Despite the power outage (or maybe with help from it?), we had our best turnout ever at our annual Halloween event this year. Thanks to our event volunteers and everyone who came out and showed off their awesome costumes. Halloween went off as usual in 2019 in Bret Harte—a reminder that we remain one of the best neighborhoods in town for over-the-top trick or treating! (If you have any pics you can add, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org).
On Thursday, July 11, 2019, the FSRN hosted an open meeting at San Rafael City Hall to discuss preparation for public safety power shutoffs. As you likely have heard, PG&E monitors weather conditions during fire seasons and plans to preemptively shut down electrical power to circuits in areas of high fire risk. San Rafael and Marin County Fire and OES officials helped address the concerns and needs for these outages from being prepared at home to the protocol for the city services. Speakers included San Rafael Fire Chief Chris Gray, San Rafael Emergency Manager Quinn Gardner, Marin County Fire Chief Jason Weber, Marin County Emergency Manager Tom Jordan, and Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods Vice President Richard Bernstein. Mayor Gary Phillips and Supervisor Dennis Rodoni also attended.
Greetings, neighbors! Thank you to everyone who turned out at the meeting. If you couldn't make it, please come next time. Here's what we discussed.
Join the BHCA. We encourage all of you to please sign up to become a BHCA member! Dues for a family are only $25 annually (open to anyone in the neighborhood, renters and homeowners alike). We currently have approximately 50 households that pay dues each year, and we need at least 10 more to cover expenses. We're working on the website to include a payment mechanism, in the meantime you can visit the Join the BHCApage for more information.
Subscribe to the Email List. We also encourage all of you to subscribe to the BHCA email list, so you won’t miss any important information. Subscribe here.
Upcoming Events.Contact the event host if you'd like to sign up to volunteer. We are always in need of event volunteers, please consider helping out at an event or two.
Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods (FedSRN). Consider joining the FedSRN (www.fedsrn.org, $10/year). There are two Bret Harte residents on the Fed SRN Steering Committee, Jim Draper (City Liaison for BHCA), and Betsy Swenerton. Monthly General Meetings are open to all:
New Vegetation Management Program. We are looking for neighbors to spearhead a neighborhood vegetation management program. Please contact Molly at email@example.com more information.
Join the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Be prepared in case of disaster and help your neighbors (and yourself) before first responders can arrive. Next San Rafael CERT Class is September 5, 7 & 14. Learn more at https://readymarin.org/cert/.
Upper Irwin Project. The repairs at Upper Irwin St. are proceeding well. All the retaining walls are completed. Paving and drainage work on the roadway will follow. work is expected to be completed and Irwin St. reopened by the second week of July.
Park Updates. PG&E has not yet hooked up our park bathroom. The City is trying to replace the toilet with a larger one, which requires retrofitting the prefab unit…in the meantime, please use the toilet gently.
Gas Pipeline Upgrades. PG&E is expected to begin work this week to replace the gas pipelines on Woodland between Picnic and Bungalow, and on Billou Street. The Billou St. gas project may require digging up the service lines to homes. please direct your questions and concerns to the City and the Dept. of Public Works. This work may be disruptive, so please be patient and drive safely.
SMART Train. SMART will begin testing their tracks from August into December, which will include testing the horns, and the 2nd and 3rd St. crossings. I hope you have a chance to check out the new multi-use pathway and bike paths!
Offramp Construction. Caltrans will begin work to upgrade the NB Central San Rafael Offramp from the freeway, at Irwin St. this Fall. The agency is warning that it will impact traffic downtown for more than a year.
Representatives from the BHCA attended the opening of Station 52 on Monday, March 13th. Bret Harte resident Willie Walker, who lives on DuBois, was recognized as one of the original firemen at the station when it opened in 1957 (See photo).
Wildfire Prevention Direct Assistance
AmeriCorps NCCC has partnered with the City of San Rafael to directly help low-income, elderly, and disabled homeowners reduce the wildfire risk around their home. In doing so, they will help create a more resilient and fire-safe San Rafael. We anticipate that this free need-based service to qualified homeowners will occur between late April and mid-June 2019. LEARN MORE
Our newly renovated park was filled with eager little ones, colorful eggs and a welcoming bunny for our annual Easter gathering, which was a fun success. Many thanks to Betsy and her family and her amazing crew: Max, Miles, Aliya, Kyan, Thomas, Jenny, Holly, Eric, and Jeff for put together a wonderful Easter in our renovated park! MANY many thanks to Mark and Betsy for making our new bathroom and toilet ready for the big event!!
If you see or experience any problems with the toilet or our new bathroom, please contact Dept. of Public Works at: 415 485-3355 during business hours. or go online at cityofsanrafael.org and "report a problem" .
Look for tile-painting workshops for neighborhood kids this summer, hosted by Molly Blauvelt and Patti McKay. We plan to beautify our new bathroom with colorful tiles.
If you have extra bounty to share from your garden or fruit trees, please contact Nigel or Chris Brown, who are putting together a wonderful new program: Bret Harte Bounty, to share extra fruit and veggies with elder neighbors who'd appreciate a hand and a visit, and others with need and interest: BrownIsTurningGreen@gmail.com. Thank you, Chris, Nigel, David and Sarah for your generous efforts!
The slide repair on Upper Irwin is progressing well, despite delays because of heavy rains this winter. The last retaining wall is being built right now, then Irwin Street itself will be finished and reopened. Latest reports from the City say it will be completed in June (or before July 4th).
Beware: PGE will be moving back into our neighborhood in June to put more new pipes into our streets, on Woodland: Lovell to Irwin, and Billou St. and perhaps other neighborhood streets. Please contact Dept. of Public Works with your concerns and questions. Hopefully maps of closed streets will be provided this time around...
The SMART train's multi-use pathway will be OPEN soon from the tunnel to Rice Lane. It will boast lighting and new fencing. The City is looking for funding to complete this pathway all the along W. Francisco to 2nd St.
PLEASE NOTE: 2nd Street at the transit center will be completely CLOSED the weekend of June 1 - 2 while SMART pulls the double train tracks across 2nd and makes the connection to W. Francisco tracks.
And then 3rd Street at the transit center will be completely CLOSED the next weekend of June 8-9 while SMART pulls the double train tracks across that section.
The SMART train will begin a testing period, with horns, from August - Dec. and then the train will be fully running to Larkspur by the end of 2019: exciting!
If you aren't already, please do consider becoming a dues paying and supporting member of BHCA, join in our neighborhood email chain for the latest updates, and support our wonderful neighborhood events and projects!
by Katie Rice, Marin County Supervisor (District 2)
Hello Lomita Park and Bret Hart neighbors,
Thanks to all of you who attended/participated in our recent meeting, including Deputy Contreras! As I said at the meeting, I am continually impressed and inspired by your community spirit, constructive participation, and general willingness to be involved. Bravo and thank you! It really is a pleasure working with your community.
See below for a summary of discussion at our meeting. Included are highlights plus links/contact info when more information is needed. If you have questions or further issues/concerns to discuss, please feel free to get in touch with me/my office.
Homelessness more generally:
County with a coalition comprised of service and housing providers, city and county departments, business and philanthropic community is making progress on homeless issue in the past year with the adoption of a coordinated/collaborative approach and adoption of a Housing First model. Over the past 18 months, 110 of Marin’s most vulnerable/chronically homeless, many who for years have lived on the streets, surviving on temporary shelter and daily services and in many cases rotating in and out of jail and/or hospital emergency services, are in stable housing and receiving the services they need to maintain their health and housing. Visit https://housingfirst.marinhhs.org/housing-first to learn more.
County DPW has several projects/studies in the works toward traffic calming/safety in Lomita Park area. Thanks so much to Richard and Kathy Brew for bringing these issues to our attention:
Woodland/Auburn Intersection North (across from Northern Star Auto):
Throughout the County, the fire agencies and communities have mobilized around fire prevention and disaster preparedness including defensible space, vegetation management, resident evacuation and emergency planning, highlighted by exponential growth of Firewise neighborhoods in Marin and expansion of fuel reduction projects in public open space lands.
Each of the above mark progress addressing some of our most challenging community issues that I will continue to put my energy and attention towards further gains, with focus in the coming year on wildfire prevention, specifically driving forward a county-wide wildfire prevention and disaster preparedness effort.
Given that wildfire knows no boundaries, while many individual jurisdictions and neighborhoods across the county are making progress at the local level, it is imperative that communities across Marin work together to improve our collective ability to prevent, contain, and if necessary recover from wildfire or other natural disaster.
Reflecting this imperative, a cross-jurisdictional, multi-agency effort is underway to develop and implement a county-wide, coordinated strategy on wildfire prevention and disaster preparedness. This planning work is being led by city and county management and fire chiefs from across the county, and is being informed by the “Lesson’s Learned” report prepared by a countywide taskforce following the 2017 North Bay wildfires, and the Marin County Community Wild Fire Protection Plan, a science based assessment of Marin’s wildfire threat that identifies and prioritizes areas for fuel reduction and actions that should be taken across communities to reduce structural ignitability. Both these documents and more information on what you can do as a homeowner and to participate in broader community efforts are available at www.firesafemarin.org. Lomita Park/Bret Harte should consider becoming a Firewise community. Meanwhile, I will check status on Cal Park being included in San Rafael Fire program in the works and if new codes would apply.
Contacts for Complaints/Concerns
Katie Rice │District 2
Marin County Supervisor
3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 329
San Rafael, CA 94903
Nancy Vernon │Aide
Office of Supervisor Katie Rice
3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 329
San Rafael, CA 94903
Email Disclaimer: https://www.marincounty.org/main/disclaimers
Bruce Scott died February 24th, 2015 of complications from his 12 year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Bruce was 80 years old.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sue, three children Jessie, Bridget and her husband Paul and their children Kieran and Fiona, and John, with his wife Lucy and by their children Isabella and Olivia.
Bruce and Sue and their Children moved to San Rafael in 1973. There he was active in the Boy Scouts and the Bret Harte community, where he wrote the "Bret Harte Beat" newsletter for thirteen years. Bruce and Sue hosted many BHCA meetings at their home near the park. He was elected to the San Rafael School Board, serving eight years, and served on the San Rafael city planning commission for eight years.
For those wishing to remember Bruce with a gesture, please make a donation to the Marin Abused Women’s Service (www.maws.org) which Bruce supported quietly over the years. A service will be held in June.