Please note:  City Hall and most departments/facilities will be closed from December 23rd through January 2nd. We will resume all services on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

Snapshot — Homelessness Update, SB9 Guidance, Commission Openings, and More!!!

Posted on December 16, 2021


San Rafael Police Department boat carries the San Rafael City Council in 2021 Lighted Boat Parade
Snapshot – de parte del Gerente de la Ciudad de San Rafael

Spotlight Photo

CAPTION: San Rafael Police Department boat carries the San Rafael City Council in 2021 Lighted Boat Parade

PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Schutz, City Manager 

Last Quiz Question

Congrats to Sallee Taaffe for being the first to correctly respond to our mystery quiz in the last Snapshot. The question was “When was the first official lighted boat parade ceremony held in the San Rafael Canal?” The correct answer was 1966! The Lighted Boat Parade is a Marin County holiday tradition that has been celebrated for 55 years. Be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s parade. Congratulations Sallee and thanks for reading Snapshot!

Scroll down for this week’s quiz and be the first to answer.

San Rafael City News

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones. This will be the last Snapshot of 2021, but we will be back in 2022 with plenty more updates and announcements about your community. Thank you so much for reading Snapshot this past year, and here is how you can share it with your friends so they can subscribe as well. It is free of charge and makes a great stocking stuffer! Well, virtual stockings anyway!

Reminder, City administrative offices and facilities will be closed from Friday, December 24 through Friday, December 31. Offices will reopen on Monday, January 3. Police, fire, and paramedic services will be fully staffed with 9-1-1 emergency service continuing to dispatch calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Public Works and Sanitation District crews will be staffed and monitoring emergency maintenance requests. You can find more information on Holiday Hours here.   


Homelessness Update 

At the upcoming City Council meeting on December 20, the City Council will hear an update on homelessness in San Rafael. The report will include homelessness response and services through 2021, including City initiatives to offer immediate shelter and wraparound services to people experiencing homelessness in the City, as well as long term initiatives to secure funding and resources for permanent supportive housing. The report includes recent updates including the hiring of a Homeless Program Manager and the most recent data on chronic, veteran, and family homelessness in Marin County.  

For more information on the City’s homelessness response strategy, click here. 


Interim Guidance and Direction on Senate Bill 9   

California’s recently passed Senate Bill 9 requires local jurisdictions to adopt a ministerial review process for all two-unit residential developments and urban lot splits, a mechanism aimed to address the State’s growing housing shortage. On Monday night, the City Council will hear a report from the Community Development Department on the recently passed Senate Bill 9, as well as recommendations to implement standards and review procedures to be consistent with the State law 


Emergency Vehicle Preemption of Traffic Signals

Ever wondered how emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks respond so quickly in a crisis? Quite often these vehicles are assisted through a sophisticated technological service that allows emergency vehicles to preemptively configure traffic signals to prioritize their passage through heavy traffic thoroughfares. This traffic signal preemption technology allows for critical emergency service providers to to reduce response times and enhances public safety citywide.

On Monday December 20, the City Council will consider an agreement to fund and implement an emergency vehicle preemption service for all police and fire vehicles in the City of San Rafael. This service will outfit all police and fire vehicles with technology to integrate with 53 traffic signals across City signalized intersections, providing a comprehensive public safety initiative.


Selection of 2022 Vice-Mayor

On Monday’s City Council meeting, the City Council will select and vote for a new Vice-Mayor, which has traditionally rotated annually among the Councilmembers. The Vice-Mayor position will assume responsibilities in the absence of the Mayor. The annual selection of Vice Mayor occurs each December and is voted upon by the City Council. Huge kudos and appreciation to Vice-Mayor Maribeth Bushey who served as Vice-Mayor for 2021!


City Council Appointments to Committees

In addition to the selection of Vice-Mayor, the City Council will determine appointments to all City Council Standing Committees, as well as Council Liaison positions to Boards, Commissions, and Committees of which the City has a financial, operational or strategic policy interest. On Monday night, the City Council will finalize the list of 2022 appointments.


Apply to Serve on City of San Rafael Commissions

The City of San Rafael Planning Commission has an opening for a Commissioner; all interested community members are encouraged to apply. As the City’s advisory board on land use and development projects, the Planning Commission is comprised of community volunteers who ensure that all development projects align with the City’s General Plan, State laws, and other public policies that advance the interests of our San Rafael community. The Planning Commission meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. Members of the Commission must be current residents of San Rafael.

Additionally, the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee has an opening for a high school student to participate on bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects and to promote biking and walking in San Rafael. This is an excellent opportunity for a San Rafael youth to bring their unique perspective and to help shape our community biking and walking efforts for years to come. Applicants should be a high school student, a San Rafael resident and under 18 years old.

Apply to serve on both commissions online by Friday, January 7th. Remember, your local government functions best with the power of participation–you matter!

To learn more and apply online visit: https://www.cityofsanrafael.org/boards-commissions/.   


COVID Updates

As we continue to enjoy the time and company of friends and loved ones during the holiday season, we encourage all residents to continue to respect masking and social distance guidelines and to get vaccinated when possible. COVID-19 booster shots continue to be offered at all Marin vaccine clinics. If you need transportation assistance to get vaccinated, please visit the links below for ride-hailing services to and from Marin vaccine sites.

As a response to rising COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, a new mask mandate was reinstated as of December 15. This mandate means that as of Wednesday, December 15, a new face covering mandate is currently in effect for Marin County which requires everyone to wear a mask in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status.

What does this entail? For most business environments, masks are required. Any gym, fitness center, office setting, commuter vehicle, religious gathering or college class that is unable to fulfill the full criteria must continue requiring use of masks indoors.

The requirement to wear masks in indoor settings still applies to restaurants, retail stores, salons/barbershops, and other indoor business environments where members of the public rotate in and out daily. For more information on the recently introduced mask mandate, visit the Marin County masking page (link below).

Remember to be prepared: carry a mask with you and be prepared to comply with a business’s posted guidelines.

If you are experiencing any COVID-19 like symptoms, please get tested as soon as possible even if you are fully vaccinated. Common symptoms consistent with COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you or anyone you know of are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms, we urge you to get tested for COVID-19.  For more information on transportation assistance, visit Lyft’s Vaccine Access Program and GoGoGrandparent. For free COVID-19 testing resources, click here. For information on Marin County masks and face covering guidelines, visit this mask guidance page. To make a vaccination appointment, follow this link.  For boosters and third doses, follow this link.


Rain and High Winds Usher in Winter Weather Protocols

As you may have experienced this past weekend, an atmospheric river swept across the region and ushered in rains and high winds that were felt across the entire Bay Area. In anticipation of similar severe weather events, we urge residents and businesses to prepare accordingly. Whether it be charging your phones, stocking up on extra batteries, or packing an emergency supply kit for your home and vehicle, there are numerous ways to prepare for these events that will help you and your fellow community members respond in times of need. Please get acquainted with severe weather protocols and prepare yourself accordingly.

For more information on emergency updates in Marin, visit the Marin County Emergency Portal. For more information on storm readiness and response, click here. Follow these links for information on where to find sandbags and general disaster preparedness in San Rafael.  


Nominations for 2022 Citizen of the Year

In 2001, J. Michael Maloney, a Marin County resident, established an endowment with the Marin Community Foundation in honor of former San Rafael Planning Commissioner Dick O’Brien to fund an annual Citizen of the Year award. The intent of this award is to recognize a San Rafael community member who has made exceptional contributions to the City. In addition to a $2,500 cash award from the Marin Community Foundation, the annual recipient is typically recognized at a City Council meeting and at the annual State of the City dinner. Do you know someone who you think should be recognized as the Citizen of the Year? If so, review the eligibility criteria and complete a nomination form on our website by January 14, 2022.


Holiday Fire Safety

This season, remember to thoroughly inspect holiday lights that have been stored from past years. Wires can become frayed or damaged from previous use. Discard any light strings that have worn, damaged, or frayed wiring. For additional holiday safety information, review tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

water scarcity and limited water resources. Most notably, residential water use above Tier 1 will be subject to penalties, and outdoor irrigation will be prohibited until May 31, 2022. Additionally, water conservation policies that affect swimming pools, personal car washes, and garden hose use were included in the December 1st restrictions, among others.


New MMWD and State Water Use Limits & Penalties Effective December 1st

Despite all that rain last weekend, we are still in a drought. Marin Water has introduced new use limits and penalties effective December 1st as our county continues to face the challenge of water scarcity and limited water resources. Most notably, residential water use above Tier 1 will be subject to penalties, and outdoor irrigation will be prohibited until May 31, 2022. Additionally, water conservation policies that affect swimming pools, personal car washes, and garden hose use were included in the December 1st restrictions, among others.


TALES OF THE CITY— Tree Planted in Shoreline Park in Honor of Ann Bauer  

On December 8th, City Parks staff planted a Camphor tree at Shoreline Park in honor of beloved city employee, Ann Bauer

On December 8th, City Parks staff planted a Camphor tree at Shoreline Park in honor of beloved city employee, Ann Bauer, who passed away in October. The planting was commemorated by City staff from various departments, as well as Ann’s husband and several friends and loved ones in attendance.

Ann was a City of San Rafael employee for six years and ran the City’s volunteer program, coordinating volunteers for City departments, community events, and public works projects. She also led the San Rafael Clean campaign, a coalition of residents, business owners, and nonprofits that focused on litter reduction. Ann also served as the coordinator for annual events such as Coastal Cleanup Day and Earth Day, and helped coordinate volunteers for the City and frontline nonprofits during the pandemic while serving as San Rafael’s representative with the Marin County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) group

Ann was a native of San Rafael and lived in the Montecito neighborhood. She dedicated her time on and off the clock to keeping San Rafael and shorelines around the world clean. She was also a beekeeper and gifted her coworkers homemade honey! Ann will be missed by a huge community of friends and family, and everyone at the City of San Rafael.

In recognition of Ann’s contributions to the City of San Rafael, the commemoration also included an observance of “Arbor Day,” the 39th year in which the Parks Department and the City have observed the official day to plant trees. Ann’s final wish: “Please pick up litter and do what you can for this beautiful planet!”


AT THE LAST COUNCIL MEETING on November 15th   

Due to Assembly Bill 361, the City will continue to hold all public meetings remotely. Members of the community may comment and participate virtually on all agenda items.

At the December 6th, 2021 regular City Council Meeting, the Council:

  • Approved consent calendar items
  • Held a public hearing for the Marin Sanitary Service Rates and Contract for 2022
  • Adopted resolution for the 2022 BID Assessment Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) Assessment Annual Renewal
  • Heard the Resident Appeal of an AT&T Encroachment Permit

City Council meetings are held every first and third Monday of the month. City Council meetings that fall on a holiday are rescheduled for the following Tuesday. 


Events

Climate Action Workshops in January 2022

Register–Thursdays starting Jan. 13, 2022 @ 4:00 – 6:00pm 

Register–Tuesdays starting Jan. 18, 2022 @ 6:30 – 8:30 pm 

Looking for a fantastic New Year’s Resolution? Go on a low-carbon diet this winter with Resilient Neighborhoods! Experience the online Resilient Neighborhoods Climate Action Workshop Series with people who also care about a healthy planet. Have fun calculating your carbon footprint and taking steps to reduce it. Make your household resilient to droughts, wildfires, and power outages. In just five meetings, you and your team will achieve measurable results through impactful actions that can save money too. Choose from the sessions starting on Jan. 13 or Jan 18.

CLICK  HERE TO SIGNUP FOR THIS POPULAR FREE MARIN WORKSHOP! 


Annual Rose Talk at Falkirk Center  

January 8, 2022 10 am – 12 pm  
Falkirk Cultural Center – 1408 Mission Ave., San Rafael
 

Annual Rose Talk at Falkirk – January 8, 2022 10am-12pm Falkirk Cultural Center – 1408 Mission Ave, San Rafael. Meet at the Beneficial’s Garden (left of the Greenhouse). Do you have any interest in growing roses? Marin Master Gardener, Don Chapman and fellow rose experts invite you to attend a talk and hands-on demonstration on Pruning Roses in Winter. Bring gloves and pruners (if you like) and learn firsthand from these pros! Open to the public and Master Gardeners for $10.00 per person. Cash or check only paid at the event, no advance sign up necessary. If there is heavy rain, the event will be cancelled. 


ESL Conversation Club through City of San Rafael Library and Recreation 

Date: December 18, 2021 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm 
Location: Online Via Zoom – email library@cityofsanrafael.org to register 
 

Are you a new English speaker? Do you want a safe and friendly space to practice your language skills? Join us at the San Rafael Public Library to talk and grow together! We will learn new vocabulary and idioms, discuss grammar, and improve our conversation skills. 

This club supports all conversational English levels. We pay special attention to intermediate skill improvement and offer an opportunity for beginning levels to immerse in daily conversation topics. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE 


Quiz

What is this and where was it located in San Rafael in recent weeks?

What is this and where was it located in San Rafael in recent weeks?

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