Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for March 28,…

102 points

Honor fallen leader, push for smoke-free Marin

Marin’s own Jennie Cook, who lived in Larkspur for 57 years, died in January after a long illness. She leaves a legacy of a lifelong dedication to reducing cancer and improving public health through local, statewide and national legislation. She also worked internationally, meeting with presidents and prime ministers about cancer prevention.

As a cancer survivor, she spent more than 50 years as an American Cancer Society volunteer. Cook held several national leadership roles with the organization. Locally, she served as chair of the Smoke-Free Marin Coalition for 15 years. She worked successfully with local city councils on youth nicotine addiction prevention and smoke-free environments.

Cook was pleased to see local communities adopt ordinances to prevent youth access to flavored tobacco and vaping products in all Marin jurisdictions. However, she hoped that all residents of multifamily housing would also be protected from drifting secondhand smoke from tobacco and marijuana. Of the 12 local jurisdictions in Marin, only Larkspur (her hometown), Corte Madera, Sausalito, Fairfax and unincorporated Marin County have not updated their smoke-free ordinances to provide 100% protection.

In addition to tobacco-related death and disease, smoking and vaping any substance also increases the risk of the most severe impacts of COVID-19. Working and attending school from home has been shown to increase long-term chronic exposure to secondhand smoke and vape aerosols for those without the same protection as in neighboring cities.

Achieving health equity throughout the county was so important to Cook. This is the one accomplishment that she would have liked to see during her lifetime. We hope that local city councils seize the opportunity to eliminate one more source of preventable disease and premature death in their communities and provide that equity.

For more information on Cook’s legacy, as well as information about local ordinances, visit

— Pam Granger, Smoke-Free Marin chair

Disappointing choices for school’s new name

Both of the finalists in the Sir Francis Drake High School name-change effort have significant shortcomings (“Sir Francis Drake school community to vote on final 2 names,” March 20).

Olema Trail High falls short because the school is nowhere near Olema, a distant tiny village. The alternate choice, Bon Tempe High, seems overly susceptible to adolescent mockery. “Bad Temper High” comes readily to mind.

— James Holmes, Larkspur

Senate must pass act to strengthen democracy

Our senators must do whatever it takes to get the For the People Act passed in the Senate and signed into law. Nothing should be allowed to prevent this strengthening of our democracy.

— Warren M. Gold, Mill Valley

SMART must close missing Greenway gaps

I would like to give a shoutout to Marin IJ political columnist Dick Spotswood for his recent column urging Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District officials to honor their promise to voters who supported Measure Q by using some of their $57 million reserve to complete the North-South Greenway bike paths through Novato.

However, his column seems to imply that all mid-Marin segments have been completed. Those of us who ride the Greenway know that SMART has ignored three key gaps in mid-Marin.

The path along Highway 101 from central San Rafael ends at the top of Puerto Suello Hill with no safe and separate connection to the new path that starts on the north side of San Pedro Road. Currently, bikers must brave the shoulder of Las Gallinas Road, which is steep with fast-moving cars.

The segment from Second Street in San Rafael along Tamalpais Avenue to Mission Avenue is a hodgepodge. It is dangerous, particularly with busy east-west traffic during commute hours. Finally, the segment along SMART’s right of way in Larkspur from the south side of Corte Madera Creek to the Sandra Marker Trail still has cyclone fencing blocking public access and seems years away.

SMART officials will go a long way to restoring the faith of the voters by using some of the agency’s hefty reserve to close these gaps, as well as the missing segments in Novato.

— Eric Miller, Larkspur

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