North Bay Business Journal

Monday, May 13, 2013, 5:30 am

Coalition has wrong vision for Marin

Proposal to county would kill jobs, potential business growth

By Keep Marin Working

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    The draconian changes recently proposed by a coalition of conservation organizations would help destroy the very foundation that makes the Marin we
    know and love possible today and sustainable tomorrow.

    Among other things, the coalition seeks a series of drastic restrictions on our economic vitality, commerce, transportation, development, zoning, and property rights. The result would be to shutter and close Marin. Their proposals are labeled “A Vision for Marin County.” Unfortunately, it is tunnel
    vision that fails to see the link between a vibrant local economy and maintaining a high quality of life here.

    The stakes are simply too great for the 180,000 people whose Marin-based jobs are dependent on a healthy business environment, or anyone who enjoys and appreciates all that is Marin today, from letting that vision become a reality.

    The impact of the proposals, as outlined in the Community Marin 2013 document, would: – Discourage the creation of jobs by restricting development and making it more expensive to build, buy or rent. Higher costs equal less construction, thereby reducing or stagnating building- and trade-related jobs.

          – Discourage companies from expanding or moving here. Between 2009 to 2012, 565 net new businesses entered the Marin economy. But the county will not be able to compete with other jurisdictions if there are new fees imposed on and increased resistance to commercial development.
         – Make it harder to maintain or improve our infrastructure: The lack of local workers in the building trades would make any infrastructure projects either more costly and lessen the local economic benefits from those projects.
         – Make it more difficult for people who live here, to stay here, especially our children. Discouraging commercial development can be a deal-breaker for local residents. Finding new jobs will be harder, commutes will become longer for residents, and tax revenues that support local schools and public services otherwise will slowly diminish. Without jobs, new households are not formed, public safety is underfunded, communities are weakened and taxpayers pay more.

         The Community Marin proposals come about a year after George Lucas suddenly pulled the plug on his Grady Ranch movie studio project, which would have generated much needed jobs and tax revenue here. Their coalition apparently doesn’t remember the lessons from that debacle, simply doesn’t care, or hopes that we will all forget.

         In fact, the disconnect between economic vitality and funding for the conservation of Marin County through an already larger number of open spaces is why Measure A was sought last November: if more job and business growth took place in Marin County, sales tax initiatives
    would not be seen as necessary to fund local parks and open spaces, and the revenue would be naturally generated for the public’s use.

    But Marin’s business community certainly remembers, cares, and will not forget. Whether your job depends on a healthy local economy or you want to guarantee a high quality of life for all residents, please help us ensure that the Community Marin 2013 proposal does not become reality.

    Speak up now and express your opposition to the proposal by signing an online petition at this address: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keep-marin-working/. Let’s broaden our vision and learn from the mistakes of the past. Let’s be the Marin that embraces planning that seeks to preserve the best of our community but is flexible enough to adapt to changing needs for housing, transportation and sea level rise in a way that opens opportunities.
    Let’s choose a vision that looks forward, not backward.
    Signed by:
    Cynthia Murray, CEO, North Bay Leadership Council
    Cecilia Zamora, Executive Director, Latino Council and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Marin
    Coy Smith, CEO, Novato Chamber of Commerce
    Edward Segal, CEO, Marin Association of REALTORS®.

    Keep Marin Working represents companies and organizations that employ half of the county’s 180,000 member workforce. The members of the coalition include: Rick Wells, San Rafael Chamber of Commerce; Coy Smith, Novato Chamber of Commerce; Klif Knoles, Marin Builders Association; Cynthia Murray, North Bay Leadership Council; Cecilia Zamora, Latino Council; Robert Eyler, Marin Economic Forum; and Edward Segal, Marin Association of REALTORS. Visit www.KeepMarinWorking.com

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