In case you didn’t know, Novato is about to turn 53. The city wasn’t incorporated until Jan. 20, 1960, which makes us one of youngest cities in the county — Tiburon was the last to be incorporated in 1964. All of the other cities in Marin were incorporated 50-75 years earlier.
While the late incorporation may have had some advantages back then, it certainly differentiates Novato now.
Why the late incorporation? One likely theory I learned about in Leadership Novato (shouts out to class of 2007) dates back to prohibition. At that time, bootlegging was big business in Novato which served as a hub for the whisky trade coming out of San Francisco. Incorporation would have resulted in a police force that would have put many people out of business.
Without incorporation, residents of the area still needed basic services so various districts were chartered/formed: Novato Unified School District (1861), Novato Sanitary (1925), Novato Fire Protection District (1926) and North Marin Water (1948). As a result of the late incorporation, Novato is not considered a “full service” city, but the term is not really fitting considering the level and quality of service that the city has provided to the community over the past 53 years — and for that, it is a time to celebrate.
Not only does Novato have an upcoming birthday, but there is also an upcoming birthday party known as Paint the Town Red. The party will be held this Friday, Jan. 18 from 6-10 p.m. at the Margaret Todd Senior Center. Also, this annual event includes the announcement of the Citizen of the Year and the large and small business of the year for 2012. If you have never been or just haven’t registered yet, there is still time. Tickets are $50 per person and you can visit www.paintthetownred.org for more information.
With the city’s birthday around the corner, I got to brainstorming about what to give the city for turning 53. It is similar to picking out that gift for the person who has everything. In those cases, sometimes the best gift is a hand-written card to express appreciation and gratitude. It is easy to talk about what we would like to change or even complain on occasion about Novato, but for the city’s birthday, one thing we can all do is express what we truly enjoy and sometimes take for granted about Novato. With that in mind, I encourage everyone to share their thoughts and birthday messages to Novato below.