May 31-June 6, 2006

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By Patricia Lynn Henley


Fences might make good neighbors, but wetlands apparently make unfriendly ones, at least in Marin County's Gallinas Creek area. San Rafael Airport LLC, owned by Joe Shekou, is suing Robert Dobrin, Frances L. Nunez and "DOES 1 through 50, inclusive." Neighbors wonder which "John or Jane Doe" might be added to a lawsuit that seeks to make Dobrin and Nunez dismantle their "illegal" boat docks and pay damages. But their docks are just two of dozens built in the 1960s and 1970s, well before Shekou purchased the property in the 1980s, says neighborhood activist Mary Feller. She and others believe Dobrin and Nunez were singled out because they're fighting Shekou's plans to build a $6 million, 86,000-square-foot sports complex with a 35-foot-tall building, two outdoor fields and almost 300 parking spaces on Gallinas Creek. Dobrin, Nunez and others oppose the project because of its proximity to wetlands, visual impacts, potential harm to endangered species and a previous agreement they claim prohibits major development. Shekou's attorney, Neil J. Moran, says the lawsuit has nothing to do with the project; the court claim was filed because Dobrin and Nunez used their docks to launch boats to trespass on airport property. Including "DOES 1 through 50" is standard legal language, and no one else will be sued, Moran adds. "This is about protecting individual property rights" and nothing more, he says.

Barnes & Noble at SSU

Several faculty and students at Sonoma State University were startled to learn that Barnes and Noble College Booksellers (BNCB) will run the campus bookstore starting July 1, but the decision was part of a months-long and highly public process, says Neil Markley. He's chief operating officer for Sonoma State Enterprises Inc., a private, nonprofit organization that provide services that don't qualify for state funding, such as the cafeteria, bookstore and copy center. Marley points out that BNCB is a private, family-owned company that is completely separate from the publicly owned Barnes and Nobles Superstores. With retirement imminent for two key SSU bookstore employees out of seven, a request last fall for proposals to operate the store was sent to three national firms specializing in college bookstores.

A committee of faculty, staff and student representatives unanimously selected BNCB. Current bookstore employees will be assigned other jobs on campus. Asked why local bookstore chains couldn't submit a bid, Marley says that a $5 million annual operation selling apparel, computers and textbooks is a highly specialized field completely different from retail books. "It's like the local bakery wants to run your grocery store," Marley explains. "They do baked goods very well, but they don't necessarily know how to run your meat department or your produce department."

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