Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blog #9 - Business License Payment Clarification

As many businesses know the contract with Muni Services was terminated. The termination period does not end until May 5, 2011. Some business owners have expressed concern about paying the $25 fee to Muni at the same time the termination period is underway. The following solution to this concern is outlined below:

If a business has not yet paid its business license fee and prefers the $25 processing fee go to the Town of Fairfax rather than Muni Services a business may wait until after May 5, 2011 to pay its business license without any late fee penalties. The Town will be administering the business license program beginning May 6, 2011.

If you have any questions please feel free to call the Town at 453-1584.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blog #8 - Statement from CalEMA on Risk of Radiation Exposure

The California Emergency Management Agency has released the following statement regarding the likelihood of radiation exposure in California and the proper timing and use of potassium iodide:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Contact: Jay Alan, Cal EMA, Dir. of Communications
(916) 825-6544
Al Lundeen, CA Dept. of Public Health
(916) 440-7259

Statement from California's Department of Public Health and Emergency Management Agency on Risk of Radiation Exposure

SACRAMENTO - Today the interim director of the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Howard Backer, and acting secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency, Mike Dayton, issued the following statement emphasizing Californians' safety from radiation exposure and the risks of taking potassium iodide as a precautionary measure.

"The safety of all Californians is our highest priority, and we are in constant contact with the federal agencies responsible for monitoring radiation levels across the West Coast. We want to emphasize that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have all stated that there is no risk expected to California or its residents as a result of the situation in Japan.

We are actively monitoring the situation in Japan and are ready to take all steps necessary to protect Californians should risks develop.

We urge Californians to not take potassium iodide as a precautionary measure. It is not necessary given the current circumstances in Japan, it can present a danger to people with allergies to iodine, shellfish or who have thyroid problems, and taken inappropriately it can have serious side effects including abnormal heart rhythms, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte abnormalities and bleeding.

Our thoughts are with the people of Japan at this tragic time."

Californians with questions about radiation exposure can contact the California Department of Public Health's Emergency Operations information line at 916 341-3947.

For updated information on monitoring, response and relief efforts in California and Japan, please visit the California Emergency Management Agency website at

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blog #7 - Japan Nuclear Power Plants - Radiation Fallout Information

Dear Fairfax Community:

The triple tragedy of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant failures in Japan is on the minds of many residents. Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the Japanese people, as well as to those residents of Fairfax with family and friends in Japan, in this time of tragedy.

Residents who are concerned about the status of the nuclear power plants in Japan can access information on the following websites:

•Center for Disease Control

Nuclear Energy Institute:

The California Department of Public Health has prepared materials related to the developing radiation incident in Japan . They are posted on:,

A local news station ran this story last night:

I hope this information is informative to you. If there is new information or more specific information the Town will provide it in the coming days on our web page and on this blog.

Michael Rock

Town Manager

Friday, March 11, 2011

Blog #6 - PUC Asks PG&E to offer an Option to Wireless Smart Meters

Portions of the information below was taken from Patch News as reported by Kelly Dunleavy on March 10, 2011:

Michael Peevey, Chair of the PUC has asked in a letter the following of PG&E:

“[I have asked PG&E to] bring to this commission a proposal or a series of proposals that will allow customers with an aversion to wireless devices the option of being metered without the use of wireless technology,” said CPUC President Michael Peevey in a statement before the CPUC’s meeting March 10 in San Francisco, where dozens of people spoke about the health risks associated with the meters. PG&E's proposal is expected within two weeks.

“This is fantastic news,” said Sandi Maurer, founder of the EMF Safety Network, who had previously filed a motion with the CPUC asking for a moratorium on the installation of the meters.

The wireless digital meters have come under fire over the last year because of concerns about accuracy, security, privacy and health effects. The meters use a combination of radio and microwaves to transmit data from the digital meter attached to your house to a transponder on a nearby telephone pole. That data is then transmitted via a cellular mesh network back to PG&E. Read about how the wireless meters work here.

Because of concerns primarily focused on the health questions related to electro-magnetic frequencies and radio frequencies, PG&E has said in the past that it was considering developing alternatives, such as wired meters. PG&E has maintained, however, that the meters are safe and meet FCC standards for such devices.

“It’s something we’ve actually been looking at,” said PG&E spokesperson Katie Romans of the CPUC’s order. “The order certainly advances the timeline.”

PG&E has until March 24 to come up with a plan to implement the opt-out, while continuing installation of the meters otherwise, and bring that plan back to the CPUC.

Romans said some of the key questions that will be resolved by that March 24 plan are what various options are for those who choose to opt-out, what the cost impacts of those options would be, and what PG&E will do about those customers that already have the new meters installed in their homes.

“We really will have to look at who we are talking about,” said Romans.

It in unlikely that customers will simply be allowed to opt for their current analog meter, given that those are in the process of being phased out by manufacturers, she said. Additionally, PG&E still has a mandate to implement upgrades to the overall system and install a smart grid to allow for energy efficiency programs down the line. It is likely, then, that customers will be given a wired or digital option.

“How do we address these customers’ concerns while still ensuring them these environmental benefits,” Romans said.

Peevey also said in his statement that PG&E’s proposal for “some form of opt-out for customers who object to these devices” could be achieved at a “reasonable cost” that will be paid for by the customers that choose to opt-out.

Statewide, PG&E has installed over 7.65 million meters, with the goal of installing 10 million gas and electric meters by mid-2012. In Marin, 88,927 electric SmartMeters have been installed and 66,334 gas – as of March 4. That leaves just over 60,000 gas and electric to still be installed.

But, in towns that have been particularly vocal in their opposition the numbers are much lower.

In Fairfax, where PG&E has voluntarily been delaying installation while community meetings attempted to answer residents’ questions, just 67 electric and 217 gas SmartMeters have been installed. The Fairfax Town Council also passed a moratorium on the meters last year, but it has not yet been challenged in court. And PG&E has maintained that when work has to be done on a meter, they are forced to install a new digital meter, because the older analog ones are being phased out.

None of the SmartMeters are transmitting yet, until the entire region is installed.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Blog #5 - CERT Classes

Marin CERT Training Opportunity -- Join Now!

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is a national program that was adopted in Marin County in 1990 and continues to be provided in all areas of Marin County today. The skills taught in CERT courses are valuable and life-saving skills which include fire safety and suppression, disaster medical operations, and light search and rescue. The community understands more and more the importance of obtaining these skills in order to be more self sufficient at the time of a disaster or emergency and be empowered to take care of themselves, their families, and their neighbors.

Training sessions for CERT are upcoming in Kentfield on March 19 and 26. The 15 hours you spend in training can...


More information: event flyer Marin CERT Plan Marin CERT website

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Blog #4 - Town Council Terminates Agreement with Muni Services

The Town Council at its regular meeting on March 2, 2011 terminated the agreement with Muni Services for the processing of the business licenses. The agreement calls for a 60-day termination period. Many business owners objected to a large company handling the businesses license and requiring the license payments be sent to Alabama where Muni has a large processing center to handle business licenses from many jurisdictions in California and elsewhere. The Council will discuss how to handle the business license program, particularly for how to collect next year’s fees, in the ensuing months.

Other actions taken at the Regular Meeting on March 2, 2011:

• Heard a presentation from Marva Sheehan from HF&H, a consulting firm that conducts rate studies for many solid waste and recycling companies including Marin Sanitary Service. Marva presented to the Council the need for a 25.96% rate increase to cover higher operating and capital costs and to pay for the food waste composting program started last year throughout the entire Town. The Council will take up the matter of a rate increase for solid waste and recycling services at the next Council meeting on April 6, 2011. There was considerable public comment and questions from the Council about the garbage and recycling collection service currently provided by Marin Sanitary and a discussion from the Zero Waste Committee (Mayor Bragman and Vice Mayor Hartwell-Herrero) about ongoing efforts to adopt a new franchise agreement. It is expected that a final draft agreement will be before the town Council in July of this year.

• The Council approved resolutions approving an overall financial policy and a reserve policy for the Town.

• Adopted a resolution approving the job description and salary schedule for the Chief Building Official/Public Works Manager position.

• Adopted a resolution declaring April 2011 as Fair Housing Month in Fairfax.

• Adopted a resolution authorizing the temporary closure of certain streets for the Little League Opening Day Parade on Saturday, March 12, 2011.

• Adopted a resolution honoring Gail Wiemann, Fairfax Library Branch Manager, on the occasion of her retirement.

• Adopted a resolution in support of Wisconsin Public Workers Union.

• Discussed the draft ordinance regulating the location, number and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries. After much discussion it was decided by the Town Council (with Mayor Bragman recused) not to hold the first reading of the ordinance but to have the Town Attorney make some changes to the ordinance based on Council Member comments and bring it back to Council on April 6, 2011.

• Held a discussion updating the community on the Town of Fairfax v Berg matter. The Council also announced that the Town will be appealing a judge’s decision in this property access case that ruled the Town did not have the right to an easement across the Berg’s property. More information on this can be found at:

Other notes and announcements:

• Free classical Indian Dance Performance at the Women’s Club, Thursday, March 10, 2011 from 7:00-8:30 PM sponsored by the Park and Recreation Commission and the Marin County Free Library.

• Little League Opening Day Parade is March 12, 2011 at 10:00 am.

• Annual Brewfest sponsored by the Park and Recreation Commission and the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce is Saturday, March 19, 2011 from 1:00-5:00 pm.

• Teen Youth Night at the Youth Center is on Friday March 25, from 7:00-9:00 pm.

• The Annual Fairfax Documentary Film Festival will be held at the Fairfax Theater April 1-3.

• There will be a special Council Meeting on March 16, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the long awaited re-opening of the Fairfax Creek Pedestrian Bridge that fell down during the floods of 2005-06.