The hottest story this week is the council’s vote to approve $370,000 of Measure F funds, the half-cent sales tax approved in 2010, to promote downtown shopping and market Novato to bio-tech and life science companies.
The council approved the move 4-1, with Mayor Pat Eklund dissenting. Many residents oppose the move, saying Measure F was touted as a way to maintain current levels of police, public works and parks and rec services and should not be used for anything else.
But the majority of the council disagreed, pointing to text in the measure that said the funds could be used for a variety of purposes and that a marketing campaign to attract new companies to town was a needed shot in the arm that would result in additional sales revenues.
“I’m hearing this from our residents that we need good-paying jobs,” Lucan said Tuesday. “If we want to market ourselves, we have to do it for something we’re already good at and become excellent in the whole Bay Area. This sends a message that ‘Yes, we believe in you and we want you to continue to grow.’”
In other Novato news, the Marin County Flood Control District has opened tide gates at Novato Creek to help alleviate the smell at Pacheco Pond, a 120-acre pond just west of the entrance to Bel Marin Keys. The district had received numerous calls in recent days about the pungent odors, caused by slow moving bacteria on the bottom of the pond.
Governor Jerry Brown this week passed a new law requiring cars to give bicycle riders at least three feet of space on the road, hailed as a major victory by the Marin Councy Bicycle Coalition. Brown signed the bill after two straight years of vetoing because it allowed drivers to cross a double-yellow line to make room for a cyclist or required them to slow to 15 mph when passing within 3 feet.
Also this week, we reported that many Marin school districts, including Novato Unified, are allowing students to access social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram while at school. Why? They want to engage students in ways that are familiar to them, doing assignments, communicating and accessing new information via these forums. But not everyone agrees that Facebook in the classroom is good for learning.