Frank is proposing that all public lands and open space areas owned by the County of Marin be designated as Pesticide Free Zones. As the Bay area coordinator for Stop the Spray, he is a veteran on this issue, and he has proven that Pesticide Free Zones are workable.
The Upper Ross Valley had a cancer scare in the 1980s. While causation eludes us, there was and still is great concern in Fairfax. In 2000 then Fairfax mayor had spent a year researching pesticide use, laws, regulation, legislation and court decisions from Fairfax to Mendocino to Sacramento and on-line research with New York State (on his own dime by the way-no consultant no public funds).
As a result of the study, Frank authored the first municipal ban on the use of pesticides in the public commons such as. parks, playgrounds, open space, creeks, streets and rights of way in California. The Fairfax town council, once again on a split vote, adopted the groundbreaking ordinance. State law has preempted cites from regulating pesticides on private property but as a result of Fairfax’s showdown with the State Department of Pesticide Regulation, public agencies have the right to regulate and even ban the use of pesticides on public property and create Pesticide Free Zones. It is only right to give your neighbors notice when one is spraying pesticides in an urban area.
As a side note, Frank’s wife Ronita was diagnosed with triple negative (an environmental) breast cancer almost 5 years ago. Fortunately she is in remission.
Saving Ross Valley Open Space.
In 1972, Floyd Elliot was thinking of selling his 400 acre ranch in the Fairfax Cascades for development. Karen Urquhart contacted then Fairfax Mayor Frank Egger asking if purchase by the Town of Fairfax for open space was a possibility to save the land. Frank put it on the Fairfax town council agenda and invited Karen to come to the council meeting and make a presentation to the full council.
The Fairfax town council, with Frank leading the effort, and on a split town council vote, voted to seek funds to purchase Elliott Ranch for public open space. Then town administrator Bill Hadden and Frank worked closely together and with a State Park Grant and local funds were able to purchase the lower 38+ acres (up to and including the Cascade Falls) and name it the Elliott Nature Preserve (see sign with Town of Fairfax name). The County of Marin, with then supervisor Pete Arrigoni’s leadership, purchased the upper 360 acres. In the eighties the Fairfax town council voted to conditionally deed its 38+ acres to the Marin County Open Space District so the entire Elliott property could be managed by one public agency.
As an aside, in 1974 Frank was up for re-election and a pro-development group, who was opposed to the purchase of the property, ran a full page ad in the Marin Independent Journal newspaper trying to defeat Frank. Frank was overwhelmingly re-elected.
Paramedic Service for the Ross Valley
In 2000, following passage of Assembly member Carol Migden’s Community Choice Aggregation legislation, then Mayor Frank Egger and fellow Council Member Lew Tremaine authored a resolution inviting the Marin County and other Marin communities to join Fairfax in the creation of a publicly owned electric company. Under the stewardship of Supervisor Hal Brown and the driving force of Supervisor Charles McGlashen, this idea came to fruition in 2010, when Marin Clean Energy launched.
Now known as MCE Clean Energy, California’s first Community Choice Aggregator serves every community in Marin, as well as the cities of Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, San Pablo and unincorporated Napa County. Frank supports phasing out Shell Energy North America as a provider.
In the 70's, a scandal over the high placed politicos' friends who got access to the Steep Ravine Cabins for vacations almost brought about their demise. State Parks decided to demolish the cabins to end the controversy. One catch, they needed a permit from the Coastal Commission. It came before us (Frank Egger served as a coastal commissioner from 1972-1981) and coastal staff recommended approval of the demolition permit. At first it was only me balking, saying the Cabins were affordable over-night coastal stays and the Commission should deny the permit and require State Parks to place the cabins on the State Park's Campground website on a 1st come, 1st serve basis. Fortunately a majority of the Commissioners agreed with me and the demolition permit was denied. Steep Ravine Cabins have been the top rated State Park's camp destination ever since.
Solutions to Traffic Congestion
Saving Steep Ravine Cabins
Pesticide Free County Public Land
In 1996. The Marin Transit Authority (now TAM) was grappling with the Novato Narrows and traffic congestion and trying to fund an expanded freeway with a HOV lane from Novato to Petaluma.
Frank Egger, Fairfax’s then transportation representative, made a visionary proposal: Construct in the freeway divider, a new reversible center lane using a moveable barrier, HOV southbound in the AM and northbound in the PM. He suggested using a vehicle that could move the barrier twice a day. Caltrans did study the idea and said it would be too expensive and really would not work. Some people laughed at Frank’s proposal. 20 years later, the Novato Narrows is still a mess but the Golden Gate Bridge District used the concept and today a Zipper truck moves the barrier twice a day, an extra lane for commuters depending on time of day. Was this a lost opportunity for less expensive solution for the Novato Narrows?
In 1980, there was no paramedic service in the Ross Valley. The small towns could not afford to run their own paramedic service. Frank Egger teamed up with then Fairfax Fire Chief George Hettema and put forth a proposal to form a joint powers authority with the towns of San Anselmo, Ross, Larkspur, Corte Madera and Fairfax along with the Kentfield and Sleepy Hollow fire protection districts and County of Marin to start a publicly run 24-7 paramedic service. The Ross fire house was selected for its central location, we purchased an advanced life support ambulance, hired paramedics and ran the system. Today the Ross Valley Paramedic Authority operates a state of the art paramedic service staffed by Marin County Fire Dept paramedics, the red ambulance, Medic 18.
Frank was instrumental in bringing 5 towns and 3 fire agencies together to solve a pressing community need.