John Reed

Town of Fairfax, Councilmember

  • Contact
  • Background

Town of Fairfax
142 Bolinas Rd.
Fairfax, California 94930
(415) 453-1584

After reading “Silent Spring” in 6th grade, I became an avid environmentalist. Thrilled with the first Earth Day in 1969, I had found my tribe.

Initially there was no Green Party. Imagine my joy when it started. Seeing the need for the same ideas in the mainstream parties got me to register Democratic for a decade or so. With the new open primary in California, it seemed there was no reason to keep my registration with the Democrats, so recently I moved back to the Green camp. The Green Party represents many of the views I hold dear.

I believe that nothing is more important than dealing with climate change. Other things that the Green Party endorses are also very worthy, but this one issue rises above all. Over the years, I have worked organizing against nukes, for the American Friends Service Committee, War Resisters League, and as a bicycle advocate. I have also been a huge proponent of local community. I have worked locally to bridge the gap between various factions and bring people together around issues that we agree on.

After years of requests from community members, I agreed to run for Town Council along with Pam Hartwell-Herrero in 2009. Pam and I got to know each other when we were both running non-profits here in the Fairfax Community.

My local work on bike advocacy started with the recognition that Fairfax could not apply for transportation grants, as CalTrans did not have some essential information on file. I assembled this information in a document, got it approved by Planning staff, Police, Planning Commission, and the Town Council, and finally got the information filed at the State. It was my introduction to government bureaucracy, and the structures on which good decisions depend.

A couple of years later, this ability to get grants for infrastructure was vital as a small group of us developed a bike/walk program at our local school. This subsequently evolved into Safe Routes to School, a national program, which started here in Fairfax. I also became involved with writing the Town’s General Plan, which is a document that guides future development, zoning, and qualities of life in Fairfax. I thought it important that our “blueprint” for the future of Fairfax have clear guidelines for sustainability, bike and pedestrian friendly infrastructure, good energy practices, and to limit changes to those that support our unique cultural environment. Fairfax is the great town that it is today because residents really care about preserving what makes it unique, and have for decades. My work on the general plan ensures that continuance, at least for its 20 year horizon.

For about six years, I also served as the chair of the Volunteer Board, where we worked on many activities that brought various factions of the community together, such as repairing some of the over 100 pedestrian trails throughout town, coordinating response to a devastating flood, initiating an annual Town Wide Picnic, Chipper Days (to reduce fire danger), and dozens of other activities that helped our community. At the conclusion of this time, Pam and I ran for Council.

While on the Council, I have championed working together to achieve a balanced approach to Town governance, where all parties are heard and considered. As a representative for Fairfax on regional Boards and Commissions, I play a slightly different role. For instance, in my seat on the Transportation Authority of Marin County, I find myself pitching alternative transportation, and thinking outside of the box, rather than just talking about freeways. Since we have a fairly progressive-minded group of elected officials in Marin, I find this quite effective.

Below is a list of items that I either initiated or took a key role in while on the Town Council:

  • Initiated a community discussion on Smart Meters
  • Stewarded a feasibility study on the East West Bikeway
  • Worked to start a Local Currency in Fairfax (the FairBuck)
  • Moved the Town’s Banking Accounts from B of A to Bank of Marin
  • Worked successfully to find Mortgage Refi solutions for Residents
  • Moved Fairfax to support AB 750, for a State Bank
  • Added Chipper Day Funding to Marin Sanitary Contract
  • Good Earth Foods moves, Community Meetings, solve several problems
  • Held Gas Fracking Symposium
  • White Hill School Bike and Pedestrian Access Path
  • Manor Sidewalk project completed
  • Got stalled SF Drake Bike Lane project moving forward
  • Passed the General Plan, a culmination of a 10-year effort on my part
  • Streets for People Event
  • Oversaw adding Ross to Fire JPA
  • Facilitated several EV Charging Stations in town
  • Chipper Days at the Pavilion (Fire Danger Project)
  • Bike Spine Project Approval – safety project for kids on bikes
  • Secured Funding for Bike and Pedestrian improvements to Broadway, Downtown