Saturday, March 31, 2007

Next session of community office hours

I will be holding my next session of office hours in the community on Thursday, April 12th from 8:30 -11 a.m. at the Fairfax Coffee Roasters. Please feel free to stop by and discuss any issues of Town business, or just to say hello.

Friday, March 30, 2007

April 4th Council meeting

The agenda for the next Council meeting is posted here (pdf file).

The packet can be found on this page of the Town's website.

Wanted: Front yards of Fairfax

A photographer, Ken Milburn, is creating a book showcasing "front yards" and he is looking for distinctive front yards in Fairfax. If you have a unique front yard, please feel free to contact Ken at

Monday, March 26, 2007

Fairfax in Best of Marin - Pacific Sun

Congratulations to the following Fairfax businesses who made it in the Pacific Sun's 2007 "Best of Marin":

Best Ice Cream/Yogurt Shop Fairfax Scoop

Best Place for Dancing 19 Broadway

Best Bike Shop/Service Sunshine Bicycle Center

Best Health Food Store Good Earth Natural Foods

Best Green (Environment Conscious) Business Good Earth Natural Foods

Best Surf Shop Fat Kat Surf Shop & Surfboard Repair

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Economic Development Advisory Committee issues recommendations

At a special meeting held on March 24th, the business community members of the Fairfax Economic Development Advisory Committee issued their final recommendations. You can view the document here

The recommendations are being studied and considered by the Town Council.

April 14th declared "Fairfax Confronts Global Warming Day"

In response to a request by Council Member Lew Tremaine, the Town Council has declared Saturday, April 14th to be "Fairfax Confronts Global Warming Day," commemorated with a rally in Bolinas Park and a march to the San Anselmo rally at 10:30 a.m. I will post more details as the event plan takes shape. Click on this resolution.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Class action flood lawsuits posted on Town website

The Town of Fairfax, along with several other public agencies, is being sued in a class action complaint for damages resulting from the 12/31/05 flood disaster. The total amount being claimed is close to $800 million. It is unknown how the Town would pay for any flood lawsuit settlement. The cases are ongoing and can be viewed at the bottom of this page:

Strategic Planning & Economic Development Meeting

A reminder that we will hold our next Strategic Planning and Economic Development meeting on Saturday, March 24th from 9 a.m. to Noon. Here is the agenda - click to enlarge.

Fairfax featured on blog

Fairfax is featured on Green A City blog by Warren Karlenzig, "sustainability through the lens of state and local government." Take a look:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ross Valley Watershed Mail Ballot Process

This week, the County Flood Control District Zone 9 sent out notices to property owners of a public hearing on the proposal to establish an annual watershed-wide storm drainage user fee to fund the Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program. The California Constitution requires that the proposed fee goes through a two-step approval process: a public hearing and protest procedure and then a property owner vote. The public hearing will be held on May 1st at 11 a.m. the County Board of Supervisors Chambers in the Civic Center. The next step in the process will be for the ballots to be mailed to property owners in May, with a 45-day return period for the ballots. The mail ballots will contain the exact assessment for each specific property. If there is at least a simple majority of ‘yes’ votes on the ballots which are returned, the fee would go into effect beginning with the tax year 2007-08.

The Ross Valley Watershed proposed storm drainage user fee, if adopted, would be collected by Flood Control Zone 9, which includes Fairfax, San Anselmo, Larkspur, Ross, and the surrounding unincorporated areas, and will amount to approximately $2 million collected per year. The funding will provide matching funds for grants and also money that can be used to bond against, in order to secure state and federal grants meant for flood control and watershed restoration. The real needs to of the Ross Valley in this area are approximately $100 million. The Flood Control Zone 9 projects are regional in scope and are intended to approach flooding from a large-scale perspective, taking into consideration hydrology data and studies of the entire watershed. The Ross Valley Watershed fee can be viewed as an investment in future projects that will have a systemic impact on our long-term flooding risk.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Fairfax lobbies for NTPP funds

You may be aware that Marin was one of four communities selected in 2006 to receive $25 million in federal funding to demonstrate how investments in walking and biking could increase the number of people that walk and bike. This funding offers a unique opportunity for Marin County to make significant improvements to make it easier and safer to walk and bike in Marin. Marin County is one of four communities nationally that has been selected by Congress to participate in this Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP). The purpose of the pilot program is to demonstrate “the extent to which bicycling and walking can carry a significant part of the transportation load, and represent a major portion of the transportation solution, within selected communities."

Fairfax recently learned that the NTPP committee did not recommend any projects for Fairfax, and only one for County Supervisor Hal Brown's entire District. On Thursday, Mayor Larry Bragman and I met with Supervisor Brown and representatives from San Anselmo to request his assistance in securing a more equitable funding allocation for the Ross Valley, where many of our residents walk and bike and would do more of it if we could improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and circulation.

Take a look at our project listing, and let me know what
you would like to see funded. We are trying to get at least a modest amount of the $25 million to help bicyclists and pedestrians here in Fairfax.

Strategic Financial Plan - First draft

The first draft of the Town's strategic financial plan is now available at the following link:

This will be discussed at the Town Council's next strategic planning meeting on Saturday, March 24th at 9 a.m. in the Women's Club. We welcome public input.

Update on Center Boulevard Redesign

Here is an update from our Public Works Director on the project to repave and add improvements to Center Boulevard. Plans and specifications have been submitted to Caltrans and the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) for review and approval. We have received a list of questions from TAM and the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) and are in the process of preparing the responses. We will be meeting with these agencies as soon as we are prepared.

The delay on this project has been due to the archeological and environmental clearance process for the Indian burial ground issue. We only just received the clearance from Caltrans last month. Caltrans delayed the process due to short staffing issues on their end.

If all goes well we intend to be able to bid the project in May 2007.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Update on Creek Road Bridge

One of the procedural issues holding up the full repair of Creek Road Bridge is the environmental study under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. We recently we received a copy of a letter that FEMA sent to the US Fish and Wildlife Service making a request for informal consultation with them under the Act. Since some of the proposed work involves rip rap and the use of a bobcat vehicle in the creek bed area, the environmental consultation is required. The report concluded that according to the California Natural Diversity Database, there are no California red-legged frog occurrences within 9 miles of the bridge, and thus it is unlikely that the bridge work has the potential to affect the California red-legged frog. However, FEMA is still recommending avoidance and minimization measures that were specified in the letter. These include: minimizing disturbance to habitat, returning project site contours to pre-construction condition or better, installation of sediment control devices, no petroleum based products to be used in rip rap, and strict pollution control. The US Fish and Wildlife service now needs to provide a response to FEMA’s report.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fairfax Documentary Film Festival happening

The 8th Annual Documentary Film Festival is taking place Fri & Sat March 30 & 31 at the Fairfax Theater. Click on the image for more information.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Press Release - Emergency Warning Siren

Over the past year, as part of a Disaster Awareness Program, the Fairfax Town Council has discussed and approved the installation of three emergency warning sirens that will be installed throughout the town. The first of these sirens was installed Friday morning in the Fairfax Corporation Yard.

The purchase and installation of the Fairfax emergency warning sirens is being made possible through a $50,000 grant from Supervisor Hal Brown, the Town of Fairfax Measure F, and a generous donation from PG&E, who donated the utility pole and installation of the pole.

The emergency warning siren is a Federal Signal Corporation Eclipse8 siren, which sits atop a 70-foot pole. With 360° omni-directional coverage, it is expected to reach one mile in all directions.

The siren is expected to be operational within the next several weeks. When it is operational, information regarding when testing will occur, etc. In the event of actual emergency, residents are asked to tune into local radio and television stations for information (i.e. KCBS 740, KGO 810, or KTVU Channel 2).

“The siren will serve as an emergency warning system that can alert residents in times of major disaster such as fire or flood,” said Town Manager Linda Kelly. “We are thrilled to be able to provide this proactive means of disaster warning, although ideally, we hope we never have to use it.”

After the installation and testing of the siren is completed, the location of the other two sirens will be determined.

Friday, March 09, 2007

News from the Fairfax Volunteers

>> Native Garden Maintenance this Sunday from 10:00 to 3:00 pm

Have you noticed the Native Plant Garden that was planted last year near the ball field (at the top of the steps)? The Native Plant Garden project was spearheaded by Karen Ecklund, a local volunteer. The garden was designed to attract and feed native birds as well as provide a pleasant spot to rest. Join Karen this Sunday, March 11th from 10–3 pm at the ball field to learn more about the plants and help her do a little annual maintenance.

>> Free Admission to the Brewfest!

Volunteers are needed to help staff the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce’s 12th Annual Fairfax Brewfest on Saturday, March 17th. The event takes place at the Fairfax Pavilion from 1-5 pm. Specific help is needed with bike parking, decorating, taking tickets, and security. Slots are available from 10 am (set up) to 6 pm (clean up). Any volunteer who works a two-hour shift gets free admission (a $25 value!).

If you’d like to help, contact Ingrid Weiss or Chris Lang of the Chamber at 453-5928 or send email to

>> Trail Clearing - Earth Day, Sunday April 22, 2007

During last year's Earth Day, Fairfax Volunteers sponsored a workday where community members helped to clear several of Fairfax's pedestrian trails. These trails make it easier to access downtown, open space, or for just getting around, especially in an emergency.
We are currently looking for trails to focus on during this year’s cleanup. A map showing most of these Rights-of-way, and their current condition, is available on our website :

Click on the link for your area to check out a map, and think about which trails would be useful to you in your neighborhood. Let us know your ideas, or if you would be interested in working with your neighbors to improve a particular one.

>> Benches Available for your Neighborhood!

As part of our Fairfax Trail Access program, Fairfax Lumber has offered special pricing to the Fairfax Volunteers so that we may purchase benches at a reduced rate. We envision placing these benches at the uphill end of various trails that run between streets. The benches will provide a place to rest, and can serve as a marker to indicate trailheads. Help us determine the placement of these benches by submitting possible locations!

>> Celebrate The Kim Family!

You may have heard that the Kim family has sold the 7-11 at the corner of Bolinas and Park Road. Over the last 18 years they have been an important fixture in our community, giving out freebies, providing credit to those in need, and even small “gifts” to those whose needs were greater. They always greeted their customers with a smile, remembering their names, and taking an interest in their lives. The Kims are well loved in our town and were the Grand Marshals in last year’s Fairfax parade. Several events are in the works to show appreciation for the community minded Kims.

Faces of Fairfax Project - Melanie Peratis of the Fairfax Volunteers is making a framed “Faces of Fairfax” collage with photos of the Kim’s customers. A 3x5 or 4x6 shoulder/head or full body shot is fine. Please drop these off at Melanie’s at 25 Park Road, or drop it off with Patty at Sherman’s General Store on Bolinas.

Thank You Party - Rose Taber of Rainbow Fabrics is planning a big party for the Kims with help from Town Council member Susan Brandborg to take place at the Women’s Club sometime in April. If you are interested in helping, you can call Rose at 453-1851 (home) or 459-5100 (Rainbow). The date will be announced on the Fairfax Volunteers website:

Farewell Cards - Rose is also organizing the making of farewell cards for the Kims. You can drop by and make one or pick up materials to make at home and bring it back. Rose will present them to the Kims at the 7-11 on their last day. This is a surprise so don’t tell the Kims!

If you like these projects, why not start some of your own? We can put you in contact with others sharing your interests in your neighborhood, and supply a host of different things you might need. All in the name of making Fairfax an even better place to live!


John Reed and The Fairfax Volunteers

The Fairfax Volunteers Program Advisory Board is: John Reed, Scott Valentino, Holly Dines, Michael Branton, Silke Vom Bauer, Melanie Peratis, & Anya Schandler. For more information about what The Fairfax Volunteers do, visit us online at

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Update on various items

Here is a preview of my Ross Valley Reporter column for next week:

Fairfax Festival Poster Contest: The Fairfax Festival committee is soliciting artwork to be featured at the 30th Annual Fairfax Festival. Local artists are encouraged to bring their submissions to Fairfax Town Hall by April 6th, and the selected artist will receive a $300 prize. For more information, contact festival chairman Richard Pedemonte at 485-5699. This year’s festival will be held June 9 and 10. The Festival website is being updated and is located at

12th Annual Fairfax Brewfest: The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 12th Annual Fairfax Brewfest on Saturday, March 17th from 1-5 p.m. at the Fairfax Pavilion. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, and includes a commemorative tasting glass, music and entertainment. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Brewfest! Proceeds benefit the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.

One Book, One Marin Event in Fairfax: Crime, Race & Violence in Gold Rush California, a talk by Marin author and historian, Kevin Mullen, is one of a series in the Marin County Library “One Book, One Marin” program. Hear about the original events that form the background to Isabel Allende's novel Daughter of Fortune, which was the book chosen to be featured during One Book, One Marin. Hangings, street justice, prostitution, the clash of cultures--Gold Rush California had it all. Former San Francisco Police officer Kevin Mullen has written three books on the subject. The event will be held on Wednesday, March 28th at 7:00 p.m. in the Fairfax Library Meeting Room, 2097 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., 457-5629.

Prop. 1B: Voters may recall that the Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, and Port Security Bond Act of 2006, was passed by the voters in November 2006 and contains almost $20 billion for various transportation projects in California. Of this amount, cities and counties will each receive $1 billion collectively for local street and road improvement projects, of which each city is guaranteed a minimum allocation of $400,000. As a small city eligible for the minimum allocation formula, the Town of Fairfax is slated to receive $400,000 of Prop. 1B monies. The State is now engaged in the process of determining when and how the funds will be appropriated, and the Town, along with the League of California Cities, is urging our State legislators to expedite the funding to cities. The Town’s need for road infrastructure funding is daunting and only increases as our infrastructure ages, and we need to lobby for funding whenever possible.

Retirement Negotiations: Media reports of the “unfunded liability” of employee pension plans indicate that the cost of public retirement plans are a sleeping giant. Readers may be aware that the Town of San Anselmo recently negotiated a two-tier retirement system whereby new hires would be brought in at a lower retirement formula than current employees, thus saving the town and the taxpayers money over the long-run. During my negotiations with each of the Fairfax employee groups last year, we agreed upon re-opener provisions in the memoranda of understanding (MOU), regarding (1) the implementation of a two-tiered retirement system for employees covered by the CalPERS’ Safety and Miscellaneous retirement plans, for the purpose of reducing the Town’s retirement costs; and (2) exploring alternative health plans to CalPERS for the purpose of cost savings. The Town requested and received the actuarial reports from CalPERS for two-tiered retirement systems for both Safety (police) and Miscellaneous (all non-police) employees. The reports are a public record and are available to anyone who wishes to obtain copies from the Town, and identify the potential cost savings of converting to a two-tiered retirement system. In implementing the re-opener provisions of the Police MOU, I have met with the Fairfax Police Officers’ Association for the purposes of discussing the possible implementation of the two-tiered retirement system, and discussions are still ongoing.

Get Ready for Earth Day - Sunday, April 22, 2007: Join the Fairfax Volunteers for an event celebrating Fairfax's pedestrian Right-of-Ways (ROW). There will be breakfast and a presentation of maps, and a firefighter speaking briefly about what the threat of wildfire means. After that, people will be given maps of their neighborhoods, showing ROWs and encouraged to head out to specific areas to clear pathways. If you would like to take part in this activity, please wear strong lugged sole shoes, gloves, and bring clippers, etc. The volunteers are also hoping to coordinate with the local schools to have a town-wide clean-up take place on Earth Day. For more information, please contact Maria Baird, Town Community Resources Coordinator, at 456-5652.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Introducing our ICLEI Volunteers

The Town of Fairfax recently renewed its membership in ICLEI – the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. I sent out a call for volunteers to help the Town by serving as liaisons with ICLEI on our Town’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory and our local action plan for reaching target emission reductions. This will additionally help us to move forward with local sustainability objectives by taking advantage of the network, resources and programs available through ICLEI. ICLEI used to have grants to pay for interns at the local level but funding for the program is no longer available. I have received responses from four residents willing to volunteer their time and talents to this endeavor: Galen Barbose, Jim Hill, Trudy Totty, and Martha Ture. I am so thrilled that we will have volunteer assistance on this project. This is another benefit of being part of such a caring community, and I continue to be amazed by the volunteer energy and willingness of residents to be an integral part of the Town in many different ways.

Friday, March 02, 2007

March 7th Council meeting packet

The next Town Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 7th at 7:30 p.m. in the Women's Club. The agenda packet is posted here

Please feel free to contact me if there are questions on any agenda items.