Marin County Supervisors Katie Rice and Damon Connolly wrote an op-ed piece recently that, among other things, boasted Marin’s policy on homelessness is working.
“We know our strategies are successful,” they said. “In January, the Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a 16-bed adult transitional residential treatment program at 920 Grand Ave. in San Rafael for individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders — the first of its kind in Marin.”
They underlined Project Homekey, which “provided funds for Marin to purchase America’s Best Value Inn in Corte Madera and an office building in San Rafael in November 2020, which creates 60 new apartment units for homeless people.”
Supervisor Rice and Connolly have every right to shine the county’s apple. If ending homelessness means finding brick-and-mortar for all while fixing the underlying causes that drive homelessness, then the house part of the strategy is working. And Project Homekey is a part of that success going forward.
However, let’s hope that county staff and leaders use a little more judgment than in its last Project Homekey scheme.
You will remember the county tried to ram through the purchase of Inn Marin in Novato and turn it into homeless housing. It caught everyone by surprise. Not only were the nearby residents blindsided, the Novato City Council and Novato’s business leaders and people who think about proper city planning were in the dark until literally hours before the announcement.
It was a mess. It damaged public confidence in the county to the extent that Marin’s homeless efforts became something to fear instead of cheer.
Look, Project Homekey may be “free” money available to the county, but inclusive, sober decision making should never — ever — take a back seat to grabbing money for the sake of grabbing money. That’s what happened with the Inn Marin deal. The backlash was mighty and it was justified.
Novato County Supervisor Judy Arnold voted for the Inn Marin deal and then did a 180 about 48 hours later after an immense outcry. Her email lit up like Clark Griswold’s house in Christmas Vacation. Inn Marin was not the right place for a homeless shelter and even if it was it was unfair of the county to even try it at the last minute.
So, kudos to our county overseers for navigating a sensible strategy for the homeless in Marin. But, please, let’s not repeat that Inn Marin deal again. It takes time and planning to do this homeless thing right. Let’s always do it right.
STORIES OF REAL HEROES
May I recommend the Netflix series “Medal of Honor.” This documentary tells the story of individual Medal of Honor winners. It’s compelling stuff about bravery, human nature and love.
AND ANOTHER RECOMMENDATION
If you like diving down Youtube rabbit holes, and you love music, may I recommend this video of a passionate guitar teaching breaking down a duet performance between Chris Stapleton and Justin Timperlake.
Go to YouTube and search for “guitar teacher reacts: Justin Timberlake & Chris Stapleton.”
You will enjoy it. Thank me later.
ONE MORE THING
— A photon checks into a hotel. The front desk asks if it has any luggage. It replies “no, I’m traveling light”
— A Roman walks into a bar and asks for a martinus. “You mean a martini?” the bartender asks. The Roman replies, “If I wanted a double, I would have asked for it!”
— Pavlov is sitting at a pub enjoying a pint. His phone rings and he jumps up shouting “Dammit, I forgot to feed the dog!”
— The programmer’s wife tells him, “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.” The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.
— Sonoma folk need a refresher course on proper mask wearing.
Thank you for reading, ladies and germs. I’ll let myself out. Until next week, be well and treat others with kindness. It’s the only sane way to be.
(Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, a newspaper company dedicated to the preservation of community newspapers. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)