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City Manager's Blog

If you have questions or suggestions regarding this blog post, ideas for future blog posts, or any matter of City business, feel free to contact City Manager Tabatha Miller at (707)961-2829.    

Nov 01

Shopping Local

Posted on November 1, 2019 at 11:17 AM by June Lemos

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November 1, 2019
Shopping Local
While writing the staff report on whether Fort Bragg should regulate formula/chain stores, I read an article that proclaimed loss of foot traffic as the biggest threat to independent businesses - not formula businesses. Loss of foot traffic is blamed on online retailers. The theory was that buyers visit stores, malls and shopping districts less frequently and that formula businesses actually attract shoppers to shopping centers where they stop at or are lured into independent businesses next door or nearby. 
I am not asserting that formula stores are the answer but the article made me think about my changing spending habits. In my twenties and thirties, I worked in pedestrian friendly downtowns and loved shopping at lunch or on the way home or to the transit stop. Most of my wardrobe from shoes to coats came from my lunch time or after work outings. In fact, most of my shopping took place on these walks. Obviously, I work downtown now but I realize that I don’t pop out at lunch very often to look and buy. I admit these days, I am more likely to surf the internet after work at home for my purchases.
I have heard from a good number of merchants how financially challenging this year has been. Councilmember Morsell-Haye recently closed her shop. As a community, we talk a lot about tourists and getting people here but locals are part of local business vitality. Shopping local supports our community, especially the independent local businesses. It puts money in the pockets of our neighbors, friends and families, which they in turn spend here in our community, supporting other local businesses and so on. It supports our local, county and state governments through sales taxes. While no one loves paying taxes, I would rather support my local government rather than another community or state government.  
Yes, my salary is supported by those local taxes, and so are the other City employees. Like me, they live locally and hopefully spend much of that salary here supporting their favorite local businesses. Not everything can be purchased locally, but I am making that effort to think about where I spend my money and what happens to it when it leaves my hands. 
The tenth annual Small Business Saturday is November 30, 2019, but I encourage all of us to treat most days as small or local business day.
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May 15

City Volunteers

Posted on May 15, 2019 at 3:15 PM by June Lemos

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May 15, 2019
City Volunteers
Monday night, May 13, 2019, before the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, the City held a Volunteer Appreciation Reception to acknowledge and thank those members of our community who give their time, experience and knowledge to the City. The list of commissions, committees, boards and groups who represent the City is surprisingly large. Moreover, the list of individuals who participate on these committees is extensive and deserves a shout out.  
Fort Bragg Planning Commission
The Planning Commission is a five-member board appointed by and serving the City Council. The Commission reviews land use and development permits (use permits, coastal permits, design review permits, subdivisions, etc.) for consistency with the goals and policies of the Fort Bragg Municipal Code. The Commission also provides recommendations to the City Council on General Plan amendments and rezoning requests, and provides direction to the Community Development Department regarding the interpretation of City planning policies and the City Code.  
Fort Bragg Fire Protection Authority
The Fort Bragg Fire Protection Authority, a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) of the City and the Fort Bragg Rural Fire District, oversees fire protection, suppression and emergency rescue operations of the Authority.
Mendocino County Library Advisory Board
The Library Advisory Board meets during the year and assists in developing improvements for Mendocino libraries making the members instrumental in providing educational and recreational materials which fill the needs of a culturally diverse population. The City appoints one member to this Board.
Noyo Harbor Commission
The Noyo Harbor District is a special district that serves the fishing and other marine interests at Noyo Harbor. The District has a five-member board with the City and County each selecting two members and jointly selecting the fifth member. The Harbor District owns the mooring basin and a substantial portion of the property on the south side of the harbor where the parking lot is located. The Harbor District also rents berths to boats anchored at the harbor.  
Bee City USA Committee
The Bee City USA Committee is a volunteer committee established in the fall of 2016 designated to facilitate Fort Bragg’s Bee City USA Program – the first in California! The committee encourages and coordinates local pollinator habitat, and raises awareness about the importance of pollinators to our culture and economy.  
Visit Fort Bragg Committee
The Visit Fort Bragg Committee promotes Fort Bragg as a travel and retail destination. The Committee provides direction on the VFB Marketing and Promotions Action Plan.
The Adopt-A-Street-Program was created in the Spring of 2017 with the goal of helping keep City streets clean and inviting, especially our historic downtown.  Not only do these efforts spruce up the City’s appearance, but assist with storm water protection by removing trash and cigarette butts from our streets and drainage systems.  
Adopt-A-Park Program
The Adopt-A-Park Program helps keep the City Parks clean and inviting.  Volunteers help remove invasive plants, pick up trash and work on park beautification projects. These folks provide much appreciated support to the City’s Public Works Department.
Neighborhood Watch Program
Neighborhood Watch is built on the strength of citizens and encourages neighbors to help fight against crime by working together to lend their neighbors a hand.
Community Emergency Response Team
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community.
If you are interested in volunteering for one or another of the Committees or Boards, please call (707) 961-2823.

Feb 28

What Goes Where - Trash, Recycle and Green Waste

Posted on February 28, 2019 at 8:11 AM by June Lemos

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February 27, 2019

In the last couple of months, I have had a number of discussions with City staff, City Councilmembers and my husband regarding what trash goes into which bin. Full disclosure, these discussions may cross over into disagreements (mostly with the husband). I historically have relied on the - when in doubt put it in the recycle bin mentality. This partially originates from the fact that my blue recycle bin is three times larger than my gray trash bin. Not only can I fit a lot more in the blue recycle bin but it makes me feel better about myself if my recycle bin is full. It somehow implies that I am doing my part to make the world a better place. 

Before I get too smug, I know that having my blue recycle bin full still means I consume too much and buy products with too much packaging and waste. It may also mean that I am contributing to the contamination by placing non-recyclable materials in the bin that makes the rest of my recyclables, and potentially everyone else’s in the truck bed, end up in the landfill. If you watched or read the staff report from the January 28, 2019 City Council meeting, you will know that disposing of recyclables in Fort Bragg cost us nothing ($0) in 2017, but before the end of 2018, we paid $60/ton for disposal. As a comparison, gray bin trash that goes to the landfill increased from $74.33/ton to $76.76/ton.  

Changes in the world market of recyclable materials in the last year are largely due to China, once the world's biggest importer of recyclable materials. Since January, when China tightened its standards for the waste it would accept, imports to China of solid waste have dropped more than 50%. Recyclable products that China hasn’t banned have much stricter rules regarding contamination. Other purchasers are also following China's lead and adopting stricter contamination standards. This means that less can be recycled, and I need to be more careful about what I place in the blue bin. 

The green bin provides more options for recycling by composting waste. In other communities where I have lived, the green bin was limited to grass cuttings, palm tree fronds and leaves. Here food scraps of all kinds, including meat, bones and shellfish can be placed in the green bin and sent to the compost facility in Redwood Valley.  Additionally, soiled paper and cardboard products that cannot be recycled can be composted, such as pizza boxes, paper towels, used coffee filters and tea bags.   

Here are a few resources for what goes where. Click here for a more complete list of what goes in which bin. For how to dispose of other household hazards such as paint or electronics reach out to Mendo Recycle at (707) 468-9710 or  For bigger items, remember that Waste Management will be hosting bulk pick-ups the week of March 25-29, (707) 964-9172.