Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Special  Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors               
August 11, 2005    10:00 a.m.    270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.  Call to Order    10:04 a.m.

2.  Roll        Directors Amoroso, Kimball, Siedman, Smith present; Director McClellan absent.
                   Director Siedman presiding

3.  November 8, 2005 Election:  Approval of wording for ballot measure.

“Shall the Bolinas Community Public Utility District continue to take measures to protect against the use of pesticides, except those allowed in organic farming, within the BCPUD boundaries and in the Bolinas Lagoon and its watershed?”
Director Amoroso observed that the special meeting was being held because the Board had determined it necessary to change the proposed ballot measure language approved at the July 20th regular Board meeting.  Specifically, the phrase “except those allowed in organic farming” was added to the previously approved language.

Director Siedman further observed that the July 20th meeting agenda did not specifically include approval of this particular ballot measure;  accordingly, as there was some concern about a possible Brown Act violation, the Board decided to proceed with a special meeting, with the ballot measure clearly set forth on the agenda.

Director Amoroso said he did not necessarily agree that the July 20th agenda was insufficiently specific, but that the change in wording for the ballot measure warranted a special meeting to approve the new phrase in any event. 

V. Amoroso/D. Smith motion to approve the ballot wording as set forth on the meeting agenda.

Director Siedman invited members of the public to express their views on the proposed ballot language.  Stacey Henderson said she appreciated that the BCPUD was holding the meeting and that she had two concerns.  First, she pointed out that individual citizens are at liberty to purchase products on the market to control mosquitoes on their property (and such products may contain pesticides).  Second, she noted that other agencies are involved with the management of the Bolinas Lagoon and the BCPUD’s involvement with mosquito control activities may be at odds with the activities/responsibilities of those other agencies.

Director Amoroso said that none of the work of the BCPUD’s West Marin Mosquito Control Committee impacts private citizens’ activities on their own property; rather, the protocol and focus of the Committee’s efforts are the activities of the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District.  Director Amoroso acknowledged that the BCPUD may be at odds with the county with respect to the management of the lagoon and that the BCPUD is clearly at odds with the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District, but those facts do not mean that the BCPUD should not put the proposed measure on the ballot.

Director Kimball added that the measure is important because it will enable the BCPUD to gauge community sentiment on the issue.  She noted the Board of Directors of the Marin Municipal Water District, at its meeting the evening before, voted not to permit the use of the herbicide “Round Up” in its district in large part due to increased public awareness of and opposition to the use of the product.  Director Kimball emphasized that she feels it is very important to put this measure on the ballot.  Director Smith said he agreed.

Eleanor Lyman said she had a related comment that was not specific to the wording of the ballot measure.  She observed that a lot of people in the community are discussing possible “detachment” from the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District and inquired whether that specific issue could be on the ballot.

Director Siedman responded that detachment is a political issue that goes beyond the jurisdiction of the BCPUD.  He said he agreed with Directors Kimball and Smith that the BCPUD needs to gauge community opinion; he noted that the BCPUD is not trying to invade individual rights by taking measures to protect against the use of pesticides in the district, although the BCPUD may well try and educate the community on the topic.  He echoed the view that if the community votes in favor of the advisory measure, the BCPUD will then have clear community endorsement for its activities.

Jeff Commons said he had a follow-up comment to Director Amoroso’s statement that being at odds with the county is not a reason to keep the measure off the ballot.  Jeff said that the county’s Open Space District controls activities in and around the Bolinas Lagoon and has been reluctant to give permission to Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District to take steps to abate the salt marsh mosquito outbreak that is plaguing the downtown and Gospel Flats areas because it doesn’t want to “take sides” on the mosquito control right now.  Jeff said everyone living in those areas is up in arms about the infestation and the fact that nothing is being done about it.  Jeff urged the BCPUD to encourage the Open Space District to let the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District “do its thing” to fight the salt marsh mosquitoes.

Stacey Henderson thanked Jeff for raising the topic.  She raised a sealed jar containing a water sample she collected from Wharf Road, near the beach and under the cliff where water seeps down;  she pointed out the presence of lots of mosquito larvae and pupae in the jar    She encouraged the BCPUD to work with the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District to control the mosquito problem, not against them.  She acknowledged that there are times when it is valid and appropriate to oppose another agency’s activities, but given all that is happening with mosquitoes at the moment, it may be the time to give the district a chance—Stacey pointed out that the district has not undertaken any treatment activities to combat the salt marsh mosquitoes in deference to the community sentiments.  She observed that personalities and hard feelings seemed to have gotten in the way.  Stacey said she would rather see people fight mosquitoes than fight the district and she stated that the Department of Health Services provides a mediation service for disputes involving the district.  Stacey urged the BCPUD to try a mediation approach before taking an oppositional stance.  Finally, she said, “we really want the county with us right now” and its not the right time to have the measure on the ballot;  she urged the BCPUD to defer the measure until the March ballot.

Director Kimball told Jeff Commons that she did not know why the Open Space District would not be willing to permit the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District to deal with the salt march mosquito via mechanical means and application of BTs, consistent with the West Marin Mosquito Control Committee protocol.

Director Amoroso observed that there had been a big change in thinking at the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District Board of Directors meeting the previous evening.  A majority of that Board now seems to be in support of the West Marin Mosquito Control Committee activities and negotiations have been scheduled to recommence (between the Committee and the District) in September.  “We’re getting through and I don’t think this measure will harm the process,” he said.

Jeff said that he understood, but wanted to point out that the agencies involved are walking on “eggshells” around the lagoon while the mosquitoes are “going nuts”.  Jeff asked if there was any way to encourage the Open Space District to speed things up and permit the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District to come in and take steps to control the outbreak, consistent with the protocol.  Jeff acknowledged that his request was not directly on the agenda topic of the ballot measure.

Director Amoroso said there is no reason the BCPUD cannot communicate with the Open Space District to urge it to permit action consistent with the West Marin Mosquito Control Committee protocol.

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    4 in favor (McClellan absent)    to approve the ballot wording as set forth on the meeting agenda.

Director Siedman instructed staff to notify the county of the ballot measure wording.  He further requested staff to include an item on the agenda of the Board’s regularly scheduled August 17th meeting for discussion of a possible letter from the BCPUD to the Open Space District urging it to permit mosquito abatement activities consistent with the protocol nearby the Bolinas Lagoon.

Jeff Commons expressed his appreciation, particularly in light of the pending seven foot high tides that are likely to prompt a new infestation.

4.    Adjournment

    10:32 a.m.