Highlights of the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ Recent Meeting

County of Marin - Supervisor Sears

Current Board Actions and Issues

Highlights of the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ Recent Agenda


Previews & Reviews:  Board Meeting Highlights

Courtesy of Supervisor Kate Sears, the following provides a list of selected highlights from the most recent Board meeting and is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the meeting’s agenda. 

The last Board of Supervisors’ meeting of 2012 was held this week on Tuesday, December 18th. The next Board meeting will be Tuesday, January 8th, and that agenda will be posted on the Thursday prior, January 3rd. Please go to the Cyberagenda for a complete archive of agendas, meeting videos, and staff reports, as well as other attachments.

I want to take this moment to thank all of you for your support and wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.

Review:  Board Meeting Highlights of December 18th  

The Shooting Tragedy in Connecticut/Marin’s Response

Pension Reform Update

January 26th: Alert Marin Day


The Shooting Tragedy in Connecticut and Marin’s Response:


Each Supervisor spoke eloquently about the tragedy that occurred last Friday. Below are my comments, followed by an update on the gun buy-back program proposed by District Attorney Ed Berberian and endorsed by me and my colleagues:


­Guns, Values and Mental Health

                                    ~ Kate Sears


Last week’s murder of 20 first graders and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut happened three days after a gunman shot up a mall in Oregon, and in the same year as fatal mass shootings in Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Tulsa, in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, at a suburban Milwaukee spa, in a school cafeteria in Ohio, a funeral home in Florida, a soccer game in Delaware, at a health spa in Georgia, at Texas A&M University, in a theater in Colorado, in a coffee bar in Seattle, and at a college in Oakland. In 2011, Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head in a mass shooting in Arizona.


At one level, this is all about guns – access to guns and the ever-increasing firepower of guns. It is also about our values.

Gail Collins, in a recent column in the New York Times, had this to say:

“America needs to tackle gun violence because we need to redefine who we are. We have come to regard ourselves – and the world has come to regard us – as a country that’s so gun happy that the right to traffic freely in the most obscene quantities of weapons is regarded as far more precious than an American’s right to health care or a good education. We have to make ourselves better.”


I couldn’t agree more. It is time to take action, to make ourselves better by taking better care of each other.

Dianne Feinstein, one of the original authors of the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, is working on new legislation, to be introduced the first day of the new Congress in January, that will not only ban assault weapons but also will ban big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets.

Elliot Spitzer suggests controlling the sale of bullets – making illegal the sale of bullets to anybody not licensed to carry a gun, making bullet resale illegal, and micro-stamping bullets so they can be traced.

Others suggest better controls over online gun sales or gun buy-back programs such as those recently conducted in San Francisco and Oakland.

These are all good ideas.

But we must also address the mental health issues that find an outlet in mass violence. We need to make sure troubled kids are identified and actions taken to address their issues. We must ensure that teachers are trained to recognize the signs of emotional and mental disturbance and know who to alert. We also must make sure that the necessary services and support exists so our kids get the help they need.

This requires not only a special school – law enforcement relationship but also a significant and ongoing commitment to wrap-around mental, educational, social and health services for troubled youth and their families.

And looking more broadly, we have a culture permeated by violence as entertainment, through movies and online gaming.

Which brings me back to guns.

I strongly support District Attorney Ed Berberian’s suggestion for a gun take-back program on January 15, 2013. This is a positive first step.

But we cannot stop there. I urge our Board to support legislation that bans assault weapons and multi-bullet clips. I also hope that we will commit to support enhanced mental health training and wrap-around services for troubled youth and their families. And more specifically, I believe we should find the means to fund more resource officers for the Sheriff’s Department to staff our local schools.


District Attorney Ed Berberian’s Gun Take-Back/Buy-Back Proposal

On January 15th, 2013, the day set aside to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his determined approach to effect change through non-violent actions, the District Attorney’s office, in coordination with the Sheriff and Marin’s Police Chiefs, will be conducting a Countywide Gun Take-Back/Buy-Back Program. The details of the program will be forthcoming in the next couple of weeks. This is not merely a symbolic gesture and there is much more to be done in our community besides reducing the number of available guns, but I urge everyone to discuss this with your family, friends and neighbors, and make the commitment to turn in these firearms.

The Marin Community Foundation has pledged $10,000 to support this. The public is also invited and encouraged to make tax-deductible donations towards this effort. Please make checks payable to “Marin County District Attorney” with a notation for the Gun Buy-Back Program and mail to County of Marin, Attn: Janice Hughes, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 130, San Rafael, CA 94903. Thank you for your consideration of this initiative.


Pension Reform Update:


The Board adopted the County Administrator’s proposal to develop a “hybrid approach” option for new employees that will allow more flexibility and portability for the employees, share investment risk and reduce costs to the County. The Board has already paid down $32 million of its pension liability and authorized using the local savings from statewide pension reform towards paying down the County's pension liabilities, as well as funds from future savings resulting from Marin’s own reform efforts. It is estimated that annual savings could be $1 million by Year Five, with cumulative savings over time being much higher.

Need more information? See the report on pension reform.


January 26th: Alert Marin Day


At the request of Supervisor Adams, the Board adopted a resolution proclaiming Saturday, January 26th “Alert Marin Day”. The Office of Emergency Services, in partnership with all 11 cities, will begin registering cell phone numbers of County residents and business owners as part of the Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS).

Register your phone number(s) so that you can be called in the event of an emergency that directly affects you, such as imminent flooding, fire, and other natural and made-made emergencies in your neighborhood, at your children’s schools, or your place of business. Please visit www.alertmarin.org for more information and to sign up for this critically valuable service. If you or people you know do not have access to a computer, please use computers located at all libraries.


Need more info? See the Resolution on Alert Marin Day