Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wildland Fire Prevention efforts

Today I, along with Mayor Brandborg and Councilmembers Maggiore and Weinsoff, attended a Community Wildland Fire Prevention Conference held at the County Civic Center. The Conference gave a comprehensive overview of the efforts taking place across the County to prevent wildfires from causing massive destruction to property and endangering lives. Now that flood season is hopefully going to be behind us soon, the next potential disaster we must prepare ourselves for is wildfire. Not to mention the continuing threat of earthquakes that was highlighted by today's IJ article...

I've summarized the points of the conference that might be most pertinent to readers:
  • The Open Space District has been and continues to work on creating more fuel breaks, a very important mechanism for controlling fires.
  • Scotch and French broom plants cause many problems for the landscape, forcing out native species, creating dense undergrowth, and are a huge source of fuel for fires. The Open Space District and Fire agencies are working hard to control the spread of the broom.
  • Fires are affected by weather and topography, two elements we cannot change, but we can make headway when it comes to fuel for the fire and this involves continued maintenance of fire breaks and keeping undergrowth in check.
  • The defensible space around a home needs to be cleared so that fire crews would have greater opportunity to save structures.
  • Design of new homes and buildings needs to incorporate fire safe practices, and there is an effort underway to amend building codes to strenghten this criteria county-wide.
  • Fire Safe Marin is a benchmark non-profit that works to identify funding and projects, and promotes community awareness of fire prevention. See
  • The Assistant State Fire Marshall was present and commended the County as being a leader in this state in fire safe practices and prevention.
Being new to this County, I learned that great efforts are being made and model programs are already in place for fire prevention, and we need to continue with extensive public education in this area and support of continued fire prevention programs.

When it comes to potential disasters, we can never be too educated or too prepared.

Speaking of which, thank you to those of you who attended our Town of Fairfax Emergency Preparedness and Home Safety Fair on Saturday, March 25th. Unfortunately, the bad weather kept our attendance low - we had about 40 attendees - but we hope that some information did get out into the community about the importance of preparing yourself, your family and your home for potential disasters.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Welcome Winston and Doug!

We will soon be welcoming two new employees to Town, Winston Williams, Finance Director, and Douglas Smith, Administrative Assistant. My March 17th blog post gave Winston's background, and his photo is on the left. Winston's first day with the Town will be Monday, March 27th.

Doug's background includes several years of service as an account administrator with Mellon Bank in San Francisco, and as a contract administrator with Willis Lease Finance in Sausalito. He has won awards in his employment for excellence in customer service. Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from U.C. Berkeley, and an M.S. in Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health.

Doug and his wife Gina Farr live in Fairfax. Doug is very excited about serving his community and has been seeking a position in public service. Doug's photo is on the right, and his first day will be Thursday, March 30th.

Please join me in welcoming Winston and Doug to the Town Hall service team!

Open Meeting re Creek Bank Stabilization - Of interest to property owners with creek frontage

The Town is sponsoring a meeting designed to inform property owners of the necessary steps that must be followed if they are interested in performing creek bank stabilization work on their properties. Marla Lafer from the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board will be leading the meeting, and will provide examples of designs that are most likely to achieve approval from the pertinent agencies. Designs for stabilization must meet requirement of the Water Quality Control Board, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 29th at 7:00 p.m. in the Fairfax Women's Club at 46 Park Road.

Any questions may be directed to Mark Lockaby, Building Inspector, at 458-2370.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mayor Susan Brandborg honored

Yesterday, Mayor Susan Brandborg was honored by a Resolution adopted by the Marin County Board of Supervisors commending the National Women's Political Caucus 2006 Calendar Honorees. Mayor Brandborg is one of 12 individuals recognized for their civic contributions to their communities and women's issues. She was specifically honored for her role as a Member of the Fairfax Town Council since 1990, three-time service as Mayor, and her advocacy for affordable housing and the environment.

Congratulations, Mayor Brandborg!

Strategic Planning web page created

A new web page has been created to post the information related to the Town Council's Strategic Planning Intiative. The page is here and new information will be added throughout the process.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Emergency Preparedness and Home Safety Fair on Saturday!

Please join your neighbors this Saturday, March 25th, and attend the Town's Emergency Preparedness and Home Safety Fair, which will be held from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. out on the lawn at the corner of Bolinas and Elsie near Town Hall. We will have displays and information from the Police and Fire Departments, the Red Cross, the Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services, and disaster preparedness vendors. Pick up information, tips, and speak with emergency preparedness specialists. We are bringing all of the information and resources to you right here in Fairfax!

The event will move to the Pavilion if it is raining or if the ground is too soggy.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Flood Donations to a worthy cause

This afternoon I had the pleasure of accompanying Ralph Jones of Avatar as we delivered the $909 that was collected in the Flood Relief Cans that were placed in businesses throughout town right after the flood. The businesses decided to give all the money to an elderly Fairfax couple who were victims of the flood and had been displaced from their apartment for several weeks. They are now back in their apartment, which has been cleaned and restored, and are trying to put their lives back together and replace everything they lost (which was close to...everything). They are on a very limited income, and were quite overwhelmed at the community's caring and generosity. They told us they plan to use the money to buy a new couch to replace theirs and maybe a vacuum. They said it's all the little things they have to replace that really add up. It was nice to be able to deliver good news to folks who could really use the help.

New Finance Director Appointed

I’m very pleased to announce the appointment Winston Williams as the Town’s new Finance Director. Winston comes to the Town from Community Awareness and Treatment Services, a non-profit agency in San Francisco, where he has served as the Director of Finance since 2003. Winston also worked in financial management positions with the Pacific Asia Travel Association and the Trust for Public Land. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Hunter College in New York, and has a total of 19 years of experience in accounting. I was impressed with Winston’s record of turning around deficit situations in more than one of his previous positions. In addition, he has experience in agencies with very limited budgets such as Fairfax. Moreover, those he worked for, and those who worked for him, had nothing but positive things to say about him. I know he will prove to be an excellent addition to our management team.

Winston lives in San Pablo and is married with two children, and is a native of the Dominican Republic.

Winston Williams replaces former Finance Director Jim Robison, who left the Town’s employ in February to return to the private sector. In the interim, Fairfax’s elected Town Treasurer, Ed Kelly, has been filling in as the Town’s Acting Finance Director. I owe a debt of gratitude to Ed for being able to step up and help the Town during this interim period.

Winston’s first day with the Town of Fairfax will be March 27th, although he plans to attend tomorrow’s strategic planning session with the Town Council. We will hold a welcome reception for him immediately prior to the April 5th Town Council meeting.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Job Opening

Administrative Assistant - Town of Fairfax (Salary Range $2,840-3,452/Mo. Placement in the range DOQ, plus excellent public sector benefits including fully paid employer retirement contribution under CalPERS 2.5% at 55; health benefits cafeteria plan, educational reimbursement, employee assistance program, sick leave incentive, retiree medical based on years of service (after 10 years’ employment), life insurance, 11 days vacation to start, 12 ½ paid holidays per year). Looking for someone to provide outstanding customer service to the residents and customers of the Town of Fairfax! New Town Manager seeks a self-starter to be a part of our Town team. Under general direction, handles walk-in and telephone customer service, reception duties, provides information and referrals to the public, takes minutes at public meetings once or twice per month, produces summary minutes of meetings. Serves as the primary contact for the rental of town buildings and responsible for accounts receivable receipting. Assists the Finance Director with general account clerk duties and assists the Town Manager with municipal clerk’s office duties. Requires 3 years’ customer service/office experience and general computer literacy (Microsoft Word/Excel). Must be able to exercise diplomacy, tact, understanding, and judgment in dealing in dealing with people, and be a quick learner. Excellent opportunity to learn the business of a municipality. Position open until filled. Submit resume ASAP to Town Manager, 458-2345, Town of Fairfax, 142 Bolinas Road, Fairfax, 94930. E-mail

Monday, March 13, 2006

Strategic Planning Workshop this Saturday Morning

This Saturday morning at 9 a.m. in the Women's Club, the Town Council will hold its third workshop in 2006 on strategic planning and goal-setting for the Town. The meeting is slated to last three hours, and we are now utilizing the services of a facilitator, Trish Cypher. Letters were sent to all Town commission and committee members inviting them to attend and participate, and all community members are invited to take part as well. You are welcome to bring your own list of potential Town goals to the meeting to share.

At the last meeting, the Council completed a SWOT analysis, identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to/of the Town. Many issues were daylighted and added to the potential goals/issues list. From there, we focused on a few key areas, including planning issues surrounding retail and housing opportunities, and teen/youth programs. The meeting this Saturday will have a component of follow up on issues from the last meeting as well as the further development of other goal issue areas to be discussed, such as strategic financial planning.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Joint Workshop between Town Council and Planning Commission

A special joint workshop between the Town Council and Planning Commission will be held next Thursday, March 16th at 6:00 p.m. in the Women's Club, to discuss issues of mutual interest. The following items are on the agenda:

  • Affordable Housing Presentation - Councilmember Mary Ann Maggiore and Barbara Collins, Marin County Affordable Housing Strategist
  • General Plan - Adoption Schedule and General Discussion
  • Consideration of the Rebuilding of Downtown Fairfax following a Disaster

The meeting is open to the public and community attendance and input is welcomed.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Recreation Program Enhanced

At the Town Council meeting last week, the Council approved a joint Memorandum of Understanding with the Town of San Anselmo for recreational programs. What this means is that we will be able to offer more recreational courses here in Fairfax, have those courses advertised in the San Anselmo recreational brochure, and enjoy the benefit of the San Anselmo recreational staff's expertise in administering the programs. New programs added as a result of this joint arrangement include Kids Love Soccer in July and August for ages 2-6 out on our Little League Field, Aikido, a guitar class for teens, and Tai Chi for seniors. More details including dates and times will be forthcoming in the Summer recreational brochure produced by San Anselmo. You may also call the San Anselmo Recreation office at 258-4640 for further details. This new relationship enhances both Towns' recreational offerings for our residents and is truly a win-win partnership between our agencies. Thanks to our Fairfax Parks and Recreation Commission for their work in bringing forth this proposal! The Commission members are Don Morgan, Mark Lebos, Karen Arnold, Richard Pedemonte, Yvonne Roberts, and Peter Barrett, volunteers who dedicate time each month to helping improve our parks and recreational activities.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Disaster Recovery Report Available

At the Council meeting on Wednesday night, March 1st, I delivered a comprehensive update on disaster recovery activities and efforts to date. The report is too long to post, but feel free to drop me a line at if you'd be interested in an e-mailed copy.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

CERT Training cost covered - Thank you, Hal Brown!

After all the worry over whether the latest storm was going to cause any flooding, I have been remiss in posting here for a few days. I have now returned with some good news! The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training offered on April 1st and 8th is now being sponsored by County Supervisor Hal Brown. If you wish to take the course, register with Maria Baird by calling 458-2367, and pay the $30. The course is taught in two modules and you must complete both. Once you complete the course, provide Maria with your certificate of completion, and we will reimburse your $30, courtesy of Supervisor Brown. We appreciate the Supervisor's continued strong support of our community disaster preparedness efforts.