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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
County

Marin CountyCandidate for Supervisor, District 4

Photo of Wendi Kallins

Wendi Kallins

Safe Routes Director
2,038 votes (17.58%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Decrease traffic congestion through the Increase in public transit service and bringing back yellow school buses
  • Develop a comprehensive plan to preserve existing affordable housing and identify opportunities for new housing through community involvement
  • Strongly defend ranching in the National Park while working with the park service to develop a plan for sustainable ranching practices.

Experience

Biography

 Wendi is an established local leader in environmental protection and transit policy. She knows how to work effectively with diverse communities, bringing people together to find consensus and solve problems. She’s done that in her work for Safe Routes to Schools, and she will bring those same skills to work for us as Supervisor in District 4. 

Wendi's passion for sustainable living and protecting our local agriculture and open space includes decades of experience on a wide range of policy, advocacy, fiscal and educational issues. 

 

Wendi Kallins is the Founder and Program Coordinator for Marin Safe Routes to Schools, a national model program. For the past 17 years, Wendi has brought people together to find solutions to the complicated traffic challenges that we find around each of our schools in our communities. These efforts have succeeded in implementing over $30 million in safety improvements.  

 

Working in collaboration with parents, nearby residents, school district staff and elected officials, Wendi has found common ground and solutions that provide both safe alternatives to the congested status quo and encourage green transportation options for all involved. With a leadership style that listens respectfully and is also persistent, Wendi has helped make people’s lives better. Now she wants to do the same as our next Supervisor. 

 

Starting in 1999, Wendi and her friend Deb Hubsmith founded the first Safe Routes to Schools program in the U.S. It wasn’t always easy. They started with nothing but a vision for greener choices and safer school zones for our kids. They had to rally community support and establish long-term funding based on a commitment to this idea. Their successful program here in Marin was a key to the U.S. Congress providing over $1.1 Billion in funding for the national Safe Routes to Schools program impacting over 15,000 schools throughout the country. 

 

Wendi wrote the first national Safe Routes to Schools guidebook and traveled around the country offering training and consulting to over 45 communities, establishing herself as a national leader for Safe Routes to Schools. Thanks to Wendi, Marin’s program is a national model for communities across the country. 

 

Wendi’s Awards for her work on Safe Routes to Schools: 

  • “Active Living Heroes” – Top-10 national listing by Active Living Network, named with then-Senator Barak Obama and famed walkability expert, Dan Burden, 2006

  • “Clean Air Champion” – Bay Area Air Quality Management District, 2002

  • “Bunny Lucheta Award for Outstanding Public Service” – Marin League of Women Voters, 2001

 Locally, Marin Safe Routes to Schools is an institution in over 50 Marin schools, encouraging healthy active transportation and reducing traffic congestion around schools. She continues to organize task forces that assemble school volunteers, neighbors, city and district staff, and elected officials, to address ongoing safety issues around schools. Today, 50% of Marin students choose a green way to school.

 Wendi’s passion for sustainable living and protecting our local agriculture and open spaces extends beyond Safe Routes to Schools.

 As a 46-year resident of Marin County, she has been active in environmental and sustainability issues in Marin for 35 years. Wendi began her involvement in local issues in 1980 when she served as treasurer for the San Geronimo Valley Planning group and volunteered for Friends of the Valley, working to limit a massive development planned for the ridges of San Geronimo Valley. As part of this grassroots community organization, she helped secure 1500 acres of permanently protected open space. Again in 1994, she worked with the community to secure 403 acres of additional open space alongside affordable housing for seniors, plus establish an extensive trail system.

 Wendi is an established leader in environmental protection and transit policy. As far back as the 1980s, she volunteered for Solar Central, a pioneering community group that promoted sustainable energy by installing solar panels and weatherizing homes. She served on the Transportation Committee for the Marin Conservation League and promoted better transit solutions for the county. She worked on the campaigns to pass the transit tax for Marin in 2004 and the SMART tax for Marin and Sonoma Counties in 2006. Wendi is currently Treasurer for Sustainable Marin and a steering committee member for Coalition for a Livable Marin.

 She has a proven track record of giving a voice to local concerns, publishing “The Fax” newspaper out of Fairfax in the mid-1980s and later as a regular columnist for the Point Reyes Light for ten years, Wendi informed the community on the important issues of the day. Wendi will give a strong voice to our 4th District concerns if elected.

 

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Point Reyes Light
  • Marin Democrats
  • Phyllis Faber, Founder of MALT

Organizations (1)

  • North Bay Labor Council

Elected Officials (1)

  • Stephanie Moulton Peters

Individuals (2)

  • Constance Washburn, Former Education Director MALT
  • Sue Conley, Owner, Cowgirl Creamery

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

 

I believe in looking at systemic solutions to our pressing problems and that government works best when done in partnership with its citizens. It’s important to have transparency and to be accessible, but what is most important is for an elected official to listen to the constituents and, to facilitate a process where people listen to each other.  We need to empower our citizens to be part of the decision making process.

 

In my work with Safe Routes to Schools I run a government program (Safe Routes to Schools is a program of the Transportation Authority of Marin and I am a subcontractor).  We engage the parents and neighbors through task forces and neighborhood safety committees.  We hear about the issues and problems from the community.  Then the expertise from the staff and consultants provide possible solutions.  This is then discussed by the whole committee until we come to a consensus of how the problem will be solved.  We then assisted staff in acquiring funding for the project.  Through this process we have seen over $30 million in safety improvements to schools across the county. 

 

This is how government works at its best.  When citizens have an opportunity to be involved and engaged and when government can deliver results. 

 

Position Papers

Homegrown Housing Solutions for Marin

Summary

Housing is probably our most critical issue in Marin. It affects (and is affected by) schools, traffic patterns and our local environment. Without a healthy mix of housing opportunities for people at all income levels, our community is out of balance.  We have opportunities through reuse, infill, and creative engagement to create more housing opportunities.

 

Homegrown Housing Solutions for Marin

 

By Wendi Kallins

 

Housing is probably our most critical issue in Marin. It affects (and is affected by) schools, traffic patterns and our local environment. Without a healthy mix of housing opportunities for people at all income levels, our community is out of balance.

 

First, we must recognize that the lack of diverse housing options affects all of us, especially when it comes to traffic. Important members of our community – including our teachers, firefighters, police and nurses, so many good people who are vital to our community during daylight hours – are priced out of the county in the evenings, and so they hit the roads for homes elsewhere.  This results in major traffic jams as local workers commute out, while the higher income-earners commute home from jobs in the City and the South Bay.

 

The housing crunch also affects us as we grow older as a community. Those who grew up here can’t settle here and raise their families; and those who have lived here all their lives are finding themselves priced out as Seniors, just when they need the stability of their community the most.

 

Second, we must do better to include people and give them greater opportunities for dialogue and input to help solve the problem. Government works best when it serves in partnership with people in the community. I have learned through my work with Safe Routes to Schools that when communities work together with government, we can achieve results that are both productive and satisfying.

 

Third, we need to rely on our own native Marin spirit of innovation and find homegrown solutions here. Not only are large, unsightly structures like  Wincup not the answer, they are  wrong in so many ways. Those luxury apartments will only further drive up the cost of housing.  Its height and design are out of character with the surrounding community and it sits on a road that is not attractive for walking and biking, especially the route to the ferry.

 

So how do we move forward? Most people, even those voicing opposition to development, agree that we need some affordable housing here. We must work to ensure that we protect our existing housing and residents, while providing for future needs by locating housing in the right place, at the right size, and providing for options at all income levels.  We need to look at creative solutions that preserve existing housing that is still affordable, and ensure that new housing blend in with the community’s character, in locations that allow for energy efficiency, resource protection, accessible transit, better delivery of municipal services and positive social interaction. Integrating housing into commercial areas and reuse of existing buildings are just two of the ways in which we can provide for the needs of our community, without sacrificing community character. 

 

I suggest looking at Fairfax as a model, which chose to direct new housing to its downtown, allowing more businesses to create upstairs apartments. Since all the properties are under separate ownership, there will be no massive new developments of the scale of a Wincup, and most will be small, and thus more affordable. Fairfax has excellent walking and biking facilities throughout the town, so those who live in the downtown will be able to walk and bike for short trips. Transit stops are already nearby.

 

Fairfax’s solution was the result of years of discussion and collaboration.  This is the sort of process that needs to happen elsewhere in Marin.  We don't want to explore housing opportunities because a regional or state agency told us to. We do it because it's the right thing to do, and we do it together as a community.

 

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