About Barbara

BC_by_mimi.jpegI have been a Fairfax Town Councilmember since May 2013 (initially appointed, then elected - as the top vote getter! in November 2013).  I served as Mayor in 2015. I am a scientist with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in biological sciences, also with an excellent, decades long track record of commitment to environmental action.

I also serve on several Boards/Committees: Marin Clean Energy (Executive Committee and Board), Marin Telecommunications Agency, Community Media Center of Marin (PEG channels), Countywide Community Development Block Grant, Marin County Assessment of Fair Housing, Town of Fairfax Committees - Affordable Housing, Climate Action (former, 3 years), Measures A & J, Open Space, Age Friendly, Ad Hoc Pedestrian Trails. I also serve as a Hearing Board member (alternate) for the BAAQMD.

I have nearly 30 years of public environmental agency experience, with more than 27 years serving in California. For more than two decades I was a Division Chief at the Department of Toxic Substances Control of Cal/EPA leading hazardous waste site cleanup and permitting programs statewide. For 5 years I enforced air quality laws as a Compliance & Enforcement Manager for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.  In my current employment I am the Administrator of a significant climate change program for the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (a non-profit of the 35 CA air districts). I have drafted and negotiated numerous types of legislation on statewide environmental matters and I testified in Congress on behalf of the then Governor and the National Governor's Association on "Superfund" legislation.

I have lived in Marin County for 28 years with 21+ years in Fairfax.  Prior to the Fairfax Town Council, I served on both the Fairfax Planning Commission and the Open Space Committee.  For several years I also volunteered as an election poll officer as the Chief Inspector for two election precincts in Fairfax.

Some of my many accomplishments on the Council (as Mayor in 2015 and as Councilmember in collaboration) include:

  • Preserving Open Space: Acquiring/restoring Sky Ranch - 16 acres of open space; key member of the team that raised $1.3+M in less than one year. Connects to 100s of miles of trails stretching from the Golden Gate to Point Reyes. 
  • Actions on Climate: As Mayor, I obtained a grant for a MCE Deep Green Incentive for 100 residents (credits $5/month for one year) - Fairfax now has the highest DG sign ups of any MCE community; member of Fairfax Climate Action Committee for 1st 3 years; adopted several PACE programs  in 2015 - funds homeowner/commercial energy efficiency and solar over 20 years; adopted mandatory recycling of construction debris ordinance; led efforts to increase water conservation for low flush toilets (ordinance 2015/2016); program approved to change out >500 Town streetlights to LED; I developed a Scorecard of Fairfax's many climate actions from the 1980s to the present. 
  • Facilitating Infill Affordable Housing: adopted Junior 2nd unit ordinance 2015; as CDBG member, secured senior housing funding through HUD and County; adopted emergency homeless shelter ordinance; updated "home grown" infill approach Housing Element in 2015. 
  • Living within & Balancing the Budget: ensuring Fairfax stays lean but provides high quality services; limited use of consultants to specialized technical expertise; I led highly successful voter campaigns for local taxes to support Fairfax (all funds stay in Fairfax); refinanced pre-2013 pension liability (saves $1M over 16 years). 
  • Senior programs: I worked hard to create senior programs so we can all stay connected - added senior classes (yoga, dance, art); 1st Senior Fair held in 2015; monthly Senior topics added to Council meetings (2015/2016); recognizing Rosie the Riveters and Fairfax's Rosie, Phyllis Gould; Fairfax received Age Friendly designation by WHO in 2015.  
  • Disaster Planning and Safety: as Mayor convened the Citizen's Disaster Council (1st time since 2006) - updated Emergency Ops Plan and maps - adopted 2015; flashing beacons installed at critical pedestrian crossings; began pilot pedestrian flags program as Mayor with Fairfax youth, Emma Lauter; initiated expanding pedestrian evacuation trails (e.g. Cypress and ensuring allocation of annual funding to continue the program).
  • Infrastructure: as Mayor created successful sidewalk repair cost-share program - waive $500 permit fee & reimburse $500 (increased to $750 in 2017) for residents; bridge capitol improvements program (Azalea, Creek & Meadow Way); focused Council attention and funding for 2017 - downtown sidewalks repairs and aggressive street paving program. 
  • Transparency: continued televising of Council and Planning Commission meetings; use of Social Media - Police began using Next Door in 2015 for routine and critical notifications; Town Manager publishes Newsletter and also posts on Next Door. 

I am deeply committed to protection of the environment and public health which is demonstrated by my work, education and many years of public service. I am a longtime resident of the west end of town, and I am an avid cyclist and hiker. My education and many years of public service with state, regional and local government has given me not only a good understanding as to how government works, but also the ability to understand what doesn't work and how to get things done.  I have a strong work ethic, I am known for my hard work, integrity and practical, progressive approach - I  care deeply about Fairfax and would love to continue to serve the residents of Fairfax. 

Photo by Mimi Newton



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commented 2013-11-24 06:55:26 -0800 · Flag
TY :)
Barbara Coler for Fairfax Town Council