Welcome to my website.


My campaign was a success!  The winners in our Fairfax Council race are Bruce Ackerman, John Reed & I.  I am grateful for all my many contributions, supporters, volunteers, well-wishers and great endorsements!  I am honored to be able to serve our Fairfax community another 3 years!  Thank you all! 

I am honored to have served on the Fairfax Town Council these last four years and as Mayor in 2015.  Working together with the community, we have made great progress towards realizing our common vision for Fairfax: celebrating the diverse values of our citizens through government openness and transparency; attaining economic vitality while preserving our small town character; and providing leadership on social justice and environmental issues.  As a 21 year resident, I am devoted to preserving the look and feel of Fairfax that we all love. 

I am a scientist with a long term commitment to protection of public health and the environment. My education and years of public service have given me a deep understanding of how government works and the ability to get things done. Some of my many accomplishments on the Council include: acquiring Sky Ranch for open space; achieving climate action objectives; facilitating infill affordable housing.  I ran highly successful voter campaigns for local taxes to support Fairfax.  

I have focused on living within our budget to provide locally-controlled public services, maintaining/replacing our aging infrastructure, preserving the uniqueness, beauty and small town qualities while enhancing Fairfax's strong environmental sustainability ethics.  With your vote I can continue this important work. 

I have four major priorities for Fairfax:

Maintaining and Improving our Aging Infrastructure – I led efforts to ensure the Town has adequate funding for infrastructure through successful campaigns for local tax measures (all funds stay in Fairfax). Some projects funded by these taxes have provided funding for: street repairs impacted by mud slides; reconstruction of the Pavilion parking lot; creation of a sidewalk-repair cost sharing program; initiating improvements to our pedestrian evacuation trails; and installation of traffic beacons at critical crossings. I have focused the Council's attention and funding is now allocated for repair of downtown sidewalks and an aggressive streets paving program. My goals are to implement critical disaster and other hazard mitigation projects and to ensure we have adequate lighting, roads, pedestrian walkways and other projects conducted which may pose safety concerns for our residents.  We must continue to proactively plan for the future by identifying needed public works projects, funding and grant opportunities. 

Protecting our Ridgelines, Open Space. Small Town Qualities and Providing Adequate Housing– Fairfax is defined by its vast open space and beautiful ridgelines.  We must protect our open space, our ridgelines, wildlife corridors, ecology and the visual landscape.  We must preserve and protect our biological and cultural resources.  To this end, I worked hard on the campaign to raise $1.3+M for the acquisition and restoration of Sky Ranch - 16 acres of open space which connects hundreds of miles of trails stretching from the Golden Gate to Point Reyes. We must prevent any unreasonable, excessive development or construction on our open space or ridgelines or any projects which could mar or otherwise impact our visual landscape. We must continue to acquire open space and preserve our existing open space for our Town. However, we cannot ignore the mounting affordable housing crisis. We can achieve these objectives by protecting our existing cost-effective housing stock and looking for opportunities to add appropriately scaled units. We can allow "grandfathering" of existing "illegal" 2nd units, providing a streamlined approach for junior 2nd units, approving lower scale multi-unit complexes, and utilizing other infill approaches, all within our local control. Ensuring we have adequate housing for young families, seniors and our workforce can be achieved using approaches which do not significantly change the character, look and feel or our Town.  During my tenure as Mayor, we adopted a streamlined junior 2nd unit ordinance, an emergency homeless shelter ordinance and updated our Housing Element, which utilized a Fairfaxian "home grown" infill approach to meeting our housing needs. 

Living within our Budget – My highest priority is ensuring we achieve long term economic vitality and that we provide high quality, locally-controlled public services to all Fairfaxians.  I have worked hard to lead and seek passage of reasonable local tax measures - all funds stay in Fairfax. I am a "hawk" on the Town's budget, ensuring we stay lean but provide quality services. Fairfax has taken action: trimming pension benefits for new hires and all Town employees pay their share into pension plans: reducing department budgets and all new employees pay a share of their health benefits; recently refinanced pre-2013 pension liability (saving $1M over 16 years); and keeping positions vacant to save money.  Fairfax has the lowest number of employees per capita of any small town in Marin AND we provide locally controlled community policing 24/7 at low cost. Because we have very few staff, we also use consultants judiciously to augment staffing to provide specialized technical expertise.  Using this approach the Town can address broader and more technically complex projects, without incurring the additional costs of full time staff with benefits. 

Supporting our Fight against Global Warming and our Environmental Sustainability Ethics – During my tenure on the Council, we adopted our Climate Action Plan (CAP) and created the Fairfax Climate Action Committee (CAC).  As a member of CAC for the first 3 years, I ensured that the Council took action on key CAP measures (e.g., adopting rigorous water conservation measures, adopting several PACE funding programs in 2015; planning for LED street light retrofits; and, as Mayor I obtained a grant to fund a MCE Deep Green Incentive program for 100 residents), I also developed a Scorecard which documents Fairfax's many climate action accomplishments from the 1980s to date). We must also attain theses goals by preserving and acquiring open space, providing biking and adequate pedestrian trails and promoting other low carbon modes of transport (telecommuting, encouraging use of internet tools, buses and other non-single occupant commuting), fully implementing our CAP and promoting zero waste by living by our motto “reduce, recycle & reuse.”

My priorities: Living within our budgetary constraints to provide high quality, locally controlled public services to all Fairfaxians; Protecting our Ridgelines and Open Space, Supporting our Fight against Global Warming and our Environmental Sustainability; Maintaining and Improving our Aging Infrastructure; Preserving the Uniqueness and Small Town Qualities while Ensuring we have Adequate and Affordable Housing. 

Photo by Stephanie Mohan 



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commented 2019-01-27 14:44:52 -0800 · Flag
Dear Ms Coler,

Please explain this information.
Is MCE a fraud?

    Marin Clean Energy’s liability numbers
    Posted by: Jim Phelps – January 15, 2019 – 5:41pm

Marin Clean Energy’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission numbers are out and, once again, they do not track with reality.
For the latest year of available data, MCE increased GHG emissions to the atmosphere 162,569 tons compared to the same energy volume being produced by PG&E for calendar year 2016.

Click on image to enlarge
MCE claimed it would reduce GHGs by 175,000 tons in 2011. It claimed this reduction would continue to 534,000 tons per year by 2020. This is expressed in this graph that was produced by MCE:

Click on image to enlarge
However, since MCE’s 2010 business launch through 2016, MCE has increased overall emissions 1.07 billion pounds of GHG, as determined by actual deliveries of energy to customer meters.
All this begs the question: If MCE is increasing global warming what is its financial liability in the wildfires, and resulting mudslides, that strike Californians?

PG&E Currents (2016 emission rate by non-staff consultant)
MCE Technical Committee, August 30, 2018, agenda item #06, “MCE (2016) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis” (by MCE staff consultant).
California Energy Commission Power Source Disclosure reports, Schedule 1, for the calendar year ending December 31, 2016.

Jann Johnson
commented 2017-10-18 18:21:24 -0700 · Flag
Thanks for fighting the good fight, Barbara.
commented 2013-11-06 18:52:25 -0800 · Flag
TY :)
Barbara Coler for Fairfax Town Council