Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for Nov. 4, 2023

Gun Rights

Mill Valley must change mind about private club

Recently, Mill Valley cleared the way for the Treehouse, a private club with a substantial entrance fee and monthly dues (“Mill Valley commission approves downtown private club,” Oct. 26). It will occupy the vacant Bank of America building, now symbolic of the bank’s abandonment of local communities.

I think author George Orwell would call the arguments in favor of the Treehouse “doublespeak.”

Some say this is not unusual. When the historic building was used as a bank, it was already a private institution. It’s true, you had to be a depositor to do business there, but there was no “paywall” just to enter.

Supporters have said the Treehouse will be a place where people can meet and get to know each other. But, by cordoning it off, installing an elevator and planning a roof deck with piped in music, it feels like something else. I picture members looking down on “the riffraff.”

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Some say any new business is good, considering the challenges facing the local economy. However, I think anyone concerned with empty storefronts downtown should focus on landlords obsessed with unreasonable rents.

I believe that private clubs with entrance fees represent cancers on our community spirit.

I call on the Mill Valley City Council to act now. If the councilmembers really care about our community, they will. City government should not be an extension of the Chamber of Commerce.

Mill Valley is a magical place. It does not need a members only club.

— Richard M. Owens, Mill Valley

Pt. Reyes ranches part of Marin’s local ‘foodshed’

Many letters published by the IJ have spoken about preserving the Point Reyes National Seashore. But not nearly enough are about the ranches and dairies there. They are an important source for local food and organic milk.

Ranchers say 30% of all Marin County organic dairies are within the national park. I am very concerned about the future of these small-scale dairies and ranches at the Seashore. Their products are made into wonderful cheese, butter and ice cream. Some of these ranches also sell local beef products.

I appreciate what the Save Marin Food coalition is doing to provide accurate information about the role of agriculture in the Point Reyes National Seashore. I know that I would prefer farm-to-table (as well as farm-to-school) food, which is sourced on small-scale ranches and dairies right here in Marin. Al would agree: That’s better than food shipped from industrial farms.

Point Reyes ranches are part of our local “foodshed” for Marin residents.

— Eileen Connery, Point Reyes Station

Middle East conflict sentiments were excellent

Thank you to David Glick for his letter headlined “Stop selective outrage over crimes in Middle East.”

I spent nearly 10 years in the Middle East between 1971 and 1988, one third in Afghanistan and the rest in Bahrain. I’ve also visited a number of other countries in that region. As a result, I’ve been following the history there for over 50 years.

I think Glick’s letter is one of the best ever written on the subject.

My fervent hope is that future efforts on this very difficult problem will focus on Glick’s call for compromise and achieving a peaceful solution. There is no doubt that it will not be easy. Equally, there is no doubt that, until this happens, peace will elude us all.

— Toby Marion, Tiburon

New leaders needed in both Israel and Gaza

According to a recently published article by the Times of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is now the most unpopular in Israel’s history.

His military leaders have admitted responsibility for their errors in not preparing or properly responding to Hamas attacks. There will be an Israeli reckoning with Netanyahu and most likely his government coalition will fall.

His most likely replacement is Benny Gantz, who has been far more receptive to Palestinian aspirations and may very well chart a different course for a more realistic two-entity solution. The war and internal conflict on judicial reform has been a wake-up call for Israelis to rethink many past assumptions, including out-of-control settlers in the West Bank who must be restrained for peace negotiations to be serious.

Hamas is a terrorist organization that kills Jews and is trying to destroy Israel. Gazans deserve better and will only emerge with hope if Hamas is removed. I think it is similar to the situation with ISIS and Iraq.

Our role should be to support Israel to win their war with Hamas through this difficult period. We should encourage their efforts for peace shoulder to shoulder.

The requirement for change will be to replace Hamas rule in Gaza with a Palestinian government supported by a Muslim and NATO military force (like in Bosnia). President Joe Biden has a critical role to play to bring the post-Hamas governing entity with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and regional allies. He must provide security and financing for reconstruction.

Israelis and Gazans can have a better future if both their governments are replaced with leaders who have a better vision for sharing the land and opportunity for their peoples.

— Jeff Saperstein, Mill Valley

During power outage, solar helps charge EV

I would like to add context to Chet Seligman’s recently published letter. Seligman asserted that, since solar panels were not connected to the grid in emergency shutoff situations, it would be hard to charge electric vehicles during an outage.

However, at least in my case, the solar panels are always connected to my home — even during an outage. Because they are providing power to our home, I am able to continue to charge an electric vehicle, dry clothes and everything else, as needed.

— Jean Arnold, Mendocino

High California gas prices need further investigation

At the time of writing, I see that gas in Marin has reached $5.45 a gallon. I don’t think it has ever been higher.

Can someone please explain to me (as though I was 4 years old), why gas on the East Coast is $2 a gallon less than California?

I was just in Georgia and South Carolina and low leaded gas is $3.45 a gallon or less, in both areas.

It appears we are being gouged by the oil companies. This is something the state attorney general needs to investigate.

— Steve Isaacs, Greenbrae

Fed up with those who lobby for gun industry

I feel that the National Rifle Association and those who lobby on behalf of the gun industry did their part in aiding and abetting yet another mass shooting (“Maine police were alerted weeks ago about shooter’s threats,” Oct. 28).

As far as I am concerned, They let the world know that the United States is the “home of the free” and the land of the dead.

— Philip Hicks, San Anselmo

Mike Johnson is not a good choice for speaker

I believe that law and order are no longer mainstays of the Republican Party. The election of Rep. Mike Johnson as speaker of the House, now second in line to the presidency, has proclaimed to the world that the demise of core, principled democratic policies among Republicans is underway.

The entire House Republican body voted in favor of Johnson’s ascent to the speaker role. Yet Johnson was a supporter of overturning the 2020 presidential elections results and he consistently supports former President Donald Trump’s 2024 election campaign, even though Trump is facing a multitude of major, criminal charges.

It seems obvious to me that the pursuit of power has overwhelmed whatever previous principles the Republican Party once held. Power and control appear to be the ultimate goals of this party — democracy be damned in the process.

— Deidre Silverman, San Rafael

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