte Madera; 415/264-0157



Corte Madera; 415/446-8946


Ark Row Kids Summer Fun Camp

Tiburon; 415/435-2200


Art & Garden Camps

Tiburon; 415/435-4355


Audubon Adventure Summer Camp

Tiburon; 415/388-2524


Avid4Adventure Summer Camps

Mill Valley: 800/977-9873


Azzi Basketball Camp

Mill Valley; 415/426-9706


BandWorks Summer Camp

San Rafael; 510/843.2263


Bay Area Discovery Museum

Discovery Camps; 415/339-3927

Sausalito; bayareadiscoverymuseum.org

Bay Club Summer Camps

Kentfield; 415/461-5431

Novato; 415/209-6090


Belvedere Tennis Club Summer Camp

Tiburon 415/435-4792


Bike Adventures for Kids

San Anselmo; 415/279-4469


Cal-Star Gymnastics

Novato; 415/382-7827


Call of the Sea Voyage Camp

Aboard the Schooner Seaward

Sausalito; 415/331-3214


Camp Coyote at Novato’s

Marin Museum of the American Indian

Novato; 415/897-4064

Camp Doodles

Mill Valley; 415/388-4386


Camp Edmo

Larkspur; 415/282-6673


Camp Fairfax

Fairfax; 415/458-2340


Camp Galileo

Kentfield, Mill Valley; 800/854-3684


Camp Get Enough Music

San Rafael; 415/479-1121


Caren Horstmeyer Girls Basketball Camp!

Larkspur; 415/479-4311


Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp

Novato and San Rafael; 800/878-2167


Children’s Cottage Cooperative Summer Camps

Larkspur; 415/461-0822


Coastal Camp At NatureBridge

Sausalito; 415/331-1548


College of Marin Volleyball Camp



College of Marin Summer Sports Camps

Kentfield and Novato;


Corte Madera Summer Camps

Corte Madera; 415/927-5072


Country Club Bowl Summer Youth Bowling Camps

San Rafael; 415/456-4661


Crais Breslin’s Champions Soccer Camp

San Rafael; 415/482-8813


Dave Fromer’s Summer Soccer Camps

Corte Madera, Larkspur, Mill Valley,

San Anselmo, San Rafael; 415/383-0320


Dickson Ranch Summer Horse Camps

Woodacre; 415/488-0454


Dojo Fit Warrior Boot Camp

San Anselmo; 415/482-8182


Dominican Athletic Summer Camps

San Rafael; 415/482-3543


Encore Lacrosse Summer Camps

Larkspur, Mill Valley; 888/501-4999


Equine Insight

San Rafael; 415/457-3800


First Friends Montessori

Pre-K Summer Camp

Fairfax; 415/459-7028


Funtastic Preschool Adventure Camp

San Anselmo; 415/452-3181


Golden Gate Learning Center Maker Camps and Summer Brush Ups

San Anselmo; 415/383-2283


Gymnastics Camp at The Cave

Corte Madera; 415/927-1630


Joy of Dance Ballet School Summer Camp

San Rafael; 415/812-4821


Junior Tennis Summer Camp

San Rafael; 415/302-7974


Katia & Co Performing Arts & Dance Camps

San Rafael and Tiburon;


Kids on Camera

TV/Film/Acting Day Camp

San Francisco (Marin County camps); 415/440-4400


Kinder Camp at Bacich

Kentfield; 415/925-2220


Legarza Summer Sports Camps

Various locations; 415/334-3333


Le Petite Jardin

San Anselmo; 415/457-1325


Love2Dance Summer Camps

Novato; 415/898-3933


Luis Quezada Soccer Camp

Fairfax and San Anselmo; 415/302-6779


Marilyn Izdebski Summer Musical Theatre Camp

San Anselmo; 415/453-0199


Marin Christian Academy Summer Day Camp

Novato; 415/892-5713


Marin Dance Theatre

San Rafael; 415/499-8891


Marin Girls Chorus Music Summer Camp

Novato; 415/827-7335


Marin GreenPlay Nature and Adventure Camps

Mill Valley; 415/264-2828


Marin Horizon School Summer Camp

Mill Valley; 415/388-8408


Marin Humane Society Humane Summer Camps

Novato; 415/883-4621


Marin Primary & Middle School Summer Camp

Larkspur; 415/924-2608


Marin Rowing Association Junior Summer Camps

Greenbrae; 415/461-1431


Marin Shakespeare Summer Camps

San Rafael; 415/499-4487


Marin Theatre Company Summer Camps

Mill Valley; 415/388-5200


Marin Treks Summer Camps

Novato; 415/250-0988


Marin Waldorf School Summer Camp

San Rafael; 415/479-8190


Marinwood Summer Camps

San Rafael; 415/479-0775


Mark Day School Camps

San Rafael; 415/472-8000


MASTERWORKS Kids’ Art Studio Camps

Corte Madera; 415/945-7945


Mathnasium Summer Camp

Mill Valley; 415/384-8272


McInnis Park Golf Course Junior Camp

San Rafael; 415/492-1800


Mill Valley Parks & Recreation Summer Program

Mill Valley; 415/383-1370


Mill Valley Potter’s Studio Summer Camp

Mill Valley; 415/888-8906


Miwok Stables Summer Camps

Mill Valley; 415/383-8048


Morning Star Farm Summer Horse Camp

Novato; 415/897-1633


Mt. Tam Adventures Summer Camps

Sausalito; 415/289-4152


Mt. Tam Bikes Camp

Mill Valley; 415/377-9075


Multi-Sports Kids Camp at Mt. Tam Racquet Club

Larkspur; 415/924-6226


Nike Sports Camps

Variety of sports and locations; 800/645-3226


No Limits Summer Camps

Corte Madera; 415/717-6925


Novato Parks & Recreation Summer Camps

Novato; 415/899-8279


Novato Theater Company Summer Stars

Novato; 415/883-4498


Novato Youth Center Summer Program

Novato; 415/892-1643


Operation C.H.E.F. Summer Camp

San Rafael; 415/497-3710


Osher Marin JCC Summer Camp

San Rafael; 415/444-8000


O’Sullivan Soccer Academy Summer Camps

San Geronimo; 415/497-8164


Otis Guy Mountain Bike Camp

Fairfax; 415/250-2585


Outback Adventures Summer Camps

San Rafael; 415/461-2222


Parkour American Ninja Camp at The Cave

Corte Madera; 415/927-1630


Pine Point Cooking School

Sausalito; 415/332-4352


Pinnacles Dive Center Scuba Camp

Novato; 415/897-9962


Planet Bravo Techno-tainment Camp

Ross; 310/443-7607


Play-Well LEGO-Inspired Engineering Camps

Larkspur, Marinwood, Tiburon

San Anselmo; 415/578-2746


Point Reyes Nature Science and Adventure Camps

Point Reyes Station; 415/663-1200


Practical Martial Arts Ninja Camps

Corte Madera; 415/927-0899


Pyramid Gymnastics Summer Camp

San Rafael; 415/927-1240


Rainbow Montessori Of Marin

Mill Valley; 415/381-5666


Rolling Hills Club Summer Camp

Novato; 415/897-2185


Ross Academy Montessori School Summer Mini-Camp

Mill Valley; 415/3783-5777


Ross Cottage Nursery School Summer Program

Ross; 415/517-7417


Ross Recreation Summer Camps

Ross; 415/453-6020


Ross Valley Summer School

Corte Madera; 415/927-6746


Ross Valley Swim School

Kentfield; 415/461-5431


Sage Educators Summer Essential Skills Workshops

Mill Valley; 415/388-7243; Larkspur 415/461-7243; San Anselmo; 415/594-7243


Sailing Education Adventures Sail Camp

Sausalito; 415/775-8779


San Anselmo Summer Programs

San Anselmo; 415/258-4600


San Domenico School Summer Camps

San Anselmo; 415/258-1944


San Geronimo Summer Golf Camps

San Geronimo; 415/474-2613


San Marin Junior Tennis

Novato; 415/444-9515


San Rafael Parks & Recreation Summer Camps

San Rafael; 415/485-3344


Sausalito Parks and Recreation Summer Camps

Sausalito; 415/289-4100


Sea Trek Kayak Summer Camps

Sausalito; 415/332-8494


Singers Marin Summer Camp

Mill Valley; 415/383-3712


Slide Ranch Summer Camp

Muir Beach; 415/381-6155


Soccer Kids

Various locations; 415/608-2608


Stapleton School Musical Theatre Camp

San Anselmo; 415/454-5759


Steve & Kate’s Camp

Kentfield, Mill Valley; 415/389-5437


Strawberry Recreation District

Camp Strawberry

Mill Valley; 415/383-6494


Studio 4 Art Summer Camp

Fairfax, Mill Valley, Novato; 415/596-5546


Summer Odyssey Camp at Dominican

San Rafael; 415/457-4440


Summer Rock Band Camps at Marin Music Center

Novato; 415/897-4131


Summer Spanish Immersion Classes

Mill Valley; 707/782-1084


Super Cool Summer School

Larkspur; 415/927-6746


SummerCrest Summer Camp

San Rafael; 415/457-6672


Super Summer Adventure Camp

San Anselmo; 415/453-3181


Tamalpais Tutoring Summer Workout

Kentfield; 415/457-7500


Tennis Nation Summer Camp

San Rafael; 415/457-5160


The Cave Summer Gymnastic Camps

Corte Madera; 415/927-1630


The City of Novato Summer Camps

Novato; 415/899-8279


The Culinary Dude’s Kids Cooking Camp

Tiburon; 415/242-4192


The National Academy of Summer Camps

Mill Valley, Novato; 707/541-2365


The Performing Arts Academy of Marin

Mill Valley; 415/380-0887


The Ranch Summer Camps

Tiburon; 415/435-4355


Tiburon Adventure Camp

Tiburon; 415/435-4366


TGA Premier Sports Golf Camps

Various locations; 415/599-9478


Totally Tennis Summer Camp

San Rafael; 415/456-5522


Tutu Ballet Camp

Larkspur; 415/419-5610


Twin Cities Children’s Center Summer Camps

Corte Madera; 415/924-6622


Unlimited Tennis Summer Camps

San Rafael; 415/302-7974


VFX (Visual Effects) for Kids Summer Camp

Novato; 415/506-0282


Vilda Nature Summer Camps

Fairfax; 415/747-4840


WildCare Wildlife Camps

San Rafael; 415/456-7283


Willow Tree Stables Summer Horse Camp

Novato; 415/897-8212


YMCA Summer Camps Marin

Various locations; 415/446-2178


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Dennis Rodoni on intertwined issues

Dennis Rodoni, Marin County Supervisor for the 4th District, is the West Marin Fund’s newest advisory-board member.

By Tom Gogola

Dennis Rodoni, the newly elected Marin County Supervisor for the 4th District, was at an event last week hosted by the West Marin Fund. The nonprofit foundation’s newest advisory-board member, Rodoni talked about the various issues of import to his constituents: Affordable housing, immigration and, of course, parking.

The semi-regular West Marin Fund confab was held at the Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station and featured numerous directors of nonprofits from throughout West Marin representing various constituencies—West Marin Senior Services, Community Land Trust Association of West Marin (CLAM), the Coastal Health Alliance and others—who’d come to hear Rodoni, a long-time local and general contractor who lives in Olema.

Catherine Porter is the founder and executive director of the West Marin Fund, and in her introduction to Rodoni announced that she’d be leaving the fund later this year to make way for a full-time executive director; she currently works part-time and is thinking about a new career move into hospice care. Porter noted that Rodoni has “chaired and represented nearly every organization in the county” as she highlighted his roots in the area, which extend to business, nonprofit and family connections throughout West Marin.

Six weeks into his first term as county supervisor, replacing the departed and popular Steve Kinsey, Rodoni was raspy-voiced but energetic as he took the lectern at the Dance Palace and told the audience that it was always good to come back to the old neighborhood. Rodoni was raised on nearby B Street, he told the crowd, and used to attend church in that very space, back when it was still a Catholic church and not a nonprofit, mixed-use center that’s rented out for bands, community groups and the like.

As Rodoni’s been staffing-up in his new role, he’s also been digging into the issues he faces from the Canal District in San Rafael all the way to tiny Bolinas. One issue that links everyone is immigration, lately in the news because of Trump’s push on throwing out as many undocumented aliens as he can before his inevitable impeachment.

There’s a lot of fear and fear-mongering over immigrants, and the threat of raids from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is palpable among immigration populations around the country, but Rodoni insisted that “ICE has not been in Marin or Sonoma [counties], no matter what you may have heard.” The supervisor says he’s been getting tons of calls from nervous residents, and noted that President Barack Obama had deported some three million undocumented immigrants. “Trump is talking 11 million—and hopefully he won’t be successful.”

The supervisor also insisted that local law enforcement leaders are not going to participate in any immigration roundup enacted under the guise of law enforcement. He’s gotten their word, he said. The county is offering legal aid services to immigrants, and Rodoni also told attendees that the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco is offering legal advice to the undocumented. Locally, Rodoni says, “We are working with the [police] chiefs in San Rafael and Novato and the Sheriff in Marin, and we have a commitment from them that they won’t enforce immigration law, work with ICE, unless there is a violent felony—a warrant for their arrest.” Local law enforcement agencies around the county, he says, “are really concerned about losing the goodwill that they’ve been building for years. Any movement toward working with [ICE] is counterproductive from a law-enforcement point of view.

“Don’t answer your door if you don’t know who it is,” he continued, adding that his office, the Marin Civic Center and area schools “should be a safe space for anyone who feels threatened.”

Immigration and affordable housing are intertwined issues in Marin County, given the agricultural bent of West Marin, and the lack of affordable housing in most of the county, where rents now average $2,000 a month for a two-bedroom.

Rodoni highlighted small-scale efforts that have been undertaken in West Marin, including a San Geronimo takeover of a trailer court, the ongoing effort to transform an old Coast Guard station in Point Reyes into affordable housing and several efforts in the supervisors’ legislative hopper that would, for example, assist landlords when they choose to rent their units at below-market rates. “The efforts may be small, they may be incremental,” Rodoni says, “but it’s important to the people” who wind up in those new units. The idea of getting landlords to rent at below-market rates may be “an unusual concept,” Rodoni said to peals of laughter from the crowd, “but it works for the community.”

And, he said, part of the plan for the Coast Guard station’s transition to housing is to keep one or two units free as transitional housing for locals who might find themselves suddenly uprooted from their rental units. Such efforts can provide stability for local families in a county that doesn’t have a just-cause eviction ordinance, or any form of rent stabilization. The county has rejected efforts at both in the past year. Rodoni says his colleagues are open to a just-cause ordinance—but that in the absence of rent control or stabilization, landlords “can raise the rent until you have to get out anyway.”

The housing issues are different in the eastern and populated part of Rodoni’s district, which includes San Rafael. There, he says, the biggest affordable-housing challenge is in getting landlords to accept vouchers, mostly Section 8 federal housing subsidies—and he cited some movement on that front, as 25 landlords, he says, have signed on to a local housing program and are now accepting the vouchers for the first time.

And then there are those Marin residents who neither rent nor own, but live in their cars or “street-camp” around the county. There are quite a few of them, and many in West Marin. Indeed, as Rodoni gave his talk, a familiar and often-in-motion street-camping white van was parked across the street from the Dance Palace.

Rodoni met recently with Bolinas homeowners on Brighton Avenue who have been complaining about the number of long-term street-campers who have taken up residence along the street, and don’t ever seem to leave. He followed it up with a public meeting at the Bolinas firehouse and spoke to the complexity of the issue at the West Marin Fund confab.

Rodoni says he told the Brighton Avenue homeowners that simply forcing the street-campers off their street won’t solve the housing or aesthetic or resentment problem—they’ll just move elsewhere and park across from someone else’s house. Rodoni suggested that Marin take a page from Santa Rosa, and get the churches involved. That city green-lit a program where churches and good-Samaritan residents are allowed to let people park their cars on their properties.

NEWS BRIEF: SPO Partners Protest

On Friday, February 24, the organization Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock descended on SPO Partners in Mill Valley to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project in South Dakota. As Will Parrish reported recently [‘Pipeline Backers,’ November 30], SPO Partners is a hedge fund with ties to the DAPL project. In a statement, Patrick O’Connell, founder and director of the Civil Resistance Works project in San Rafael, says that organizers picked SPO “because they are the largest investors in Oasis Petroleum, [which] is one of nine

On Friday, February 24, around two dozen people protested in front of Mill Valley’s SPO Partners, a hedge fund with ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project in South Dakota. Photo by Hoai-An Truong/Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock.

companies supplying oil to DAPL.” On Feb. 24, O’Connell and the Sonoma No Dakota Access Pipeline support group presented a letter to SPO Partners Managing Partner John Scully that charged, “we believe that SPO Partners’ investments in Oasis Petroleum is a criminal act,”—and said that because of the proposed route through sacred Sioux land, that the criminal violation occurred under the so-called “Incitement Offense” of the Genocide Convention Implementation Act of 1987.—Tom Gogola

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This week in the Pacific Sun, our cover story, ‘Time of His Life,’ profiles Marin County-based actor/director George Maguire. On top of that, we’ve got a piece (and recipe) on Caribbean lentils, a story about how chickens can help in the garden, Oscars predictions, a piece on bringing August Wilson’s plays to the big screen, a review of ‘The Christians’ and an interview with singer/songwriter/guitarist Ryan McCaffrey. All that and more on stands and online today!

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2017 Academy Award picks

Viola Davis has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in ‘Fences,’ an August Wilson play that was adapted for the big screen.

By Mal Karman

For the 89th time in filmmaking history, the Academy Awards sweep over us (on February 26) with the usual media blitz and the presumed importance of a presidential election. Company offices around Marin County and the city will be collecting money for the Oscar pool—a gamble that, we guess, has never paid off and has sometimes embarrassed you. That’s why we’ve spent the last several days researching the nominees to try to shine a klieg light on your entry form and give you a better shot at bringing home a little bonus.

You may have heard that La La Land scooped up 14 nominations and that Moonlight was the best-reviewed film of the year. But did you know that no one could tell us with certainty whether Moonlight was an original screenplay or an adaptation?

Based on an unproduced play, the Writers Guild of America deems it original, while the Motion Picture Academy calls it an adaptation. It goes up against Lion, Hidden Figures, Fences and Arrival.

As for the original screenplay honors, we predict that Kenneth Lonergan’s emotion-heavy Manchester by the Sea will garner the respect it deserves and overcome challenges from La La Land, The Lobster, 20th Century Women and Hell or High Water.

Quite often, logic will desert Academy voters, leaving the rest of us in a state of utter disbelief, as in 2010 when The King’s Speech won Best Picture over The Social Network, in 1998 when the fluffy Shakespeare in Love topped the very gritty Saving Private Ryan or in 1961 when The Alamo and Sons and Lovers were Best Picture nominees ahead of Spartacus.

La La Land is supposed to win everything under the Pacific sun, including best shoelaces, but one statuette that might end up elsewhere is the one for cinematography. We like Greig Fraser’s work in Lion.

Every nominee for visual effects deserves the prize this year: Deepwater Horizon for its sinking oil rig; Kubo and the Two Strings for its remarkable stop-motion animation; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for a different kind of universe; Doctor Strange for an astral plane that is stunningly real. None of them, however, created more than 200 computer graphic animals and melded them seamlessly with live action like that seen in Disney’s The Jungle Book. If it doesn’t win, the studio ought to let the snakes out on the Academy voters.

Denzel Washington and Casey Affleck are knotted in a tight race for Best Actor, and the same can be said for Emma Stone and Isabelle Huppert for Best Actress. But Washington essentially reprised the role in Fences that he did on stage—that of garbage man Troy Maxson, former Negro League baseball star, who truly believes that the world owes him something and that it is way past due.

Affleck also portrays someone hanging on the lower rung of life. As depressed janitor Lee Chandler in Manchester by the Sea, he returns to the scene of a tragedy that still haunts him while dealing with the unexpected death of his older brother. Despite a sexual harassment settlement of a few years ago, Affleck, we think, will score a gold statuette.

Emma Stone is poised to snatch the Academy Award from the remarkable French actress Isabelle Huppert. Stone plays a dreamer on the fringes of Hollywood, singing, dancing, emoting to perfection in La La Land. In Elle, Huppert is a successful businesswoman who is raped and chooses not to report it—only to be raped again and again. It’s a chilling performance recognized by her Golden Globe for dramatic film, while her chief competition (Stone) won the Screen Actors Guild award, a BAFTA from England and a Golden Globe for a musical role.

We hate to say it, but the Academy rarely awards Best Actress Oscars to older women. Though she looks 40, Huppert is 63. If voters were to split their selection between Stone and Huppert, it’s possible that Natalie Portman could sneak in for her impressive rendering of Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie.

You can bet the house that Viola Davis will take home the Best Supporting Actress award for her work in Fences as a wife and mom who puts up with more garbage than her garbage man-husband gathers in a month. There’s a scene in which her eyes are welling, her nose is running and her body is about to collapse, that will be remembered for a long, long time. Fellow noms Nicole Kidman, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris and Octavia Spencer will have to wait for another day.

We have a local rooting interest for Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, born in Oakland and raised in Hayward, he plays a drug dealer with a heart of silver in Moonlight, a journey through the life of a gay, black man.

Here we could make a case for each of the nominees: Jeff Bridges, who got his first nom 45 years ago in The Last Picture Show, as a sheriff on the hunt for bank robbers in Hell or High Water; Lucas Hedges as a teen dealing with the death of his dad in Manchester by the Sea; Michael Shannon as a sympathetic sheriff in Nocturnal Animals; and Dev Patel as the young man adopted by an Australian couple in Lion.

The filmmaker who the Directors Guild of America selects for Best Director usually captures the Academy Award for the same category, and that means that Damien Chazelle is about to become the youngest director to go home with an Oscar. Previously, Norman Taurog, at 32 years, 260 days, was the youngest for directing Jackie Cooper in 1931 in Skippy. If Chazelle wins, he’ll clock in at 32 years, 38 days.

It would be a shocker if La La Land didn’t land the la la prize for Best Picture. Moonlight has a shot, but it’s a long one—and 2017 doesn’t feel like a year of big upsets. Our 2016 presidential election took care of that.

2017 Pacific Sun Academy Awards Tip Sheet

BEST FILM: La La Land, Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt

DIRECTOR: Damien Chazelle, La La Land 

ACTOR: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

ACTRESS: Emma Stone, La La Land

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea  

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

DOCUMENTARY: O.J.: Made in America, Ezra Edelman

ANIMATED FILM: Zootopia, Byron Howard; Rich Moore

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Salesman, Iran, Asghar Farhadi                                           

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Greig Fraser, Lion

COSTUME DESIGN: Mary Zophres, La La Land

FILM EDITING: Tom Cross, La La Land

MAKEUP & HAIR: Joel Harlow; Richard Alonzo, Star Trek Beyond  

ORIGINAL SCORE: Justin Hurwitz, La La Land                                                                                                

 ORIGINAL SONG: “How Far I’ll Go,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moana                                                             

 PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sandy Reynolds-Wasco; David Wasco, La La Land

SOUND EDITING: Robert Mackenzie; Andy Wright, Hacksaw Ridge

SOUND MIXING: Andy Nelson; Ai-Ling Lee, La La Land                                                                              

VISUAL EFFECTS: Robert Legato; Dan Lemmon; Andrew R. Jones; Adam Valdez, The Jungle Book

Ryan McCaffrey crafts original music with Go By Ocean

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ryan McCaffrey, who takes the Sweetwater stage on February 23 with his band, Go By Ocean, says that the venue has “started to feel a bit like home to us over the last couple years.” Photo courtesy of Ryan McCaffrey.

By Lily O’Brien

“I’ve just been obsessed [with music] ever since I was a kid,” confesses singer/songwriter/guitarist Ryan McCaffrey, as we chat over coffee in his woodsy Novato home. That “obsession” continues to shape his life today—he and his band, Go By Ocean, just finished recording their second album, Sun Machine, and will perform at the Sweetwater Music Hall on Thursday, February 23.

The band is tight, and plays eclectic, indie rock. McCaffrey, 36, writes all of the songs, which range from mellow grooves to percussive rock ’n’ roll rhythms. He sings with heart and sincerity in a soft and dreamy style that is distinctive, compelling and personal. “I want to have emotion in it,” McCaffrey says.

He grew up in Southern California, and started playing guitar in grade school. McCaffrey’s early musical influences included Guns N’ Roses, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Nirvana, which led to the formation of his first punk rock band. In high school, he began singing, and then discovered his true passion—songwriting. “I love songs and I love the craft of writing a song,” he says. “I’m always on the hunt for the next song.”

McCaffrey moved to the Bay Area in 2000 to attend San Francisco State University, organized a band after graduating and started gigging around with a variety of players. Having been through some dark times in his life, McCaffrey says that he’s much happier now, and “living by the light, rather than letting darkness lead the way.” He calls the band’s song “Ring Around the Sun” an “anthem” to a brighter future. “Even in your darkest hour, it’s a song that says that even at your worst, you can look down the road to better days ahead,” McCaffrey says.

Juggling a full-time “day job,” McCaffrey says that music will always be the driving force in his life. “No matter what, this is just what I’m going to be doing. I signed up to play music a long, long time ago—and my soul requires it.”

Go By Ocean, Thursday, February 23, Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley; 8pm; $12-$14; gobyocean.com.



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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...