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Marin County, CA November 3, 2009 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Jim Fraser

Candidate for
Council Member; Town of Tiburon

This information is provided by the candidate


What's Important to Jim

Thanks for coming to my web site, Through the great work of many, coupled with input and ideas from my campaign committee and others, this site will be one of my main communication tools for sharing my vision, values, and principles as they relate to our community.

Below I have outlined my thoughts with respect to some of the current, as well as important, issues in front of our community today. These thoughts and ideas are not meant to represent the only issues on my mind, however, I do believe that the issues I have highlighted are high on the community priority list. And, that is what is of most important to me, COMMUNITY FIRST, for as your council representative I pledge to put the needs of our community front and center. I will do this by listening and seeking out our community's needs , goals and suggestions and be a champion of dialogue and debate within the community and with my colleagues on the council.

As a long time resident of Tiburon, I have had the good fortune of getting to know a variety of our citizens, many as friends and neighbors, and others as local merchants. My volunteer experiences within the town, over the last 8+ years, have also facilitated many new friendships. I hope that those of you that are getting to know me for the first time, will benefit from what I am sharing on this site and you will help me with your feedback and ideas.

Please feel free to share with me your comments and suggestions, for in the end, what's important to me, and I am sure to you, is my representation of the community's heart, voice and aspirations as your representative on Tiburon's Town Council.

Preservation of Open Space

We are blessed within our community of Tiburon to have approximately 250 acres of open public space. As a resident, I have personally enjoyed the beautiful hills, fields and valleys over the years, and have probably recorded many running and walking miles over many of our public areas. During my time as a Parks and Open Space Commissioner, I advocated and supported an annual " line item budget " for the town's open spaces, and am now pleased to note that the town is in the midst of crafting an Open Space Master Plan. In my role as a Planning Commissioner, I have been a strong advocate of preserving and protecting our existing open space, and have advocated and supported the allowable set asides with new development projects. Access to these spaces is vital too, and in my role as a Planning Commissioner, I have focused on ensuring proper public access.

Enhancements of Our Parks and Recreational Facilities

Not only is Tiburon one of the world's greatest places to live, it is also a community of numerous generous volunteers who spend volumes of hours contributing to the well being of all Tiburon Peninsula residents. The Belvedere - Tiburon Joint Recreation Committee is an example of what great community volunteers can do. Our Joint Recreation Committee is a privately funded, fee-based organization generating upwards of $750,000 in revenue annually. From after school activities for kids, summer camps, numerous adult programs and sponsorship of many great events ( Labor Day Parade, Tiburon Art Festival & others ), the small paid staff and their volunteer leadership provide and facilitate an amazing and vital community service. Today approximately 45-50 % of the services are utilized by children in grades K-5, with adults making up about 25 %. The balance is a mix of everyone else.

In meetings that I have had with committee members, the Director of Joint Rec., and current Town Council members, a couple of key issues were identified; the need for permanent space for many of their activities, and the desire for closer ties, i.e., funds and resources, to the town (in other communities, Joint Rec. is a part of local government). Unfortunately, what I believe we have just learned is, that due to increased enrollment at Reed School, spaces that have been provided to Joint Rec. for after school activities will not be available. As such, Joint Rec. is scrambling for space for some of the fall programs. Through my network working connections within the community, I have put some folks in touch with the Director of Joint Rec., to see if some available space, close to Reed School, might be available for use. The good news is that our town leaders have already initiated a review process via the Recreation Master Plan, a comprehensive study of the community's needs etc. I can remember when this issue was visited a few years back, when I was a member of the Skate Park Task Force, for at that time we did not have a clear assessment of the community's needs within this arena. A thorough review makes good sense, and I support this initiative. In addition to a thorough review of the community's needs, I am also an advocate for finding a way to build a dedicated Community Center for our town. This is not a new idea, for many of our current council members have advocated this before. Perhaps what this idea needs is some additional energy and support; our community can count on Jim to be a vocal proponent for finding the space and funds to build Tiburon's Community Center.

Continuation of Sound Fiscal Management

Our community has numerous positive attributes, including a revenue base that is fairly sound and stable, and a leadership team that has, over the years, implemented a prudent fiscal management philosophy. Supporting the council's leadership, we have a town staff focused on excellent budgetary management and allocation of funds and resources. What this means to the residents of the Tiburon community is the assurance that even during the difficult economic times that we are confronted with today, our budgetary funds are more than adequate and secure. The base of the town's funding come from property taxes, approximately 44 %, and they remain stable, even with the slowdown in real estate transactions. Property valuations, which are the basis for property tax assessments, remain strong in our community.

As a council member, I will be able to use my broad based experienced in leading and managing businesses within the USA as well as overseas. I thoroughly understand the budgetary process and have been held accountable, throughout my career, for revenue generation, profits and capital allocation.

I support the council's budgetary leadership and will advocate that the town continue along the positive and responsible path that has been established. Yes, there is always room for dialogue and debate about what projects and needs should be funded, and the associated priority of each. I will look to the residents of Tiburon for their input and counsel (at all times) within this area, and bring their input forward for dialogue and debate. On my priority list will be support and funding for a community center.

Improving our Traffic and Parking Conditions

Yes, we do have a traffic and parking problem. We have too much traffic during most days, and especially when school is in session. Looking at parking, we do have many parking areas, however, most of what is available is private parking vs. public.

Many folks before Jim have looked at the traffic issues, some good suggestions for improvement. However the problem persists. Some of the folks that I have talked to, that are involved with our school district, acknowledge the issue and they too, are looking for a solutions. Is it more buses, more car-pooling, enhancement of and more active support for Safe Routes To School, better traffic management, rolling starting times for school classes, etc? I am guessing that there isn't one answer, however, I am committed to working towards the development of a solution or solutions, that will achieve a traffic improvement objective, agreed to by the community.

As your council member, I will advocate, and take a leadership role, in bringing together all affected parties, as well as any interested parties, to work on the following: (1) clear identification of the issue or issues surrounding Tiburon's traffic problems, (2) identification and agreement of what "success" would look like if we were to improve or solve Tiburon's traffic problems, (3) vetting of all possible or recommended solutions in order to achieve the "success" goals identified, and (4) implementation of the solutions agreed to by the community. This is OUR problem , and TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY, we can achieve the agreed upon goals.

Yes, it would be nice if we had additional public parking, the question is where? I do believe that the Tiburon 2020 General Plan outlines new guidelines for parking should any development take place in the downtown area, i.e., buildings and structures towards the street and parking in the rear. Would this add more public parking, perhaps, but probably not by a significant amount. Perhaps another answer or option to consider is to provide Tiburon residents with a "residency discount", i.e. reduced rates for residents during certain times of the day. Yes, complicated and maybe controversial, however, maybe it is an idea to put on the table.

Downtown Merchants Revitalization

For as long as I can remember, our community has not been able to sustain many-needed retail and community commerce oriented businesses, within the downtown area. All of us have just seen yet another grocery store come and go, and across the street a change in merchants is on the horizon. And, as with many of the issues we have as a community, there are a variety of opinions, ideas and challenges to whatever someone seems to bring forward. Do I have THE ANSWER, no, but I do have an interest in seeing the downtown Tiburon area, and it's retail merchants and business owners, thrive. Many folks before Jim have championed this cause with positive energy and good intentions. I'm committed to picking up where others may have left off and supporting ideas and initiatives that (1) are personally valued as well as add economic value to landowners, (2) help to meet the diverse needs of our community, and (3) are compatible with Tiburon's 2020 General Plan. Look at what our community has down with " Friday Nights On Main ". Somehow a group of folks came together, under the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce (I believe), with an idea that managed to bring together our community, young and old, in a positive and festive atmosphere. Now if we could just harness the ideas and energy of these bright and innovative folks, along with the vision and goals of the property owners, existing merchants and other community leaders and interested parties, maybe, just maybe an idea or ideas would surface that we would all embrace. Everyone benefits if we have an environment where our local merchants thrive. I believe my background and worldwide business experience (part of which involved retails stores), will be a benefit and possibly a positive catalysts in this area.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 27, 2009 09:23
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