Two-Week Links: Busy Busy

Farmer's Market, San Rafael Quite a bit has happened in the past two weeks, so I won't bore with an introduction. From SMART to the economy to a rash of deaths, it's been eventful. Oh, and that whole election thing. Here are the highlights.

Marin and Beyond

  • The driver who killed Hailey Ratliff was cleared of wrongdoing by Novato PD, who said the driver was going the speed limit and that Hailey was at fault for failing to yield to traffic. (Patch) While the Ratliff family has moved back to New Mexico, their former neighbors are investigating ways to make Novato streets safer. (IJ)
  • It won't be viable to raise SMART tracks at Jennings Road in Santa Rosa. The planning process was begun too late for that option, but the other contenders - an at-grade crossing and an elevated pedestrian crossing - aren't so great, either. (PD)
  • California is hiring new staff so water quality permits for SMART and Marin County can be approved more quickly, and SMART and Marin are picking up the tab. (IJ)
  • San Rafael is waging a crackdown on homelessness in its downtown and is looking to move homeless services out of the neighborhood. City manager Nancy Mackle calls it a quality of life concern; homeless advocates call it unjust and capricious. (IJ)
  • The economy is going strong in Marin, and it's going to get better. So says the Marin Economic Forum, which projected continued job and income growth for at least the next two years. (IJ)
  • With a second term secured, the Obama Administration has a fantastic opportunity to reform how the US funds infrastructure, builds railroads, and stop some of the principal drivers of sprawl. (Atlantic)
  • Not every coffee shop needs to sell tea, and not every building needs to look the same. David Alpert makes a cogent argument for form-based zoning and for abolishing parking minimums. (GGW)
  • Yeas and nays: Sausalito City Council gets a much-needed shake-up. (IJ) ... Ross gets to keep its police department. (IJ) ... Marin parks and open space get a boost. (Patch) ... Levine vs. Allen still unclear, except to Levine. (PD, KSRO) ... And the rest of the initiatives, state propositions, and offices. (Pacific Sun
  • And...: A major mixed-use office building opens in Novato. (IJ) ... Larkspur's Doherty Drive is looking good with new bike lanes. (James Bikes) ... The Larkspur Ferry set a ridership record by transporting people to the Giants victory parade. (Patch) ... George Lucas is pressing on with developing Grady Ranch despite Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm. (Patch)

The Toll

Three dead, 19 wounded in just two weeks of travel in Marin and Sonoma.

  • Alvin Hesse was killed by a driver on Wednesday while crossing the street in Sonoma. Police arrested a suspect, 80-year-old Joe Kwai Lee, on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. Hesse was 93. (PD)
  • Two other drivers were killed in two separate, single-driver crashes in Sonoma County. (PD)
  • 92-year-old Leo Arkelian hit two teens crossing the road in Sonoma with his car, seriously injuring one and moderately injuring the other, but he denies that he hit anyone and is fine to drive. His denial raises the question: when is someone too old to drive? (PD)
  • Toraj Soltani, testifying at trial, detailed his harrowing experience nearly getting run over by Harry Smith: how Smith yelled at Soltani and tried to run him off the road, Soltani's retailiation, and the apoplectic rage that nearly turned Smith into a murderer. Smith is on trial for attempted murder and assault. (PD)
  • Remembering John Von Merta, a homeless man who was killed by a driver while crossing the street last month. (PD)
  • A bicyclist injured himself by falling off a trail in West Marin. While a friend was retrieving his bike, a driver careened off the road nearby and got stuck in a tree; the friend helped the driver escape. (Patch)
  • Santa Rosa: Two drivers injured themselves by colliding head-on.  (PD) ... A pedestrian crossing the road was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver, who was later found and arrested. (PD) ... A driver hit and injured two trick-or-treaters on Halloween, while another child was hit by another driver in a separate crash that night. (PD)
  • Everywhere Else: A driver injured herself and her passenger on Highway 101 in Greenbrae. (PD) ... Three people were injured in a three-car crash on Highway 12 in Glen Ellen. (PD) ... A driver injured himself and two others in Healdsburg by crashing into a pole. (PD) ... A driver and bicyclist collided in Sonoma; the biker was injured. (PD) ... Four people were injured in three separate crashes caused by drunk drivers in Marin last month. (IJ)