Challenging TImes

Supervisor Katie Rice 

Challenging Times

We are six months into a pandemic with all its economic, social, and health impacts. We are months into a nationwide intervention forcing us to come to grips with our longstanding societal ill – structural, systemic racism and the inequity, disparity, injustice it has wrought. We are facing a fierce and early start to wildfire season, undoubtedly exacerbated by climate change, as are the extreme weather events seen around the world, the increasing frequency of drought, and the sea level rise here at home.


With a wildfire in our backyard our attention will naturally turn to fire prevention and emergency preparedness. And that is good. But as we do so, it is critically important that we stay vigilant in our fight against COVID, stay committed to addressing structural, cultural racism, and accelerate efforts to combat climate change. The challenges we face today do not have quick or easy fixes. Surmounting them requires personal action, collective commitment, a recognition of our responsibility to each other and to future generations.


Bottom line, it’s a lot. And at times feels overwhelming. But good work is happening on all fronts. Progress is being made. Contact my office if you are looking for information, suggestions or direction for your own work or would like to get involved in a larger effort. We’d be happy to link you with resources or connect you with an organization in a specific area of interest. Additionally, I encourage you to check out the Board of Supervisors’ agenda for upcoming meetings. On a weekly basis, the Board is discussing or taking action on items directly or indirectly related to any one of the issues above. Share your opinion, perspective, questions or concerns on any item. I want to hear from you. Till then, take care, mask-up, reach out if you need help or to help another.


Katie Rice Signature


Woodward Fire

My deepest gratitude to our local men and women on the fire lines and the many more who have come from across the state and beyond with Cal Fire and the National Park Service to battle the Woodward Fire and to support the evacuation response.


As of today, August 28, the Woodward fire in Pt. Reyes National Seashore has burned nearly 3,000 acres and resulted in evacuation warnings for much of West Marin from Bolinas to Pt. Reyes Station and an evacuation order for residents in the Olema area. Even with the marine layer settling in on the coast, this fire will likely continue to burn for at least another week and has the potential for flare ups as weather conditions change. You can check on the status of the Woodward fire and get daily updates via zoom/online on the incident management page. Here is the Aug 27 update. You can also track the Woodward fire on the current fire map.


While the Woodward fire burns (along with the wildfires in and around the greater bay area) we can expect to have continuing poor air quality including repeats of the extremely unhealthy air nearly all of Marin has experienced at some point since the fires started. Really important for everyone, especially those with respiratory, cardiovascular, or other underlying medical conditions to pay attention to air quality conditions and adhere to public health guidance in terms of moderating your activities. For air quality information during the fire event, the website provides real time readings down to the neighborhood level. Go to the County’s public health website for health advisories.

FIRESafe MARIN continues to be the best “go to” resource for information about reducing fire risk at your own home. Check out the “how to survive a wildfire” webinar put on by FIRESafe earlier this week. Finally, if you have not registered with (or aren’t sure), do it now! Alert Marin is the emergency notification system that will be used for direct notification to residents (by call, text, email, smartphone) to communicate emergency warnings and provide direction for action. For more emergency preparedness resources visit the Marin County Emergency Preparedness webpage.

COVID Update

Good news! Progress in flattening the local COVID-19 curve combined with high testing rates may allow Marin County to advance in the State of California’s new tiered rating system designed to safely pace counties through reopening. Marin’s status within the new framework means local hair salons, barbershops, along with indoor malls (at 25% capacity) can reopen indoor operations beginning Monday, August 31.


Across the board our numbers for new covid infections, hospitalizations, and mortality rate continue to go down and we are close to meeting state standards required to get off the Watch List, which the state is now evolving to a 4-tier reopening framework. To help residents better understand and track our progress, Public Health has created a new dashboard to align Marin’s numbers with the state’s monitoring metrics. These metrics are the indicators for getting off the Watch List. They are: Number of new cases; testing rate, percent positivity, hospitalizations, and ICU bed availability. Go to new dashboard to see where we stand today. You can also see a map of the statewide watch list with metrics from all counties in the State.


Marin County’s COVID-19 declining case rates has allowed for Marin County Public Health to reopen local hotels, motels, and short-term rentals to tourism-based businesses and clients (please note that we do ask that visitors avoid West Marin currently due to the fire situation). The guidelines for businesses are now online. We’ve now moved as far as we can into reopening while on state’s monitoring list. Go to the Marin Recovers reopening status page to view what business sectors are currently open.


Read the recent press release to learn more about the State’s new tiered system and what it means for Marin.


Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Renaming Update

In response to the range of comments, questions, varying historical accounts coming out of the June 26 listening session, the ad hoc elected group (including electeds from Larkspur, Ross, Fairfax, San Anselmo) partnered with the Marin County Free Library (MCFL) to host a learning session. The Forum, held on August 17th via zoom and streamed on facebook live, provided perspective and historical account on Drake the man, SFD the road, and the Coast Miwok people. The session was recorded and is available in English and Spanish along with a growing resource list being developed by Marin County Free Library on the MCFL resource page dedicated specifically to this subject. Also see Marin IJ article Sunday, August 23.


Since June, we have received nearly 500 comments on the potential renaming of SFD Blvd. via email. The listening session drew over 300 viewers/participants and the learning session drew about 200 (Zoom data). Please note both these sessions were also available through CMCMtv, Novato TV, and FB Live so numbers are greater than Zoom data reported.

As a next step, the managers’ steering committee, comprised of town managers from the four jurisdictions, will be overseeing basic research on the cost, process and other questions for agencies and business/property owners along SFD Blvd. The report is expected out by late October/early November.


Great Plates

I’m happy to share that the Board of Supervisors authorized approval for budget appropriations to renew the Great Plates program that links local restaurants with qualifying older adults for free, restaurant prepared meals. Program participants receive three free restaurant meals a day, five days per week. Local restaurants developed modified menus to meet nutritional guidelines and cost requirements.


Great Plates is a State program that counties can opt into but must be administered and support by the local agency. The county piloted the program in July. The state re-ups the program every thirty days, and at the Board’s request, Health & Human Services applied for reinstatement for the September program. The same 717 residents who were registered for the program earlier in the summer will be automatically reinstated to the program for the September program which will begin on Sept 8.


To qualify, the applicants must be:

  • Individuals who are 65 or older, or 60-64 and at high-risk as defined by the Centers for Disease Control, including those who are medically documented as COVID-19 positive, COVID-19 exposed, or living with an underlying health condition;
  • Individuals living alone or with one other program-eligible adult;
  • Individuals not receiving assistance from other state or federal nutrition assistance programs;
  • Individuals earning no more than 600% of the federal poverty limit, which is $74,940 or $101,460 for a household of two;
  • Individuals who can affirm an inability to prepare or obtain meals.
  • While expansion of Marin Great Plates to new recipients is not possible at this time, other resources are available to needy residents via the HHS’ Information and Assistance Line, (415) 473-INFO or Community Resource Guide.

Big thanks to Health & Human Services for continuing this program. You can read more in this press release


Contact Info:

Supervisor Katie Rice



District 2 Aides:

Nancy Vernon



Jen Gauna