50 Years Ago

Into every life a little rain must fall, and several large drops fell into the lives of those working like crazy to save Point Reyes National Seashore. Congressman Wayne Aspinall, powerful but unpredictable head of the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, abruptly announced that he will hold no more hearings this year on appropriating $38 million to complete the Seashore. Peter Behr of the Save Our Seashore committee said his group will work even harder for one—or maybe two—million signatures on petitions to President Nixon. Congressman Don Clausen, who has worked diligently in recent months on the Seashore, then offered a perplexing idea: He said Seashore backers should not attempt to “pressure” the government. Evidently he believes they should sit back and relax, which is what got the Seashore into its present fix of being carved up for housing tracts. —Newsgram, 9/24/69

40 Years Ago

… It is my firm belief that what this inflation-plagued country needs more than anything else is charismatic leadership from the White House. Jimmy Carter’s unsolvable problem is that he has lost the people’s confidence and appears incapable of making even a wrong decision decisively.

Let’s face it, much of politics is psychology. If people think the President knows what he’s doing, they will usually accept the bad times and remain optimistic about the future. But when a president fires half his cabinet and admits he doesn’t know how to handle the Washington bureaucracy, the people’s attitude changes drastically. Carter could come up with a sure-fire plan to beat the recession tomorrow, and half the country would just laugh at it; nobody believes in him anymore. —Hut Landon, 9/21/79

30 Years Ago

Reflecting on that view, when St. Francis presents programs on such secular issues as the arms race, AIDS education and battered women, they are presented in a “spiritual context.” About the homeless situation, [Reverend Philip Rountree] says, “Concern for the people at the bottom of society⁠—the outcasts, the homeless, the people that don’t fit”—is a basic Christian concept. Yet that view is “very counterculture” in today’s world, and especially in Marin, he reiterates. “We live in a county where we have a multimillion-dollar center dedicated to saving seals, and we can’t keep a homeless center open.” —Joy Zimmerman, 9/22/89

20 Years Ago

I met with [Isabel] Allende recently in her office just after the English-language publication of her new novel, Daughter of Fortune, which is already on the bestseller lists in Australia, Spain and Latin America. The daughter of a Chilean diplomat and now Marin’s most famous Latin-American immigrant, she has lived in San Rafael for twelve years. 

Do you see parallels between the time of the Gold Rush and now, in Marin County?

The racism. There is always racism … I do a lot of work for the Canal Community Alliance [based in the Canal District of San Rafael] and I know how difficult it is for them to get funding for anything. Because people want the immigrants of color to do the work, to take care of their children, walk their dogs, wash their cars, do their gardens but then they want them to disappear at 6 o’clock. They don’t want to know that they live crowded, four or five families in a small apartment. … There is overt fear of the immigrant. We always fear everything that is different. So when the women who go to United Market see men that look dark waiting at the corner for the truck, any truck, to pick them up and give them a menial job for the day, they are scared. Because they see them as different. They don’t see the misery.

Katy Butler, 9/22/99

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