Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blog #37 - Zero Waste Workshop

Fairfax ZERO WASTE 2020

presented by the Town of Fairfax

There is no Away

Tuesday June 29th from 7:00 pm-9:00 pm, 2010 at 46 Park Road (Women’s Club)

Zero waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. Any trash sent to landfills is minimal. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.

The Town of Fairfax set a goal of being Zero Waste by the year 2020 and we need to work together to get there. Manufacturers, haulers, businesses, and consumers all have a role to play.

At this event will review the Marin County Zero Waste study’s Phase I and II implementation guidelines. We will explain the JPA study and then chart out responsible parties and tasks ahead of us.

Please join Council members Larry Bragman and Pam Hartwell-Herrero for an evening of taking a vision and creating the steps needed to make it a reality. If there is interest we will form a Zero Waste Task Force.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blog #36 Ross Valley School Board Votes on K-5 Facility Issue

The article below was printed in the Marin Independent Journal on Saturday, June 19, 2010:

Ross Valley board nixes Fairfax school site

A rebuilt Deer Park elementary school won't open in Fairfax anytime soon. In an emotional meeting Thursday night, the Ross Valley School District board of trustees voted 3-2 to expand existing school campuses rather than reconstruct a school at the district-owned Deer Park site on Fairfax's rural south side.

The decision in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the district office finished two years of intense debate about how increased enrollment will be handled within San Anselmo, Fairfax and unincorporated Sleepy Hollow. The student population has increased the most in Fairfax over the past few years.

Trustees Chris Carlucci, Heidi Kritscher Weller and Conn Hickey voted in favor of expanding existing schools, and Rick McCallum and board President Sharon Sagar were opposed.

No matter which way the vote went, the district will be faced with seeking a bond measure to pay for any school expansion and improvements. The board discussed bond measure language after making the Deer Park decision and hopes to have a measure on the November ballot to raise upwards of $41 million for school facilities.

The school site decision came two days after the Fairfax Town Council voted unanimously to oppose the Deer Park site as an option for the district.

Thursday's vote means the Fairfax San Anselmo Children's Center, which leases the Deer Park site and serves about 90 low-income families and at-risk children, will not be forced to move. It also means some kids in the upper

Ross Valley will either not attend the school closest to their home or be forced to switch to another school.
The controversial vote seemed to hinge with Hickey, who said he was upset with the pressure from children's center supporters but did not hear enough support from Fairfax residents who favored building a new school at Deer Park.

"It's striking to me how many Fairfax people who supported the Deer Park option did so quietly," he said before the vote. "Based on the e-mails we received, it was about 50-50, but in public you didn't hear that side."

Carlucci and Kritscher Weller said they based their decision more on what was financially responsible in an era of revenue cuts and declining reserves. Opening Deer Park was estimated to cost $22 million, while expanding existing sites would run about $12.5 million.

Several trustees chastised opponents of the Deer Park proposal, many of whom were involved with the children's center, who "demonized" the board with threatening personal e-mails. McCallum said he was called a racist over the course of more than 40 meetings and received an e-mail that mentioned his anatomy.

"I am left with very little good will with the children's center," he said. "I witnessed some morally reprehensible behavior on their behalf. That doesn't lead me to think they are a partner we want to continue to work with. I never once heard 'thank you' for the more than 20 years we have subsidized them."

Sagar said she, too, was disappointed in how divisive and polarizing the issue was rather than having the town councils and residents come together toward a solution that worked for a majority of people.

"I think we failed our kids," she said. "I guess I was optimistic that we would come together for our kids and set a positive example. As a Fairfax resident, I am sad that the town I live in is saying no to its kids and is making it seem that it's OK to send our kids to another town for school."

Sagar said several individuals who rallied troops on behalf of the children's center were dishonest in some of the information that was disseminated and that they are "willing to hold our kids hostage" by stating that they would not support a bond if the board chose the Deer Park option.

A few San Anselmo parents scolded the board after the trustees made it clear how they were going to vote, saying the San Anselmo schools are full enough now and that Fairfax should face the burden because that's the part of the district that is growing in enrollment.

One topic on which both sides seemed to agree was that increased traffic in any area will cause pedestrian safety problems. Proponents of the Deer Park site said traffic will increase around every other school in the district, and opponents said a new school there would cause problems on a narrow Porteous Avenue.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blog #35 - Town Council sends letter to Ross Valley School Board

The Fairfax Town Council sent a letter to the Ross Valley School Board today expressing its opposition to the Deer Park site. The School Board is scheduled to vote on the preferred K-5 school site tomorrow (June 17th) at their regular meeting which begins at 5 PM at 110 Shaw Drive in San Anselmo.

See the letter below

Monday, June 07, 2010

Blog #34 - Council Amends Ross Valley Fire JPA, Reviews 2010/11 Budget

The Town Council unanimously voted to amend the Ross Valley Fire Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Agreement to include Sleepy Hollow as a full voting member of the JPA at a Special Town Council meeting on Saturday, June 5, 2010. Before taking the vote the Council agreed to some changes to the Agreement that was presented to them. These changes must return to the San Anselmo Town Council and to the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District Board for a vote. If approved by these two governing bodies then the JPA will be amended to include Sleepy Hollow as a full member of the JPA.

The Town Council also reviewed the first draft of the fiscal year 2010-11 Town budget. The Town is facing a $430,000 budget deficit due to continued declining revenues and increasing costs to the employee retirement and health benefits programs. The Town of Fairfax, like nearly all other cities in California has a budget that, over the short and long run, is not sustainable. Property and sales tax revenues are not keeping pace with the rising costs of the retirement and health care costs for employees.

The overall downturn in the economy is a large part of the problem because the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) is tied to the stock market and health care costs are tied to the overall cost of providing health care to all members in the CalPERS health care plan.

The Town Council will continue to have discussions about balancing the budget. No decisions have been made on how to balance the budget in terms of what will be cut verses what will not be cut. The Council will meet on July 7, 2010 and public comment will be taken for the second time on the budget.

Other actions taken at the Regular Meeting on June 2nd and the Special Meeting on June 5th, 2010:

• Appointed Ryan Meagher, Emma Mooney, Carlee Murray, Matt Saunders, Olivia Sicroff, Jolon Timms, and Jake Weinsoff to the Youth Commission.

• Re-Appointed Sam and Shoshanna Parry for an additional two years as the Town’s Artists in Residence.

• Adopted a resolution opposing Arizona Law SB 1070 (Immigration Reform as it relates to unlawfully present aliens) and urged its immediate repeal.

• Authorized the Mayor to write a letter to Assembly Member Huffman in opposition to the Governor’s budget proposal to severely cut State funding for childcare.

• Adopted Ordinance 751 amending the second unit amnesty program to eliminate the requirement for fire suppression sprinklers for existing second units qualifying for legalization.

• Authorized the Town Manager to award contracts to qualified bidders for chipper services, brush clearing, tree trimming and tree removal for the Hazardous Fuel Reduction Grant project in the amount of $148,560.

• Adopted a Resolution setting the amount of the General Municipal Services Tax ($50/year), the Special Municipal Services Tax ($125/year), the utility users tax (4% of utility bill), the pension override tax (.0910%), setting a fee for funding the storm water pollution prevention programs ($15/year), and setting the tax rate (.048%) in connection with the general obligation bonds for Measure K. All of these taxes are at the same rate as the year before. There are no increases in any of these rates. The Town is required to adopt this resolution every year setting the tax rates.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Blog #33 - Budget Workshop on June 5th

The Fairfax Town Council is holding a Special Town Council meeting on Saturday June 5 from 9 AM - 12 Noon to discuss the proposed draft fiscal year 2010/11 Town Budget. The Council will also be considering the Amended and Restated Joint Powers Agreement for the Ross Valley Fire Department. See agenda for the meeting below.

You may view the Proposed Draft Fiscal Year 2010/11 Budget at:

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Blog #32 - Information on SMART Meters

The Fairfax Town Council wrote a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission requesting that they investigate SMART Meters for a variety of issues related to the accuracy of the meters, possible health hazards, and privacy issues. See the letter below:

Fairfax is fortunate that “smart meters” have not yet been installed in Town, but PG&E is planning to begin in July 2010. If you are concerned about SMART Meters or would like to request that a SMART Meter NOT be installed in your home you may:

* Phone PG&E at 800-743-5000 and tell them that you don’t want a smart meter installed. Ask to speak to a smart meter representative. They have been telling people that they have no choice, but don’t let them bully you into believing this. Demand that they put you on the list of people who will not get smart meters on the first time around.

* Write the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), 505 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102, or call them at 866-849-8390, saying that you oppose the installation of smart meters on your home or business, and insist on an immediate moratorium until the current CPUC investigation is completed.
* Call State Senator Mark Leno (916) 651-4003 to support his efforts to create tougher testing standards for smart meters through Senate Bill 837, and urge him to include health issues.

* Sign an opt-out letter on-line by going to this link: and read their excellent page Are Smart Meters Smart? at

* Download a sign and other useful resources at Post it on your meter to indicate your refusal to have your meter changed.