My husband and I recently had the pleasure of talking to a lovely woman at Hamilton pool. A former teacher's aide and the mother of four, ages five to eighteen, she and her husband qualified for a moderate priced condo at Hamilton, which they purchased five years ago. They were ecstatic at what this community could provide for them.
There was some vague talk of affordable housing apartments nearby, but nothing concrete. Now, with Bay Vista well established, her car has been broken into, her teenage son mugged, bikes stolen, drug deals and police activity a constant.
She took her eldest son out of Novato High because a gang targeted him. Interestingly, she is a Latina from South America, her husband from Marin, but the Bay Vista gang members told him, they'd "beat the white half out of him."
She now makes a twice daily commute from Hamilton to San Marin High where her fourteen-year-old son attends school. She told me San Marin is too far for the Bay Vista gangs to travel.
She told me about her neighbors, some school teachers, some police officers, all desperate to return to the Novato of old. Or to leave. But, the real estate crisis notwithstanding, they are held hostage because no one wants to buy a condo where gang related crime activity is a frequent occurence.
I've written a lot about the need to stop this whole affordable housing debacle because it is changing the face of our beautiful city. But, I really did not understand the intense degree to which it has impacted so many lives here.
She is a brave woman and she is not inclined to accept this situation as it is. I can not give her name because of her fear of reprisals, but she has agreed to talk to us in depth, on camera ( We own a video production company), which I hope to bring to Patch readers in the near future.
Maybe this will help us all put a real face on a huge problem.