By Larry Clinton, Sausalito Historical Society
Recently I’ve been reading Tangled Vines, the 2015 book by Frances Dinkelspiel. The book recounts how Sausalito wheeler-dealer Mark Anderson went from local bon vivant to a federal penitentiary. In 2012 Anderson was convicted of torching his wine warehouse, destroying 4.5 million bottles of his clients’ wine valued at $250 million.
But before that, Anderson was a major force in Sausalito, a member of the Rotary Club, the Sausalito Art Commission, the Sister Cities Committee, and a founder of Sushi Ran’s prestigious Sushi Lovers Club.
In the 90s, Anderson was invited to write a column for this paper, which he named “Mark My Words: A Marin Notebook.” For the Millennium edition, he made these almost prescient observations, which I’ve updated with notations in brackets:
So what's so special about this year? What happened in 1999 that we should remember?
First, the "In N' Out" Burger stand opened in December, in Strawberry, which is really part of Sausalito, since most of us shop there and support its micro-economy. Over the last couple of years, our little village has become the "incubator" for millions of Internet companies that have come and gone over the last year. [“Millions” might be a bit of an exaggeration; probably the best-known Sausalito tech startup, Autodesk, was founded here in 1982.]
We have a new Mayor, that can actually sail a boat, that will join the two Millennia and actually conducts brief meetings. [That would be Sandra Bushmaker, who served consecutive terms as mayor in 1999 and 2000.]
We had a former Mayor - Amy - who did an excellent job. [That would be Amy Belser, who was elected mayor four times.]
We have discovered a prospective Mayor, from out of the ether, who probably has gone to more meetings than meetings exist—so our expectations are high and hopeful [I’m not sure of this reference, but Mark might have meant Paul Albritton, who succeeded Sandra as Mayor].
We've been invaded by the National Park Service guerillas who plan to make a theme park for conversant yuppies at the south end of town. [Cavallo Point, the Fort Baker development scheme that was such a flash point in the 90s, is today a boutique inn, restaurant, and bar named after Phil Frank’s nom-de-toon Farley.]
We have a new hotel being built in a former shopping center [remember when Casa Madrona took over the Village Fair space?], we have more cars and less parking than ever before; we've become a "destination" for many and an over-priced real estate bonanza for most. [There’s been little letup in those trends.]
Our town has been conducting a foreign policy now for over ten years with Japan and Chile; hopefully more links will be forged. [Cascais, Portugal became our third Sister City in 2013.] The Art Festival has grown to unimaginable dimensions in the last decade. [Considered one of the oldest, most prestigious and most anticipated open-air art events in the country, the festival attracts more than 260 award-winning artists from around the country and 30,000 patrons on Labor Day weekend.], Sushi Ran keeps growing with unbounded popularity [Yoshi Tome’s Caledonia Street landmark remains a Michelin Guide mainstay.], the Mermaid found a home [at the Shell Station, thanks to Herb Weiner]; and, all the bad stuff got swept under the carpet very effectively, with the usual and casual demeanor for which Sausalito is so well known.