October 15, 2020

Supervisor Katie Rice 

October 15, 2020

Living with Fire

Our hearts go out to our neighbors in Napa and Sonoma in the wake of the Glass Fire. Once again, hundreds of homes lost, tens of thousands of acres burned, widespread evacuations and the disruption to personal lives and entire communities for weeks on end. The spread of the Glass Fire and damage it caused tell a familiar story: the weather components -- extreme heat, low-humidity and high winds (all exacerbated by climate change) -- are the “natural” variables so conducive to fire. Combine them with the man-made variables – decades of fire suppression in forest/open space lands creating a ready fuel-load for wildfire, and a built environment encroaching ever further and more densely into the wildland urban interface. Add one spark and fire takes off.

We are in the middle of fire season, and it is scary. But there are some glimmers of hope per our ability to manage wildfire season in years and decades to come. For what the Glass Fire is showing us, as did the Kincade last year, is that prevention and preparation make an enormous difference in the face of wildfire. Wise landscaping, defensible space, home hardening measures – each has a role to play in making a home less likely to catch fire. Combine same with proactive emergency communication and residents heeding evacuation orders and firefighters can focus their efforts on saving homes and protecting property.

It’s only a matter of time before we have our own version of the Glass Fire here in Marin. Hence the importance of doing all we can to reduce risk, be prepared, and do so at community-wide scale. Measure C, approved by voters in March 2020 established the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA) to fund a countywide, comprehensive wildfire prevention and preparedness program. The agency is up and running as of July 1. Learn about the work already initiated and plans for moving forward at MWPA’s website. Go to FIRESafe MARIN (already under contract with the Wildfire Prevention Authority to provide property owner education, chipper days, etc.) for resources and help with your defensible space and home-hardening work.

Finally, as we enter another Red flag period, please, please, please register with www.alertmarin.org for emergency notifications. Nixle too. Make sure you have a plan for you, your family and pets, a “go bag” packed, and a full tank of gas or battery charge.

Cautiously Optimistic – Kudos to Community on COVID response

As stated by Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer, “We’ve made a lot of progress, and this gives us more choices as residents. But more freedom also brings more risk.” Indeed, as of this week, we are on the cusp of moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3 (Red to Orange) per the State’s “Blueprint for a safe Economy” . Even as more business sectors have opened and general economic activity increasing, we are continuing to see infection rate inch downward down, fewer overall cases, and fewer hospitalizations.

Sharing here the latest update on the status of COVID in Marin as provided by Dr. Willis at this week’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting. In this update he covers general numbers, provides information on school openings, and more. His bottom line message, and mine to you as well: “We know what we need to do to keep this virus in check – in concert with having robust testing, contact tracing, quarantine support, and a proactive education program in place -- it mostly comes down to personal behavior. Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep your distance. We can do it!”

Complete Your 2020 Census – Today is the Deadline!

On October 13, the Supreme Court ruled to allow the Trump administration to end the Census count by end of day, October 15. If you have not filled out your form, NOW is the time. Traditionally, the go-to method for getting folks to fill out their Census is through door-to door knocking. But with COVID, census workers have had to resort mostly to virtual outreach. The effort has been mighty. To date, roughly 76% of households have responded – up nearly 4% from 2010 – but so many left to count.

So, asking you to help in any way you can. The Census will inform funding for programs from healthcare to emergency services to school nutrition programs and much much more for the next ten years!

THE TIME IS NOW. COMPLETE YOUR 2020 CENSUS TODAY by online, phone or mail. Visit www.MY2020CENSUS.GOV or call 844-330-2020 for English and 844-468-2020 for Spanish. Click on graphic below for more info and inspiration.


It’s Time…To Vote!

The November 3 General Election is just weeks away—but you don’t have to wait until Election day to exercise your right to vote. All registered voters in Marin County have been mailed a mail-in ballot this week. If you have not, please contact the registrar of voters at 415-473-6456. Once you have your ballot, fill it out and send it in using postage paid mail-in ballot envelope. You can mail through the postal service or drop in one of the drop box locations across the County. In-person voting is still an option, but with a few changes: Polling places will be open October 31, November 1, and November 2 for eight hours per day plus from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on November 3. Important note: There will be 29 polling locations distributed throughout the county, vs. the 89 typical for a General Election.


Visit the Marin County Elections Department webpage for more information and go to California Voter Guide for analysis on state propositions. Also check out the Local Elections website for information on local measures.


Not sure you’re registered to vote? Check your status at: registertovote.ca.gov. If you’ve moved, register or update your address at: registertovote.ca.gov. The deadline to register to vote is October 19. After that, call the Elections Department at (415) 473-6456 for options.

Upgrade the Drake – What’s with the Post and Cable Fencing?

Some questions coming in from Ross Valley residents noticing the new post and cable fencing along portions of SFD Blvd. Read below for answers to the most common questions. Go to http://www.upgradethedrake.com/faqs/ for more information on Upgrade the Drake and to subscribe for updates.

Why is the metal guard rail being replaced?

In the late 1960’s, the County installed metal guardrails along one mile of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, between Wolfe Grade and Eliseo Drive. At that time, guardrails were the standard option. As part of the 2020 Upgrade the Drake project, the County and project team reviewed existing conditions along the 2.2-mile stretch of the corridor. Based upon current Caltrans standards, the County determined the guardrail was unnecessary, potentially a hazard for users of the multi-use path, except for a segment between Wolfe Grade and Manor Road where the guardrail will remain in place.

Why Post and Cable Fencing?

The existing guardrail along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard has been replaced with a 44-inch tall post and cable fence, except for the segment mentioned above. By removing the guardrail along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, the County can install new fencing 18-inches away from the curb to provide an additional buffer between motorists and pedestrians/bicyclists.

The new fencing is taller than the guardrail, reducing chances of pedestrians or bicyclists falling into the roadway. Additionally, this improvement allows for wider sidewalks throughout the corridor, making it easier for those walking and biking to travel. A comparable post and cable fencing is located on Camino Alto near Mill Valley Middle School, in the City of Mill Valley.

Along with the new fencing, the County will also stripe a six-inch wide fog line at the edge of vehicle lanes. Fog lines at the edge of the travel lanes clearly mark the separation between travel lanes and shoulder areas.

Why Guardrail Between Wolfe Grade and Manor Road?

Guardrails are installed on roadways when there is a large, fixed object that vehicles could potentially hit. The pedestrian overcrossing at this location of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard is an example of a fixed object; the guardrail in front of it protects drivers from running into the overcrossing’s concrete column. This section of guardrail will also remain for the following other reasons: the pedestrian overcrossing regularly serves high levels of foot traffic; there is a history of vehicle crashes at this location; there is a curve in the road between Wolfe Grade and Manor Road; and there is a lack of shoulder at the left turn lane onto Wolfe Grade.


Contact Info:

Supervisor Katie Rice





District 2 Aides:

Nancy Vernon




Jen Gauna