During my past four years as District 2 Supervisor, I have worked closely with many of you on the issues and challenges that face our county. Below are some of the important issues we've tackled and priority areas I will continue to work on in my next term as Supervisor.
Attacking Traffic Congestion and Improving Transportation
Though Marin is a slow growth county, our traffic, both local and regional is on the rise. It is threatening our quality of life, impacting the environment, and challenging both our economy and mobility. Tackling traffic congestion will take a multi-pronged approach, and we are beginning to make some progress:
- Working closely with Marin Transit, the school district, parents and community leaders from Fairfax and San Anselmo, we launched the Ross Valley Yellow School Bus pilot in fall of 2015 aimed at reducing school related traffic in the upper Ross Valley. This pilot project is currently transporting 500 of White Hill’s Middle School’s 800 students by bus to and/or from school, removing upwards of 2000 car trips a day from crowded Sir Francis Drake.
- The challenges of regional traffic must also be addressed. One key problem is access to and capacity on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. That’s why I advocated for re-opening the third eastbound lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (coming in 2017) and pushed to include improvements to both East Sir Francis Drake and the 101/580 connection in San Rafael—both critical connectors to the bridge
- The community design process for the Sir Francis Drake Improvement Project was launched this year. I am working closely with community members, the school and business communities, and design team to improve this key roadway’s efficiency for auto and public transit as well as important pedestrian safety improvements particularly around schools. This project will tie into future work on East Sir Francis Drake aimed at improving traffic flow and access to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and increased through-put made possible with the opening of a third lane on the bridge.
Environmental and Open Space Protection
Growing up in Marin and having been raised by strong environmental advocates, I hold environmental protection and open space preservation as a top priority. These values are fundamental to what makes Marin the place we love.
- Through the efforts and partnership of the Marin Open Space Trust, Open Space District, towns of Fairfax and San Anselmo and many neighbors and local residents, I led the effort to acquire and permanently protect the 15 acre Sky Ranch. This exquisite property straddles the ridgeline above Fairfax and San Anselmo, adjacent to beautiful Bald Hill Preserve, providing trail connectivity to thousands of acres of open space lands.
- Under my leadership, the County of Marin declared its regional parks, playgrounds, and other park facilities and public buildings as “pesticide free” zones, and reinvigorated its commitment to work towards a “pesticide free” Marin through its proactive and progressive Integrated Pest Management program.
Addressing Community Housing Needs
- Under my leadership, the Board of Supervisors, took action to help acquire and preserve 27 units of affordable housing in Fairfax. In doing so, we not only ensured that existing affordable housing remains so in perpetuity, but also prevented the displacement of the 27 families living there. This project, along with others like it, highlights a new strategy taken by the board under my leadership to address community housing needs and the loss of affordable housing utilizing the existing residential footprint rather than new development.
Improving Public Health
- This past year, I championed adoption of Marin’s “Prescription Drug Take-Back” ordinance which requires drug companies to fund and implement prescription drug take-back locations throughout Marin. This innovative program will help to reduce access to prescription drugs helping to prevent overdose and protecting our environment and wildlife by keeping discarded medicine from ending up in local water supplies.
- I also championed the Board of Supervisors' stand on the importance of strong immunization requirements as a matter of community health, and we did. Our focus on the importance of vaccinations is already paying off, improving our overall “herd immunity” and reducing the risk of serious disease for children and the most vulnerable in our community.
Flood and Fire Prevention
- As Chair of FIRESafe MARIN, I helped to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in fire prevention grants for the county. Those funds went to neighborhood and community fire-fuel reduction projects, chipper days, vegetation management planning, and, last but not least, a state of the art fire-detection camera system strategically mounted on our highest “peaks” throughout the county.
- I also led efforts to secure over $30 million in state and federal funds to address flooding in the Ross Valley. I have worked closely with many communities on real solutions to this looming problem. This is a watershed-wide issue that the entire Ross Valley community must work to address. It’s vital that we reduce our flood risk and prevent another major flood like the one we had in 2005.
Homelessness is a serious problem here in Marin and beyond, and no more visibly than on the streets of San Rafael. Addressing homelessness has been and will continue to be a top priority for me. Under my leadership, the county has stepped up its efforts, including:
- Partnering with the City of San Rafael to fund the Downtown Streets Team, launching a three year housing and services program for chronic alcoholics; taking the lead and funding the relocation of the 26-bed Helen Vine drug and alcohol treatment facility, and working with the Faith community to establish a permanent site for the REST winter emergency shelter program.
- Allocating funding to increase capacity in full-service mental health partnership programs (services and housing support) serving the most seriously mentally ill, and launching a targeted, multidisciplinary outreach effort aimed at getting chronically homeless into housing and services.