Friday, January 30, 2009

A Look Back Before Progressing Forward

Last Monday, the Community Meeting Room at City Hall was looking more packed than usual. That was due to the special City Council informational workshop with leading Bay Area professionals regarding the planning, implementation, and maintenance of large scale public spaces. Facilitated by Pete Dangermond of The Dangermond Group, Michael Tymoff (City of San Francisco), Dave Gould (California State Parks), and Michael Boland (The Presidio Trust), the group made individual presentations on their own projects and that which they felt was important when considering public space and recreational uses at the Baylands.

Specifically, Tymoff and Boland showed Powerpoint presentations on the planned development for Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island and the Presidio, whereas Gould took a more philosophical approach, citing the importance of defining the vision you want to achieve. That includes asking the question, What type of experience do you want kids or senior citizens to have when they visit the site? In addition, Gould said that a common mistake that's made in parks planning is not involving the people who will be maintaining the parks. Rather than just "handing over the key", more forethought needs to happen so that those people are involved at the onset. Dangermond rounded out the night's presentations, stating the group is gathering information about the site area through reviewing background and technical materials, previous City Council, commission/committee, and public input, and of course, making visits to the site. As you can see, each speaker brought a wealth of insight to the community that night, and one in which is hoped to continue in being the case as more public workshops take place over the next two weeks:

  • Weds. 2/4 @ 6:00pm with the Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission

  • Thurs. 2/5 @ 7:30pm with the Planning Commission

  • Weds. 2/11 @ 7:00pm with the Open Space & Ecology Committee

All meetings will provide time for public input and will be taking place at the Community Meeting Room at City Hall - 50 Park Place. Choose a time that works for you and come's never too late to get involved!

And if Weds. 2/4 is too long of a ways to wait, you can come down to City Hall this coming Monday (2/2) for the City Council meeting, scheduled to start at 7:30pm. To view the evening's agenda, you can click here...and if you want them delivered straight to your inbox in the future, you can send an e-mail request to A few items to note on this agenda are the proposed tree replacement plan for San Mateo Ln and the Brisbane Fire Station (click here for the staff report) and Council providing direction to staff after they have considered the revised geotechnical and geological review for a 30-unit residential project which they conditionally approved in August of 2005 (click here to view the staff report for this item). Sound interesting to you? Then come on down to City Hall and see what actions your City Council takes!

Another noteworthy item from the agenda concerns the Skateboard Park. Council will be adopting an ordinance which calls for every person riding a skateboard to have on a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads to comply with state law. Offenders will be fined $5 for the first offense, $10 for the second, and $20 for the third and any additional offense committed within a 12-month skate safe! Signs will also be posted to remind users.

If you haven't heard yet, the 7th Annual Arts Evening of Sharing will be taking place this Saturday, 1/31 at 7:30pm at Mission Blue...and you're invited!! This showcase of Brisbane artists will feature music, theater, literary reading, singing, images of visual artwork, photography and film. Please join us to meet and honor these talented artists living and working in town. This year’s Arts Advocate Award will also be announced and presented at this event. The Arts Advocate Award honors a committed Brisbane citizen who takes leadership in organizing, promoting, supporting and developing arts programming in our community. Admission is free. Reception and refreshments will be served during the intermission.

And lastly...the City's quarterly newsletter publication, the STAR, will be looking a little different when you get it in your mailbox this week. The City did a cost-benefit analysis and saw that approximately $25,000 could be saved through printing the STAR in-house (and that's in full color, too). It was then realized $1,540 could be saved by combining the monthly City News publication with the STAR (each mailing of the City News or STAR costs the City $385). So, be sure to look for your STAR this week to read up on all the news and happenings going on in your community!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Maintaining Meaning in Community

It was Aristotle who first defined the word "community" as a group established by men having shared values. That initial definition, though refined and expanded throughout the years, has aspects that still ring true today. In Brisbane, the community shares values which stem largely from the City's small population size. With less than 4,000 residents, the small-town atmosphere associated with Brisbane is the perfect environment for expressing care to one another and getting involved in civic and recreational activities.

Speaking of which, this coming Monday will afford the community an opportunity for just that. The City Council has chosen to have a group of panelists come and speak to the community about the possibilities of uses for the Baylands. Peter Dangermond, BSLA, FASLA and president of The Dangermond Group will be facilitating the conversation among the following panelists:
  1. Michael Tymoff, MLA, Landscape Architecture/Urban Design, University of Georgia; current Project Manager at San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development

  2. Dave Gould, BS, Natural Resources Management, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; current Diablo Vista District Superintendent for California State Parks
  3. Michael Boland, A.B., Architecture, MLA, Masters in City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley; current Chief Planning, Projects and Programs Officer for the Presidio Trust

Come on down to City Hall at 7:30pm this coming Monday (1/26) to hear from this distinguished group of panelists!

Participating in recreational activities not only benefits your physical health, but contributes to your emotional/psychological well-being as well. The Parks & Rec. Dept. is currently taking sign-up's for Baseball and Softball, but time is running out! Be sure to sign your child up by the registration deadline of Feb. 6th. Click here to view the flyer. Also, coaches are needed for the Bronco and Pony Leagues (ages 11 & 12 and ages 13 & 14) - call Steve Beaty at 508-2144 for more info!

Lastly, it's no secret that times are tough. But the impact to local non-profits may be less evident, with some non-profit organizations reporting giving to be down 75% compared to last year. Fortunately, there are organizations out there such as Community Wish List, which is a free service offered by the County. Started in 2004, Community Wish List encourages people to donate their discarded computers, furniture, and other goods to non-profits that need them. Non-profits do their own data entry on the Wish List via an open source management system. Check out their website, to see how you can help!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year marks the County's 10th Anniversary celebration of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a myriad of activities scheduled to take place throughout the weekend. What is not to be missed is a performance on Sunday afternoon (1/18) by Marcus Shelby. Shelby is a renowned Bay Area artistic director, having played acoustic bass for 23 years. The premiere of this jazz composition, which will be performed by the full Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, honors the life of MLK, Jr. using Civil Rights songs, Freedom songs, and original composition. The concert sets begin at 2:15 and 3:15...and will surely be entertaining all who come to the San Mateo County Natural History Museum until the curtain falls at 5:00pm.

Then on Monday (1/19), there's an opportunity for you to hop aboard the Freedom Train! A pre-program Arts Project begins at 8:30am at the Downtown San Mateo CalTrain Station, followed by a continental breakfast at 9:00am. The Freedom Train departs at approximately 10:00am, with special Freedom Train tickets ($5 round-trip to S.F.) available only at the celebration (regular CalTrain tickets not valid). This is the Freedom Train’s only San Mateo County stop from San Jose to San Francisco, so you'll want to make sure you hop aboard here if planning to attend any S.F.-based MLK events. (Freedom Train tickets are good on any return train after noon that day).

And if you'd prefer to stay indoors remembering the life and legacy of this promient civil rights leader, here is a link to one of his most-read and moving letters, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". This letter exemplifies how far we have come as a nation since 1963...and provides a great hope for the future.
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Speaking of hope, 2009 is hoped by many to be a year of change. In regards to the Baylands, it's hoped that 2009 will also be a year marked by completion. The 2009 work program is focused on the completion of an environmental impact report (EIR) for the Baylands Specific Plan by year-end. A part of this process will be an informational Planning Workshop with the City Council on public space and recreation uses at the Baylands. Please click here to view the flyer. It's our hope you will then choose to come and join us as we hear from a group of distinguished panelists on the 26th!

Friday, January 09, 2009

It's for the Better

With it looking to be a sunny and beautiful weeking in Brisbane, you can bet Beautification Day at Old Quarry Rd. will still be happening tomorrow, starting at 9:00am. Get the whole family together and do something to better the community, as well as yourselves. This event is co-sponsored by Lipman School and the City of Brisbane Parks & Recreation Dept., with Lipman students able to earn community service points for this activity. Meet at the entrance to Old Quarry Rd. @ San Francisco St. You may bring your own tools for planting, but all that's required is a willing attitude, and desire to help improve and beautify Old Quarry Rd. For more information, please contact Peter Stiehler at (650) 291-2400.

A reminder that tomorrow is also the day the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Bayshore Bikeway project will be taking place. Bayshore is one of two major north-south bicycle connections linking San Francisco and San Mateo County. The completion of this project brought with it a far better degree of safety for bicyclists and pedestrians alike. The ceremony is set to begin at 10:00am in the Park and Ride station on Bayshore Blvd. @ Old County Rd., so come on out as we celebrate in traditional Brisbane fanfare another improvement to the Brisbane community.

Friday, January 02, 2009

First Council Meeting of 2009 Taking Place this Coming Monday

Make any New Year's resolutions this year? Perhaps one of them could be getting more plugged in with the issues going on in the place you call home.

You can embark on just that this coming Monday (1/5) by attending the first City Council meeting of the year. Scheduled to take place starting at 7:30pm in the new Community Meeting Room at City Hall, the meeting will cover a vast array of important city issues, two of which will be a 5-year budget projection and an update on the Baylands planning process.

To see the rest of the evening's agenda, please click here. Also, if you'd like to regularly receive these agendas, as well as stay informed of the latest news from the City (via the blog), send an e-mail to and we'll make sure that happens.

Also starting next Monday, you may experience some cloudiness in your tap water. This is due to there being air bubbles in the water, as the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is receiving regular system maintenance and Peninsula cities are receiving their drinking water from the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant in the East Bay. Anytime there is an increase in the rate of treatment of water, the appearance will appear cloudy due to air being mixed into the water. If, however, the water is allowed to stand for a few minutes, the cloudiness will dissipate as the air bubbles rise to the surface and break apart. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) notes in their press release that "this temporary change involves the appearance of the water only," and that "SFPUC's water continues to meet all state and federal regulatory water requirements for water quality." Cloudiness in your tap water should only last through this month, when work at Hetch Hetchy is scheduled to be completed.