This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
Marin County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Pat Eklund

Candidate for
Supervisor; County of Marin; Supervisorial District 5

This information is provided by the candidate


Improving transportation and ending gridlock on the freeway is one of the biggest challenges we face. While the final solutions must be devised on a regional level, there is much we can do and are doing locally to support that regional effort. First, I supported the passage of Measure A, passed by the voters in 2004 to devote a half-cent of sales tax revenue for buses, roads, bike and pedestrian improvements and building a car pool and bus lane on Highway 101 from Novato through San Rafael. As a Board Member of the Transportation Authority of Marin, I worked to ensure that these improvements benefited Novato and the county of Marin. I continue to strongly advocate for the swift completion of the carpool lane through San Rafael.

Second, as a leader of the Novato Safe Routes to School Committee, I have worked to help make it safer for our youth to walk and/or bike to schools. I was instrumental in expanding the number of schools participating in our efforts and in helping to develop a grant application that makes improvements around five Novato schools.

Third, I support multi-modes of transportation including rail. But, we need to make sure that any passenger rail service is cost effective, environmentally sound and is compatible with surrounding neighborhoods. As a Board Member of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) authority, I worked to ensure that the efforts to implement rail service is transparent with the public and responsive to the community's needs.


SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit)

I strongly support public transit and have been commuting to San Francisco by bus, vanpool and ferry for the past 37 years. And I support rail as an additional mode of public transit where it makes sense - environmentally, economically, and socially.

I have always viewed my role as a public servant to ask the tough questions that must be answered for our citizens to make informed choices about how our tax dollars should be spent. That's because I believe we must make this decision - which involves hundreds of millions of tax dollars - based on real numbers and facts, not on politics or political considerations.

A number of questions need to be answered before we will know if the current plans for SMART make sense for Marin County.

Ridership Projections

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) estimates that 191 passengers will be traveling from Sonoma to Marin during the morning peak hours. (Appendix I) If these estimates are accurate, will the benefits of 191 passengers traveling to Marin County by rail offset the environmental, social and economic impacts of the rail line? Would we get more transit riders with less impacts if we used those limited transit funds to enhance the inter-county express bus system? Are these estimates accurate? Would it make more sense to consider starting with a Sonoma-only portion?

Larkspur Ferry Connection

The DEIR estimates a few passengers will ride SMART to Larkspur to connect to the San Francisco bound ferry. Conceptually, this sounds great, but studies have shown that people will not walk more than half a mile to public transit, so will SMART passengers walk over half a mile to get to the ferry? Public transit studies also show people will drive rather than use public transit if they have to take more than three modes of transportation. Yet the current proposal would require commuters to San Francisco to take a car or shuttle to the SMART station, then the train, then a shuttle (or walk) to the ferry, then the ferry to San Francisco, and finally a bus or walk to their place of employment. Finally, the Larkspur City Council has been clear and strong in its opposition to SMART coming to Larkspur.

Transit Oriented Development

The DEIR does not discuss, nor has the SMART Board explored, one of the most important secondary impacts associated with rail - transit oriented development (TOD) being promoted along the rail line by many different organizations and individuals. TOD could have a significant impact on Marin County, especially since the majority of the land adjacent to the rail line in Marin County is sensitive wetlands and environmental habitat. Currently, this is occurring without a cumulative analysis. I support TOD and mixed use - it makes sense so we can preserve the green belt areas of our County and State. But we must have an informed understanding of what the cumulative impacts of development will be around each of the rail stations.

These and other issues need to be examined in the final EIR to inform a public debate about whether the SMART proposal makes sense for Marin County. The environmental impacts need to be fully evaluated so that the public can make informed choices on a project of this magnitude. Proponents and opponents of SMART have complained that the draft DEIR is inadequate, and SMART is in the process of responding to the public comments.


St. Vincent / Silveira

My hope is to retain all of or a majority of this property as open space or for agricultural use. Growing up in Terra Linda, I enjoyed viewing the open space of the Silveira property and the school and chapel at St. Vincent's. As a resident of Novato since 1974, I have also enjoyed the property as a community separator between the cities of San Rafael and Novato.

In the end, some compromise might be necessary to allow very limited development. We should explore finding grants or other funding to purchase the land or even a portion of the property to preserve it.

At a minimum, I believe that the viewshed from 101 should be preserved as open space, not increase traffic congestion, and preserve a buffer zone or green belt between San Rafael and Novato - one of the few left in the County of Marin.


Affordable Housing

Affordable workforce housing is very much needed in Marin County. In Novato, many, if not most, of our police officers and teachers cannot afford to live here. Much the same is true of our firefighters, public works employees, and others. This is not good for the community because in a state of emergency it will be hard for those who we depend on to keep us safe, to reach Novato. Our sense of community suffers when the people who are responsible for protecting us and teaching our children, are only available during working hours.

We have created almost 600 units at Hamilton, one third of which is dedicated to workforce housing for our essential workers - police, fire, teachers, other City, County and School District employees.

The other area where we need more affordable housing is for our seniors. We have approved senior housing projects in Novato, some of which are dedicated as affordable units. But, we have not kept pace with the increasing need for senior housing and we must do more to provide the housing that seniors need. In-fill projects are good for seniors because they do not generate traffic and/or require a lot of parking.


Downtown Revitalization

I am very excited about the renovation and the revitalization of our Downtown. Our downtown is one of the ways that we define our community character and as such, it is very important that the downtown acts as an economic, social, civic, and recreational hub. Last year, Novato completed the restoration of Grant Avenue, which eliminated the crown in the street, re-built our sidewalks and corrected drainage problems - resulting in a $10.5 million beautification project and a community investment that is the largest capital improvement project in Novato.

There are some catalyst projects that will help continue the downtown revitalization that is in the works - the rebuilding of the old train depot with Book Passage, construction of the Whole Foods Project, the renovation of the Novato Theater and, the addition of Trader Joe's on Redwood Blvd. We need to continue to bring high quality, diverse businesses to our downtown, including a bookstore, restaurants, and other retail businesses. I am fully committed to making our downtown lively, prosperous and truly the heart of the Novato community.


Economic Development and Environmental Protection

Economic development and environmental protection go hand-in-hand. Without one, you will not have the other. In my meetings with business leaders, I have been impressed by the fact that they chose to locate their businesses in Novato for the same reasons we choose to live here. These executives want to see open space, breathe clean air, and enjoy the small town character of our community. They like to look out of their office windows and see cows. If we want to encourage economic growth, we must not do it at the sacrifice of the environment. If we don't protect our environment, we won't have the main drawing card that brings and keeps the kinds of companies we want in Novato. If we maintain a balance between economic health and environmental health, we will be able to provide our community with a very high quality of life.


Juvenile Crime

Before we can make any substantial progress, everyone - every government body, every youth organization, every parent organization - must become involved in a joint effort to meet the needs of children who are at risk. If juvenile crime isn't fought on the streets by the police, in the classrooms by the teachers, and in the homes by parents, we are bound for failure.

Juvenile crime and violence must be addressed on a continual basis. I am very proud of our Police Department and its leadership role in our City and the County on gang issues. We must be diligent to prevent heinous crimes from happening in our communities. We must hold the gangs at bay, and respond quickly and justly when there are gang-related incidents. Having gone on many ride-alongs with the Novato Police Department, I can assure you of the officers' sensitivity to our youth and their ability to deal effectively with kids in trouble.

To combat juvenile crime there must be a two-pronged approach: preventative and punitive. I voted for the Youth Curfew because I am convinced that the police needed a non-criminal means to help young people who may be at risk. The curfew allows the officer to help without having to involve the juvenile in the justice system.

On the preventative side, I support giving our youth legal and wholesome ways to socialize and have fun. That's why I supported the skate park and the Teen Center. I initiated, along with Connie Benz, former President of the Novato Unified School District Board of Directors, a Blue Ribbon Committee focused on preventing the use of drugs and alcohol by our youth. Among the many successful outcomes of our efforts were the Youth Court (now operated by Marin County Courts) and the popular 15-minute program that stages an alcohol-related accident resulting in a mock trial.



Our fastest growing population in Novato is seniors over 70 years of age. We must prepare to meet the needs of our increasing senior population. The two most important areas that we need to address for seniors are housing and transportation. As the initiator of the Housing and Services Commission, I know that the City needs to do more to focus on providing affordable senior housing, especially in the area of assisted living facilities.

Our seniors on fixed incomes need to know that we value having them in our community and want to continue to benefit from the contributions that seniors make to Novato. Transportation for seniors is not as easily solved. I support the City providing a local jitney service that would help our seniors move around town to shop, socialize, go to doctors, and see their families. Unfortunately, the bus system is designed for commuters but is sorely deficient in meeting the needs of people who want to traverse Novato. I will work to expand the EZ-Rider shuttle service for our seniors and youth.

Next Page: Additional Endorsements

Candidate Page || Feedback to Candidate || This Contest
November 2006 Home (Ballot Lookup) || About Smart Voter

The League of Women Voters does not support or oppose any candidate or political party.
Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 13, 2006 21:47
Smart Voter   <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund