Retiring Inverness resident leaves seat on aging commission

06/19/2019

The Commission on Aging is looking for a new member, and the outgoing commissioner would like to see a West Marin representative fill his role. Jim Monson, 86, is leaving the advisory board after nine years. “Jim is an extraordinarily kind, considerate, pleasant and patient person. He is smart and well-spoken. He shows compassion and empathy to all those around him and has been a willing team player, contributor and leader while on the commission. We will sorely miss [him],” said Lee Pullen, the director of Marin’s Aging and Adult Services and Marin’s Area Agency on Aging. Mr. Monson is one of two commissioners from District 4, which encompasses all of West Marin and portions of Novato, Corte Madera, Larkspur and Central Marin. The other, Ralph Marchese, is from Corte Madera, so West Marin isn’t guaranteed representation with Mr. Monson leaving. “It’s really important to have someone who actually lives out here and is pretty familiar with what’s going on, because we are remote from the center of population, which is basically over the hill,” he said. The federally mandated commission looks at issues like transportation, housing and isolation—all especially difficult challenges in rural West Marin. Support for nutrition is important to the commission, whose 23 members are appointed by the 11 city councils in Marin or a county supervisor. Supervisor Dennis Rodoni will appoint Mr. Monson’s replacement to a three-year term. Candidates should be willing to drive over the hill and be connected to resources for seniors in West Marin so they’re aware of the issues, said Mr. Monson, who became involved in aging services after retiring to Point Reyes Station 21 years ago. Since he joined the Commission on Aging in 2009, he said he’s seen progress in how the county supports the elderly. The information and assistance telephone line has been improved, the groups dealing with aging have come together, and six Marin municipalities have been designated age-friendly by the World Health Organization. Mr. Monson has travelled to conferences and retreats, responded to a civil grand jury inquiry and organized meals for seniors. “I’ve learned a lot and felt really good about participating in it,” he said. “I personally think that it’s time to get some new blood into the program.” The incoming commissioner will work on the commission’s next four-year plan beginning in 2020, setting the county’s agenda for addressing the needs of residents 60 years and older. “If someone wants something to happen in West Marin, this is the opportunity to make it happen,” said Salamah Locks, the chair of the commission.