Archives

Friends Fest!
A Thousand Friends of Martinez Event

Music, Food & Fun
Roxx on Main
Sunday September 24th
3-5 pm

Help Martinez strive for more transparent government, enlightened land use concepts and to defend parks, creeks, wetlands, open space and historic elements. Funds raised from Friends Fest will help us with these goals. Be with us at this fun event as we work toward a great Martinez future.

This exciting event will take place on Sunday, September 24, 2023 at 627 Main Street, Martinez

Join Friends and neighbors for an afternoon of fun, food, wine and fundraising.

Roxx on Main is the perfect venue for this event, with its lively atmosphere and delicious menu. You’ll have the chance to mingle with locals and make new friends while enjoying live music and entertainment.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to give back to your community and make a difference.

Friends Fest is a great way to support local causes and meet like-minded individuals who share your passion for making a positive impact.

So mark your calendar and join us at Roxx on Main for an unforgettable afternoon!

We can’t wait to see you there.

$50 Admission
Click here to grab your spot!

Thousand Friends
HIKE Announcement

DATE: Sunday, July 16
MEETING TIME AND PLACE: 8:30 AM at Nejedly Staging Area, Carquinez Shoreline Drive
HIKE DESCRIPTION: We will do the Carquinez Loop—about 4.5 miles and an elevation gain of about 1000 ft.  There are stunning views of the Carquinez Straits and an oak-filled Canyon where we have seen Coyote pups.  
WHO CAN COME: This hike is open to anyone living in or near Martinez. If you’re 14 years old or younger, we ask that you be accompanied by a parent or an adult (21 or over) who knows you. Dogs on leash are welcome. 
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?:  We often talk to people who have lived in Martinez for a few years, love to hike, but haven’t managed to make it out to our spectacular trails.  Since an important part of our TF Mission is to improve quality of life in Martinez, we thought either introducing or giving people an opportunity to experience our open space would go well with our mission.

Update from Mayor Zorn
July 2023

Every time that I sit down to write another article to share with you, there is an environmental emergency that redirects my otherwise positive update (would you have ever expected an update on a mercury spill in our town?!?). So, I’m going to start on the positive and work my way down to a quick update on the release. 

  1. Alhambra Hills: Space still available on the Alhambra Hills hike on Saturday, July 15th! This is the last scheduled hike until September so please join us if you haven’t already had a chance to walk up there. Sign up at https://secure.rec1.com/CA/City-Martinez/catalog 
  2. City Council office hours: We are rolling out office hours and regular presence at the Farmers’ Market starting in July. .
    1. We will be hosting office hours from 11 am to 1 pm at the City Hall annex on the same Wednesdays that City Council holds their meetings and will rotate through the councilmembers. Our first Office hours will be on July 19 and I’ll host the first one. Please don’t hesitate to come down and say hello and voice your concerns. 
    2. We will be staffing a booth at the Farmers’ Market once a month. Our canopy will be set up in the plaza and will rotate through the councilmembers.
    3. If you are interested in stopping by to say hello, our schedule is posted on the city website here: https://www.cityofmartinez.org/Home/Components/News/News/204/15
  3. Upcoming Council Meeting and Waterfront Trust Lands Use Plan Special Meeting: Our next Council meetings will be on July 19 at 7 pm (the hybrid option Zoom link will be available on the agenda). Please note: There are NO Council meetings scheduled for August to give staff some time to catch up on projects. We will regroup in September.  The September date for the Waterfront Trust Lands Use Plan Special Meeting will be announced later.
  4. Martinez Alerts: Martinez has rolled out their own incident notification system. If you were already receiving our enewsletters, your email address has been added already (and you would have received the first notification on July 11). To opt in for texts, voice messages, or to add your email, you can sign up here: martinezalerts.com. The intention of this system is to fill the gaps in communication for incidents that would not elicit a push notification from the County Sheriff’s Community Warning System. 
  5. Coke Dust Release: Our most recent MRC release occurred Tuesday, July 11 at approximately 8:30 am. The release occurred for a few minutes. Reports came in of observations of dust and Contra Costa Health did mobilize staff to sample. The required 72-hour report by MRC will be released when received and the results of the sampling by CC Health are expected at the end of the week. We will continue to update our community as we receive information.

Brianne Zorn
hikaribri@gmail.com

Marina Plan is a step in the
right direction

Here’s some ideas on how
to make the most of it
.

The most recent Marina Plan included in the May 24, 2023, presentation and meeting is a good step forward.  It emphasizes ecological and environmental sensitivity and supports primarily maritime and shoreline recreation and education. 

The presentation can be found at this link:  https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/mysocialpinpoint/uploads/redactor_assets/documents/cbeea3ee5dcb8bda15efef461cbee175fa8a7498bb3b5f51af8d675c51f43d2f/80213/20230510_Martinez_Waterfront_Joint_Study_Session_Presentation.pdf

There are two critical areas that need further attention, we believe.

First, to accomplish the major goal of dramatically increasing public use of the restaurants, shops and event center, and to support any ferry service, a major overcrossing of the railroad tracks would probably be a requirement.

The overcrossing would have a significant cost, $15 million in one old estimate.  More important, the overcrossing would potentially use up a large amount of Waterfront Park and East Bay Regional Park District land.  Some have estimated that the overcrossing would extend to Eagle Marine to meet proper grade parameters. 

We believe these factors make an overcrossing a bad idea.  And that means a massive increase in usage of the marina would not be likely.

Second the ferry terminal has a direct impact on the amount of space that would have to be devoted to parking, land that could be better used for education and recreation purposes.  See Vallejo for an idea of the football fields of parking that would be required.

The ferry service is a big attraction to many of us, but without an overcrossing that would cover much of the park land, we would have to give up on that dream.

In addition to a profitable marina, we should be concentrating on the clear commercial winners, the restaurants and shops and an education center.  That would please the public and fit our budget without undermining the land we need for a great park.  

Our City has never done well with commercial ventures like the event center (witness the former marina restaurant, the arts theater, the first baseball team, and the amphitheater) and it would not bring a lot of money into City coffers under the best of circumstances.  We should stick with what we are good at, and not try to meet expectations that may be unrealistic and could be costly and risky in the face of our current unclear future.    

Our goal should be a great park that would reflect our values (which don’t include the hard-to-achieve goal of turning the marina into a profit center for the City) and be resilient in the face of dramatically changing circumstances that are only beginning to be seen from climate change.    

John Muir Historical Site releases
Mt. Wanda Planning Document

The National Park Service (NPS) has released it Mt. Wanda Site Planning Document for public review and comment. The acquisition of additional acreage to the site has lead to an evaluation of how to add to the visitor experience. You can read and review the document by clicking here.

Thousand Friends of Martinez has reviewed the plan and feels that it is a well thought out, comprehensive plan. There is one deficit that members of the community are working to rectify – there is no trail linking the Mt. Wanda area to the Alhambra Open Space that was acquired by the City of Martinez last year. While we believe the NPS is amenable to finding a workable solution to this, we would urge all to take the time to review the document and comment on the need for this trail to connect these two John Muir related areas as well as any other comments. Comment period is open through June 11, 2023. Click here to comment on the plan.

Thousand Friends May Hike

Join us on Sunday May 21st at Fernandez Ranch

DATE: Sunday, May 21
TIME: 9:00 AM
MEETING PLACE: Fernandez Ranch Parking Lot, 1081 Christie Road,
Martinez CA (Allow 15 minutes from the Martinez Post Office on
Alhambra)
LEADER: Kay Cox (questions?—email Kay at coxkay@hotmail.com)
HIKE DESCRIPTION: We will hike to Paul’s Peak—4 miles RT and 1000
feet of elevation. From the top you will see lots of poppies, S.F. Bay,
Mt. Tam, Volmer Peak, Grizzly Peak, Rocky Ridge, and Mt. Diablo. No
promises, but we often see coyotes and their pups. The plan is to
return to Martinez around 11:30 AM.
WHO CAN COME: This hike is open to anyone living in or near
Martinez. If you 14 years old or younger, we ask that you be
accompanied by a parent or an adult (21 or over) who knows you.
Dogs on leash are welcome.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?: We often talk to people who have lived
in Martinez for a few years, love to hike, but haven’t managed to make
it out to many of our spectacular trails. Since an important part of our
TF Mission is to improve quality of life in Martinez, we thought either
introducing or giving people an opportunity to experience our open
space would go well with our mission.

Thousand Friends of Martinez Comments on the
“Housing Plan Background Report Public Review Draft

March 2023

Our city is undertaking a difficult job to fulfill the State mandates for new housing sites and agreeing to rezone the sites to higher density.  This is the major direction our attempt to meet the State mandate is taking.  This rezoning will change the face of our town, both the Downtown and the neighborhoods. 

This Housing Report also recommends multitudinous additional actions that will have major effects on our City budget and on the physical character of our town.  Many of these actions are at the discretion of the City Council.   

Following are some comments that we ask you to consider in the actions you take on the Housing Element.

Continue reading

HERE’S YOUR CHANCE TO HIKE THE OPEN SPACE YOU JUST VOTED TO SAVE
ALHAMBRA HIGHLANDS

Hike Date: Saturday, June 17
Time: 8:30 AM
Meeting Place:  Bethany Baptist Church, 5850 Alhambra Ave
Leader: Kay Cox (questions?—email Kay at coxkay@hotmail.com)
Hike Description: Alhambra Highlands (not open to the public yet) 3 miles, 800 ft. elevation

You will need to sign a waiver (a legal precaution requested by the city until the land is open to the public and safety measures are in place). 
To do this:
1.  type: cityofmartinez.org
2. click on: departments and select: Recreation Dept.
3.  Scroll down a few inches and select: “Register for Classes/ Special Events HERE”
4.  Alhambra Highlands Hike will appear in the subheading. Select: June 17 hike and register

IMPORTANT INFO:  Please note that Thousand Friends Monthly hikes are usually on the third Sunday of the month.  This hike is on the third SATURDAY.  Mayor Brianne will meet us to open the gate.  She will also have a few wavier forms available in case you can’t navigate the system.

WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?: We often talk to people who have lived in Martinez for a few years, love to hike, but haven’t managed to make it out to many of our spectacular trails.  Since an important part of our TF Mission is to improve quality of life in Martinez, we thought either introducing or giving people an opportunity to experience our open space would go well with our mission.

NO DOGS ALLOWED!!!! (very sorry to all the four-legged creatures who bring us much joy)

John Muir Historical Site releases
Mt. Wanda Planning Document

The National Park Service (NPS) has released it Mt. Wanda Site Planning Document for public review and comment. The acquisition of additional acreage to the site has lead to an evaluation of how to add to the visitor experience. You can read and review the document by clicking here.

Thousand Friends of Martinez has reviewed the plan and feels that it is a well thought out, comprehensive plan. There is one deficit that

Thousand Friends of Martinez Comments on the
“Housing Plan Background Report Public Review Draft

March 2023

Our city is undertaking a difficult job to fulfill the State mandates for new housing sites and agreeing to rezone the sites to higher density.  This is the major direction our attempt to meet the State mandate is taking.  This rezoning will change the face of our town, both the Downtown and the neighborhoods. 

This Housing Report also recommends multitudinous additional actions that will have major effects on our City budget and on the physical character of our town.  Many of these actions are at the discretion of the City Council.   

Following are some comments that we ask you to consider in the actions you take on the Housing Element.

Continue reading


Citizen of the Year Announced

Jamie Fox, whose tireless work on behalf of the Alhambra Hill Open Space movement, has been selected as the Thousand Friends of Martinez Citizen of the Year. If it wasn’t for Jamie, this land would have been developed for housing. Instead, the citizens of Martinez have purchased the property to save it for open space in perpetuity.

Thousand Friends will have a public meeting on January 9th to present the award to Jamie.

The meeting will be held at the Veterans Hall in Martinez on 930 Ward St. at 7pm. The meeting will also be available as a Zoom meeting.

Final Election Results (unofficial) 12-1-22

Martinez has a new mayor! This has been one of Thousand Friends of Martinez primary goals. Brianne Zorn’s election opens up her District 3 council seat as a vacancy.

Final Results (Unofficial) 12/01/22
Martinez Mayor
Candidate Votes Percentage
Brianne Zorn 3859 24.40%
Sean Trambley 3668 23.19%
Lara Delaney 3536 22.36%
Mike Menesini 1994 12.61%
Mark Ross 1808 11.43%
Michael Ayers 951 6.01%
Martinez City Council District 1
Candidate Votes Percentage
Jay Howard 1905 57.76%
Nakenya Allen 1393 42.24%
Martinez City Council District 4
Candidate Votes Percentage
Debbie McKillop 2182 50.28%
Ben Therriault 2158 49.72%
Measure K – Martinez Unified School District
55% to pass Votes Percentage
Bonds Yes 6645 52.60%
Bonds No 5989 47.40%
Martinez Unified School District Board Member Area 3
Candidate Votes Percentage
Yazmin Llamas 1233 58.80%
Marcy Leboeuf 864 41.20%

Thousand Friends of Martinez endorsements

Martinez Mayor – Brianne Zorn We have been working with Brianne for several years and find that she shares the key goals of Thousand Friends of Martinez goals of transparent and open government, concern for the environment, land use planning and defending open space and parks.  She has demonstrated that she is a woman of action and gets things done.  https://www.briformayor.com and her campaign Facebook page are great ways to get to know Brianne’s ideas.  Also check out our endorsement for more details.

All City Council Candidates filled out a detailed questionnaire and then were invited to speak at the Candidate Forum.  We were impressed with all of the candidates’ understanding of the issues and their deep appreciation for Martinez. We are lucky to have such a strong suite of candidates running for City Council.

District 4 – Ben Therriault Ben brings a fresh perspective of how to deal with the future of Martinez.  We feel that his experience in the public sector and understanding of how government works will be a positive addition to the Council. Click here for his campaign website.

District 1 – No endorsement.  We feel that both Nakenya Allen and Jay Howard have the knowledge, integrity and passion to be valuable additions to the City Council. For more information about these candidates view our candidate forum and check out https://www.nakenya-for-mtz-citycouncil.com and https://jayhoward4martinez.com.

Click on the links below to view the Candidate Night.

Brianne Zorn discusses her campaign goals and gives some insight about her views.

Martinez City Council Candidates discuss the issues of Martinez

Martinez candidates Brianne Zorn, Nakenya Allen, Debbie McKillop and Ben Therriault take questions from the audience.

Thousand Friends of Martinez has endorsed Brianne Zorn for Martinez Mayor. We urge you to find out more about Brianne and see what she represents.

Despite her short tenure she has shown the qualities of leadership that Martinez truly needs.  In many ways it seems that she has accomplished more in two years than many council members do in their entire careers.

Since joining the City Council Brianne has been a main driver in the push for an independent redistricting commission in Martinez.  The gerrymandered district lines that other council members chose as the district lines were not acceptable to the citizens of Martinez.  Brianne got deeply involved and successfully pushed for the right approach – a truly independent commission.  The new district lines are in place for the 2022 elections.

A long-term goal of many in Martinez was the purchase of the Alhambra Hills property near the John Muir Historical Site.  A previous City Council had approved development of the important land and it appeared all was lost.  After years of inaction and inconclusive negotiations, the time was ripe for closure.  In June 2022 a ballot measure was placed on the ballot for a bond measure for the City to purchase the land.  The measure passed with over 68% approval – a difficult feat in these inflationary times. Brianne played a significant role in making this happen and was one of the signatories on the For argument on the ballot.

Her fresh, open style of leadership is apparent to many in the City.  She regularly communicates with all of the electorate with updates on what is happening in Martinez.  This is sorely needed as local newspaper and media coverage has all but disappeared.  No other member of the Council has engaged in such comprehensive communication with the public.

The list goes on (including supporting major marina revitalization and meeting growth needs while enhancing our historic, small-town nature), but it is important to note that Brianne is just the type of mayor Martinez needs.  Her solid leadership and strong environmental commitment are the right skills to guide Martinez in the coming years.  She is accessible and expresses herself in a way that fosters open government and transparency. Her experience as a wetland scientist will be an important asset for many of the serious issues we face. 

We feel that Brianne is the right choice for Martinez.  Please give her your support.

Does the General Plan Update Affect You?

Read how the General Plan Update Affects You and more – click here

Alhambra Hills Update
 City Council voted unanimously to place a dedicated ballot measure on the June 7th election to raise the funds necessary to acquire the Alhambra Highlands as permanent open space.  For 22 cents per day we can protect the most important missing piece of Martinez open space parks, and the last of John Muir’s ranch. 
The Alhambra Hills group is seeking volunteers to help us hand out the attached flyer (Click here)

Please email info@AlhambraHillsOpenSpace.org if you would like to help us place flyers on doorsteps as we approach the June election, and or join our weekly meetings Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Send us a message on Facebook, or call/text 510 326 0442.
Let’s save the Alhambra Highlands Open Space for future generations.

Save the Jail!

Demolition preparations have started for the new County Campus Project in downtown Martinez. Scaffolding has gone up on the south side of the old twelve story County administrative building, and the area around it has been surrounded by containment barriers. The building is filled with friable toxic materials such as asbestos, and all the nearby buildings will remain in operation during the demolition and construction of a second administration building that will takes its place, so the demolition must be carried out by carefully dismantling it, rather than by using explosives for an implosive demolition, which would be much cheaper and faster.