March 27, 2013: S.R. & Umbrella Groups Monthly Meeting Notes

1. City Ordinance for Hazardous Tree Removal (Coalition of North SR Item)

Ray Lorber from the Coalition of North San Rafael presented a situation involving a hazardous tree on private property. Chief Bishop and the Mayor made it clear that this is a situation between private parties not something the City would be involved in.

2. SMART update by Matt Stevens, SMART Community Outreach Manager and Barbara Heller (City Item)
There is a website that provides information. There will be public outreach meetings. The Mayor said that there is a commitment by SMART to install quite zones throughout San Rafael. Next year there will be a series of meetings to discuss where people want quite zones. Smart is very reluctant to create new crossings. There is information on the web site — for example, SMART Construction Updates.

3. Sustainability Committee Update by Kate Conlin and Damon Connolly (SPRC Item)
The two Councilmembers talked about the large amount of work that the committee has been doing. They have formalized priorities and had them approved by the Council. Some of their highest priority objectives for 2013 are MSS refuse rate structure analysis and zero waste implementation, a ban on non-recyclable single-use bags, SMART rail planning, Pedestrian/Bike infrastructure., solar installation on parking garages and city buildings with a future goal to sell power to MEA, investigation of feasibility of a Climate Vulnerability Assessment (anticipated events such as sea level rise or increased fire risk) so the City can be proactive rather than reactive, updating and tracking of GHG (greenhouse gas) inventory. This committee has quarterly meetings with the public.

4. Safety in Our Parks update by Police Chief Diana Bishop and Lt. Dan Fink (Federation Item)
One piece of advice the Chief and the Lieutenant stressed was that the public needs to call the Police Department when they see something illegal. Perhaps Police will not even respond to the call because they have a huge territory to cover with a very limited number of officers. But all calls are logged. Lots of calls indicate that there is something wrong. The phone number is 415-485-3000 for non-emergency. Call 911 for emergency situations.

Specific parks were mentioned for concerns: Gerstle Park, Albert Park, Boyd Park and Beach Park.

Currently, we have an Open Space Ranger who works part time patrolling open space areas. He will become full time soon. This is a huge job that covers lots of territory.

Lt Fink addressed the problems of removing homeless from open space. There is a complicated procedure for this and it is very expensive to evict the homeless from parks and open space. Once evicted the Public Works Department is tasked with removal of debris that is left behind. This can be 30 tons or more of debris left behind. Also, Lt Fink mentioned the possibility of offenders being banned from park/s as a condition of parole.

Mayor Phillips mentioned that there are two concepts on the table to improve conditions. One is to use a Park Ranger and the other is a Park Patrol. At this time details are to be worked into a proposal. Hugo Landecker volunteered to help in this endeavor.

5, Discussion of a potential Sales Tax Measure was deferred due to lack of time. (City Item)

NOTE: Nancy Mackle announced that at the April 2nd City Council Meeting at 7 p.m. there would be a presentation on Speed Limit Policies. It would be good to watch the video on line if you missed the meeting since this affects speed limits on Point San Pedro Road.