Attention Marin County Open Space directors and staff. Here's what you're up against.
8 Steps to Marin Trail Access [July 7, 2014]
This was originally a response to Davey Simon's Post regarding the recent actions of Marin County Parks to stifle the Stafford Lake Bike Park but it applies to our precarious position as Mountain Bikers in Marin:
Has anyone heard of SPAWN(salmon protection and watershed network)? Their leader Todd Steiner is not my favorite person, but he has been successful at getting Marin County to do what the salmon need to improve their numbers. SPAWN took a hard line and sued the crap out of Marin county to protect Salmon spawning. 13 MILLION dollars worth of action. All those waterbars and re-grading of the fire roads are a direct result of their lawsuit.
They sued the county because the FISH were not being represented or cared for. I personally don't think they intended to win the suit. I think SPAWN intended to educate the community to take action by scaring the crap out of them.
They forced the county to place a moratorium on ALL building project permits in the San Geronimo Valley for 7 years, got the Feds and the county to pay for the rebuilding of every stream crossing from the ocean to the "source" (the dam at Kent lake)and the re-grading of most of the fire roads that drain into the creek.
SPAWN WENT THROUGH THE PROCESS OF PROVING HOW INEFFECTIVE MARIN COUNTY IS AT GOVERNING AND THE COUNTY FORCED SAN GERONIMO VALLEY RESIDENTS TO FIGHT THE BATTLE AGAINST SPAWN IN ORDER TO PROTECT THEIR RIGHT TO IMPROVE THEIR HOMES AND LAND....they won. The San Geronimo Valley Stewards took on the county and spawn to prove that none of the solutions SPAWN or the county provided were realistic...no one cared until the Stewards forced the county to apply SPAWNS draconian plans to the entire county instead of just "the Valley". Quickly SPAWN lost it's suit and appeal, then they ate the "poison pill" strategy the county set(under the stewards guidance) to keep them from continued suits.
Did the county force them to use local contractors? No.
Were the costs to the county and community reasonable? Absolutely Not!
DID THEY GET WHAT THEY WANT? HELL YES...THEY GOT A COMMUNITY TO CARE ABOUT A BREED OF FISH THAT HAD ALL BUT DISAPPEARED...this year the salmon spawned in record numbers.
Why do we as Marin Mountain Bikers care about SPAWN?
BECAUSE THEY TOOK IT UPON THEMSELVES TO GET WHAT THEY FELT WAS NECESSARY.
WE ARE TAXPAYERS..NOT Fish.
SPAWN HAD A PLAN AND THEY DELIVERED ON IT...they got their fish.
Davey & I went to the Trail Partners "meet and greet" set up by MCBC and A4B to introduce mountain bikers to the other two groups. Very few showed as the announcing email was sent out the day before the event which was on a weekday. We found out the reason the "trail partners" was created was because Marin County Parks forced MCBC to create "the partners" in attempt to resolve the "user conflicts"...turns out we all get along...it is the imbalance in the law that creates our divide.
I HAD ONE QUESTION TO ASK MCBC AND A4B:
WHAT IS YOUR PLAN? I got a blank stare from Tom at MCBC...no answer.
Vernon from A4B piped in to say "I am going to get bike friendly representatives elected to local government positions"...he had a 100% success rate! He had a plan and he executed on it. He has a follow up to continue his effort. When I return to the country in a few weeks I am going to write A4B a fat donation check...as Davey knows I put my money where my mouth is and can move more than a s'load of dirt.
WHY DOES ANY OF THE ABOVE MATTER?
WE HAVE NO PLAN...the difference between a leader and a follower is a plan.
HERE IS A QUICK PLAN:
1. HAVE A GOAL...MCP DOES NOT NEGOTIATE WITH BIKERS..THEY WILL NEED TO BE FORCED THROUGH ACTION NOT "PARTNERSHIP"
2. MAKE A TEAM:
A. Create a board of directors with a focus to force Marin county parks to pay attention to our user group. MCP has made it clear they have no goodwill towards us so we need to treat them the same.
B. Organize local bike businesses to take this on. People with vested interest need to get off their asses if they want my future business.
C. Organize and mobilize paid and unpaid combatants.
3. DEVELOP A PLAN: make an organized and comprehensive plan that can be understood and reasonably executed by the parks department...provide examples of other success stories.
4. GET FUNDED: Action takes money. Create the Marin Mountain bikers Trail Defense Fund or whatever catchy name you want to give it...I'm happy to throw in more than a fair share...are you?
5. TAKE ACTION: SUE THE CRAP OUT OF MARIN COUNTY PARKS FOR DISCRIMINATION AND ANYTHING ELSE WE CAN THINK OF...I'm not a lawyer but I have a few...they are pretty skilled at scaring people/public servants and getting results.
6. USE DETERMINATION AND SKILL TO OUTWIT LINDA DAHL and MCP...she's obviously got a bias...use it against her and the dept to force our hand.(her biases are published comments in the Marin IJ)
7. SHOW UP! Bodies at meetings matter more than back room deals...also don't let Linda run the meetings like a classroom...I will not accept being scolded at the next RTMP.
8. WIN! WIN! WIN! Whiners step aside.
I know this post won't win me any friends but someone has got to say it like it is...take it with a grain of salt. -T