The Mayor's Week in Review: Jan. 7-13

Andy Berman, Mill Valley's Mayor, writes his weekly review, with some inside news, reminders and reflections, and whatever else comes to mind.

Welcome back. 

What strikes me so far about 2013 is that, notwithstanding my personal goals (using a new General Plan as a vehicle to preserve town character, pension reform, and safety), “safety” as an issue seems to be rising to the top. I did not expect that, but that’s just fine. It’s risen organically. So I wanted first to provide a few more thoughts on safety:

Burglaries:  Last week I wrote a bit about rising crime in the County. Well, I learned more over the week, including about two burglaries right here in Mill Valley. As one friend put it:  “economy troubled, crime up.” Indeed, we are not immune. There are, however, a few lessons here:

  • Stay aware:  Watch your neighborhood, report suspicious activity, and lock your doors. Don't panic – Mill Valley’s still a wonderful place, but don't invite activity by making it easy. 
  • Know what you own: Almost every time we investigate a home burglary the victim says “I don’t even remember what I had in that drawer” or “I didn’t realize I had so many things.” Know your possessions! Keep lists of important items and document the really important stuff with a photo, appraisal, or even a drawing.   
  • Mark your goods:  Here’s a simple example: sometimes found bikes get turned into the Police. We often have difficulty returning them to their rightful owners because there’s no way to know who they belong to, or an individual can’t prove it’s actually theirs. Mark your goods, record serial numbers for important items in a safe place, and backup the information on your computers or a secure website.
  • Documentation: We located a website from the Insurance Information Institute which may be helpful in assisting you in documenting personal possessions in case of theft or major damage to your home. This website allows people to store the documentation of property on a password protected website in case your home is not accessible after a disaster.   

Sandy Hook Elementary School: The tragedy in this lovely small town in my home state has no doubt heightened the safety issue nationwide, and sparked a fresh gun debate. Several people have asked about providing support to the Sandy Hook Elementary School community. Here are two contact points: 

  • Cards and condolences: Sandy Hook Elementary School, 12 Dickinson Drive, Sandy Hook, CT 06482 

Gun “buy-back” program: I announced last week that I am supporting this initiative and this week I am pleased to say that the city is too. I strongly endorse this program, along with all of Marin's police departments, the Marin County Sheriff, Marin County's Superintendent of Schools, the Board of Supervisors, other local Mayors, and California's Attorney General. This is a "no questions asked" approach with the emphasis on reducing the number of firearms in our community.  The dates for the program are January 15 and 21, and the location on January 21 is here in Mill Valley at the Public Safety Building at 1 Hamilton Drive. 

Evacuation Drill: Mark your calendars: this year’s drill will be on May 4, 2013 and will focus on my neighborhood – identified for the drill exercise as the “Edgewood Structure Protection Group,” an area that is part of our countywide disaster Threat Zone. This year we will train for a wild-land based scenario. We have established a design team for the drill, including Mill Valley Fire and Police as well as Marin County Fire and Southern Marin Fire.  

But there’s more: 

What will it be like without Rick Misuraca? The word is out – yes, Rick Misuraca is retiring, after years of pouring his heart and soul into the landscape of Mill Valley. Our community has been enriched by his spirit and work. I’m still trying to come to grips with his decision. For now suffice it to say that it’s been a true privilege and honor to have him touch our lives.  More to come on this one as the path unfolds.

General Plan: We have a GPAC (General Plan Advisory Committee) meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 15 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. The main item on the agenda will be the continued review of the Housing Element goals, policies and programs. The GPAC will meet again on Thursday, January 24 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM in the Council Chambers for a final review of the Community Vitality, Arts and Culture, Natural Environment and Mobility goals, policies and programs based on the GPAC’s initial review and comments. The final revisions of those goals, policies and program statements will then be incorporated into the first draft of our new General Plan document. 

And finally . . . how about those 49ers? That’ll be Wisconsin cheddar on my bacon cheeseburger, thank you. 

My very best to you all.  


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