Bolinas Community Public Utility
A Special Meeting Of The Board Of
August 11, 2005 10:00 a.m. 270 Elm Road,
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
“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
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
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
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
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
Jeff Commons expressed his appreciation, particularly in light of the pending
seven foot high tides that are likely to prompt a new infestation.