Archive for October, 2016

Despite wet weather, celebrations of Halloween and Día de los Muertos enlivened Point Reyes Station Saturday and Sunday in advance of Monday’s trick or treating.

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Wendi Kallins (left), a candidate for county supervisor in the June primary election, and Constance Washburn as “Super Gaia” during the Day of the Dead party in the Dance Palace Saturday evening. The altar is decorated with memorials for deceased friends and relatives.


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Toby’s Feed Barn also held a Halloween party with a Día de los Muertos altar Saturday night. Here Feed Barn owner Chris Giacomini enjoys the decorations.


On Sunday, the festivities continued across town.

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In the firehouse, the annual pancake breakfast prepared by firefighters from Point Reyes Station and Inverness was held Sunday morning as a benefit for the Point Reyes Disaster Council.

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Marty Frankel (left) and Eileen Connery selling tickets at the pancake breakfast. Lynn Axelrod (far right), coordinator of the Point Reyes Disaster Council, checks out the crowd at the breakfast.

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For youngsters, one of the highlights of the pancake breakfast was a chance to take a firetruck ride around town.


Also on Sunday, Papermill Creek Children’s Corner preschool held a Halloween party in the Dance Palace.papermill-creek-childrens-corner-halloween-party

 Enthusiastic party goer at the Dance Palace takes a run between the rains that fell sporadically Sunday.

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For the youngest children, the chance to ride a horse around the block was a special thrill.

 

 

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Wearing tiger ears framing an exit sign, Lourdes Romo, executive director of the preschool, with three of her young charges.


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Halloween costumes:  Everywhere in town, many adults and children wore costumes all day Monday. The most realistic costumes I saw were worn by this group of trick or treaters, who showed up at our door that evening.

       Don DeWolfe, who died in 1987, published The Point Reyes Light/Baywood Press from 1957 to 1970 in what is now the Coastal Marin Real Estate building. He wrote the first part of this Bob Worthington retrospective as a column for the Jan. 19, 1984, issue.

By Don DeWolfe

 “Former resident Bob Worthington was in town. Bob built a number of homes here. The first was George DeMartini’s home on Highway 1 north of the school.

Worthington (seen below in 1970), died in 2001. He was a World War II vet with a Purple Heart, as well as a former contractor, prison guard, and police informer.

“He built a cluster of homes on the Mesa, including his own, which is now owned by [Krauth Brand].

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“He also built the apartment house on Mesa Road behind The Point Reyes Light building.”

“Worthington bought the lot from Burt Jensen, who owned Sunbeam Motors, and had it surveyed. [Sunbeam Motors was located on the main street where Cheda’s Garage is today.]

“Through the years as the county road crew replaced the blacktop on Mesa Road, they had rounded out the corner so much that the corner of Bob’s lot was now right in the center of the road. He took a pick and dug a hole in the blacktop at that spot. Sure enough, he found the old surveyor’s monument, and Bob needed every square foot of the lot for his building [to have enough setback from the road] to qualify for a building permit.

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“On a Friday afternoon from the back window at my printing shop at The Light, I saw Bob appear, along with Walt Kantala and his backhoe.”

Don DeWolfe (right) pretending to type a column at the bar in the Old Western Saloon, which he frequented.

“Walt proceeded to tear the blacktop off the road. I walked back and said, ‘Bob, you’re fixing to get into a heap of trouble. You can’t just tear up the county road.’

“‘The hell I can’t,’ he replied. ‘It’s on my property.’

“‘But, Bob,’ I explained, ‘By right of eminent domain the county is going to claim they now own the road part of the lot.’

“‘Look, Don,’ he said. ‘It’s Friday afternoon. All the big wigs at Civic Center have already left for the weekend. By Monday morning, I’ll have the forms all in and be ready to pour the foundation.’

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When I first came to Point Reyes Station in 1975, the fence to the right of the tree had not yet been erected, and more than a few inattentive motorists drove over the then-small sapling, usually breaking a bunch of limbs.

“Monday morning came, and so did the county. After a few words they departed. Next morning the road crew appeared and moved the road back over where it belonged. Bob built a monument on the corner and planted a tree in it.

Later Bob did some remodeling for Sally Stanford at her San Francisco home. [Sally Stanford had been a brothel madam in San Francisco and later opened the Valhalla restaurant in Sausalito, where she was elected to the city council and became mayor.]

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“One night on the way home Bob stopped at a bar in Sausalito for a drink. He overheard a couple of guys at the bar plotting to break into Sally’s home while she was away and steal her valuable jewelry. He tipped off the police, who put a stakeout on the place. A couple of nights later they nabbed the two guys trying to break in.

“Later someone fired a shot at Bob while he was driving along the road at Nicasio. The bullet went through the open window of his pickup right in front of his face and out the closed window on the other side. So Bob moved away.”

Sally Stanford in 1947

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At this point, San Francisco Chronicle reporter Ralph Craib picks up the story. In a Nov. 4, 1966, report, “Good Citizen Pays High Price,” Craib described the many ways criminals exacted revenge on Bob Worthington for his informing the police about the impending burglary. Here are some excerpts from the article. By coincidence, Craib, who died in 1995, was the reporter who nominated The Point Reyes Light for its 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

By Ralph Craib

“An armed but frightened man recited yesterday the harrowing personal price he has paid since serving as a police informer.

“His [contracting] business is dead; he has been ambushed and shot, and his wife and two children live in constant fear and almost continuously on the move, said one-time San Quentin guard Robert Worthington.

“Worthington provided police with their first tip of the impending burglary of the home of Sally Stanford at 2324 Pacific Avenue in April of last year [1965]. Police Officer Salvatore Polani and three others were later convicted after falling into a trap which Worthington, then a Point Reyes contractor, helped set.

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“Once his identity was revealed, he said, police were immediately assigned to guard him, his wife, and his daughter, 13, and son, 11.

“But his business began falling apart. He couldn’t go out to a lot to inspect a prospective building site, he said, until police had checked out the person he was to meet. He had to have his telephone disconnected because of ominous calls received by his wife.

Ralph Craib (right) celebrates with Cathy Mitchell and me in the Point Reyes Light’s newsroom on April 16, 1979. She and I had just learned that, thanks to Craib’s nomination, our little weekly newspaper had won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

“He has moved his family home five times and has had to send his family out of town on several occasions when police warned him that there was danger. Two cars he owned have been repossessed. Three homes which he had built and in which he had substantial investment have been foreclosed.

“On a couple of occasions, I was followed by strange cars,” Worthington said. “One night I was followed by a car without lights and went up to 100 miles an hour. At night time you can’t see back and the only thing to do is run.”

“Worthington was provided a gun by police — and used it once. He was ambushed on Lucas Valley Road in Marin County, Sept. 5, 1966, and grazed by a bullet. He fired two shots back at his attackers. ”

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      In 1999, Bob Worthington belatedly received a Purple Heart, having suffered PTSD and having developed a serious heart condition while fighting on Guadalcanal in World War II. He died in 2001 in Coos Bay, Oregon, at the age of 76.

 

Plutocracy, a new musical show by Bolinas composer Dale Polissar, will premiere this month with two performances in West Marin: in the Bolinas Community Center  at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, in the Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station.

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Debuting as a “semi-staged concert performance” with five singers and a narrator, Plutocracy imagines what happens when the head of a global oil corporation dies and, to everyone’s surprise, leaves control of the company to his young hippie poet son — with a powerful CEO uncle determined to stop the boy.

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Polissar’s previous musical satirizing the George Bush administration, By George, It’s War!, got standing ovations at the Throckmorton and other Marin and Berkeley venues. Popular Marin choreographer and dance teacher Doree Clark, who choreographed By George, is also choreographer for the new musical, which is produced and directed by the composer.

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Polissar studied composing at Stanford University, has had choral works performed by major choruses, and plays clarinet professionally with such artists as pianist Si Perkoff and guitarist Bart Hopkin. He has written and produced three political musicals, and he proudly states that “in addition to musical honors, my resume includes three arrests for civil disobedience.”

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About Plutocracy Polissar says, “It touches on many contemporary issues, but above all I hope it is engaging and entertaining — in the great tradition of American musicals — with songs that are sometimes fun, sometimes very moving.”

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The cast includes several Marin singers and actors — Beth Carusillo, Madeline London, Daniel Patrick, and Bob Scott — as well as, from the larger Bay Area, Tim Mayer and Peter Webb. “Plutocracy will play at two other Bay Area venues in November: at La Peña in Berkeley on Nov. 6, and at the Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco on Nov. 18.

I originally wrote most of this posting as a book review for the July 28 Point Reyes Light where I was editor and publisher for 27 years before retiring 10 years ago.

Anne and the Twentieth Century is the surprisingly appropriate title of newly published memoirs by Anne R. Dick of Point Reyes Station.

Anne at 89 is an impressive woman. She runs a bed-and-breakfast inn, Seven Gray Foxes, and has published seven books of poetry and reminiscences in the past six years.

West Marin residents have also known the author as the proprietor of a successful jewelry-making business in Point Reyes Station, Anne R. Dick Jewelry. That would seem to be a straightforward name although, as Anne recalls with a laugh, one customer wrote it as “Antarctic Jew.”

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Longtime residents in West Marin may also remember the girls’ horse-vaulting team that she organized in 1967. (Horse vaulting is often described as gymnastics on horseback.)

With Anne as coach, the Point Reyes Vaulters in 1976 won the National C Team Championship in Malibu. The following year they won the National B Team Championship, and the year after that the National A Team Championship.

The book is called Anne and the Twentieth Century because in telling stories about herself and her family, she uses as backdrops contemporaneous news events throughout the century.

These range from the Great Depression (“Mom served one vegetarian meal a week to save money”) to World War II and the rise of Hitler, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the death of President Roosevelt, and the atomic bomb.

Periodically Anne gives her own pithy assessment of political, cultural, and military affairs. Adding further color is the book’s taking note of songs and movies that were popular when events occurred.

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Anne and Phillip K. Dick at their home in Point Reyes Station in 1958, a year before their marriage.

Anne’s second husband (1959-68), with whom she had one daughter, Laura, was science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, who gained international recognition for his books, 11 of which were turned into Hollywood movies.

Among the best known are Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which became Blade Runner and We Can Remember It For You Wholesale which became Total Recall. Unfortunately, he was paid very little for screen rights. Blade Runner grossed $28 million, but he received a mere $1,250.

Anne has lectured at several universities including the Sorbonne about her knowledge of Philip Dick, but because she previously wrote Search for Philip K. Dick, 1928-1982, he appears as mainly “an interlude” in her new book.

Getting more attention in her new book is her first husband, the late Richard Rubenstein. Anne’s family had moved to St. Louis after her father died, and Richard came from a prosperous St. Louis family.

The two were married by a justice of the peace, and Anne candidly explains: “We must have thought that going to a justice of the peace wasn’t bourgeois but that a big fancy church wedding was. To be called ‘bourgeois’ in those days was an insult, but we certainly weren’t members of the proletariat either.”

Philip Dick would later turn out to be shy and occasionally paranoid, but Richard Rubenstein, who fathered her daughters Hatte, Jayne, and Tandy, was troubled by severe anxiety.

From St. Louis the couple moved to San Francisco, and “as we drove across the country, Richard was too nervous to go into restaurants. I had to bring his dinner to him every night in our motel room,” Anne recalls, adding, “Not much fun.”

Indeed, life with Richard apparently included many uncomfortable moments. When they moved into an apartment in San Francisco, they bought a large, “handsome” couch. “I spilled some ink on it,” Anne relates, “while trying to sit on Richard’s lap for some affectionate hugging.

“Richard became angry at me for spilling the ink and possibly also because I was trying to hug him. I think some men, maybe many, are fearful of intimacy with women, but they like sex with a woman — which they don’t seem to think of as intimacy.

“Richard didn’t converse. Period. If we went to a restaurant together, we just sat there….

“Richard received a modest monthly income from a property his mother owned in Quincy, Illinois, which paid for food and rent. If we needed a new car, Richard’s mother would buy one for him. If we wanted to go on a trip, Richard’s mother would send money for the trip….

“I felt uncomfortable that Richard didn’t work and earn money, but there was nothing to be done about it. Richard felt he was too nervous to work.”

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Anne and Richard Rubenstein, her first husband.

An aspiring poet, the only people he didn’t feel ill at ease around were other poets and San Francisco’s Bohemians. Fortunately, he and Anne arrived in the city just as the Beat Generation was coming into its own.

Richard started a poetry magazine. It lasted only one issue but put him in contact with such poets as Kenneth Rexroth, Dylan Thomas, Robert Creeley, and Gary Snyder.

His mental health, however, was deteriorating, and while in a New England psychiatric clinic, he had an allergic reaction to an anti-schizophrenic medicine and “dropped dead while drinking copiously from the water fountain,” Anne writes.

“I don’t think he was schizophrenic. He was anxious and drank too much alcohol at times.”

At the end the movie Blade Runner, an extraterrestrial android (human-like robot) played by Rutger Hauer, dies.

Just before he does, Hauer bitterly tells actor Harrison Ford, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe — attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All these moments will be lost in time like tears in rain .… Time to die.”

Anne Dick likewise has some remarkable memories, and she too doesn’t want them to be lost in time. Anne and the Twentieth Century engagingly preserves for her family, friends, and the general public what she has seen of relationships, celebrities, West Marin, American culture, and key events in a fascinating century.

The book is available at Point Reyes Books or from the publisher at Point Reyes Cypress Press, Box 459, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 and online at <www.pointreyescypresspress.com>.

 

During the 15 years Don Neubacher was superintendent of the Point Reyes National Seashore, he behaved deceptively on a number of occasions. Nonetheless, in 2010, he was made superintendent of Yosemite National Park.

It was a dramatic — albeit absurd — promotion. After he’d been on the job in Yosemite for six years, the Park Service in response to employee complaints conducted an investigation last August and concluded that Neubacher had created a work environment that was “toxic” for many staffers.

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National Seashore Supt. Don Neubacher (left) at a 2004 town meeting in Point Reyes Station.

Besides the August investigation, 18 Yosemite Park employees a week ago informed the Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the House of Representatives that Neubacher had bullied, intimidated, and humiliated staff who complained of misconduct by him and other Park Service personnel.

“In Yosemite Park today, dozens of people, the majority of whom are women, are being bullied, belittled, disenfranchised and marginalized,” Yosemite fire chief Kelly Martin told the committee in written testimony concerning several parks.

During last week’s hearing, committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) quoted an Interior Department investigator at Yosemite as reporting, “The number of employees interviewed about the horrific working conditions leads us to believe that the environment is toxic, hostile, repressive, and harassing.”

The congressman added, “It is our understanding that of the 21 people the investigators interviewed, every single one of them, with one exception, described Yosemite as a hostile work environment as a result of the behavior and conduct of the park superintendent.” The one person who did not agree, Congressman Chaffetz wryly noted, was Supt. Neubacher.

Making matters worse, committee members said, was the fact that Neubacher’s wife Patty has been deputy director of the Park Service’s Pacific West Region, which oversees Yosemite.

But the jig is up, and last Thursday Supt. Neubacher acknowledged in an email to park employees that regional administrators had decided Yosemite needs new leadership. He had been offered an advisory job in Denver but had decided to retire from the Park Service effective Nov. 1. On Sunday, Patty Neubacher announced that she too was retiring as of Nov. 1.

Supt. Neubacher didn’t acknowledge actually doing anything wrong at Yosemite, only that he might have been insensitive. Writing to park staff he claimed, “Until recently I wasn’t aware of these concerns and am deeply saddened by this….”

“It was never my intention in any way to offend any employee.… If I did offend any of you at any time, I want to sincerely apologize.”

He didn’t intend to harass and belittle staff, female staff in particular? It was all a misunderstanding? Just how sincere is this apology?

Don Neubacher addresses addresses the West Marin citizens about the pepper spray incident in 2004. The crowd of townspeople who heard Don Neubacher (upper right) prevaricate about his own actions after the pepper spray incident in 2004.

That kind of dissembling was on display all too often during Neubacher’s 15 years on Point Reyes. Many examples could be recounted. Here are just a couple: In July 2004, an emotionally out-of-control Point Reyes National Seashore ranger accompanied by a second ranger aggressively pepper-sprayed a teenage brother and sister while in Point Reyes Station. The attack was so savage that in order to spray directly onto the eyeballs of the girl, who was crouched on the pavement in handcuffs, the ranger held her eyelids apart.

The siblings’ only crime was to show up to ask why two friends of theirs had been taken into custody by rangers outside the park. The friends, by the way, were never charged with any misdeed.

The pepper-spraying created a public outcry, and a town meeting was held in Point Reyes Station so people could question park officials about it. To mollify the crowd, Neubacher told them he had asked the Park Service to conduct an internal investigation into the rangers’ behavior. And to allay any suspicion that an internal investigation might be biased, Neubacher added, he’d asked the Marin County District Attorney’s Office to conduct a “parallel” investigation.

The next day after the now-calmed crowd had gone home, a perplexed assistant DA remonstrated that the park superintendent had done no such thing. Neubacher hadn’t asked the DA’s Office to investigate the rangers; he had asked it to prosecute the brother and sister. Many townspeople who had been taken in by Neubacher’s fabrication were furious. In any case, the DA refused to prosecute the teenagers, and in September 2005 the Park Service paid them $50,000 to settle claims growing out of the incident.

In 2007, Neubacher began pushing a proposal to shut down Drakes Bay Oyster Company. Regardless of what you thought of the idea, there was no denying that Neubacher outright lied to the Marin County Board of Supervisors in arguing for it.

When the supervisors held a hearing to express support for the oyster company, Supt. Neubacher showed up to claim the oyster operation was bothering harbor seals. Neubacher had previously asked the US Marine Mammal Commission to look into this allegation, but earlier that same day, commission staff had faxed him that so far there had been no decision to do so.

Nonetheless, Neubacher told county supervisors, “The Marine Mammal Commission wrote us a letter this morning. They’re going to take it up on a national level.”

When an investigator from the Inspector General’s Office of the Interior Department later asked the park superintendent about his deception, “Neubacher conceded that it might have been a little bit misleading for him to say that the Marine Mammal Commission was taking up the issue and had written the National Park Service a letter,” the investigator reported.

What will Neubacher do now? Given his repeated fabrications while administering the Point Reyes National Seashore and his misogynistic style of management while administering Yosemite National Park, there may be a job waiting for him out there — working for Donald Trump.