Editorial: Bragman, O'Neil are IJ's recommendations for Fairfax Town Council

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Originally published in the Marin Independent Journal.

 
FAIRFAX VOTERS have gone Green in recent elections.
 
Three of the five members on the council belong to the Green Party, a political haven for those who find the Democratic Party too conservative for their tastes. Larry Bragman, Lew Tremaine and Pam Hartwell-Herrero are members of the Marin Green Party's leadership.
 
In fact, Bragman calls Fairfax a "great laboratory of democracy."
 
Those who aren't Green members line up on the left side of the Democratic Party.
If there are voters who don't like the political tack Fairfax has taken, they aren't speaking out, running for office or turning out like-minded voters.
 
The town's Nov. 8 election for two seats on the Town Council reflects that trend.
 
Bragman is running for a third term. Political newcomer Ryan O'Neil and Chris Lang, a former town planning commissioner and local bike advocate, are vying to succeed Tremaine, who is retiring from the council after three terms.
 
O'Neil grew up in Marin and moved to Fairfax eight years ago to raise his children in the "pleasant peace" he finds in Fairfax. He also is a member of the Green Party. He has served on the town's Open Space Committee and recently was named to the Planning Commission.
 
He has the endorsement of every member of the council. He joins Bragman in backing Measure D, the town's half-cent sales tax increase measure on the ballot. O'Neil also supports the town's costly fight to regain public access to a swath of open space in town.
 
Bragman has been in the forefront of the formation of the Marin Energy Authority, Marin's public power agency created as an alternative to PG&E, the town's ban on plastic takeout containers and Fairfax's fight against PG&E's installation of SmartMeters.
 
Fairfax has faced precarious finances, even when the economy wasn't in such dire shape. It has frozen pay for town workers as it grappled with rising pension and employee medical-insurance costs. That is one of the reasons why the Town Council is asking voters to approve a sales tax increase.
 
Although the town could save money by merging police services with San Anselmo, similar to the Ross Valley Fire Service, Bragman insists residents want their own small police force. If so, they also have to be willing to pay extra for that service.
 
Lang says he would speak for town voters who aren't Green and feel as if they are not being listened to. He may be right, but hasn't shown he would be an effective voice for those residents.
 
His complaint about local police officers not living in Fairfax and not being "from the community" is shortsighted.
 
If he wants the town to pay its cops enough to be able to purchase a home in town, he should be backing Measure F — not opposing it. He also has had run-ins with local police that certainly raise reasonable doubts as to whether he belongs on the council — the department's employer — at this time.
 
The IJ recommends Fairfax voters retain Larry Bragman and elect Ryan O'Neil on Nov. 8.
 

 

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