Friday, May 29, 2009

Still Standing

Summer is just around the corner, with summer solstice taking place this year around June 20 or 21. This is the longest day and shortest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It's no surprise, then, that solstice (Latin) means sun stands still...if you pay attention, you'll see the sun's noontime elevation will not seem to change between June 19th - 22nd.

But even the sun's powerful rays can't keep Brisbane's stars from shining brightly. Case in point: every summer, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) provides students grades 10 - 12 the opportunity to see through paid internships what a career in the transportation industry would be like. In 2008, Brisbane was fortunate to have Dominique Bocanegra as an intern in the Public Works Department, taking on job duties such as installing traffic counters and conducting a streetlight inventory using the City's internal computer-aided drawing (CAD) system. The City has applied every year for this program, seeing the value in introducing students to a career they may not have thought twice about, and have been successful in affording students to come and spend a summer in Brisbane. It's hoped that will continue in 2009. To read more about this program, please click here.

There is, though, something that will be standing still in Brisbane, and that is the occupancy of 325 Valley Drive. The applicant in a letter to the Community Development Director informed the City that Fed Ex has pulled out of the process after having been presented a very attractive offer from their current landlord in South San Francisco. After evaluating all factors of the situation, they decided that it was significantly more cost effective for them to not relocate...and in light of today's economy, the decision to remain put probably weighed more heavily than ever. So, the building previously home to Gilmore Envelopes will continue to appear so for the time-being.

Lastly, there will be a City Council meeting coming up this Monday, June 1st at 7:30pm. To view the agenda, please click here and plan on attending...because community engagement in their local government is something we can't afford to have just stand still!

We want to know how helpful the Blog is to you. Click on the title of today's post, "Still Standing" to vote in the poll to the left!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Staying the (Prudent) Course

Recently, much of the media's airtime has been filled with reports on how cuts need to be made, budgets slashed, and how there's very little wiggle room for planning towards a better outcome. True, California is facing a dire fiscal predicament, with cities also forced to bear a heavy financial burden. But the key thing to remember is...the prudent fiscal planning of the City Council has allowed Brisbane to be in a better financial situation than most.

And with the changing of the seasons, with it officially being Spring, perhaps some spring cleaning is in order this long Memorial Day weekend. If so, you'll want to take advantage of an Electronics Recycling Drive happening next Friday, May 29th, at HMR USA. Stop by their drop-off location (100 Cypress Lane) between 9:00am - 3:00pm to safely dispose of your E-Waste - old computers, printers, televisions, cell phones, radios, and other small electronic equipment. They're located just 2 blocks away from City Hall (up Valley and a right on Cypress), so tell your neighbors and friends about this free event that will not only help our environment, but help keep your storage areas tidy!

The City of Brisbane Public Work's Annual Weed Abatement Program is in full force, having commenced last week. This program is being performed in compliance with North County Fire Authority regulations and is in itself very important in maintaining the safety of the community.

So next time you see one of our dear Public Works employees, do let them know your appreciation for what they do, as it's their quiet dedication that helps to keep this town looking top-notch and picturesque! Not to mention, it's National Public Works Week!

You may have noticed from the Weed Abatement Schedule that Crocker Park Recreational Trail (CPRT) will be maintenanced the week of June 1st. That means, it'll be ready for your walking pleasure, just in time for National Trails Day, coming up on Saturday, June 6th. Celebrate the day by joining the group who will be meeting at 9:00am that morning at the trailhead to walk the path. Plan on joining them - you (and your body) won't regret it!

GreenZebra guides are available for purchase at the Parks & Recreation counter for the discounted price of $20 (orig. $25). With over 200 exclusive offers from eco-friendly retailers, organic restaurants and markets, Yoga and Pilates studios, independent bookstores, bike shops, museums and more, there's something for everyone to discover. Pick up your 2009 edition and give the gift of green!

And with that, have a great Memorial Day Weekend. City Hall will be closed Monday the 25th, but will be open to serve you again Tuesday morning!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pictures from Saturday's Evacuation and Activation Drill(s)

This past Saturday proved to be a scorcher, but only when it came to the temperature! The City's Office of Emergency Services, together with Police, Station 81, North County Fire Authority, CAL Fire, and County OES joined forces to simulate a real-life blaze and run through the jurisdictions' Wildland Pre-Fire Attack Plan. This Plan describes how the Fire, Police, and Public Works Departments will deploy public safety resources into the community and establish pre-arranged "control points" at street intersections to allow for the safe evacuation of residents on foot and/or by vehicle. Residents participating in the drill were directed to the Residential Assembly Point (RAP) at the Brisbane Marina located at 400 Sierra Point Parkway.

Prior to the drill taking place (at approximately 9:30am, when the CDF chopper would be flying over Brisbane), Fire Chief Ron Myers reminded those gathered at Station 81 that Wildland Pre-Fire Attack Plan is a fluid document, and can be made better only by way of simulations such as that morning's exercise taking place, and the feedback from the community and participating jurisdictions that would come forth after the event. Needless to say, the post-incident debrief that took place at the Incident Command Post (set up in the Post Office's parking lot) allowed the different jurisdictions an opportunity to discuss ways they could work together even better, not to mention allow a cameraman from ABC News to come and interview North County Fire's Preparedness Chief, Matt Lucett!

Suggestions have also been offered by the Community Emergency Volunteers (CEVs), who that day practiced some drills of their own - specifically, their Activation Procedures and Disaster Medical Operations. These ran in conjuction with the Wildland Fire Evacuation Drill, with the City's Office of Emergency Services Director, Randy Breault, able to be present at both. In being able to focus on the drills individually, the City's Wildland Pre-Fire Attack Plan, as well as its Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) will undoubtedly be further strengthened and refined. And, by the CEVs signing off on their Disaster Service Worker Registration forms, and taking the oath to serve, their committment and dedication to serve couldn't be made to be more apparent.

Thank you so much to all who participated in Saturday's drills! Your involvement allowed them to result in being the successes they were. And with that, sit back, relax, and enjoy the (slide)show!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Who Would Have Thought...

Nearly 500 cyclists made their way through one of Brisbane's two Energizer Stations yesterday, in celebration of the 15th Annual Bike to Work Day.  The event appears to be drawing more and more people each year to pedal into work, with an estimated 150,000 cyclists across the Bay Area doing just that.  Kudos to all those who opted to hop onto their bikes instead of into their cars - you are the reason for the City's new Bayshore Bike Lane!  And who knows...we may soon be seeing "Bike There" as one of the options when mapping driving directions!

Please remember that a Wildland Fire Evacuation Drill will be taking place tomorrow at 9:00am, and it's in your best interest to participate in this once-a-year event.  If you recall from last year, the drill didn't actually happen...because Brisbane had a REAL-LIFE emergency evacuation just one week before the planned drill was to take place!  Flames erupted on San Bruno Mtn. that Sunday night, where Mission Blue was opened as an evacuation center for the residents of Trinity, Kings, Margaret, and Paul Ave.  The post-incident debrief that took place less than a week after the event brought forward many ideas from the community which the City has over the year worked to employ.  Some of these include adding a scrolling message overlay onto Ch. 27 for residents without Internet access to tune into, creating a 100-ft. firebreak behind Trinity and Kings, and the City's Public Works Dept. opening up the corporation yard as a drop point for residents to bring green waste, in preparation for weed inspections.  The most important thing for you to do is to keep a defensible space around your property - that means clearing out any overgrown weeds, grasses, and vegetation.  

Should you need to evacuate on foot, there will be an assembly point at the Community Park, along with transportation to the Residential Assembly Point at the Marina.  The Community Park is also where the Incident Command Center will be set up, so come out and see your law enforcement and fire management services at work!  And then, join us at the Marina afterwards for a short debrief and of and drink!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

BTWD, Weekend Drill with OES & NCFA

At first glance, that may sound like a whole bunch of alphabet soup, but these are both events that have taken place in the County and Brisbane for years now...and we wanted to make sure you were well aware of them!

The San Francisco Bay Area's 15th Annual BTWD, or Bike to Work Day, will be taking place this Thursday, May 14th, from 6:30-9:00am. Brisbane will have an additional Energizer Station this year, located at the northbound intersection of Bayshore and Old County Rd. (the other one will be again at Tunnel Ave. & Lagoon Rd. -- for a map of all of the 2009 BTWD Energizer Stations in San Mateo County, click here). Also, check out pictures from last year's BTWD, with morning cyclers re-fueling on fresh snacks and keeping hydrated as they head into work. So, challenge yourselves this Thursday while realizing the health and environmental benefits of cycling, and be a part of BTWD!

Then on Saturday, May 16th, the City's Office of Emergency Services (OES), in conjunction with North County Fire Authority (NCFA), will be implementing its 3rd Annual Wildland Fire Evacuation Drill. The planned evacuation of Humboldt Rd. (from Solano Rd. to Glen Park Way) is meant to simulate a real-life threat, such as a fire or earthquake. Residents will be evacuated to the City's assembly point at the Marina, beside the Sierra Point Yacht Club. Get a picture of what the event will entail by viewing the slideshow from 2007's Evacuation Drill. The emergency simulation will be taking place from 9:00am - noon that morning, so when you hear the sirens and police officers telling you to evacuate, be prepared to do so while listening for next steps...following them this time around could mean the difference between life and death when the next big one hits...and when it's no longer a drill.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Blogworthy Updates

Just a reminder about a few items that have been mentioned in previous entries:
  • The H1N1 virus (swine influenza) has thankfully been less of a concern this week, as those who had been sick with flu-like symptoms are reported to have made full recoveries. However, it is always best to take preventative measures, protecting yourself from getting sick...and helping those around you stay that way! So, continue to cover your cough, wash your hands often, and stay home if you feel sick. Also, the CA Dept. of Public Health has made a hotline available for those who want to learn more about the H1N1 virus. Call 1-888-865-0564 if you'd like more information, or check the County's Public Health website for the latest H1N1 news (last updated 5/4).
  • Yet another hotline has been made available, this one regarding the Housing Resource Fair, taking place tomorrow at Westmoor High School from 9:30am - 3:00pm. Call 650-363-4526 to hear more about this learning opportunity. If you're planning to attend the event, be sure to bring your loan or mortgage documents along with you.
  • Finally, Budget Workshops with City Council continue Monday, May 11th with the Fire, Public Works, Community Development, Administrative Services, City Management, and City Clerk departments. To download PDF pages for these departments, click here.
And now, we hope you're thoroughly armed with all the good information you could possibly want on a Friday.

And we'll leave you with one final reminder...most possibly the most important of them all...
Remember to treat your mom or special mom figure in your life the way she deserves!
Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Look on the Bright Side

Times are bleak these days, and with news of H1N1 Type A (swine flu) making headlines worldwide this week, the picture got a few more shades shy of rosy.

Choose to see things through optimistic eyes, because resources are being made available to you. Here's a run-through of the events taking this weekend and next you may want to consider attending, or attending to.

Tomorrow, in preparation for weed inspections beginning on Monday, April 4th, is your chance to bring all your green waste to the Public Works Dept.'s corporation yard, located just over Tunnel Ave. Bridge, at 1020 Tunnel Rd. As you may recall, June 22nd marked a truly frightening day in Brisbane history, when a major wildland fire erupted in Owl Canyon, eventually making its way towards the homes located near the top of the "bowl" in Central Brisbane. Much of this was due to the Mountain's heavy fuel load - overgrown vegetation and brush. The Fire Dept. has instructed all hazardous brush and weeds be removed, with the primary goal being eliminate weeds from the interface between wild areas and developed property. So please, please do your part and bring your green waste to the corp. yard between 9:00am - noon tomorrow.

The nation's financial woes also didn't get any rosier with its 3rd-largest automaker filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday. However, this may prove to be a opportunity for Chrysler, which is pinning its future on a top-to-bottom reorganization and plans to build cleaner cars through an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat. Simiarly, opportunities for the City can be afforded...but a clear picture of the City's current financials is needed first. A two-year budget is scheduled to be adopted in May, with a City Council Budget Workshop taking place this Sunday, May 3rd, in the conference room at City Hall - 50 Park Place. The call to order will be at 9:00am, where an overview of the revenues, expenditures, and long-term projections will be presented. Budget Workshops continue the next night on Monday, May 4th, at 7:30pm with a number of departments (City Attorney, Police, Public Works, Marina & Aquatic Services, and Parks & Recreation) presenting their budgets, which include a 5% decrease in supplies and services. Fire, Community Development, Administrative Services, City Council, City Management, and City Clerk will present their budgets the following week, on May 11th (with also a 7:30pm meeting start time).

Lastly, the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County will be hosting a Housing Resource Fair next Saturday, May 9th, at Westmoor High School in Daly City. Learn more about the event and RSVP by clicking here.