I went up to the Civic Center today for a hearing for Jarvis Masters. I arrived early so got a cup of coffee in the cafeteria and sat outside by the fountain enjoying the green hills and blue sky, and looking up at the rim of the Frank Lloyd Wright building and the gold tower. I wondered what Wright was thinking as I perused gold balls rimming the blue circular dome like a circus tent.
Then I thought maybe the gold represents neutrality and the balls wholeness.
This comes up when I google, a word that I understand will now be in the dictionary, as, of course, it should.
Marin Civic Center, 1957
3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael
It is said that Frank Lloyd Wright walked off the highway at this site and said "I will cover your hills with arches". The design's domed roof and arched arcades fulfill the promise. The Marin Civic Center is one of Wright's last designs, completed after his death. With an 80-foot dome as its focal point, the structure is crowned with a 172-foot gold tower. Wright used the design to embody his philosophy of government. Look for the symbolism he employed.
There are many windows in the building. Perhaps that is symbolic of vision and seeing, clarity. The courtrooms are cozy and round. Of course, security is a joy. I had to take off my watch and earrings. The judge informed us this is the most dangerous courthouse in CA, and that is why Jarvis could not be present. His lawyer pointed out that it is dangerous for him in jail, that the guards threaten him and say he'll never get out alive. The judge makes a joke that a judge has already decided that. Jarvis is on death row, but new evidence suggests he was put there falsely. I realize I am feeling sick at heart and stomach even typing this.
This is not Law and Order where crime and justice are wrapped up in an hour.
I must say everyone cared on both sides. Everyone was working for a solution. People like Jarvis. He is a good man, as asset to San Quentin and, then, there is the system. At a minimum, this process will take 18 months. People must be re-interviewed, a memo located. This is from 20 years ago. One important person who isn't named is in an undisclosed location. Even the district attorney's office doesn't know where. Will he be brought here to Marin for "interrogation," or be interviewed where he is? Should the venue be changed? Should the next hearing be at San Quentin so Jarvis can attend? That would mean room for only six people like me. There were 25 of us, all quiet, respectful, subdued.
Everyone cares. That's the thing and I sat listening and thinking of the money spent and thinking of the guards and the union for the guards and the budget for the state of CA and I'm not sure how it all balances out. The Civic Center is lovely, and justice is attempted as much as is possible, and where is the place for rehabilitation and forgiveness and moving on and how is it we punish and isolate those who are dangerous and free those who are no longer a threat to society?
I came home to interview another man about fixing our road. His truck had been broken into in front of his house in Petaluma and he had lost a good many of his favorite tool-toys, so he used his iphone for everything. He set his iphone on the road and it works as a level. Who knew? Of course it didn't seem to work quite right since it said the road was sloping one way, and the casual eye saw something different, but it was exciting that he did all the calculations on his iphone.
What do I want to say? For various reasons, the real work will be done at the next hearing which is November 7th. Here's another judge joke. What's another month or two in light of twenty years, and again, I am sickened because the judge really was trying, and it is true in one way and in another, I walked out of the civic center which is like a cage to me, and I realize now it does have a bird cage feel and one is stuck inside, looking through the bars, and I went to the Farmer's Market and there were peaches and corn, lettuce and tomatoes and I can't tell you how happy I am to be alive and free.
I don't think I'm going to complain about one thing for a day or two while I digest how happy I am to be free and uncaged.