Are you ever too busy to think?
I was having a touch of writer’s block going into the weekend and then it dawned on my why this was: I was too busy this past week with city stuff to even have time to let information flow freely, and simply sit back and think! I had 13 hours of city meetings this past week, and at least that many in “prep” time for the “actual” meetings (gosh I hope my boss isn’t reading this :)). So obviously I need to share with you what’s been keeping me so occupied:
Boards & Commission Appointments:
We’ve spent lots and lots of time interviewing and evaluating candidates for our various boards and commissions. Most folks don’t realize that the city Council makes very few appointments/hires. We hire two people (our city Manager and City Attorney), and after that we appoint members to our boards and commissions. Because of their impact on setting the “tone” for the City and our policy/direction, these unquestionably are some of the most important decisions we make. This year, we start with a big Hooray! for the fact we had well over 50 applicants for just a few slots, and we are very proud to appoint the following people:
- Commission on Aging: Anita Garner
- Library Board of Trustees: Bill Lampl, Heather Young
- Art Commission: Ian Day, Joseph Rokovich, Owen Prell
- Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee: David Griffis, Carter Zinn, Elisabeth Thomas-Matej, Bob Gordon
- Emergency Preparedness Commission: Michael Jacobs, John Poulson
- Parks & Recreation Commission: Doug Nelson, Loren Quaglieri, Suzanne Bohan, Kirk Knauer
- Planning Commission: Rick Capretta, Chris Skelton
This is a great group and we are going to be honoring them (along with current and outgoing members) this Thursday at our annual dinner. Do not be discouraged if you were not selected – again, given that we had many more people apply than could be appointed, we had to make some very tough decisions.
Land Use / Planning:
We spent a great deal of time this week looking at some very big work the Planning Commission has done over the past year: amendments to our floor area ratio (“FAR”) code, basements, and second units. These are never easy issues, and after a long hearing we gave additional direction to staff, and the topics are coming back to us for more discussion, but I encourage anyone interested in these topics to weigh in now. The Council’s message to Staff is that we will continue to define FAR as has been done in the past (with some language clean up), allow basements (but count some portion towards FAR), and continue encouraging second units (with some parameters that help establish that they will, in fact, be used as such). Great work by the Planning Commission getting us to this point.
The Chamber of Commerce:
We spent a lot of time digging into our professional services agreement with The Chamber. The net/net here is that things are moving in the right direction, but nobody is resting on the work to date. We want to continue to work closely with The Chamber to help it become valuable to Mill Valley and more businesses.
The Community Media Center of Marin (“CMCM”):
Do you even know what this entity is? How about this: do you enjoy watching local meetings and other local programming on cable TV? If so, thank the CMCM for this. I chair the Marin Telecommunications Agency (MTA). The MTA created the CMCM, a 501(c)3 that operates our local public, educational and government programming found on cable TV. The MTA is in the midst of negotiating a new distribution Agreement with the CMCM to continue its work. If you like what you see on TV, then let us know and of course, support the CMCM in any way you can.
Let’s see – what else . . .
Downtown (Plaza) restroom: You asked, so we’re working on it. We've commenced the feasibility efforts for the downtown restroom, and are evaluating sites and design options too. We’re going to run these by the Parks & Recreation Commission for feedback, then go for more public input before bringing a recommendation to Council.
Draft Housing Element: Our Draft 2009-2014 Housing Element is now available for public review and can be either read or downloaded from the City’s MV 2040 web page. This document represents a ton of work from our General Plan process.
The Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin (SASM) is gearing up for its annual board retreat. Stay tuned for the date – and yours truly will surely be there representing Mill Valley (I am the Board’s Vice President).
General Fund budget: Our last quarterly report showed revenues above Plan and expenses below Plan. That feels a lot better than ... the opposite.
High Tides for March: I strongly encourage residents in low-lying areas to prepare for the rainy season and all upcoming high tide events. Click here to check the tides.
Art Commission Meeting: March 12 at 7 p.m. in the upstairs conference room at City Hall.
GET READY Class: March 14 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Strawberry Recreation Center. For those of you who don’t know, GET READY is a free 1-1/2 hour class sponsored by the Mill Valley and Southern Marin Fire Departments that teaches you how to prepare your home and family for all types of emergencies. To sign up call 380-1105 or email email@example.com.
Library Board of Trustees Meeting: March 14 at 7:00 PM at the Library. This Board is responsible for overseeing the long range planning for the Library, setting policy, providing necessary support for the effective operation of the Friends of the Library and Library Foundation, serving as a liaison between the Library and the City Council and the public, and also undertakes projects and programs that promote the Library’s health and welfare.
Friends of the Library Book Sale: March 16 from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. in the Peter Dreyfus Garden.
Councilmember's Table on the Plaza: March 16 from 10 a.m. – Noon on the Plaza.
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I hope you are not too busy to think this week. If you find that you are, take a step back ... and as Barbara is fond of saying: find your breath.