Martinez Mayor's MessageDec 01, 2020 09:18AM ● By Rob Schroder
Rob Schroder, Mayor of Martinez
One of the drawbacks of writing this column each month is that the deadline is about two weeks before it is published. Some of the things I write about are actions the city council has not yet taken but has on a meeting agenda that has not yet happened. Most of the time I am reporting accurate information and outcomes, but that was not the case last month. I had announced that the city council established and appointed the Anti-Racism, Discrimination, Pro-Inclusion & Equity Task Force (ARDPIE). That did not happen. The city council did consider the proposal, but after concerns from the public and members of the city council about the process in selecting candidates to serve on the task force as well as the number and the ethnic make-up of the candidates, it was decided to continue the proposal until the following meeting.
At the meeting on November 4, the city council agreed to establish the ARDPIE Task Force and open the application process again but with a more robust outreach program to attract additional and more diverse applicants. The city council also directed staff to research high quality facilitators that have experience in this area to help us in the selection of task force membership, outlining the process, and setting goals and a timeline. We want to make sure that we get this right, with meaningful recommendations and outcomes.
We are now in the midst of fall and the weather is colder and getting wet. This affects the outdoor dining program and creates new challenges for restaurants, merchants, and the city. With the county slipping back into the red tier, indoor dining is no longer allowed and restaurants and merchants are relying on outdoor operations and take-out.
City staff has been working for weeks to create a way for businesses to use tents and canopies that can help them stay open outdoors during inclement weather. Staff is incorporating input from the Contra Costa County Health Department, Con Fire, city attorney, and neighboring cities with outdoor dining programs to finalize the new application. It has been difficult to navigate all the health and fire safety regulations, and we are all frustrated with the amount of time this has taken. However, it is imperative that we keep all patrons safe and the city protected from a liability standpoint.
Over the last several months, I have reported on planned improvements for downtown, including the installation of Big Belly trash and recycling stations downtown. Negotiating this pilot program has been a long haul with the Big Belly folks, with planned delivery of the units to be November 30. So if all goes as planned, they will have been installed as you read this.
Two major paving and sidewalk improvement projects were completed last month. Court and Pine Streets, from Marina Vista to Susana Street, were completely ground down several inches and repaved with new asphalt. Sidewalks along the route were reconstructed to meet ADA requirements and all new traffic striping has been completed. A similar project was recently completed on Berrellesa Street, from Marina Vista to Jones. Thanks to Measure D, which tripled our paving budget, you will see our streets and roads continue to improve all over the city.