Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blog #57 - Year in Review - Town Accomplishments

Another year has gone by in our great Town and you may wonder what has the Town accomplished this year? Here is a list of some of the highlights of 2009 in chronological order:


Marin Energy Board of Directors Formed: The Town Council voted to appoint Lew Tremaine as the representative from Fairfax to sit on the MEA Board. The MEA Board is in the process of approving a purchase agreement with a preferred vendor to start the process of providing clean energy to many Marin residents.

FOCUS Programs Revived:
The Town Council approved an agreement with Camille Esposito to establish children’s recreational programming in Fairfax by reviving the Fairfax Open Arts Circle (FOCAS) program. Emphasis is on affordability and nurturing the culture that is unique to Fairfax. Program ideas include arts & science, sports, music, dance, a new Mom’s group, and special events. Camille has done a great job and many classes are well attended.


Artists in Residence - Shoshanna and Sam Perry: Our artists in residence have done an incredible job this year with many special events including the repainting of the wall around Central Field. Other great events included: Cake Decorating Contest held in April, a fantastic musical play in July and August titled "Relativity" was written and produced by Sam and included many talented local actors including Shoshanna and her sister Sisi who was appointed to the Park and Recreation Commission this year.

Fairfax Volunteers Spearhead Brush Clearing Project: The Fairfax Volunteers, with support from the Town Council, Ross Valley Fire Department and Town staff, were very successful with a pilot brush clearing project on Scenic and Tamalpais roads. Defensible space was created around many homes that previously had little or no defensible space. The Fire Grant the Town was recently awarded will allow for more brush clearing in many other neighborhoods.

Solar Panels installed on Pavilion Roof in May: These solar panels power the Pavilion, Town Hall, and the Police and Fire Stations! The Fairfax Theater is the first theater in the United States to go solar! Congratulations to Fairfax for leading the way in energy efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint.

Affordable Housing Committee Created: The Town Council created the Affordable Housing Committee and appointed Council Members Larry Bragman and Lew Tremaine, Planning Commissioner Peter Ramsay and community member with experience in affordable housing, Tony Gardner. Two private property owners have approached the Town requesting we work with them to provide affordable housing units on their property. We will have more to report on this in 2010.


Town Budget Adopted: The Town Council adopted the FY 2009/10 budget. It included the loss of $212,000, borrowed by the state to balance its budget. Many thanks to Laurie Ireland-Ashley, Finance Director, for assembling a difficult budget with many cuts, including major reductions to retirement benefits for new hires and requiring many current employees to pay for part of their retirement contribution.

Mission, Vision and Core Values Statement adopted:
After much discussion, in August, the Council adopted the Mission, Vision and Core Values Statement for the Town. Please see below this important document that guides the Town Council, staff and the community.

Emergency Siren Installed for Cascade Neighborhood: In the summer of 2009 an emergency warning siren was installed on Bolinas Road for the Cascade neighborhood. The addition of this siren to the one at Town Hall increases emergency warning coverage to nearly the whole Town. Many thanks to Sgt. Stuart Baker and Police Chief Ken Hughes for making this project happen.

CAMP EARTH: Marin's first totally sustainable Summer Camp was held August 17-21, 2009. All 30 slots were filled and this special camp will return in 2010! Day Campers spent time in Peri Park, at Central Field and at the Pavilion working on art projects and learning about the natural environment and sustainable living practices.

Glen Dr Culvert: This project was finally approved by FEMA in early 2009 and was completed in the fall for $112,000. It involved replacing part of the pipe and improving the culvert that runs under Sir Francis Drake to Glen Drive.

Measure K and Prop 1B Projects Completed: Pastori Storm Drain Project was completed this summer after years of gathering the funding and environmental permits. This storm drain pipe runs down Pastori from Sir Francis Drake Blvd. to the Pastori Bridge. This new and much larger pipe will greatly reduce the flooding that has taken its toll on the neighborhood adjacent to Pastori. Pastori Ave. also received an overlay. Other overlay projects completed in 2009 include: part of Scenic, Hillside, Spring, Inyo, and Mono. The Mono Parking lot was resurfaced and the Women's Club received a resurfacing of the floor, new paint, and other improvements. Many thanks to Director of Public Works Kathy Wilkie for executing many of these projects and daily thanks to Jack Adams, Tom Bruce, Rudy Contratti and John Tierney for maintaining the parks, Town buildings, streets and storm drains in Town.

Hazardous Fuel Reduction Grant: The Town has been granted $168,831 in funding from the USDA Forest Service! Our Fire Hazardous Fuel Reduction grant proposal was one of 397 grant proposals this year requesting a total of $70 million. The grant covers environmental consultation, photo monitoring, and contract administration. We will receive funding in early 2010, so the program will start next spring. Many thanks to former Town staffer Yvonne Roberts for securing this important grant.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory: In August the Town Council accepted the Town of Fairfax 2005 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report and set an emissions reduction target for 2020 of 20% below the 2005 levels. The first step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to identify sources of emissions and establish baseline levels. This information can later be used to form possible reduction measures to be included in the climate action plan.

Producer Responsibility: In September the Town Council adopted a resolution supporting extended Producer Responsibility, a policy to hold product manufacturers responsible for the management of their solid waste disposal. Many communities have also passed similar measures and it appears that in the coming year there may be state or federal legislation putting more pressure on manufacturers to come up with more sustainable packaging.


Administrative Enforcement Mechanism: In October the Town Council adopted Ordinance 745 establishing an administrative enforcement mechanism for violations of the Town Code. Prior to this ordinance town staff had to take matters through a formal abatement process which is very expensive and time consuming. Hats off to Mark Lockaby, our Chief Building Official for writing this ordinance.

Oak Manor Abatement: After many months of working with the neighbors and the property owner on Oak Manor Drive who had four goats, two pigs, six sheep, and a dozen chickens (in violation of the Town Code) the Town Council and staff were able to abate this nuisance. Thanks goes to the entire Town Council that wrestled with this issue for many council meetings and to our Planning Director, Jim Moore, Senior Planner, Linda Neal, and Chief Building Official, Mark Lockaby for many hours of work on this.

Labor Agreements: In October, after many months of negotiating with all three labor groups I presented the Town Council with Resolutions approving the Memorandum of Understanding with the Fairfax Police Officers Association, the Fairfax Management Unit, and SEIU Local 1021. All three MOUs have no cost-of-living adjustments through June 30, 2010 and institute a two-tiered retirement system which will save the Town an average of over $13,000 per year per each new hire. Both the Management Unit and SEIU agreed to have employees pay a portion of their retirement contributions. The Town thanks all the staff for bargaining in good faith and understanding the need for these structural changes that will begin the process of creating a long term sustainable Town budget.

Town Council and Measure I Election: It was election season in Fairfax and there was no shortage of citizens interested in serving on the Town Council. Seven candidates ran for three seats. David Weinsoff was returned to the Town Council and Pam Hartwell-Hererro and John Reed were elected to their first term. Measure I was passed by 73% of the voters in Town. This is the municipal services tax of $125/year per dwelling unit and business unit which generates about $465,000 per year to the Town's general fund. Without this vote the Town would have cut this entire amount from the budget. Thank you Fairfaxians for renewing this important measure!

Town Web Page Receives a Facelift: The Town's web page is being redesigned and will include far more information than in the past. It will have a different look, will include information from each department about services they provide and will have more information about the Town Council Members. Many documents will be on line for the first time including the Town Budget. Many of the drop downs are not yet working, but they will be activated in early January. Many thanks to Judy Anderson, Town Clerk and Laurie Ireland Ashley, Finance Director for spearheading this effort.

I hope all residents have a safe and Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blog #56- Update on the PCE Issue at Fair-Anselm Plaza

I promised in Blog #42 on October 14th, 2009 that I would post another blog as new information becomes available regarding the PCE matter at the Fair Anselm Plaza. I finally have received more information to share with you and apologize that it has taken so long to make progress on this issue:

Yesterday I spoke at length to Brett Moxley, of the Federal EPA, regarding the PCE issue at Broadway Video. EPA and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) met yesterday to discuss who will be the lead agency in the cleanup. It was agreed that due to the scope and size of this event being small DTSC will take the lead. I have been assured from Mr. Moxley that DTSC will have all the testing completed in two weeks and will have a cleanup plan in place within three to four weeks. Mr. Moxley will also be making sure that DTSC is working at a reasonable pace. The entire building will be tested using the summa canister method and results of the new round of testing by DTSC will be compared with previous tests.

I have been assured from Mr. Moxley that the levels of PCE present DO NOT pose any health risks to patrons of the Fair Anselm Plaza. This was also reiterated to me by DTSC and by the Industrial Hygienist, Paul Spillane who took the initial samples.

The Town is working very hard to make sure this cleanup is done as expeditiously as possible and will be in constant contact with DTSC and the EPA. Thank you for your patience.

Blog #55 - Holiday Potluck, Ice Skating in Fairfax

Sunday, December 13th 3 p.m.- 7 p.m. Women’s Club, 46 Park Road, Fairfax

Come join us for this festive, fun-filled event, which includes holiday caroling, wreath making, a visit from Santa Claus at 4:00 p.m., and a supper potluck. Bring your favorite dish to share. Make new friends or re-connect with old ones! This year we are sponsoring a food drive for the Marin Food Bank, so please bring some canned goods to donate. For more information, call Maria Baird at 456-5652 or go to our website at

HOLIDAY ICE SKATINGSaturday & Sunday, January 2 & 3, 2010, 12 noon – 5 p.m., Pavilion

Time to put on those skates and get in the rink! The Fairfax Parks & Recreation Commission will sponsor their third annual ice skating event on a synthetic rink in the Pavilion. This event promises to be lots of family fun and may sell out, so get your tickets early! Prices are $5 for adults and $3 for kids for a half hour of skating. Rental skates are included in the price of admission. Hot cocoa and baked goodies will be available for sale as well. Tickets will be sold at the door, beginning at 11:30 a.m. on both days. For more information, please call Maria Baird, Community Resources Coordinator, at 456-5652 or check out our website at

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Blog #54 - Draft Circulation Element Discussed (Town Council Actions from December 2nd)

The Fairfax Town Council discussed the draft Circulation Element of the General Plan and made some changes to the draft. It will be discussed by the Council several more times and will be adopted as part of the General Plan after all elements are complete, public hearings held on each element and the environmental review process is complete.

The Fairfax Town Council has set the date of January 30, 2010 for the Community Fire Forum. All residents are encouraged to attend the Fire Forum where policies related to defensible space, fire hydrant and sprinkler system improvements will be discussed. The Town has been awarded a fire grant to clear brush from neighborhoods to create defensible space. The grant will begin in the spring of 2010.

Other actions taken at the December 2, 2009 Regular Town Council Meeting:

1. Appointed Efren Alba to serve on the Volunteer Board for a three-year term to December 31, 2012.

2. Adopted a Resolution honoring the Sicroff Family for their volunteer efforts for the Town of Fairfax and for their designation as the Apple Family Works 2009 Family of the Year.

3. Heard a presentation from Dawn Weisz, Interim Executive Director of the Marin Energy Authority regarding the Power Purchase Agreement with a preferred vendor.

4. Adopted a Resolution supporting the Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act of 2010. This act is a proposed statewide initiative sponsored by the League of California Cities which would close all loopholes the state currently has regarding borrowing or stealing local government monies.

5. Adopted a Resolution creating a Town Finance Committee consisting of the Mayor, Town Treasurer, Town Manager and Finance Director.

6. Authorized the Mayor to sign a letter of commitment for the State Energy Program application of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) regarding the Bay Area Regional Residential Building Retrofit Program.

7. Adopted a Resolution authorizing the filing of an Application for Energy Efficiency and Block Grant Program Funding for the Downtown Streetlight Replacement Project.

8. Adopted a Resolution establishing an Administrative Citation Fee Schedule.

9. Approved Town response to the Grand Jury request regarding the Homeless.

10. Heard a report on Temporary Homeless Shelters at St. Rita’s Church and Christ Lutheran Church.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Blog #53-Town Council Members Choose new Mayor

The newly formed Town Council unanimously voted for Lew Tremaine as the next Mayor of Fairfax at the Special Council meeting on November 30th. Larry Bragman was voted Vice Mayor. The Town Council also honored through resolutions outgoing Council Members Susan Brandborg (19 years on the Council) and Mary Ann Maggiore (4 years on the Council) for their important contributions to the Town. Other actions from the Special Meeting included:

  • Adoption of Resolution 09-74 reciting the fact of the General Election held on November 4, 2009, declaring the result and such matters as provided by law. The final and official results of the election are as follows:

Town Council Member (vote for three):

JOHN REED116918.27%
WENDY BAKER78312.24%
Write-in Votes10.02%



  • Oath of Office was administered to returning Council Member David Weinsoff, newly elected members John Reed and Pam Hartwell-Hererro.

    There is a Regular Town Council meeting on December 2, 2009. See the agenda for this meeting below: