Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For the Latest on the Swine Flu

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At the time of this posting, there have been 64 confirmed cases of
 individuals infected with the swine flu, with the World Health Organization (WHO) raising the worldwide pandemic alert to Phase 4. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), a Phase 4 alert is characterized by confirmed person-to-person spread of a new influenza virus able to cause “community-level” outbreaks.”

There have been no Bay Area cases cited, and Dr. Alvaro Garza, San Mateo County Deputy Health Officer, recommends taking the same precautions you normally would during the annual flu season (October - March). Take responsibility for your own health (and minimize the risk of others getting infected) by following these tips:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand gel.
  • If you're sick, stay 3 ft. - 6 ft. away from people; stay home until the 7-day flu period has passed.
  • If you become ill with flu-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, contact your health care provider. They will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.

The County has set up a webpage dedicated to informing the public on the latest developments of the swine flu. You may access it by clicking here. It has condensed information from the WHO as well as CDC, and will provide you with good health and safety tips to keep in mind should you be doing any traveling. In addition, the City has a dedicated section on its Office of Emergency Services (OES) website which details the latest current/newsworthy issues for citizens to be aware of. So, take your pick, and get informed!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Making Adjustments

Anyone who has ever tried to capture reality, be they a sculptor, photographer, or statistician, will invariably find themselves doing a lot of tweaking. It's the only way their final works or research can become more exacting, accurately reflecting the images the eyes see, or trends the market face.

Could the same go for calculating sewer service charges? Sure thing. Every year, the City makes an adjustment to residential sewer service charges based on your wintertime water consumption. ("Wintertime" refers to the period between mid-October and mid-February). An average of the two bills sent during this time is taken and then applied to a table, providing the customers' new sewer service charge. So, this amount could go up or down annually. The adjustment is seen in the billing cycle that follows this period, and will be the one you'll receive in the mail by May 1st.

You may be wondering, what does this sewer service charge pay for? Put simply, it pays for water that goes down the drain(s), which needs to be treated in order to be released into the Bay and Pacific Ocean. In Brisbane, four pump stations throughout the city move wastewater or storm water to the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant, which is managed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). This plant processes 80% of San Francisco's sewage - or, 67 million gallons a day! Brisbane contributes just a small percentage to this amount, or roughly 330,000 gallons per day.

And just in case your curiosity about wastewater plants has been piqued, you can read more about them on SFPUC's site when you click here. And, below is an aerial view of the Southwest Water Pollution Control Plant, on Jerrold St. near the corner of Evans and Third streets.

Should you have any questions about your water and sewer bill, or wish to set up credit card or direct payments from your checking or savings account, please phone Debra at 508-2154 and she will be happy to assist you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Time for Restoration

Photo courtesy of Thomas Y. Wang

The 6th Annual Habitat Restoration Day is here! The City, in partnership with San Bruno Mountain Watch, invites the community to join in on a community stewardship workday tomorrow, April 18th, 8:00am-12 noon. Bring family, friends, and neighbors to Firth Park (Glen Parkway & Sierra Pt.) and celebrate Earth Day together by removing invasive plants and helping restore the canyon's native habitat. Please remember to wear work clothes and sturdy shoes; bring gloves if you have them. Tools and training will be provided, as well as free snacks and t-shirts for volunteers (while supplies last). All ages and abilities welcome!

One of the items on this Monday's (4/20) City Council agenda is a revised proposed tree replanting on San Mateo Lane. At the Council's Feb. 2nd meeting, staff was directed to seek input from the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), as the originally-proposed replanting plan drew some concern from citizens in attendance. This plan suggested that the 16 formerly-removed Eucalyptus trees be replaced with five 15-gallon Coast Live Oak, five 15-gallon Gallon Scarlet Oak, and four 15-gallon Flowering Cherry. The public called for native trees such as buckeye to be considered, with Councilmembers advising staff to consult with those having expertise in the area. Staff followed that directive, consulting with the CNPS as well as a group of community members. It was determined through these meetings that the replanting plan would consist of an equal number of two native trees - seven 5-gallon Coast Live Oak (seen above) and 7 five-gallon California Buckeye (seen to the right). (The reason for the smaller trees is due to the trees being locally-sourced, as opposed to coming from a commercial nursery). CNPS recommended the trees be locally-sourced due to the replanting site being so close to the ones we have presently growing on San Bruno Mtn. Specifically, a Coast Live Oak from a commercial nursery may have a different genetic makeup from one found on San Bruno Mtn., potentially impacting the local population in a negative way. The City thanks those who participated in this revised replanting plan for their efforts in helping ensure a more native ecology is restored in town.

In these hard economic times, restoration is needed more than ever for businesses, but local governments are also faced with financial challenges. One of the ways the City of Brisbane has helped combat this issue, while maximizing efficiency and reducing financial cost, is through various efforts to share management services. The City is currently engaged with the Cities of Daly City and Pacifica to share Fire Department Management Services and previously was in contract with the City of Millbrae for shared a shared Police Chief. Continuing with this approach, the City's Parks & Recreation Director, Jim Skeels, will be shared with the City of Burlingame on a 50% cost and time basis. Not only will this result in a reduction in management and overhead costs, it will allow Jim an opportunity to learn from another agency, making sure best practices are continually employed in Brisbane.

And lastly, the City Council on Monday received the draft report on public space planning at the Baylands from Peter Dangermond, President of The Dangermond Group. There was a great turnout to the meeting by the community, but if you happened to miss Peter's presentation, it is posted on the City's website and can be viewed by clicking here. It was through an extensive community-based process that the observations and recommendations made for the various regions seen in the presentation took shape. And it will be this process that continues as planning for the restoration of this land progresses forward.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

"It's in Our Hands"

This is the theme that's been adopted for the 2010 Census, and fittingly so. The U.S. Constitution requires a national census once every ten years, and your participation matters! A count of everyone residing in the United States in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa, the 2010 Census will help shape the future of communities nationwide.

On April 6th, the 2010 Census launched operation Address Canvassing. This phase will conclude by June 19th, 2009 and involves the Census Bureau employing approximately 140,000 people to canvas all known streets and roads throughout the country. The canvassers identify every living quarter, and verify more than 145 million addresses. And for the first time in Decennial Census history, census workers will confirm, add, and delete addresses using a GPS-equipped handheld computer. Each computer is so secure that it will only work when activated by the fingerprint of its assigned operator. Please note, as Census employees will be going door-to-door to update address lists nationwide, that they will be wearing badges and carrying a Census shoulder bag, as pictured below:

In the last census, one in six households received a long questionnaire asking for detailed socioeconomic information. In 2010, every residence will receive a short questionnaire that is simple and fast to complete and return. So when you see that come through your mailbox next Feb/March, make sure to fill it out and send it back. Did you know, that every year more than $300 billion in federal funds is awarded to states and communities based on census data? That's more then $3 trillion over a 10-yr. period. In addition, census data guides local decision-makers in important community planning efforts, including where to build new roads and schools.

Speaking of important community planning efforts, the Baylands public space planning program will be discussed this coming Monday, 4/13, with the City Council. Peter Dangermond, President of The Dangermond Group, will be presenting recommendations on categories ranging from Habitat Enhancement/Open Space, to Governance, Economics, Operations, and Maintenance. The Council will then provide their feedback and direction to faciliate completion of the draft Baylands Public Space Plan. For a copy of the staff report and support materials for Monday's meeting, please click here. The Baylands is yet another important item that's in our hands, exampled by the Baylands community alternatives process that first kicked off in February of 2007. Monday's public meeting starts at 7:30pm in the Community Meeting Room at City Hall.

And lastly, tickets for Brisbane Community Night at AT&T Park are now on sale in the Parks & Recreation office at City Hall (second floor). The game takes place Friday, May 15th at 7:15pm, with the Giants v. Mets. Tickets are $17 for upper deck view level...so come one out - you may just wind up with a fly ball in your hands!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Don't Forget!

WATER BILLS are due on April 5th. This being a Sunday, the Water Dept. will be accepting payments on Monday the 6th, as well. But, know that you can always utilize either one of the drop boxes in town, labeled "City Hall Water/PGE". One of the drop boxes is located next to the parking lot at City Hall, and the other is located right outside Midtown Market, across the street from the Library/Community Center (on the corner of Visitacion & Mendocino). Because payments are picked up daily each morning, those picked up Tuesday morning will be counted as being on-time. Payments can also be made over the phone by calling Debra at 508-2154.

The City's annual HABITAT RESTORATION DAY will be taking place in a couple weeks on Saturday, April 18th. Come and join other volunteers at Firth Park (Glen Parkway & Sierra Point) at 8:00am in celebrating Earth Day! The workday will take place in Firth Canyon and last until noon. So come on out, get some exercise, and help keep Brisbane beautiful!