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The City of San Rafael celebrates Pride Month


Snapshot — MSS Rates, Holiday Gift Ideas, Sparkle & Cheer, SantaCop Toy Donations, and More!!!

Posted on December 2, 2021

View from Ridgewood Fire Road
Snapshot – de parte del Gerente de la Ciudad de San Rafael

Spotlight Photo

CAPTION: Taken from Ridgewood Fire Road, November 2021 

PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Schutz, City Manager 

Last Quiz Question

Congrats to Joanne Paben for being the first to correctly answer the last Snapshot quiz! The picture was taken from the Jean and John Starkweather Shoreline Trail. This path is great for the entire family! Check out this beautiful trail and explore these scenic views for yourself. Congratulations Joanne and thanks for reading Snapshot! 

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

San Rafael City News

Marin Sanitary Rates and Contract Amendments  

During our Monday, December 6th City Council meeting, the Council will hold a public hearing to adjust the rates Marin Sanitary Service (MSS) charges for recycling, composting, and garbage services. The proposed rate adjustment is 2.39% over 2021 rates. This includes a small amount to help with our illegal dumping program. In addition, the Council will hear an update to the franchise agreement with MSS to comply with Senate Bill 1383, which will require additional routes and services to help divert landscape waste and food scraps from going to the landfill. SB 1383 is arguably the most far-reaching waste and recycling law passed by California to date. Come hear what’s in store for San Rafael! 

Downtown San Rafael Business Improvement District (BID) Public Hearing 

At the December 6th City Council meeting, the Council will hold a public hearing to confirm the Downtown Business Improvement District’s (BID) annual levy of assessment for 2022. The Downtown BID works with downtown businesses to support economic vitality and pandemic recovery programing. City staff will present the Downtown BID’s 2021 work plan accomplishments and programming goals for 2022. At the public hearing, the Council will take the testimony of all interested persons, for or against the assessment. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Council will vote on the assessment for the upcoming 2022 calendar year. 

Written protests must be filed with the City Clerk, City Hall, 1400 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901 by December 6, 2021, or be submitted at the public hearing. If you cannot attend, you can send a letter with your comments regarding the above matters to Lindsay Lara, City Clerk, City of San Rafael, 1400 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael, CA, 94901, or by email to 

Downtown Farmers’ Market Survey 

The Downtown San Rafael Market needs your help to provide feedback and input on last summer’s farmers’ market experience. What worked well? What could use improvement? Use this opportunity to voice your opinion on any preferred products, such as local fruits and vegetables, drinks and beverage options, prepared or take-home products that you would like to see sold at the downtown farmers’ market. Any comments or opinion on the accessibility, hours, and convenience for our shoppers is welcome, and will help shape our farmers’ market experience for the future!  Take the survey here.   

For current local farmers’ markets events, see events section below.

City of San Rafael Announces Affordable Housing Funding Availability  

The City of San Rafael announces the availability of two million five hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000) in funding available for the construction or the preservation of permanently affordable rental housing for seniors, families, and individuals and families with special needs, including individuals and families formerly experiencing homelessness. The funding is available through the City of San Rafael Affordable Housing Trust Fund and will be awarded through a competitive process. Please note that applications are due no later than 5 PM on December 23, 2021.  

Find more information and application here.

Holiday Gift Ideas from Zero Waste Marin 

Give the Gift of Great Memories!

Need gift ideas this holiday season? Zero Waste Marin suggests giving your loved ones gifts of experience that match their interests, like tickets for events or coupons for a class. “Stuff” eventually ends up in the landfill, but memories last a lifetime. Here are some ideas to help you think outside the box: 

  • Dinner at a special place or gift certificate for their favorite restaurant.
    Tip: It can also be a dinner party at your house! 
  • For dancers: Dance class coupon for salsa, tango, hip hop, or belly dance. 
  • For the movie critic: Tickets to see that hot new movie—don’t forget to include the popcorn! 

Remember, the best gifts don’t come in a box!

For more gift ideas and tips visit: 

Shop Local, Park Free and Sparkle & Cheer in Downtown San Rafael 

The Economic Development and Parking departments have teamed together to promote our local Shop Local, Park Free holiday program in downtown San Rafael! Take advantage of the 3- hour free parking options at City lots and garages from 11/26/21 – 12/31/21 to shop local at hundreds of our small businesses in downtown San Rafael.  

Downtown San Rafael businesses will provide shoppers several discounts, deals and demos on Friday, Dec. 10th from 5-8 PM. There will also be live music and plenty of art exhibits at the 2nd Friday Art Walk as you stroll and shop in Downtown San Rafael and the West End Village. Community members can vote for their favorite sparkly holiday window display with raffle tickets purchased from participating businesses, with a chance to win a donated gift! (Voting runs from 12/1 – 12/10/21). 

 To learn more visit Shop San Rafael and Downtown San Rafael.

Donate Toys through San Rafael Santa Cop this Holiday Season 

The Santa Cop program unites our employees from our Police and Fire Departments, together with community partners, to collect toys and donations for those children in most need. According to a 2019 study, an estimated 1 in 6 American children under six lived in poverty, with more than half considered to be living in extreme poverty. The sustained effects from nearly two years of COVID-19 continues to take a toll on our most vulnerable families and purchasing toys will be out of reach for many. Toys provide opportunities for laughter, fun, and creative exploration of the world for our youth. Many toy types are still needed, and you can donate at several convenient locations in and around San Rafael.  

To learn more about the San Rafael Santa Cop program and to find a convenient location to donate visit 

COVID Updates 

During the busy holiday season, it is incredibly important to stay COVID safe and diligent while shopping and enjoying time with loved ones. The recent rise of the emergent “Omicron” variant in many countries creates more cause for concern. 

According to Marin County Public Health Officers, the Bay Area is experiencing a surge in COVID cases and remains in the Orange, or “substantial” level. We still encourage all community members to be diligent in protecting ourselves and communities against the spread of COVID 19.  

Please continue to observe all applicable social distancing and mask guidance directives, as these small individual efforts can make an enormous impact on our collective public health during the busy holiday season.  




Request for Qualifications for Equity Audit Services 

The City of San Rafael has committed to the ideals of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and is now seeking proposals from consultant firms, non-profits, and other organizations with expertise in providing professional consulting services to conduct an equity audit for municipal services. The resulting audit will provide key findings to help staff design and implement this critical work. 

For more information and to submit your RFQ please visit: 

Call for Artists for Falkirk Cultural Center Exhibition 

The Falkirk Cultural Center 2022 Winter Open Juried Exhibition is now calling on artists to submit their personal artwork for the chance to have their work selected for feature at our historic Falkirk Cultural Center! The call is open to artists residing within the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area. Artists are invited to submit up to three separate pieces of original work completed in the past two years that have not previously been shown in a Falkirk Cultural Center exhibition. Please provide at least one digital image per 2D and/or 3D work. 

Please note this call is open to all media except jewelry or videography. Only digitally uploaded images will be accepted. Digital entries, payment, and entry form must be received on or before midnight MST (11 PM PST) on Friday, December 12, 2021.  

Submit online here: 

Falkirk Cultural Center 2022 Winter Open Juried Exhibition 
EXHIBITION DATES: January 14 – February 18, 2022
ENTRY DEADLINE: December 12, 2021 at midnight MST (11 PM PST)
THEME: Open Juried Show

Final webinars for wildfires and housing now available to all  

The final of four webinars on housing and wildfire safety are now available to all residents and community members in the Bay Area. Hosted by the Association of Bay Area governments (ABAG), these webinars provide essential tools and resources regarding home and community safety amidst the ongoing threat of wildfires. The most recent webinar focused on preserving homes that are most vulnerable to wildfires, preparation for fire abatement apparatus and evacuation acceleration, and community actions to take on wildfire adaptation.  

View all the webinars and find additional tools and resources at the ABAG website. 

TALES OF THE CITY— Library Staff Reopen and Revitalize the Randy Coleman Memory Lab 

Library Staff Matthew Hurley creating digital files in the Randy Coleman Memorial Lab

The San Rafael Public Library is helping the community preserve and protect their memories with the Randy Coleman Memorial Memory Lab. The Memory Lab was established in 2018 with a donation in memory of the late Randy Coleman, a member of the Friends of the Library and a former finance manager for the City of San Rafael. The Lab is located in the Downtown Library and consists of various equipment that, when coupled with training from knowledgeable staff, enable the public to convert their treasured family photos, slides, negatives and even VHS tapes and DVDs into high resolution digital files.  

The Lab was shuttered due to the pandemic, but in August 2021 Senior Library Assistant Matthew Hurley re-opened the space and revitalized the service with additional equipment and plenty of energy and patience. Within weeks of re-opening, Matthew already had a waitlist over 90 patrons long! They are training additional staff on facilitating Memory Lab appointments so we can make this service available to as many patrons as possible. Due to such high demand, we have temporarily closed the waitlist, but look forward to opening it back up.  

During appointments, Matthew spends up to an hour discussing the patron’s goals and providing in-depth training on using the hardware and software, as well as naming conventions and file management strategies. Then it’s up to the patron to do the tedious but satisfying work of digitizing each item! 

This service is particularly valuable for people with items that are vulnerable to loss, destruction, and decay. The unfortunate threat of wildfires in California has digitization on the minds of many. Patrons who have used the Lab remark on their renewed peace of mind when it comes to protecting and passing along their important memories. 



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 November 15, 2021 regular City Council Meeting, the Council:   

  • Approved Consent Calendar Items 
  • Heard a Special Presentation Regarding Native American Heritage Month 
  • Accepted a Report on Final, Adjusted Demographics of Existing Districts and a First Public Hearing on Existing Lines and Possible Changes (Redistricting) 
  • Heard a Consideration of An Ordinance Amending the San Rafael Municipal Code Related to Regulations of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) 
  • Accepted a Report on Year-End Financial Statements and Related Audit Reports for Fiscal Year 2020-21 

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. 


Lighted Boat Parade 2021  

Date: December 12, 2021 | 6:00 p.m. 

Location: Various locations around San Rafael Canal (see below) 

The 2021 lighted boat parade will feature numerous sailors, yachts, captains and well-wishers to celebrate the holiday season in extravagant style! Boats decorated with lights, banners and other festive regalia will sail across the San Rafael Canal in a marine parade that is not to be missed. Come witness the star-studded boat parade and cheer for your favorite design at the iconic Lighted Boat Parade 2021! 

LOCATIONS TO WATCH: Montecito Shopping Center, behind the mall on Third St., Point San Pedro Road and Third St., Yacht Club Drive, Pickleweed Park/Albert J. Boro Community Center at 50 Canal St. 


Mindful Writing with Peller Marion 

Date: Mondays, December 13 and January 10, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM via Zoom 

Location: online via Zoom via reservation

Interested in honing your skills in writing and art in a creative manner? Ever thought of fulfilling your creative dreams outside the confines of stressful routines? If so, the Mindful Writing with Peller Marion virtual event with esteemed artist, psychologist and author Peller Marion is for you! Peller Marion is the author of Shark Attack and Other Mishaps and five other books, and is also an exhibiting artist and consulting psychologist. Join Peller and other aspiring creatives to explore mindful writing during two separate events in the coming weeks.   



Marin Farmers’ Markets  

Date: Sunday, December 5, 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM 

Location: Marin Civic Center Parking Lot

Do you miss San Rafael’s Summer Market? If so, check out Marin County’s Sunday Market. Taste vine-ripened tomatoes, corn that was picked that morning, farm-fresh eggs, grass-fed beef, artisan cheeses, raw milk, and freshly baked breads. Meet a friend for lunch and pick up fresh produce for the weekend at the celebrated Sunday Marin Farmers Market, the third largest farmers market in California! 




Dates: December 8 and 15, 2021; January 5, 12, and 26, 2022; Doors open at 10:30 a.m. 

Location: San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael 

The San Rafael Goldenaires invites anyone over the age of 18 to participate in their weekly Wednesday Bingo Games!  Doors open at 10:30am and Bingo begins at 12noon at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street.  Regular game packs are $5-$10 and special games are $1 each.  Cash prizes are given, $40-$100.  Come exercise your brain and have fun meeting new people.  Proof of vaccination is required to play, and masks are required inside the building.  

For more information call the goldenaires at: 415-485-3348 


When was the first official lighted boat parade ceremony held in the San Rafael Canal?  


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