Quiet Protest in Suburbs
The new technique of mass protest and eyeball-to-bulldozer confrontation spread yesterday to the shady banks of Tamalpais Creek in the wealthy suburb of Kent Woodlands,
But violence was averted, and the issue of whether the Army Engineers could convert part of the creek into a 10-foot-wide drainage ditch was postponed when the leader of a protest force of 50 women and children made a strategic decision.
"We can do more good out of jail than in it" declared Mrs. Clinton Jones III, a fourth generation Kent.
Former Public Utilities Commissioner William M. Bennett, one of the few men in the group that stood firmly but briefly in the path of two pieces of construction equipment, agreed.
Bennett, a man with a reputation as a fighting commissioner and a scrappy lawyer, urged prudence in the newest battle of his career.
The protest began at 7:30 a.m. when pickets from fashionable homes assembled at Woodland and Goodhill roads, about a quarter of a mile from the College of Marin.
The demonstrators bore signs, some with pictures of Linus and Lucy and others with hand-printed messages: "Concrete is overkill" "Save all streams" "Concrete rivers belong in L.A." and "Army Corpse at work."
The pickets even showed it was possible to express opposition without descending into obscenity.
Indeed, the sensibilities of only one person seemed to be wounded. Harry D. Henry, owner of Henry's Land Clearing Co. of Walnut Creek telephoned the sheriff's office when the demonstrators moved in as bulldozers started into action near the Adeline E. Kent School.
A lone deputy sheriff who arrived at about 9:30 a.m. looked over the crowd of women and young children and turned back to his squad car to radio for reinforcement.
It was then that the pickets retreated.
Mrs. Jones said the group would not attempt to halt the bulldozers at the school but would try to protect the creek where it flows behind four relatively modest Kent Woodlands homes whose values range from $65,000 to not much over $100,000 each.
What the Army Engineers plan, she said, is to remove some magnificent old oak trees and to erect a wire fence around the 400-foot-long drainage ditch that is planned as a replacement for what it regards as an outmoded creek.
The project is part of a flood control project for Corte Madera creek, which overflows so predictably each winter that a nearby fire house keeps a rowboat moored near its bright red engines.
Mrs. Jones protested that Tamalpais creek hasn't flooded in the last 100 years.
"This will fulfill a requirement that's written in a manual" she said scornfully. "We had hoped that with a miracle and the help of our Congressional representatives we could stop it all."
One of the pickets carried a sign demanding: "Representative Mailliard, where are you?"
William S. Mailliard, whose district formerly was confined to part of San Francisco, now represents the southern portion of Marin County as well.
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