Bolinas Community Public Utility District
Amendment to the Minutes of the August 18, 2004 Board of Directors Meeting approved by the BCPUD Board of Directors at its regular meeting on April 19, 2006

Transcription of Item number 8– Mosquito Abatement West Nile Virus Task Force Update

BCPUD Board President Joan Bertsch:  “We are going to move to Item number 8, the Mosquito Abatement West Nile Virus Task Force Update Report.”

Stacey Henderson:  “Yes,  I apologize. I left only briefly and it was just when you called my item. I was actually sitting outside waiting up until a few moments before that.  I do apologize for not being here when the item was called. This is just a summary of the action in California. I wait until the morning of because it changes so rapidly these days.”

Cela O’Connor:  “Stacey, pardon me, do you have the results of the Fairfax meeting?”

Stacey:  “The meeting?”

Cela:  “Yes, the meeting.  They had a meeting on the … “

Stacey:  “My understanding was that they were able to postpone… this is based on reading the paper just as I was just coming in here is that that they managed to come to an agreement on how it was going to be solved.  Her question was that, of course, there is a big controversy going on in Fairfax right now regarding a spraying issue.  Fairfax had to get passed an ordinance against, specifically against, insecticide use;  whereas, with the conditions currently in place, the health issue would give the mosquito abatement district the authority, if they wished to, to go in and take care of the health issue whichever way was necessary.  Rather then going against what anybody wished, they worked out a way . . .  the town council has agreed to get the information out so everybody will take care of their own backyard sources, so that it won’t be necessary.  And that they will take responsibility for getting that out to the individuals because that would be what the mosquito abatement agency would want anyway.   This spraying of anything is always their last choice, when all else fails, to prevent death and injury to, you know, to human beings.  So, they were very happy to negotiate that kind of settlement. Jim’s real good at that stuff.  So, that’s the answer to that, as long as that continues working, it’s not a problem.

“Again, I’m Stacey Henderson and I represent the BCPUD to the West Nile Task Force of Marin County.  This is what the map looks like today as far as California goes.”

Director Don Smith:  “I guess we’ve been hit, eh?”

Stacey:  “Yes. . . “

Director Jack McClellan:  “Fairfax, right?”

Stacey”  “Fairfax; that’s where the bird decided to stop and die, in Fairfax.”

[Discussion in the background devolving into comments about rabid bats.]

Director Joan Bertsch:  “Okay, let’s try to leave this to Stacey’s reporting here.”

Stacey:  “Yes, bats in Bolinas and the birds are in Fairfax.  At any rate, it is starting to pick-up. I do have some good news for you in that . . .  everything’s very much coming together.  There’s been a lot of cooperation --  really, really, wonderful cooperation as far as getting the services of our mosquito abatement district out here. It’s gone to the LAFCO’s and I actually found that with getting enough questions . . . where I had to go and find out what they were saying about us . . . and if anybody’s interested I do have the, both the Marin and the Sonoma County LAFCO’s reports about what we’re doing here.  And its really good stuff.  It looks like its going to go through both the recommendations from both the staff reports, from both the LAFCO’s, Marin and the Sonoma, both agencies are both recommending that they go ahead and go forth with the election.  So, it looks like its going to go ahead and go out as planned.  They wanted some slight wording difference from Marin County.  I couldn’t understand what was going on;  because there are two different counties involved, they defer to whichever one has the greater percentage of value of assessment.  So it has to go as the lead agency being the Sonoma’s LAFCO --but it goes to Marin County for an advisory . . . to evaluate for information and input.  And, the input they’ve gotten is remarkably positive.  I just thought I’d mention this because, with all the things that tend to be controversial in this county, and one hand not knowing what the other one is doing, this is unique in the sense that everybody’s coming together on this one issue.  This is where we’re all started talking.  As far as Marin County comments received, staff has received comments in the form of the attached joint statement issued by the County of Marin Public Health Officer and the Chief of Environmental Health Services and the joint statement supports the proposed annexation for a lengthy series of reasons, and goes on about this. So they are absolutely in unison.  Even the Sonoma County draft report comments that this is the very first time they have seen this many agencies coming together and working together on a single cause. It’s turned out to be a real blessing that area.  And even in the environmental area, the San Francisco Bay Joint Ventures has put together their own communication guidelines for the wetlands because they’re concerned that people are going to perceive them as causing a problem and contributing to the disease, with mosquitoes and wetlands, and therefore they’re very concerned about this.  So they have contacted mosquito abatement agencies, both the Contra Costa and Alameda County are very involved in helping write this.  As was Sarah Warnock and our PRBO.  So it’s really showing that everybody’s coming together on this.  What I would like to hopefully ask is that . . .  I would like to ask the BCPUD if they’d be willing to make a statement in support of this annexation.  If you have any questions that need to be answered, if you have any issues that you haven’t addressed . .  we can get those taken care of so that you can make a joint consensus statement that you as a group are unified in supporting this.

Matt Lewis:  “Supporting what?  The annexation  . . .”

Stacey:  “Right, exactly, into the mosquito abatement agency, before the election on November 7th .”

Director Vic Amoroso:  “We support a “yes” vote on that; is that what you mean?”

Stacey:  “Right, that you support the annexation in joining the district. That you understand that you will have the opportunity to appoint a representative from our area to their board.  And that governs what they do, in the same way as you do make decisions for our water board that he asks for permission to do something and makes recommendation and you folks grant that permission. And the same way as we’d be electing someone who would serve in that capacity.”

Andy Blake:  “I have some late breaking information on drainage that ties in with this.  The mosquito abatement district that Stacey is mentioning, that we should become part of -- does have a permit with the Corps of Engineers to do drainage maintenance and it was suggested to me by Liza Crosse today.. not Liza Crosse, excuse me Liz Lewis…

[Inaudible discussion.]
Andy:  “Yeah, yeah..  I talked to both of them today, so I’m getting a little confused. Anyhow, Liz suggested that they need . . .”

Director Amoroso:  “Who’s this?”

Andy:  “Liz Lewis is the Marin County DPW Watershed and Creeks Naturalist.”

Director Amoroso:  “Okay, alright.”

Andy:  “And she suggested that, possibly, if we join this group, then we may be able to get either funds or assistance with doing our drainage work.  And I have the permit, I actually pulled that off the web, and took a look at it.  It doesn’t go far enough, of course, for what we want to do, but it’s something and they do have equipment, people and resources so . . “

Stacey:  “Once you’re part of the district, yes. They have the permit, if necessary, to do what’s necessary to control mosquitoes and if that means opening up the drainage that’s gotten plugged, they can absolutely do that. If that’s the best way of going about it.”

Andy:  “Well, no . . .  I’m hedging that because the permit’s very specific with how far you can go with dealing with drainage . . . you can’t radically alter a drainage, you can certainly do some maintenance and some brushwork.”

Director Bertsch:  “Okay, well I think that the question is, are we going to support that so… “

Stacey:  “That would be my question.”

Director Bersch:  “Jack?”

[Inaudible discussion.]

Director Amoroso:  “What ballot is it on?”

Stacey:  “It will be a mail out ballot that will be mailed to all homeowners and property owners in the areas.  The assessment would be $19.00 a year, total cost, which would be re-evaluated and may well go down in the end of five years.  People up north are paying less, but that’s the start-up cost.”

Director Amoroso: “$19.00 a year?”

Stacey:  “ $19.00, per household, per year.”

Director McClellan:  “That includes downtown, as well as the Mesa?”

Stacey:  “That is the cost per property owner. That’s what would be attached on.  I’m not aware that’s there any other cost. They currently get a small percentage of the property tax revenue, but that percentage isn’t going to  change because of this, very likely.”

Matt Lewis:  “Stacey, this is the ballot going out to all of the West Marin areas that are not incorporated so far into that . . . “

Stacey:  “ . . . that are not currently part of the district.  That includes all of western Sonoma County, as well.  Now, my understanding is that when the vote gets tabulated though, its weighted for the amount of assets in the area.  So, we could, technically, if they didn’t vote completely positive we couldn’t necessarily overcome that because they carry more weight then we do. So hopefully I would like to see a very large percentage of positives and to address anybody’s issues long before we get there.  There’s a lot of mistaken beliefs about what mosquito control does that I’d like to correct before that time, so there will be a lot of education happening.  And I’ve been in touch with a couple of the bird groups too, PRBO and the Audubon Canyon. I didn’t know until today that Audubon Canyon has nothing whatsoever to do with the Audubon Society. I learned today.”

Director Smith:  “I have a question Stacey.  Suppose that the mosquito abatement district decides that they’ve tried everything else and its not working and they want to spray.  Do we have an opportunity to say “yes” or “no”,  whether we want that spraying to occur?  Or is that . .  . once we join the district, do we have to accept what they decide to do?”

Stacey:  “Joining the district will not change that.  They can do that now.  If it’s a public health emergency they don’t have to ask us.  But they don’t generally do that because they do they job very well.  Very, very, rarely they’ll adulticide; and when they do, they don’t use planes.  So that’s the answer . . .  the best way to not get sprayed, is to be part of their district.  But if it comes down to a public health emergency, they are mandated to abate that nuisance, however they can.  They still put the notice out they, and they still tell everybody, and they try to avoid any area where there’s sensitive people.  And they don’t to do that, as witnessed in Fairfax --  that is not their knee-jerk reaction to things. I’ve never seen anybody bend over backwards farther to try to work something out with somebody.  They can use their, “I have to and you have to put up with it” attitude, they don’t do that.  There is always a way, in the way that Jim works, to find a way to solve the problem without going to extremes like that.  He’s one of the most moderate people I have ever met in my life.  He just managed to beautifully sidestep this confrontation in Fairfax, which was getting very heated, and managed to find a way to work through that so that people would be safe and didn’t have to deal with chemicals they felt afraid of.  And so, I think he does a beautiful job of that.  So, if you’re thinking of, if we join them, suddenly we will have to put up with something we don’t have to put up with now, the answer is no, it’s not like that.”

Matt:  “And it seems to me there needs to be some education based on whether spraying really does work and the health concerns around spraying before people jump on the bandwagon… “

Stacey:  “The representative from the IJ, one of the writers, came to our West Nile Task Force meeting and basically got an earful.  We were trying to be very tactful about it, this poor lady.  There was a lot of comments about the inflammatory front page article that was really misrepresenting what was going on there.  And that, I think the headline was “Pesticide Peril”. And it was very, it was not accurately portrayed and I think she got that clear.  Today’s paper, by the way, was much much better about portraying things accurately. We felt like that was really heard. Because it can do a great disservice to the community making them afraid of something which either they didn’t need to be afraid of or not cooperating in a way which they could solve the problem themselves.  There doesn’t need to be that fear, they’re not going to come down and spray things with you, it’s not like . . .  they were never involved with malathyon by the way, that was another agency.  Talking about the fruit fly business, Mediterranean fruit fly, that was not them, they weren’t doing that.”

Director Bertsch:  “Okay, do we have a .. did you have a comment?”

Stacey:  “Any questions?”

Director Amoroso:  “This is all you want us to do, is just pass a motion that we support our entry. . .  a positive motion . . .  “

Stacey:  “To be annexed into it . . . that you would look forward to this and support it.  That we would hopefully have a letter to that effect that could be public.”

[Unknown speaker]:  “So this is allowing the district to be annexed by the mosquito abatement district?”

Stacey:  “Right, so that all of Marin and all of Sonoma will then have their services the way that the east side has now.”

Director Bertsch:  “Second to that motion?”

Director Smith:  “I’ll second it.”

Director Bertsch:  “All in favor?”


Stacey:  “Thank you very much.  And the work was going on -- I had a long list of people, I’ve answered calls, I’ve done it on a pretty much daily basis for either advice or mosquito fish.  And I do a lot of information and I’ve put together little packets for screening roofs that I hand out with screening and zip ties, and it looks like this.  I’d like to make it look a little more elegant, so that we can do roofs and that’s working out real well with my little diagram.  If I was into the money here, I would copyright this thing but I think it’s just better to hand them out.”

Director Bertsch:  “Okay, Stacey.  Thank you very much.”

Stacey:  “Thank you.”

Cela:  “Stacey, a question.  How about the guppies?   The water bodies that feed into creek systems and you can’t use those . .. ”

Stacey:  “You can’t use those.  The studies are still going on, so I haven’t gotten the authority to say “use this instead” by anybody who said its okay to do that yet.”

Cela:  “I thought Fish & Game did okay that.”

Stacey:  “Well, it hasn’t gotten down to me.  I guess I answer to the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito Abatement Agency as the authority to whom I’ve been trained and who I . . . you know, I’m the liasion . . .”

Cela:  “I’m just wondering who has the . . . [inaudible]”

Stacey:  “I don’t know, but I know that [inaudible] was trying to work on it, to find out if they could get it replaced, the one we’re currently using.  And when that happens, I look forward to it.”

[Unknown speaker]:  You only have one guppy?”

Stacey:  “I don’t have any!  [laughter]”

Director Bertsch:  “Okay, we are going to go along to Item number 15, the Pine Gulch Creek Access Easement and Property Appraisal . . . “