New Green on the Fairfax Town Council

Today, June 9th, 2012, Fairfax Town Councilmember John Reed registered Green.

Reed is now the fourth Green Party member on the five-member Fairfax Town Council, where there has been a Green majority since November 2009.

Reed released this Green Bio explaining his decision:

After reading “Silent Spring” in 6th grade, I became an avid environmentalist. Thrilled with the first Earth Day in 1969, I had found my tribe.

Initially there was no Green Party. Imagine my joy when it started. Seeing the need for the same ideas in the mainstream parties got me to register Democratic for a decade or so. With the new open primary in California, it seemed there was no reason to keep my registration with the Democrats, so recently I moved back to the Green camp. The Green Party represents many of the views I hold dear.

I believe that nothing is more important than dealing with climate change. Other things that the Green Party endorses are also very worthy, but this one issue rises above all. Over the years, I have worked organizing against Nukes, for the American Friends Service Committee, War Resisters League, and as a Bicycle advocate. I have also been a huge proponent of local community. I have worked locally to bridge the gap between various factions and bring people together around issues that we agree on.

After years of requests from community members, I agreed to run for Town Council along with Pam Hartwell-Herrero in 2009. Pam and I got to know each other when we were both running non-profits here in the Fairfax Community.

My local work on bike advocacy started with the recognition that Fairfax could not apply for transportation grants, as CalTrans did not have some essential information on file. I assembled this information in a document, got it approved by Planning staff, Police, Planning Commission, and the Town Council, and finally got the information filed at the State. It was my introduction to government bureaucracy, and the structures on which good decisions depend.

A couple of years later, this ability to get grants for infrastructure was vital as a small group of us developed a bike/walk program at our local school. This subsequently evolved into Safe Routes to School, a national program, which started here in Fairfax. I also became involved with writing the Town’s General Plan, which is a document that guides future development, zoning, and qualities of life in Fairfax. I thought it important that our “blueprint” for the future of Fairfax have clear guidelines for sustainability, bike and pedestrian friendly infrastructure, good energy practices, and to limit changes to those that support our unique cultural environment. Fairfax is the great town that it is today because residents really care about preserving what makes it unique, and have for decades. My work on the general plan ensures that continuance, at least for its 20 year horizon.

For about 6 years, I also served as the chair of the Volunteer Board, where we worked on many activities that brought various factions of the community together, such as repairing some of the over 100 pedestrian trails throughout town, coordinating response to a devastating flood, initiating an annual Town Wide Picnic, Chipper Days (to reduce fire danger), and dozens of other activities that helped our community. At the conclusion of this time Pam and I ran for Council.

While on the Council, I have championed working together to achieve a balanced approach to Town governance, where all parties are heard and considered. As a representative for Fairfax on regional Boards and Commissions, I play a slightly different role. For instance, in my seat on the Transportation Authority of Marin County, I find myself pitching alternative transportation, and thinking outside of the box, rather than just talking about freeways. Since we have a fairly progressive-minded group of elected officials in Marin, I find this quite effective.

Below is a list of items that I either initiated or took a key role in while on the Town Council:

Initiated a Community Discussion on Smart Meters

Stewarded a feasibility study on the East West Bikeway

Worked to start a Local Currency in Fairfax (the FairBuck)

Moved the Town’s Banking Accounts from B of A to Bank of Marin

Worked Successfully to find Mortgage Refi solutions for Residents

Moved Fairfax to support AB 750, for a State Bank

Added Chipper Day Funding to Marin Sanitary Contract

Good Earth Foods moves, Community Meetings, solve several problems

Held Gas Fracking Symposium

White Hill School Bike and Pedestrian Access Path

Manor Sidewalk project completed

Got stalled SF Drake Bike Lane project moving forward

Passed the General Plan, a culmination of a 10 year effort on my part

Streets for People Event

Oversaw adding Ross to Fire JPA

Facilitated several EV Charging Stations in town

Chipper Days at the Pavilion (Fire Danger Project)

Bike Spine Project Approval – safety project for kids on bikes

Secured Funding for Bike and Pedestrian improvements to Broadway, Downtown

See here for information about the Green Party in Marin County