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Anything goes in Western Marin. Well–almost anything

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Annie Robbins is the reader who tipped me off to the attempted boycott of the Coastal Post in Marin County because of its Israel commentary, years before the lobby started targeting the Berkeley Daily Planet. She lives out that way and offered this background to the story.

These little papers are not for the most part funded by donations from Jewish patrons (as someone is arguing in your comment section), they are supported by advertisers. The people opposing them have  threatened their advertisers, other small local businesses.

This story is well known all around Western Marin because it is a closeknit beach community compromising Muir Beach, Bolinas, Olema, Tamales Bay, Stinson Beach, Pt. Reyes, Pt Reyes Station, Bear Valley, Inverness, Dog Town, Mt Tamalpais, Two Rock, a region largely unchanged in many respects due to the national park restrictions on growth and a polically and environmentally aware left-leaning community in general.

The paper had been around for years and was popular, and free. Over the mountain (Mt Tamalpais, the stunning mt you see when you cross over the Golden Gate Bridge, the heart of Marin County) where I live the paper was also popular in Fairfax and Mill Valley, the two towns that offer accessibility to Western Marin via Hwy 1 and Sir Francis Drake [and San Anselmo, inspiration to Van Morrison on Hard Nose the Highway album– editor].

Berkeley is an urban area w/a reputation for being revolutionary in the comparatively (w/respect to the US) revolutionary spirit of the SF bay area. But I grew up here and I know well that the boondocks of rural Western Marin was really the heart of the entire hippie movement that fueled SF. This is Grateful Dead/Starship/Janis country. And these old 60’s types rule this area in the hills of Western Marin. It is the gateway to the  mountainous counter culture region of northern california, by far the most counter culture area of the country i have ever been to, and i’ve seen a lot.

The idea the Coastal Post could be attacked like this here, in a region that really is isolated (very private) and largely ignored, unlike Berkeley. It boggles my mind. If this can happen here it can happen anywhere. Bolinas is famous for residents refusing to allow a road sign to its entrance, easily missed if you don’t know where it is. This is where Richard Brautigan wrote Watermelon Sugar for god’s sakes. why can’t we even have a pocket of freedom of the press anywhere?? People here don’t read the friggin Chronicle! For many of the surfers here the Coastal Post is all they know of the outside world. Many people here still use outhouses for christs sakes, i.e., they use the Post for everything, and to start their fires too. It is a vital resource!

[Editor: I introduced factual error here earlier, making it Watermelon Pickle. Brautigan’s first novel was Watermelon Sugar, Robbins says.]

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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