Key Priorities and Policies

Board of Supervisors

As your representative on the Marin County Board of Supervisors, I pledge to continue to keep your perspective close in mind in approaching all matters facing the County, and to keep open and active communication as the foundation of my service.

Below you will find an overview of my key priorities and key policy objectives, organized by greater issue groups. When it comes to the interests of the residents and neighborhoods from the County perspective, these issues are most important to 'keeping the promise of Marin.'

I will update this page as I continue to make progress on these goals and initiatives, the most recent update was in March of 2021.

My door is always open.  Please call, email, or set up a time to meet with me personally.  I want to know what is on your mind.  Please email me or reach out to my Aides to schedule a time for a phone call or meeting:

 

COVID

On March 16, 2020, Marin County and six regional jurisdictions were the first in the nation to issue a public health order to shelter in place. Prudent and early decision-making and individual choices of residents in Marin helped decrease the number of new cases and flatten the curve. We faced numerous challenges and waves of rising cases and hospitalizations. A hallmark of the pandemic is the unparalleled public policy and community response. We have come together to address a pandemic by transforming normal everyday activities. This transformative process has come with tremendous personal sacrifice from every member of our community. The progress made could not have happened without essential workers' heroic efforts. I will continue to fight for solutions for the health and economic wellbeing of our entire community.

Early on, Public Health and community partners addressed a national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and availability of testing. Marin quickly ramped up testing from about 100 tests per day in March, 2020 to well over 2,000 tests per day in December, 2020 and became one of the counties with the highest testing rates in California. Public Health has engaged with the community at many levels. Efforts include business reopening guidelines, sending strike teams to address hot spots in residential care facilities, hiring and deploying contact tracers, assisting the Department of Corrections in responding to the San Quentin outbreak, creating opportunities to quarantine and isolate with financial and food resources, supporting safe school operations, and developing a strategic response to address racial disparities in the Canal.

Friends and neighbors jumped in to help by sewing homemade masks, buying groceries for neighbors, and reaching out with a very important call to check-in. This crisis has highlighted the value of community members, our friends and neighbors, local non-profits, and community-minded partners. Our COVID response continues with a mindset of recovery.

Vaccines are being distributed. The health and safety of Marin County residents is our top priority. A COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most important tools to end the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2021 limited supplies of vaccine from the federal and state governments slowed the delivery of doses to the community. Our focus was on age based distribution of the vaccine, starting with 75+ and moving to 65+ as of February 15, 2021. Safe, effective, no-cost COVID-19 vaccine will eventually be available to everyone in Marin County, over the coming months. Teachers and other essential workers are eligible for vaccines. The Marin County vaccine information page continues to be updated as more information becomes available. For up-to-date information, visit https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/vaccine.

The public health crisis and economic impacts of COVID have highlighted the precarious housing circumstances many families face. On March 24, 2020, the Board of Supervisors passed an Eviction Moratorium seeking to strike a balance to prevent the displacement of renters impacted by COVID and ensure small landlords can continue to operate. The Board of Supervisors wanted to encourage renters and landlords to work together to agree on a repayment plan that would allow partial payments and keep renters housed. On August 31, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 3088, the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, providing eviction protection to tenants who have been unable to pay rent due to financial hardship related to COVID-19. The Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution January 12, 2021 that continues to bar evictions through June 2021 for people economically impacted by the coronavirus.

On January 28, 2021, SB 91, the State COVID-19 Relief: Tenancy: Federal Rental Assistance bill was signed by the governor extending and expanding protections and relief. Marin is working tirelessly to get dollars out to tenants, and their landlords. The goal is to keep families safely housed.

On February 9, 2021, the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved an urgency ordinance that temporarily prevents rent increases for tenants residing in certain census tracts in unincorporated Marin most affected by COVID. The cities of San Rafael and Novato passed similar ordinances within their jurisdictions. The County's ordinance applies to Marin City (census tract 1290) and a large portion of West Marin (census tract 1330).

Eviction protections and emergency rental assistance are needed to abate a housing crisis. Marin County and partners have provided $13 million in emergency rental assistance as of February 2021. You can read more about the ongoing efforts to keep families housed in this staff report.

State and local actions have transformed homelessness services for Marin residents unable to shelter in place. Project RoomKey funded 90 hotel or motel rooms for our most vulnerable unhoused residents on a temporary basis. We partnered with Catholic Charities and Homeward Bound to operate three hotels in Marin. Project HomeKey created a path to purchase permanent sites. On November 10, 2020, the Board of Supervisors authorized the purchase of a hotel and an office building, America's Best Value Inn in Corte Madera for $4.1 million and an office building at 3301 Kerner Blvd in San Rafael for $7.2 million. In total, 62 new apartment units for the homeless will be available. The pandemic brought the County, the State, cities and towns, service providers, and landowners together to provide housing to vulnerable unhoused Marin residents. We are housing people 46% faster than before COVID. We accomplished a great deal that was believed to be impossible with little time.

Our recovery efforts are incomplete without helping our small business partners. While employees and local businesses had to wait for CARES Act funding to arrive, we went to work. On April 14, 2020, the Board of Supervisors passed the first disaster relief fund for COVID-19. A partnership with the City of San Rafael and the County of Marin raised more than $250,000. It was quickly adopted as a model for other cities and towns. Countywide over $1.2 million was raised and distributed to small businesses as grants. A range of grants and low interest loans have become available. Addressing the economic challenge of this pandemic requires both immediate and long-term action. We have turbocharged our creative problem-solving approach.

Marin Recovers pooled the knowledge of business owners, public health, and County leaders to develop guidance on how to reopen specific business sectors. Collectively, they pushed out a recovery plan and worked through the twists and turns of State orders to ensure a rapid and responsible reopening.

Supervisor Arnold and I spearhead the Marin Economic Recovery Task Force, serving to exchange information, advocate on the State and Federal level, support innovative local efforts, cut through regulations, and develop a long-term economic vitality strategy. Together with private and civic leaders, we have developed a shop-local campaign, improved access to capital, sought grant funding for strategic planning, and continue to help local businesses adapt.

Looking forward, we have a lot more to do as we continue to address health, housing, economic hardship, racial inequities, and more. We have seen what we can do when we work together as a community. We have brought together new partners and continue to find creative solutions. Thank you for all that you are doing. I want to express my deepest gratitude for our front-line workers and their families in healthcare, education, and a range of essential services vital to the functioning of society. Through these struggles, we have witnessed the strength of our community, united. I look forward to continuing to work with our community. Please keep in touch. I want to hear from you.

Equity

Addressing racial equity and ending systemic racism is a key priority of mine, and the entire Board of Supervisors. I believe that you will find this reflected throughout our work. If you see a place where we can do better, please let me know.

Within the County of Marin government we are addressing inequities through:

  • A new “Equity Impact” section to be included on all Board of Supervisors policy item staff reports beginning with the March 2, 2021 Board meeting.
  • A Race Equity Planning Committee composed of 15-20 community members, who will be a central resource in guiding the revision of the County’s 2017 Race Equity Plan. The Race Equity Planning Committee is a working group convened by the County Administrator's Office to collaboratively provide recommendations to the County on how to build an anti-racist and multicultural community.
  • Disaggregating and analyzing data through an Equity Dashboard.
  • The County hired an Equity Director in April of 2019.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services has developed a strategic plan to achieve health and wellness equity.
  • Supporting the voices of our Affinity Groups.
  • I will continue to look for a path to ownership for Golden Gate Village residents and I look forward to growing our community partnerships and implementing community-driven solutions.

2020 brought to the forefront inequities in our community. Coronavirus has disproportionately affected communities of color, especially Marin County’s Latinx community. While the Latinx community accounts for 16% of Marin County’s population, 54.5% of our county’s confirmed COVID-19 cases in February 2021 with known ethnicity have occurred among Hispanic/Latino residents. Higher risk occupations (e.g., construction, food service, caregivers) and crowded housing conditions drove increased transmission. In addition, persistent racial disparities in employment, income, housing, health status, access to health care, all contribute to greater susceptibility to the virus—both economically and physically.

The County of Marin has worked in a variety of ways to provide support to Canal residents who are affected by the COVID-19 virus:

  • Partnered with Marin Community Foundation and the Marin Health Care District to provide millions of dollars in disaster relief. This has funded emergency rental assistance and disaster relief payments for COVID-19 positive residents.
  • Established free COVID testing site in the Canal with the State of California. Additional partnerships with City of San Rafael, Canal Alliance, MarinHealth, and Marin Community Clinics added testing sites within walking distance of the residential portion of the Canal neighborhood.
  • Marin County has joined with the Multicultural Center of Marin and Canal Alliance to provide culturally responsive supports and services, including care navigation and housing for COVID-19 positive residents during isolation and quarantine.
  • Learn about a partial list of successes.

While the pandemic has further spotlighted the inequities within the County, we know that these issues did not start and will not stop with the virus. While much has been done, entrenched racial inequalities undermine our ability to meet the needs of vulnerable residents and communities across the County.

The pandemic has broken down silos, and brought agencies together to serve our community and address inequities in new ways. There is more to do, and 2020 showed us how much can be done in a short amount of time.

Securing a Healthy Range of Housing Opportunities in Marin

There is an undeniable shortage of affordable housing options in Marin. This issue was well known before COVID and must be reexamined through the prism and impacts of COVID and equity. I will continue to think creatively and practically and promote solutions that are working. In Marin, the following efforts are underway and showing promise: the Landlord Partnership Program; strategic use of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to support the acquisition, preservation, and development of more housing in the County; streamlining and promoting Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs and JADUs); and tenant protections.

Strengthening Section 8 with the Landlord Partnership Program

The Housing Choice Voucher Program, or Section 8, is a considerable investment of federal funds into Marin County. After receiving many calls from constituents holding vouchers – including seniors, working families, and veterans - who could not find rental opportunities to use them, we partnered with the Marin Housing Authority and leaders from our local landlord community to create the Landlord Partnership Program. This approach makes landlord participation in the Housing Choice Voucher program more attractive and feasible by addressing specific concerns that we heard during our outreach and making the entire program more streamlined. The Landlord Partnership Program is exceeding the partnership's initial goals, and we now have over with new landlords accepting Section 8 vouchers. If you have units for rent and are interested in exploring how this program can work for you, please email Monique Broussard or call (415) 491-2567.

Supporting Conversion and Acquisition Efforts

In January of 2019, we allocated $4.1 million in general fund money to the County's Housing Trust Fund. Over the past four years, the County has invested over $12 million of Housing Trust Funds to fund over 150 new affordable homes, and rehabilitation of over 110 affordable homes.

Securing existing housing infrastructure for conversion to affordable housing mitigates potential impacts to our communities. We have had success with this approach by acquiring 27 units at the Piper Court Apartments in Fairfax, 8 units in Stinson Beach, 20 units at The Forest Knolls Trailer Court, and a home on Giacomini Way in Point Reyes Station. The County Housing Trust invested $3.6 million as a loan for the construction and acquisition of 54 units at Victory Village in Fairfax. The County has invested in the preservation and pre-development of 33 homes for families in Bolinas and 14 in Stinson Beach, for the pre-development of 80 new homes in Novato, and the preservation of 12 units in Larkspur.  In December 2019, the Board approved a $4.3 million purchase agreement for the vacant Coast Guard facility in Pt. Reyes. This 32 acre site will be used for permanently available affordable homes. Continuing to invest in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund is necessary to ensure funds are available as opportunities to provide housing arise.

Supporting and Streamlining Accessory Dwelling Units

Facilitating the production of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) is an opportunity to increase affordable housing without significantly impacting our neighborhoods. Several tools are now available for homeowners interested in building an ADU, also known as a second unit, a granny flat, an in-law unit, or a converted garage. I worked with my Board colleagues, the Community Development Agency, local fire protection agencies, advocates, and service providers to craft regulations that streamline and promote Accessory Dwelling Units and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units for homeowners. These changes were made possible by statewide legislation that we helped to enact. We voted to waive permit and planning fees for Junior Accessory Dwelling Units and expanded the program to reduce fees for ADUs.

ADU Marin is a partnership between 10 local cities and towns and the County of Marin. The group launched a step-by-step website and workbook along with a webinar series to guide people through the process of building an ADU. Help is available whether a property owner wants to generate extra income, create more housing for the local workforce, or house family members. The website covers each step of the process, from thinking about building to permits and construction. It features stories from homeowners who have built an ADU and renters now living and working in Marin, along with more than a dozen floorplans. Plus, there is a calculator to figure out what it might cost and what rent could be. The workbook goes deeper into the process and is full of exercises, checklists, and activities. Whether a homeowner needs to brainstorm ideas, choose a contractor or rent their finished ADU, they will find answers each step of the way.

The Board approved extended and expanded financial breaks on building and permit fees for ADUs in unincorporated Marin County in January 2020. As an incentive, those renting out ADUs will have permit fees waived up to $10,000 if they rent to tenants with household incomes below 80% of the local median. In Marin, that translates to approximately $139,000 for a family of four, $125,500 for a family of three, $111,550 for two people, and $97,600 for an individual. There’s a $5,000 break on permits for ADUs that are rented between 80% and 120% of the median income. Please contact the Marin County Community Development Agency or my office for more details.

Affordability in the Rental Market and the Rental Housing Dispute Resolution Ordinance

We have worked closely with leaders in the landlord and property-owner community and with renters, voucher-holders, and tenant rights advocates, exploring solutions for preserving affordability in Marin's rental market for a range of income levels. The Board of Supervisors adopted a "Source of Income Protection" ordinance to ensure that Section 8 voucher-holders are evaluated as potential renters based on neutral criteria and not turned away based on their vouchers. San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, and Fairfax have also adopted the "Source of Income Protection."

We passed a Rental Housing Dispute Resolution ordinance (Mandatory Mediation), offering landlords and tenants the opportunity to mediate issues related to increases in monthly rent greater than 5% in one year.

On December 18, 2018, the Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance that establishes a Just Cause for eviction policy in unincorporated areas of Marin. The policy applies to properties with three or more units and requires that tenants be given a reason for lease termination. The ordinance went into effect on January 17, 2019.

The Board committed to strengthening education for both landlords and tenants. Additionally, the Board committed to bolstering County code enforcement to ensure rental units are habitable. Recognizing that many rental units are under the San Rafael and Novato jurisdictions, the Board directed staff to reach out to the cities to collaborate on code enforcement.

I will continue to lead efforts to work with stakeholders to develop policies and programs that can work for everyone when stabilizing the rental market.

Revising the Housing Overlay Designation and Other County Policies

From a County policy perspective looking towards potential development in Marin, I'm concerned that our current Community Development Agency housing policies do not always work towards their intended goals. I look forward to working with Community Development Agency leadership and staff to reevaluate specific County policies, particularly the Housing Overlay Designation.

Affordable Housing Policies

The Marin County Board of Supervisors supports efforts to permit counties to collaborate with their cities to create or preserve affordable housing opportunities, including a broader range of options that would be eligible to receive state housing element credits, such as senior housing, assisted living units, housing cooperatives, and accessory dwelling units. The Board will further support state funding for converting existing commercial and housing stock - increasing funds, providing tax incentives, and exploring other mechanisms for affordable housing preservation, rehabilitation, development and/or conversion. As Marin's representative on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), I will work for local control on housing issues while working with the Board of Supervisors and community stakeholders to implement and support creative and practical solutions in Marin.

Addressing Homelessness with Every Tool at Our Disposal

Homelessness is one of the most challenging issues facing the Bay Area and close to home in Marin County, particularly District 1. We have all seen homelessness exacerbated by COVID. As a member of the Board of Supervisors sub-committee on Homelessness and Chair of the Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Committee, I consider homelessness and the often related behavioral health issue as top priorities. I continue to support bolstering County mental health services and strengthening our partnership with the City of San Rafael and local service providers, focusing on alleviating the impacts of homelessness on downtown San Rafael. I challenge our departments to ensure that County funded programs and services are evaluated in terms of their outcomes to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness for both clients and community members.

Many individuals who rely on essential services do not fit the stereotypical image of homelessness. They are often working people and families who have lost a job, housing, some other support system or have encountered medical issues that led to the loss of employment or housing. In many instances, this includes children in our local schools and results in families doubling up in unstable, overcrowded apartments. These individuals need different services than those challenged by their mental health or other disabling conditions who cannot care for their own basic needs. This segment of the homeless population is different from the disproportionately visible individuals who impact our downtown business area and surrounding neighborhoods.

The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) identifies specific individuals who are high-utilizers of expensive public services (hospitals, jails) and have a disproportionate impact on our neighborhoods and public systems. The HOT team aims to end the "revolving door" by working intensively on individualized plans towards permanent housing, with whatever supportive services are needed to keep the person housed.

Each service provider is accountable for implementing the individualized plan. By assessing each person's vulnerability, that is, determining how long they have been living on the street, how fragile the state of their physical or mental health, a list with the most vulnerable people at the top is created. The most vulnerable are the first to go into housing. Through this Housing First approach, capitalizing on the HOT Team's work and coordinated entry, we have successfully housed over 315 of our most vulnerable people living on our streets with a 94% housing retention rate. During COVID, we have house people 46% faster.

In Marin, we share a vision to end veteran homelessness. Together, Health and Human Services, our community partners, and the Marin County Veterans Services Office are working to ensure that veterans are treated with dignity and respect and that no veteran in Marin is unhoused. In 2021, the construction of 24 new apartment units for homeless veterans is scheduled to begin.

Improving Mental Health Services

Through its Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Division, the County Department of Health and Human Services is the safety net provider for Medi-Cal eligible people living with a serious mental illness diagnosis. Over the last few years, the County has made significant changes to how services are provided to community members and provides a range of outreach services.

Mobile Crisis Response Teams answer the call to behavioral health crises throughout the County. The Transition and Outreach Team proactively seeks out individuals experiencing homelessness or who are in need of additional outreach to engage them in behavioral health services. They will provide short term case management to maximize the likelihood of a successful linkage to services. Assisted Outpatient Treatment, or Laura’s Law, provides medium and long-term outreach and engagement services to individuals at risk of psychiatric decompensation, hospitalization, and incarceration. The focus is on voluntary engagement in services after outreach, though the Court can also get involved to order clients into outpatient treatment.

Proposition 47 or PIVOT, works on care coordination for individuals with behavioral health disorders in the criminal justice system. The program includes proactive outreach to people experiencing homelessness, being released from incarceration, and those at risk of repeated arrests for low level crimes. Recovery Coaches embedded in multiple BHRS programs and other County departments support outreach and linkage to substance use treatment. Full Service Partnerships include outreach to clients who need wraparound behavioral health services. This includes field-based clinical work, advocacy, and engagement in services.

We are more effective when we can address challenges early on with prevention and early intervention. Marin is among the Counties with the highest suicide rates in the Bay Area. Suicidality impacts people of all ages and backgrounds. In response, the County has launched a Suicide Prevention initiative, strategic plan, and Suicide Prevention Collaborative. Together, experts from schools, behavioral health, the medical field, veterans, underserved communities, and people with lived experience will continue to address our community's needs.

We continue to leverage County resources towards the most proactive and effective services to address the underlying mental health conditions that lead to homelessness. The goal is to keep someone with mental illness stable in their housing through case management and wrap-around services so they may participate in the activities they enjoy.

With our Full Service Partnerships we provide a complete range of services, using a 'whatever it takes' approach to the individual and their family. Marin services encompass children, youth, adults, and special populations. Programs include "Helping Older People Excel" and Senior Peer Counseling; homeless outreach through the Odyssey Team; Support and Treatment After Release, "STAR," helping adults with serious mental illness and criminal justice involvement; Transitional Age Youth, "TAY," services for young men and women, ages 16-25, often learning how to adapt to mental health challenges; and Youth Empowerment Services, "YES", serving children and youth up to 18 years of age.

Our Mobile Crisis Response Team provides an expert mental health response to residents in crisis. However, the hours of operation are not currently sufficient; crises do not limit themselves to 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Through a California Health Facilities Finance Authority grant focused on school-based youth, we are expanding the services to cover school hours. The hours are Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm; Saturday: 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm through June 2021, the grant end date. The grant offers a welcomed expansion, with more needed and underway.

Working with our partners, I'm exploring the possibility of additional crisis teams, improved geographic coverage, and expanded evening coverage. With strong partners at the table, we continue to unpack the central question of how we best serve our community in response to a crisis and do it in a coordinated and cooperative fashion.

In January 2021, the Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a 16-bed Adult Transitional Residential Treatment Program for individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders in San Rafael. The first of its kind in Marin. Simply put, there is a lack of available beds and costs increase year over year for residential treatment. Out of county services may be less expensive per bed but incur transportation costs and disconnect families from clients, clients from communities, and treatment teams from clients. The facility will assist in a more successful transition from residential placement back to the community, and decrease costs associated with out of county residential treatment placements and transportation.

The Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Division Access Line is available to answer questions about services, arrange appointments, and make referrals. Call (888) 818-1115 anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can read in greater detail at the County website by clicking on the following link: Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.

Better Coordination with the Court System and Expanded Mental Health Services in Jail

Marin County is not alone in struggling to effectively address people's unique needs with mental health in jail and the criminal justice system. Issues arising from the intersection of mental health and criminal justice is a nationwide problem. In 2021, I joined the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Administration of Justice Policy Committee as Vice-Chair. We are tackling many of the issues we see firsthand play out in this County at the State level. We discuss the intersection of criminal justice policy and homelessness, and I share the work happening in Marin.

Discussions on policies and budget actions will pave the way for a more effective government response. I expect to address a range of challenges and promote local successes. The discussions include specialty courts, housing opportunities, conservatorships, and Laura’s law. We recognize that the term homelessness encompasses a broad range of people and circumstances. I spearheaded County efforts around how our Health and Human Services divisions can work in concert with the Sheriff's office and the Courts to expand medical and mental health resources to those in detention and the Court system. We are fortunate to have visionary leaders in detention services, on the bench, and willing partners in Health and Human Services committed to doing what it takes to support people with serious mental illness.

The Stepping Up Initiative is an innovative nationwide effort to address the mental health crisis in our county jails. Through my advocacy, the Board of Supervisors passed a Stepping Up resolution and made these efforts a budget priority. I have been working with our criminal justice system partners to achieve a more coordinated relationship between County service providers and the Courts to ensure that people in the judicial system have access to appropriate behavioral health resources.

  • We now have 20 hours, 7 days per week of mental health staff coverage in jail. Any inmate placed into a safety cell due to danger to self or others is seen by mental health staff within 4 hours. We have implemented 28 hours of face to face psychiatric coverage in-custody and telephonic psychiatric consultations 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. This is a dramatic increase in access to mental health professionals for people in jail.
  • We have expanded Licensed Crisis Specialist staffing, including one Bilingual (Spanish) Crisis Specialist.
  • We now have group programming and stabilization, allowing people in jail more social interaction and addressing problems before they become crises.
  • Increased re-entry planning: Working with mental health inmate patients to identify short and long-term goals for re-entry into the community post incarceration and linkage to appropriate resources.

Through AB 1810, Marin can access state funds to help individuals with a mental illness who are alleged to have committed a misdemeanor or felony offense. AB 1810 allows for pretrial diversion programs, allowing for treatment to begin before sentencing. This legislation is in response to the lack of access to state hospital beds. Marin received a $536,476 grant from the Department of State Hospitals to fund a three-year pilot diversion program. Marin expects to serve 25 people. I am glad to see this pilot starting.

Laura's Law - Assisted Outpatient Treatment

Assisted Outpatient Treatment through Laura's Law is a valuable tool for connecting people suffering from disabling mental health issues to the full-service partnerships they need. Based on specific court-evaluated criteria, Laura's Law, or AB 1421, provides outpatient services to those who have severe mental illness who have refused treatment yet are at risk of harming themselves, others, or unable to care for their own basic needs. I worked closely with families, advocates, mental health professionals, and community members, building the case as to why Laura's Law could be a tool for helping those with severe mental illness frequently living on our streets. In March 2017, the Board of Supervisors agreed to implement a two-year pilot program enacting Laura's Law in Marin. Through AB 1976, all counties are required to have AOT. BHRS changed the model slightly and incorporated AOT positions with the STAR team. We now have an Assisted Outpatient Treatment program in place. We are pleased that those who have been referred to meet the criteria have been linked to care. Referrals can be made by calling 415-473-4321.

Creating a Program that Addresses the Impacts of Chronic Inebriates

The County is funding a pilot program to improve health outcomes and reduce system costs for individuals with alcohol use disorders that have frequent contact with the criminal justice system. The pilot program provides Supported Transitional Housing for 8-10 adults with at least four alcohol-related referrals to the criminal justice system in the previous 12-months. While in supported transitional housing, participants are provided linkages to evidence-based treatment and offered assistance in securing permanent housing. Since the program's inception, nine participants have been stably housed. Our partners in the criminal justice system, the Public Defender, District Attorney, Probation, the Courts, City officials, and law enforcement are all working together to interrupt this cycle and improve outcomes for individuals and communities.

Helen Vine Recovery Center

Buckelew Programs operates Helen Vine Recovery Center, a licensed 26-bed non-medical withdrawal management and residential substance use treatment program, with recovery-oriented services for people with substance use disorders as well as co-occurring mental health conditions. At Helen Vine Recovery Center, individuals access individualized programs, including counseling, education, 12-step meetings, wellness and life care tools, relapse prevention, community mentors, and connection to ongoing treatment services. In addition to self-referrals, law enforcement refers to Helen Vine to connect individuals to care, rather than to jail or emergency rooms, to improve health outcomes and reduce system costs.

Maximizing Mobility through Effective Transportation Policy and Planning

Ensuring that Marin residents have access to transportation that is convenient and reliable is a priority of mine, whether by walking and biking, public transit, or driving. With the addition of SMART train service, significant investments in multi-use pathways and safe connectors, and envisioning a new transit center in Downtown San Rafael, we have the opportunity to get out of congestion, get out of single-occupancy vehicles, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I will continue to make sure that infrastructure improvements are planned to integrate appropriately with the surrounding environment and to promote multi-modal transportation.

I have utilized a hands-on approach to understanding our local and regional transit issues by frequently using transit systems myself. I've implemented the #RideWithDamon program where, as a personal challenge, I go a month or two car-free every year to put our transit systems and bike infrastructure to the test. This has enabled me to understand better the issues and policies that come before me as a decision-maker locally and regionally and provide important feedback to the public and transit system operators. In 2019 I eliminated 1,623 miles of single-occupancy travel. 551.org equated it to reducing 1,407 pounds of CO2 emissions and saving $438.52 in fuel and maintenance costs. Each year I do a raffle with the names of all of the people who participated in #RideWithDamon, and the winner is treated to lunch on the Civic Center veranda. I hope you can join me on a ride in the future.

Starting in the Summer of 2020, Marin Transit and the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) began Connect2Transit, a program offering an integrated suite of on-demand mobility services to help people move around Marin County. People in Marin County have access to a range of on-demand services through the Uber app. This service is provided by Marin Transit using fully accessible vehicles with transit drivers. TAM offers riders fare discounts for shared-ride trips to and from SMART stations in Marin County, major bus stops, and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. TAM will be partnering with local employers and the business community to provide additional mobility options for employee commute programs. The app offers real-time transit departure information, so you can compare your trip request to see if other shared-ride options—including local Marin Transit bus service, regional Golden Gate Transit bus service, or SMART rail service—are more attractive. This innovative partnership allows Marin Transit and TAM's existing programs to expand coverage and accessibility. The service area covers roughly 2.5 square miles from all six Marin SMART stations. The program creates new accessible, on-demand, shared-ride opportunities for those in Marin who have challenges with first/last mile connections or finding wheelchair equipped vehicles. The program allows Marin Transit to expand new accessible, same day mobility options for seniors and riders with disabilities. The project is a public-private partnership that brings together existing mobility options and expands on-demand solutions in the County.

As Marin's representative on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), I will continue to strongly advocate for our share of regional, state, and federal transportation funding.

In 2018, I was appointed to the SMART Board of Directors as one of two Marin County Supervisors on the 12-member Board. I am committed to pursuing the success of SMART in a manner that is fiscally sound. I am excited to say that SMART has carried over 1,945,000 passengers as of February 2021! We have transported over 7,200 wheelchairs and over 200,631 bikes. A sales tax measure (Measure I) on March 3, 2020 did not pass by the required two-thirds in both Marin and Sonoma County. Listening sessions with residents, voters, and riders started in August of 2020 in the community with stakeholder groups (via zoom). Between February and June of 2021 the Board will review the challenges and goals, before adopting the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget on June 2, 2021.

In 2019 the voters supported the need for transportation solutions by passing Measure AA, affirming Senate Bill 1, and passing Regional Measure 3. The combination will make a generational imprint on transportation solutions in Marin and our larger region. The funds from Senate Bill 1 provide essential funding for maintaining our local streets and roads. Regional Measure 3, which increases the Bay Area bridge tolls (other than the Golden Gate Bridge) and will provide crucial funding for a direct freeway connector from northbound U.S. 101 to eastbound Interstate 580 to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge; funding to replace and modernize the San Rafael Transit center; and improving and planning for the future on State Route 37. With the passage of Measure AA we are poised to invest more in yellow school buses throughout the County, and secure crossing guards, and fund Safe Routes to School, local street and road repair, senior mobility, local transit, and highway congestion-related projects.

Completing the Multi-use Path / North South Greenway

Now that SMART rail service runs through San Rafael to Larkspur, it is critical that we create circulation and connectivity with "first and last mile" local transit options and that we work to fulfill the commitment of the North-South Greenway and continue building a multi-use pathway through District 1 and the County. San Rafael approved a two-way protected bikeway between Andersen Drive and 2nd street, meaning that people could ride separated from cars between Downtown San Rafael and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. I continue to advocate for active transportation programs to provide safe and convenient infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians.

Envisioning the Future of the San Rafael Downtown Transit Center

The Bettini Transit Center redesign in Downtown San Rafael will have a considerable impact on traffic and public transportation both in Downtown San Rafael and the entire county. With the SMART train traveling through San Rafael to Larkspur, it is imperative to focus on the effective integration of SMART, Marin Transit, Golden Gate Transit, bicycles and pedestrians, and local traffic. As a member of the Marin Transit Board and Board Member on TAM and SMART, I will seek out and advocate for the highest possible level of overall functionality for the center, focusing on connectivity. This new site could also serve as a gateway to San Rafael. The Golden Gate Bridge District is leading the project. The Bridge District has held a series of public meetings to gather input and comments from public agencies and the community. The Bridge District will serve as the lead environmental agency for the project. Subscribe to project updates online.

Building Safe Options for School Transit

Pickup and drop off times affect local traffic. I am collaborating with Marin Transit, our local school leaders and communities, and community advocacy groups to make sure that all available means of providing safe routes for our kids to school is worked out and explored, with a focus on solutions that take cars off the road, along with keeping a close eye on crossing guards on the streets most heavily used by our students.

Following the passage of Measure AA, a half-cent sales tax renewal, in November of 2018, we immediately went to work on providing funds to our school districts that are providing yellow bus service. On January 7, 2019, the Marin Transit Board voted to distribute $600,000 of Measure AA funds to existing yellow bus programs serving schools in the urbanized area of Marin County. On October 24, 2019, the Transportation Authority of Marin Board of Commissioners approved $6.6 million in funding to help complete a total of 27 Safe Pathways to Schools and three Multi-Use Pathway projects.

Pushing to Reopen the Richmond Bridge Third Lane

I understand the impacts this traffic issue has on District 1 and anyone traveling on 101 through Marin County, and will continue to support improvements to the connector routes that will alleviate congestion. I continuously and strongly advocated for the completion of the third eastbound lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, which opened in 2018.

I will continue to work tirelessly to improve the commute westbound. In the long run, I would like to see shared use for vehicles, carpools, and transit in the third lane westbound during morning commute hours in response to constituent concerns. I welcome your input on this matter.

On November 16, 2019, the Richmond-San Rafael Bicycle and Pedestrian Path opened. Two studies are underway. The first is a structural load analysis to determine the Bridge's capacity to handle a third vehicular lane and moveable barrier. The second is an assessment of the Marin-side traffic impacts if a third vehicular lane is open. The two studies' results, along with traffic counts broken down to show bicycle and pedestrian usage during morning peak, are taking place, though were delayed by the pandemic. The number of bicycles and pedestrians crossing the bridge, and the time of day they are crossing, are shared on this website.

Environmental Issues and Climate Change

The County has a key role to play in climate change issues on every level, from flood and fire risk management to sea-level rise adaptation to aggressively scaling down our local carbon emissions. Many of these issues hit too close to home for neighborhoods of District 1. As part of the Board of Supervisors Climate Action Plan (CAP) sub-committee, I've spearheaded the implementation of the CAP, including securing budget funding and making climate change a key policy priority for the County.

Marin County Climate Action Plan

Marin was one of the first counties in California to take formal action to address greenhouse gas emissions 15 years ago, and it adopted a Climate Action Plan update in 2015 to provide more aggressive goals on emission reductions.

Since the beginning of the effort, the County has:

  • encouraged the use of energy from renewable sources;
  • supported power-saving efficiency programs;
  • promoted carbon-reducing agricultural practices;
  • supported alternative transportation programs;
  • promoted waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs, and;
  • pushed for water conservation.

The initiatives are working. The County is 24% below its 2005 greenhouse gas emission levels.

On December 8, 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved an updated CAP, setting a course for the County to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in unincorporated Marin County. We set a goal of reducing emissions 60% below 2005 levels by 2030 and set a target of net-zero emissions by 2045. The plan captures state actions, emission reduction strategies, social equity, transportation, electrification, energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation, agriculture, working land use, community adaptation, resiliency, engagement, empowerment, and more. I am excited that we met our 2020 goals early, and am committed to doing much more.

Drawdown: Marin

In October of 2017, we implemented Drawdown: Marin, a bold community-driven initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for climate change impacts. With the support and input from the entire community, the County is working to "drawdown" carbon emissions and achieve a climate-resilient future. Drawdown: Marin seeks to engage and empower community members to share their priorities and local solutions to climate change. These solutions are policies, programs, and projects that can be implemented at a local level. To accomplish this, Drawdown: Marin aims to coordinate and collaborate with all Marin County cities and towns, organizations, individuals, grant makers, businesses, and government on a countywide strategy to achieve progress on a complex, large-scale challenge and achieve the Drawdown: Marin goals. We recently completed a two-year process and worked with over 150 volunteers to identify 29 climate change solutions.

Stakeholder collaboratives recommended priority solutions with metrics in six focus areas: 100% renewable energy, low carbon transportation, energy efficiency in buildings and infrastructure, local food and food waste, carbon sequestration, and climate-resilient communities.

The Drawdown: Marin Strategic Plan summarizes all 29 solutions, necessary equity work and initiatives, community empowerment and engagement priorities, and governance and funding frameworks and needs for 2021-2030. It is available for viewing and download at www.drawdownmarin.org.

The Executive Steering Committee endorsed the following solutions for implementation:

  • Marin Carbon Farming Initiative
  • Zero Emission Vehicles - Drive Clean Bay Area
  • Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM) – Center for Food & Agriculture
  • Microgrids – Fairfax Pavilion Pilot Project
  • Community Resilience Hubs
  • Biomass Study/Recovery Pathways

Drawdown:Marin was awarded a $126,451 grant from the Marin Community Foundation to implement a community-based organization-designed process to more deeply engage communities of color in the Drawdown effort. The grant funded: A Civic Spark Fellow to engaging closely with various communities; storytelling training for community ambassadors; and a stipend for community ambassadors who are engaging with their neighbors and friends on climate change generally and Drawdown: Marin. My Aide, Mary, is chairing the Drawdown:Marin Equity Task Force, which meets monthly with a focus on ensuring Drawdown:Marin is attentive to social and human sustainability. Learn more about the equity task force on this web page.

In 2021 Drawdown:Marin is slated to become a nonprofit organization. This new nonprofit will partner with the County to effectively implement the Drawdown: Marin Strategic Plan.

We’ve formed a working group made up of Drawdown: Marin Executive Steering Committee members and a member of our Equity Task Force. They will assist County Staff to develop necessary documents and those documents will be posted for public review. Visit our Nonprofit Working Group page for important dates and opportunities to engage in our process. We hope to have the nonprofit formed by summer 2021.

Resilient Neighborhoods - Climate Preparedness and Reduction (CPR) for the Planet

I led the first Resilient Neighborhoods team at the Civic Center, setting an example of reducing our carbon footprint through individual action. Since then, we have launched a Resilient Offices program, allowing employees to reduce their carbon footprint at home and work. Take a look at how you can help to reduce your carbon footprint.

Sea Level Rise Litigation

In 2020, Marin, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz Counties, with Richmond and Imperial Beach Cities, reached an important milestone in the suit against big oil companies. Companies like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, and others promoted petroleum consumption as environmentally responsible while knowing that it causes harm. In a significant step forward, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state courts, not federal courts, are the appropriate arbiters. We will continue to move forward strategically in the coming years when the case will go before a jury. You can learn more about The ruling in this Marin IJ article and background in this Marin IJ article.

Board Takes Steps to Protect Coastline From Oil and Gas Drilling

I am pleased to report that on August 25, 2020 the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance for certain facilities supporting offshore oil and gas exploration and development. The ordinance creates a voter-approved mechanism for any future development of onshore facilities supporting offshore oil and gas exploration. The ordinance seeks to protect Marin's coastline, inlets, and bays – and therefore also its agricultural lands, tourism, air quality, recreation, biodiversity, and quality of life. The action responds to what the County believes is an increased threat to locate these types of facilities in Marin and would align it with counties up and down California's coastline.

MCE Clean Energy

As past President and a founding Board Member of Marin Clean Energy, I continue to promote both MCE Clean Energy and its innovative energy programs to keep Marin at the forefront of smart, clean energy and energy efficiency. I am proud to say that The County of Marin is 100% Deep Green for all its government accounts through MCE Clean Energy. Will you join me and "Opt Up to 100% Deep Green"?

MCE is also focused on funding local resiliency efforts. Some examples of MCE's resiliency partnerships include working with community-based and government organizations such as the offices of Health & Human Services, Office of Emergency Services, and Centers for Independent Living – all valuable partners helping to identify individuals who would most benefit from access to clean energy backup power resources in the event of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event or other power outage. Learn more about MCE’s new Energy Storage Program, providing much-needed services to our most vulnerable populations.

Public EV Charging Stations.

As of February of 2020, 66 publicly available Level 2 EV charging ports have been installed by the County at the Civic Center, 1600 Los Gamos, and the County garage. There were more than 7,000 EVs in Marin in 2019, representing almost 4% of registered automobiles. The County is committed to making new vehicle purchases EVs where possible.

Electrifying County Vehicles

The County adopted a resolution aligning the County's vehicle purchasing policies with State of California policies regarding emission standards.  With a fleet of 482 vehicles, the County is replacing approximately 30 per year by purchase, with a vehicle purchasing policy of replacing inefficient gas-powered vehicles with eco-friendly alternatives whenever possible to further the County's sustainability commitment. This effort began in 2002 with the purchase of one hybrid. Today the County has 78 hybrid vehicles and nine all-electric vehicles (EVs) comprising 20% of the fleet. In December of 2019 the County adopted the State's two new fleet purchasing policies, namely:

(1) A prohibition on purchasing any sedans solely powered by an internal combustion engine, with exemptions for certain public safety vehicles.

(2) The County is only purchasing vehicles from manufacturers that recognize the California Air Resources Board (CARB) 's authority to set greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle standards and that have committed to continuing stringent emissions reduction goals for their fleets.

Rebates for Replacement of Natural Gas Appliances

The County of Marin offers rebates for the replacement of natural gas appliances with efficient all-electric units, including water heaters, furnaces, ranges, and cooktops. Replacing natural gas appliances with electric models will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve indoor air quality, and contribute to a safer and healthier home. This program is available to single-family homeowners in all areas of Marin County. Check out the Electrify Marin website.

Standard rebates range from $250 to $1,000 per replaced gas appliance, with higher rates up to $4,500 available for income-qualified applicants. Rebates apply for qualifying heat pump water heaters, central air source heat pumps, mini-split heat pumps (ductless or ducted), induction ranges, and induction cooktops. For projects where installing a new electric appliance would require an upgrade to the existing electric service panel, supplemental rebates are available to offset the cost of the additional capacity. Additional rebates for your project may be available through the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN), so please visit www.marincounty.org/electrify to learn more and contact the County's Sustainability. QUESTIONS? Tel: (415) 473-3069 or email: energy@marincounty.org

Green Building Requirements

On March 13, 2018, the County adopted a new Green Building ordinance, which was subsequently superseded by the California Building Standards Code that went into effect on January 1, 2020. The standards, which apply to new construction, additions, and remodels in the unincorporated County, are a way for the County to implement its Climate Action Plan.

In 2020, the Green Building program adopted a EV permit streamlining ordinance. All Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) projects in Marin are eligible for expedited permitting by completing and submitting the form below with your permit application. Single-family residences seeking to install EVSE can skip this process altogether – you only need to apply for an electrical permit that can be done electronically via Online Permits.

For more information on Marin County's Green Building Program or green building technical assistance on any building project in Marin, contact Dana Armanino via email or by phone at (415) 473-3292. Please visit the Green Building Program website for more information.

Green Concrete Ordinance

Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world and the source of up to 10% of human-created carbon dioxide emissions. The Board of Supervisors approved the addition of language in the Marin County Code that minimizes the use of cement, the powdery glue that holds concrete together. The Code encourages supplementary cementitious materials that cost about the same as cement and are considered equally effective in making sturdy concrete but with lower emissions. The ordinance applies to permitted building activities and public projects developed by the County of Marin. The low-emission concrete ordinance was designed to serve as a model code language for other local governments. You can learn more about this program on the Bay Area Low-Carbon Concrete Codes Project page and through the presentation to the Climate Protection Committee.

Our Natural Environment

BayWAVE

I serve on the Board of Supervisors subcommittee for BayWAVE, with the fundamental goal of increasing awareness and preparation for future Sea Level Rise impacts using this coordinated, multi-jurisdictional assessment. The assessment evaluates the extent of impacted assets, evaluating the sensitivity and adaptability of selected assets, and working with local cities and towns to plan the implementation of adaptation strategies. BayWAVE focuses on the eastern Marin shoreline from the Golden Gate Bridge to the northern end of Novato. A second phase is expected to continue planning and response based on the Vulnerability Assessment. For more information about BayWAVE, I encourage you to read about the project, deliverables, and the second phase of the project, on the website.

Resilient Shores through China Camp

The shoreline road, through China Camp State Park, floods several times a year on higher high tides and is expected to flood more often with sea-level rise. This is the only road connecting two communities at either end of the State Park and serves as a critical emergency access corridor. It provides the only vehicular access to state park facilities and entrance gates.

We are excited by the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) leadership in convening the stakeholder process to look at short-term and longer-term solutions along the roadway. There are many parties with varying concerns, including the residents of Marin County, visitors to China Camp State Park, and state and federal agencies, all of who are participating with a collaborative spirit to address immediate impacts of sea-level rise on a crucial roadway. The County is responsible for maintaining a safe road, including providing emergency evacuation routes for residents and visitors. In 2020, we rehabilitated six culverts and the nearby shoulders in China Camp. The repairs will ensure safer roads and facilitate the natural tidal flow of water in and out of the marshland on both sides of North San Pedro Road.

Planning for sea-level rise and shore resiliency, marsh ecological integrity, public use, and public safety is complex and critical. We will develop and evaluate a suite of possible solutions through this adaptation planning and lay out the path to move forward. This process could be a model for addressing sea-level rise impacts in other environmentally sensitive areas.

Gallinas Watershed Management and Flood Zone 7

Gallinas Creek provides a truly beautiful landscape that holds great value to the neighborhood and our region, but the watershed also presents challenges. As we critically evaluate flood control and infrastructure planning, we are balancing priorities, feasibility, and costs versus benefits. We are increasingly focused on watershed wide and regional multi-benefit approaches. Simultaneously, we must tend to the specific needs of the flood zone and ensure that critical components of the flood control program are functioning.

We are moving forward with planning the Timber-Reinforced Berm (TRB) Improvement Project to protect the community from 100-year floods. To address rising sea levels and the existing levees' deteriorating condition that protect the Santa Venetia community, we would replace the existing TRB with a durable wood composite material one to three feet taller, with a life expectancy of over 30 years.

On March 2, 2021, Measure A sought voter approval for this tidal flood mitigation measure for Santa Venetia. The measure secured significant community support with 66.29% approval but failed to meet the two-thirds majority requirement by three votes.

Given strong community support, the Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and I are making adjustments to identify a successful path for Santa Venetia flood mitigation efforts. Community feedback made it clear that there was confusion around the necessity of securing easements from property owners along Gallinas Creek. To ensure ongoing maintenance and inspection, as well as potential construction of a new berm, the District needs to purchase easements from approximately 100 private parcels along the levee.

The appraisal process will be underway in a phased approach in early 2021. Funding for easement acquisitions would come from a combination of Flood Control Zone 7 and County funds. A FEMA Grant awarded will contribute $3 million for most of the construction and requires local matching funds. The grant is set to expire in February 2022. The County may seek a one-year extension after demonstrating progress.

For more detailed information on this program and other creek projects, you can go to the following sources:

Habitat Restoration and McInnis Marsh

McInnis Marsh is a 180-acre historic wetland located east of McInnis Park between Miller and Gallinas Creeks. The existing levee system separates the former salt marsh from the creeks and San Pablo Bay.

The McInnis Marsh Restoration Project includes habitat restoration and resilience to sea level rise. Marin County Parks has made progress on the planning for and design of the project. The plan is for the Environmental Impact Report work to begin in the spring of 2021, with the goal of completing CEQA by 2024. The multi-benefit project will restore this valuable piece of habitat to support endangered species, improve public access to the San Francisco Bay Trail, and provide flood protection to McInnis Park and the adjacent water treatment facility. Marin County Parks is working in partnership with the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District, the Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, and funding partners, including the California State Coastal Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In 2017, we received a $550,000 state grant for the McInnis Marsh restoration project in District 1 to fund the project through design and environmental review. I've met with federal and state agencies. There is a real excitement for a potential project that could take advantage of federal and regional funding to enhance and protect this valuable natural resource.

In March of 2021 Marin County Parks learned from the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority that Measure AA grant funding was awarded for the “McInnis Marsh Restoration and Gallinas Creek Geomorphic Dredge Project.” The funds will support the completion of designs, CEQA, and permitting for the McInnis Marsh Restoration and Gallinas Creek Geomorphic Dredging Project. The project includes CEQA and permitting for the beneficial reuse of dredged material as part of the marsh restoration component. The restoration component would restore approximately 180 acres of tidal habitat in diked historic tidelands. The grant agreement is expected to be presented to the Board for approval in the spring of 2021. I am excited that we can continue to move forward on this project to address marsh restoration, habitat restoration, and sea level rise adaptation.

Preserving Our Open Space - Silveira Ranch

Marin has a proud history of protecting our natural resources and preserving key pieces of open space and agricultural lands. In 2017, I led efforts to secure an agreement with the Silveira family to preserve the Silveira Ranch as agriculture for at least 10 years. I hope it will pave the way for a permanent solution toward preservation. This land has been targeted for potential development for years and currently serves as an essential community separator, view corridor, and tideland habitat associated with the Miller Creek estuary.

Fire Protection and Disaster Preparedness

Fire protection and disaster preparedness are top of mind for all of us. What happened in the North Bay Fires with the Tubbs Fire in October 2017, Butte County's Paradise Fire in November 2018, and Sonoma County's Kincade Fire in 2019, is a concern here. In August 2020, a lightning strike ignited the Woodward Fire, burning 4,929 acres in West Marin. We continue to experience dryer summers and longer fire seasons. As Marin County Fire Chief Jason Weber said, "It is always fire season."

I am working closely with Marin County Fire and Marin County Parks and Open Space to increase our resiliency and preparedness for disaster.The Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan was in place long before the North Bay Fires happened, and the work continues with strong collaboration. In addition to robust plans and updated building codes to improve construction techniques, vegetation management, and access/egress requirements, a twelve-person Fuel Reduction & Fire Crew was created in 2005. Since then, a second seasonal crew was added.

Our regional fire coordination system is as good as anywhere in the world. City and County, Regional and State agencies are working more effectively together than ever before in vegetation management and prevention and response planning. However, given the changing climate and increased risk of wildfires, Marin's fire-responsible agencies and FIRESafe Marin developed a countywide wildfire prevention program and authority to coordinate and oversee ongoing programs to make our community safer and better prepared.

Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority

In March of 2020, with the support of Marin County residents, Measure C passed with 70.8% voter approval. This historic wildfire prevention measure will fund proactive state-of-the-art wildfire prevention and preparedness efforts in Marin for the next ten years. Thank you for supporting Measure C. The Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority was formed to develop and implement comprehensive wildfire prevention and emergency preparedness plans throughout most all of Marin County. Key elements of this program include:

  1. Vegetation Management

    Through multiple strategies (work crews, goats, contractors, and machinery) the MWPA will fund efforts to reduce fuels and help to ensure that we are implementing the most cost-effective practices for fuel reduction on an ongoing basis.

  2. Wildfire Detection & Evacuation Program Improvements

    The MWPA will implement safety measures that will improve early wildfire detection, warning, and alerts and improve disaster evacuation routes for organized evacuation.

  3. Grants

    The MWPA will provide a local grant program to support residents with access and functional needs, seniors, and the financially disadvantaged to reduce the fire risk of their properties and the greater surrounding community. The MWPA will also seek grants and leverage local investments for wildfire prevention and disaster preparedness programs.

  4. Public Education

    The MWPA will provide expert information and assistance to help the public reduce the risk, prevent wildfires, and be prepared for potential disasters. Additionally, the MWPA will support FIRESafe MARIN community outreach efforts.

  5. Defensible Space Evaluations

    Funding will be allocated to expand and enhance defensible space home evaluations to ensure homes meet fire and building codes and education to reduce a home's vulnerability. The JPA could do this work with a shared service model or by the responsible fire agency.

  6. Local Wildfire Prevention Mitigation

    The MWPA will provide local funding to JPA members for specific local wildfire mitigation needs specific to their service area.

FIRESafe Marin

Marin has a premier FIRESafe Marin Council, a great resource to find out what is going on around preparation and prevention. We now have 69 nationally recognized FIREWISE USA neighborhoods in Marin. I am proud to say that ten are in District 1, Mont Marin San Rafael Park, Lucas Valley Homeowners Association, Glenwood, Loch Lomond Highlands, Meadow Oaks, Rafael Highlands, Sunny Oaks/Bayhills, Bayside Acres, Los Ranchitos and Dominican/Black Canyon.

Firewise neighborhoods collaborate to solve problems related to wildland fire protection, can obtain insurance discounts, and are positioned to apply for grant funding for wildfire safety and fuel mitigation. I encourage all residents to reach out to your homeowners' association for a presentation from FIRESafe Marin.

We all have a part to play in disaster preparedness, from maintaining firebreaks and defensible space around our homes to clearing gutters and dead vegetation to preparing an emergency kit and educating ourselves on how to react in an emergency. Defensible space saves lives and saves structures. You may have noticed that the juniper outside the Marin Civic Center campus was removed in 2019 to reduce fire risk.

We can all strive to:

  1. Harden homes to decrease structure ignitability, such as installing fire-resistant roofing, siding, vents, and dual-pane windows;
  2. Maintain defensible space around homes through responsible vegetation management practices including firescaping;
  3. Keep driveways and roads clear to ensure emergency vehicle access;
  4. Learn more, check out this video on How to Survive a Wildfire.

Be prepared and stay informed during a disaster. Alert Marin is the Marin County notification service. Landlines are automatically registered; cell phones are not. You can request notifications for multiple addresses (home, work, school). You need to register your cell phone number if you live, work, or go to school in Marin County. To register for Nixle, text your zip code to 888777. Alerts can be focused on a single zip code to the entire county.

Get to know your neighbors and exchange contact information. Know what neighbors might need assistance in evacuating or a check-in. Know your evacuation routes. Research shows that in the face of significant climate events like fire and flooding, neighborhoods where people know each other, look out for each other, have the lowest mortality rates, and recover more quickly.

Public Safety Power Shutoff

Public Safety Power Shutoffs are the electrical grid's de-energization to prevent wildfires during hazardous fire conditions, such as high wind events. In 2019, we shared the experience of public safety power shutoffs, and thankfully our community and safety network came together to ensure that our vulnerable residents were safe. For many, power shutoffs are an inconvenience, while power shutoffs carry a much steeper price for others. Students can't access online resources. Some businesses are financially stretched after losing refrigerated goods. The medically vulnerable must question if their medication will stay refrigerated and electric medical equipment will operate. In 2020 the Power Shutoffs were of a much smaller scale, which we understand is partly due to PG&E's infrastructure changes.

We continue to work with our County partners to build resiliency in our essential government operations to provide safety net services in the event of a disaster and future power shut off events. I am supporting efforts to hold PG&E accountable for costs associated with its de-energization events. Marin faces disproportionate risk given its geography. PG&E must harden its grid infrastructure, improve its redundancy and segmentation, and implement effective vegetation management to mitigate de-energization events and wildfire risk.

During the power shutoffs, almost 50% of Marin cell towers were down, leaving thousands without cell phone service. We are committed to finding solutions for communicating with our community in power shutoffs and emergencies. The County supports state legislation that would require backup power at cell phone towers in high-risk wildfire zones and establishes a means to warn customers when the backup power is low. Together, we are working towards clean, safe, and reliable energy for our communities, students, businesses, and our medically vulnerable residents through our legislative plan and County actions.

Green Microgrids

A group of local policy leaders have formed an Ad hoc Green Microgrid Solutions Policy Makers Group. We meet regularly with subject matter experts to support and encourage green microgrid projects in Marin. This is a topic that has attracted a lot of interest, and offers a path to meeting our climate and resiliency goals.

Fiscal Responsibility and Transparency

County Budget Overview

Thanks to prudent decision making in the past, the County has created a $27 million stabilization reserve to support a balanced and fiscally sound budget in economically turbulent times. In November 2020, the Board approved $7.8 million in budget reductions and the elimination of 22 vacant positions to address the $16 million General Fund Budget shortfall. In March 2021, improvements in the local and statewide economy and budget reductions have improved the fiscal forecast. As of the March 2021 budget hearing, the County is working to address a $6.7 million shortfall for FY 2021-22. The countywide fiscal impact due to COVID is unknown, but we expect to continue to see the effects of COVID in the years to come.

The unprecedented stimulus packages have provided a significant amount of one-time funds. The CARES Act, FEMA reimbursements, and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan have positioned the County to provide over $60 million in enhanced community services. The County expects to receive $50 million in direct federal allocations from the American Rescue Plan. Cities and towns will likely receive $36 million. I will continue to look to our partners, non-profits, community members, cities, and towns to maximize the use of one-time funds through this unique opportunity provided by federal stimulus funds.

Our County has made significant progress in our goals. I will continue to work to ensure our community's top priorities are addressed by investing in county infrastructure, improving fire safety and disaster preparedness, preserving affordable housing, supporting mental health and substance use services, and prioritizing climate change and race equity. As the County strives to be more responsive and adaptive, we will continue collaborating with local jurisdictions and our community partners to identify innovative solutions that improve county services.

We will continue to revisit the budget and priorities as needed to ensure that our budget matches the realities created by COVID. Preparations are underway for the next two-year budget, and we will hold public hearings in June 2021 to review each department's priorities and adopt the FY 2020-22 budget. Fiscal responsibility and government transparency are my overarching principles on all matters of County finances. I pay constant attention to paying down our unfunded retiree liabilities, ensuring that Marin taxpayers are fully engaged in the process, and that tax dollars align with taxpayer priorities.

Paying Down Our Unfunded Pension Liabilities

Paying down our significant unfunded pension liability continues to be a County priority. Since I have been in office, we have taken significant steps by paying down our unfunded retiree liabilities beyond our required contributions. Over the past 8 years, the County’s overall unfunded liability has been reduced by $280 million. The board established an OPEB Retiree Health Trust in 2012 for postemployment benefits such as retiree healthcare and it currently holds $145 million. Our pension funding ratio is at 86% and we are keeping a watchful eye. In 2020, MCERA Board of Directors voted to reduce long term earnings assumptions from 7.0% to 6.75%. This action added approximately $30 million to the County’s unfunded liability and will require the County to increase annual contribution by approximately $3 million per year.

We are following best practices for workforce contract negotiations and taking steps to ensure that the financial impacts of proposed benefits are fully understood and disclosed. Based on Grand Jury recommendations, the County has implemented new practices for calculating future obligations by requiring that cost analyses be publicly posted in connection with proposed collective bargaining agreements. I continue to work to ensure actions taken are fiscally sound, responsible and transparent.

Bolstering Reserves, Maintaining Balance and Keeping the Long View

The challenges, strains, and budget cuts of the Great Recession taught us the importance of being prepared. In recent years, we have strengthened county services' fiscal and operational stability by bolstering budget and pension stabilization funds.

The County budget is a dynamic list of real priorities. While we continually evaluate these priorities to align with Marin's' values and goals, we must always prepare as best we can for the future's inherent uncertainty by bolstering our various reserve funds and taking a measured approach to the County's finances.

As we respond to the economic turmoil attributed to COVID, we must keep in mind the long view. Major adverse economic events tend to occur every ten years. We will continue to learn, adapt, and improve our fiscal fortitude to prepare for the future.

Transparency, Accountability and Public Engagement

It is incumbent upon public agencies and officials to engage directly and actively with their constituents and taxpayers. Proactive problem solving and working relationships with County staff, the community, and strong partnerships with our cities and towns result in a more significant collective impact for our community. We're working on various community issues that support our countywide goals of healthy, safe, and sustainable communities while keeping a close eye on our County's fiscal health. I took a strong stand toward fiscal transparency by fighting to reform the "Community Service Fund." This program had previously come under considerable criticism from multiple Grand Juries and public members, referring to the fund as akin to a "slush fund" where individual supervisors could direct taxpayer funds to projects. Under reforms I spearheaded along with Supervisor Katie Rice, individual Supervisors no longer direct the program, are subject to an annual fiscal cap, and grants are subject to a transparent application process where projects are evaluated as part of a public hearing process.

We have also created a Nonprofit Community Partners application process for organizations seeking $10,000 to $40,0000 for one-time funding of projects or services that benefit Marin County residents but do not neatly fit into departmental spending. More information on these funds and the application process can be found on the County Administrator's webpage.

I will continue to keep the taxpayer's perspective and be a force within the County for promoting active, public engagement and transparency to strengthen the trust between local government and the people of Marin.

Land Use and Project Proposals

I believe that we need to take the right approach to development proposals in our community and that approach is centered around proactive community engagement and a complete flow of information on all proposed projects between applicants and the community. My job in representing the community's interests is to make sure that any proposal is viewed in the context of the cumulative impact on the entire area and not in isolation. To build a sense of community, we must develop communities together.

I've set up dedicated email lists for news and updates around development proposals that garner great community interest in District 1, and you can sign up to receive these updates here. You can also sign up for future updates on specific geographic areas from the Community Development Agency using the links below:

Buck's Landing Acquisition

We are pleased to welcome Buck's Landing into our County Parks family! The property provides boat access to Gallinas Creek and San Pablo Bay and is a quarter-mile from China Camp State Park's western edge. It contains wetlands on N. San Pedro Road's bayside and a forest on the road's upland side. There were multiple owners on the property, and the title issues took a while to iron out. Many in the community knew Buck's Landing for its boat storage and casual bar.

The County purchased the property for $1.6 million. County Parks secured a $500,000 grant from the State Coastal Conservancy's Climate Ready Program for the purchase. The balance will come from Measure A, a quarter-cent sales tax that provides funding for parks, open space, and farmland preservation. Thirteen percent of the funds raised by Measure A are set aside for land acquisition and easements.

As many of you know, parts of this property already flood at high tide, so the County plans to incorporate sea-level rise adaptation into the new facility. As part of County Parks, the mature salt marsh habitat and several undeveloped upland habitat acres will be protected. Gallinas Creek borders the Santa Venetia community. However, not everyone has access to the creek to launch a kayak or canoe. For many years, we have heard interest in having a public dock, where neighbors can quickly get out and enjoy the beauty of this incredible habitat. Access to the water is a crucial component of what makes this property special.

Community activists successfully fought development on Heron Hill, wanting to preserve it for its value as habitat. Now Heron Hill is connected to Bucks Landing's upland parcel, a long-time goal for the community.

The first step will include adding picnic tables and ADA parking. The next step will be developing a master plan for the site, working with community members to map out Bucks Landing's future.

I want to publicly acknowledge the dedicated members of the Santa Venetia community who advocated for this project for years and the anonymous members of your community who had the foresight to purchase this property. I also want to recognize the tremendous effort of our Marin County Parks, real estate staff, and County Counsel in securing this site for public use, and to the Coastal Conservancy for their grant, making this purchase possible. Finally, thanks to the public who supported Measure A, making purchases of important properties like this possible.

Marinwood Plaza

Since taking office, I have been engaged with both community members and current Plaza ownership to do everything that I can to facilitate a successful transition of the property from a dilapidated shopping center – with a stellar Marinwood Market – into a valued part of the Marinwood community that fulfills the property's potential.

I am involved in a community-led effort to clean up toxins left behind by a former dry cleaning business at the site. This includes advocacy before the State Regional Water Quality Control Board - the agency with jurisdiction - to pressure those responsible for the cleanup to complete the job. I am taking an active role on behalf of neighborhood interests in mediating between Plaza ownership, the community, and the Regional Water Board.

The goal is to set the stage for Plaza ownership to pursue a buyer of the property and transitioning it from an underutilized shopping center into a valued part of the Marinwood community that fulfills the property's great potential. We expect to see significant movement in 2021 toward the clean up. I will continue to be a leader in efforts to ensure that the community is involved and has a voice on any proposals that come forward. Just as we've worked to build public input and engagement into the cleanup process, we must take the same approach to plan for a successful project at the Plaza.

Looking ahead, we are well-positioned for several reasons and can use the lessons of past experience to our benefit. For example, we benefit from the "Marinwood Village Guiding Principles," developed by the community in 2005-06, which lays out a vision for a mixed-use project featuring community serving retail, a public gathering space, and housing with up to 50 percent affordability.

We remain in contact with the Plaza owners and will continue to play an active role in working with the community towards a project that is a valuable addition to the neighborhood - and something we can all be proud of.

Talus LLC

The Talus Reserve is in the undeveloped hillside at the end of Erin Drive, off Las Gallinas Avenue in San Rafael. Following is a bit of history about the project, and where we are now.

In 2005, the Oakview Master Plan was approved for subdivision of a 106.3-acre parcel into four parcels. First is the subject property, which Lafferty Communities has named the Talus Reserve. Second, named The Oaks, received approval in 2018 to develop an assisted living residence along the highway (we have not heard of any active plans to move forward with the construction at this time). Third, a parcel is reserved for Caltrans to build an intersection. Fourth, an open space parcel dedicated to the Marinwood Community Services District for ongoing public use.

In 2009, the Oakview Vesting Tentative Map and Precise Development Plan were approved. These plans authorized the Talus Reserve parcel to be subdivided and developed into 28 single-family homes located east of Ellen Drive on the undeveloped hillside. The decision is final, and the Tentative Map is now vested.

The 2009 approval did not include a tree removal permit. Jim Idleman, on behalf of Lafferty Communities, applied for a tree removal permit in 2020, which was granted in late 2020.

Rodef Sholom

Congregation Rodef Sholom synagogue. The project plans to demolish the existing 14,357 square foot synagogue and replace it with a new 23,317 square foot two-story building. Additional background information on this project can be found on the Congregation Rodef Sholom project page.

Grady Ranch

On June 23, 2015, the Marin County Community Development Agency responded to the Pre-Application filed for Grady Ranch in April 2015. Since then, there has been no further action in the application process.

Oakview

The Oaks project was approved in December of 2018, as a 126-unit senior living facility, with an additional five affordable housing units on 9.6 acres in Marinwood along the west side of Highway 101 between Lucas Valley and Miller Creek roads.

Education and Youth Empowerment

Our students have demonstrated perseverance through COVID and remote learning amidst historical challenges. COVID has cast a light on inequities, including the availability of reliable internet, access to a computer, and resources needed to succeed. We must close the achievement gap. During the 2020 Budget Hearings, and in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, I shared that "policies and practices may change, but they must be accompanied by the promotion of people of color throughout government, law enforcement, and society, in leadership, with political and economic power." I believe that partnering with our youth and leaders in education, including the Marin Promise Partnership, will help us close the achievement gap, the digital divide, and the equity gap.

The County of Marin is part of a new effort to develop a countywide strategic plan to address local internet access and digital equity gaps. The project, called Digital Marin, will look beyond infrastructure needs and identify opportunities for data sharing, efficiencies, resiliency, and digital service improvements.

The plan will outline projects and initiatives to help reach these goals:

  • Everyone has access to high-speed internet and knows how to use it;
  • Public agencies, nonprofits, and non-governmental organizations share data, where appropriate, to better serve our communities;
  • Opportunities are highlighted for more efficient, transparent, and customer-oriented cross-jurisdictional and cross-sector service delivery;
  • Marin has a resilient information network that can withstand disasters.
  • The pandemic has brought to the surface this long-standing issue of inequity, and I am pleased we are working together toward a solution.

As President of the Board of Supervisors in 2018, I committed to bringing youth voices into our Chambers. I invited youth to speak at the beginning of our Board of Supervisors meetings throughout the year. Youth are important in providing fresh ideas and shaping policy. We were fortunate to hear from youth from all over the County. Some spoke about their school, peer group, or our State. They spoke from personal experience and impressed us with how they grapple with discrimination, teen suicide and mental health, and other very personal challenges. These students humble and inspire us. I am excited to see them grow as individuals and leaders. In 2020, youth leaders throughout the County led civil protests to fight for social justice and continue pushing for change.

Our Youth Commission actively provides input on the Board's issues, including flavored tobacco, opioids, and mental health services access. Getting youth engaged in their government will help develop leaders who understand government and craft better policies. We have been fortunate to have strong young minds weigh in on equity, the environment, education, housing, mental health, and other community issues.

Our office hosts a number of interns each year. We have a Marin School of Environmental Leadership senior during the school year, participate in the Career Explorer program during the summer, and other high school and college students throughout the year. During the pandemic, one of our college interns wrote a Marin Voice about housing after spending time meeting with constituents and activists in our office. In 2021, I welcome people interested in public service to reach out for a meeting or a job shadow.

San Rafael City Schools and Miller Creek Elementary School quarterly meetings with the County and City of San Rafael

To ensure open communication and current information, I meet four times a year with the Superintendent and two Trustees from the San Rafael City Schools, the Superintendent and two Trustees from Miller Creek Elementary School, and the San Rafael Mayor and City Manager. We exchange information on developing issues, upcoming projects, and share ideas to address community concerns. Equity in our school system is a top priority.

San Rafael City Schools Facilities Master Planning

The San Rafael City School District is making capital improvements to our schools. We are actively supporting community engagement on behalf of both local students and the residents of District 1 neighborhoods as we work together for excellent school facilities. For information on where the process stands, click below.

San Rafael City Schools Master Facilities Plan

Other Links and Issues

Exploring Flood Insurance Options

In 2016, FEMA updated their maps for the risk of flooding. Simultaneously, the federal government changed its approach to subsidizing the cost of flood insurance to homeowners, and the cost of obtaining flood insurance went up significantly. Since most mortgage lenders require a homeowner to carry flood insurance in a FEMA designated flood zone, we recognized this as an area of vital concern to our constituents.

We hosted a very well-attended community meeting on April 12, 2016, to provide information on flood insurance for people who now find their homes within the FEMA updated maps for flooding risk. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was developed as a way for homeowners to access affordable flood insurance for those living in moderate-to-low risk areas as well as high-risk areas. You can find information on the program in the first bullet point below. The "Floodsmart" website will answer most of your questions and provide resources on where to go and who to contact to explore the most appropriate coverage for your home. If your lender does not require you to obtain your coverage through the NFIP, contact a private insurance agent to see if they place flood insurance policies with Lloyd's of London or another excess coverage company. Those companies may provide options not offered through the NFIP that are more attractive to your situation. Finally, elevating your house may provide you a longer-term strategy to address the risk of flooding as well as sea-level rise. The third link below has further information on this approach.

FEMA awarded the County $2.9 million for home elevation. This funding allows 16 homes to be raised above the projected flood level at the high-risk of natural disaster-based flooding. Depending on the projects' success under the pilot program, an ongoing home elevation assistance program could become a cost-effective tool to increase public safety, sustainability, and socioeconomic equity in Marin's communities. The ongoing program would target low to moderate-income homeowners and, in the case of rental properties, landlords would be required to lease to low to moderate-income tenants. You can read more about this funding in this home elevation press release.

Santa Venetia Neighborhood and the Santa Venetia Community Plan

We have a strong working relationship with the Santa Venetia Neighborhood Association and meet regularly with their leadership. A very dedicated community group worked with County staff to update the Community Plan for Santa Venetia. It was approved in 2017 and lauded by the County's Planning Commission. To learn more, see the links below.

Road and Trail Management Plan

The Road and Trail Management Plan (RTMP) is a designation process for the use of our trails and open space that relies on both a science-based approach and public input from all user groups. Trail designations aim to achieve three goals: reduce environmental impacts, improve visitor experience and safety for all users, and establish and maintain a sustainable system of roads and trails.

The trail designation process involves extensive public engagement to address Marin County Open Space District roads and trails' complex challenges. Several projects are now complete, and others are in the works. The project will reduce sedimentation into the watershed and maintain safe emergency access. These projects were funded by Measure A.

The Region 5 Road and Trail Designation consists of five preserves with 20 miles of roads and trails: Bald Hill, San Pedro Mountain, Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Divide, Santa Margarita Island, and Santa Venetia Marsh. A public meeting for Region 5 took place on August 25, 2018, at which time a map of the draft trail designations was presented, and the public provided input. The Region 5 map was approved, and the Springs hill Trail project in the Terra Linda Preserve has been completed, closing a trail gap. More projects on the table. You can learn more about Region 5 on the Marin County Parks Region 5 website. For questions or comments, please contact Jon Campo.

Medical Cannabis

A Medical Cannabis Ordinance in Marin County was approved by the Board of Supervisors in December 2017, regulating the sale of medical cannabis through delivery-only retail dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of Marin. The ordinance requires a retailer to be closed to the public and dispense medicinal cannabis exclusively by delivery. Retailers are located at least 600 feet from schools, day-care centers, youth centers and playgrounds and must be within industrial-zoned and office properties in addition to commercially zoned districts in the unincorporated area of the County.

The Board of Supervisors granted three of the four available Medicinal Cannabis Delivery-Only Licenses.

The County will not assess a local tax for medicinal cannabis retailers at this time, although retailers are required to collect state sales and excise taxes for medicinal cannabis sales in unincorporated Marin. All other medicinal cannabis commercial activities are prohibited in unincorporated Marin. Towns and cities create regulations in their own jurisdictions.

Learn more at www.marincounty.org/cannabis. The public is encouraged to register for emailed updates about the commercial cannabis program through its e-subscription service. You can subscribe to the webpage for updates.

McNears Beach Park Master Plan

Marin County Parks, guided by the 2017 McNears Beach Park Master Plan, is making improvements to McNears park. Thanks to Measure A, the entry road is improved, the pier foundation is repaired, new entry signage is installed, and hazardous trees were removed. In 2020, Marin County Parks replaced old and deteriorating site furnishings with new durable trash, recycling, and hot coal units, which now meet the County Integrated Pest Management (IPM) standards and ADA requirements. Next on the list of improvements is redesigning and paving the parking lot. The redesign will improve traffic flow and incorporate a low-impact design feature for stormwater runoff. You can look forward to additional improvements as funds become available in the future.

McInnis Park

McInnis Park has seen significant upgrades funded by Measure A, including new turf and irrigation at one of the softball fields, a new operations facility, resurfacing of the tennis courts (including striping for pickleball!), a new shade structure at the skatepark, marsh restoration planning, removal of several hazard trees and a new entrance sign. New trash and recycling receptacles have been installed throughout the park. You can see the McInnis Park Master Plan Update Image and take a look at the McInnis Park website for more information.

Integrated Pest Management

The County of Marin has an award-winning Integrated Pest Management Program, and I will continue to push towards using zero glyphosate in our Open Space. Here are a few highlights from the 2019 IPM Annual Report, zero use of glyphosate and rodenticide at all 147 sites, 131 sites successfully managed without pesticide, conventional and organic pesticide use decreased, and a remarkable 46,254 hours of labor by volunteers, staff, and contractors went into non-chemical IPM. County staff provided IPM-related workshops, training, and educational events throughout the year. You can learn more about the program on the Integrated Pest Management Program website.

Diverting Trash from the Waterway

Beyond being unsightly, trash pollutes Marin's waterways and is detrimental to the environment and wildlife. In April of 2015 the State of California adopted Statewide Trash Amendments, which require that trash greater than 5mm (size of a cigarette butt) be prevented from entering the storm drain system by 2030. More information is available on the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (MCSTOPP) website.

Community organizations and MCSTOPP members created Clean Marin. Removing trash from the environment is a complicated issue, and there is a wide spectrum of activities that the action teams are undertaking. Clean Marin action teams are working with volunteer programs and business programs, working on eliminating the source of litter and trash, cleaning highways, and education.

The Las Gallinas Lions Club "adopted" the Marinwood/101 freeway interchange in December of 2017. The Marinwood interchange is the first unincorporated Marin "Adopt-A-Spot" administered through the Marin County Storm Water program. The Lions are working with the County and Caltrans to keep the area clean. The Lions are also looking at adopting the Lucas Valley Road interchange.

One step in addressing litter and plastic pollution, is to reduce litter at it source. To this end, the County is developing a single-use plastic ordinance. Draft language has been posted, and staff continues to work on material for voluntary adoption by food facility operators. Work on the ordinance is temporarily on hold as restaurants navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. You can subscribe to updates on the following webpage:

https://www.marincounty.org/depts/cd/divisions/environmental-health-services/reusable-foodware-ordinance

I appreciate all the volunteers who are committed to keeping our neighborhoods and waterways clean. If you have questions or would like to participate or be supported in work you are currently doing to address litter, please contact my Aide, Mary Sackett.