Marti Brown

Vision. Planning. Implementation.

Highlights & Accomplishments


New Hiddenbrooke Park (2015)
Shortly after being elected, Marti introduced a Council resolution to direct city staff and request other city public agencies (e.g., the Vallejo Unified School District, the Greater Vallejo Recreation District) to design, develop and construct Hiddenbrooke Park. She bird dogged the project during her campaign and through all four years of her council term.

The Result:
After more than a decade, the City of Vallejo completed construction of Hiddenbrooke Park in the spring of 2015. The project required extensive negotiations with three local public agencies, two State agencies and a regional non-profit organization focused on preserving open space. In addition, the park site was also the home to the endangered Red-Legged Frog requiring additional considerations and development constraints.

Code for America (CfA) Government Fellowship (2014)
In 2013, Marti drafted and submitted a Code for America Government Fellowship application to help address public safety issues in the City of Vallejo and improve how its citizens interact with the Police Department.

The Result:
The application was approved by CfA and the Vallejo City Council shortly after Marti left public office. Since then, the CfA Fellows have been working with the City of Vallejo to develop creative solutions to public safety concerns and issues. The results of their efforts will be unveiled by December 2015.

‘Participatory Budgeting (PB) goes to Washington’ (2014)

In 2014, Marti was invited to the White House along with the City of Vallejo and several other national and international Participatory Budgeting practitioners to discuss ways to disseminate PB nationwide and improve the research and evaluation of its success. As part of that effort, the United States Housing & Urban Development Department (HUD) embraced PB as a method for distributing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and included a PB resource page for more information at its website.

Community Benefits District Ordinance (2013)
Marti introduced the Community Benefits District (CBD) concept in early 2011 during her Reinventing City Government Speakers Series. In early 2012, she won Council approval to move forward with developing an “umbrella ordinance” that would allow City neighborhoods to develop their own assessment districts for commercial, residential and mixed use properties. Similar to a Property – Based Business Improvement District (PBID), CBDs assess properties in order to provide “special services” above and beyond the services provided by city government (e.g., private security, landscaping in public rights-of-way, street clean up, economic development).

The Result:
The CBD ordinance was unanimously adopted by the City Council in 2013. To date, however, no neighborhood has taken advantage of the new legislation and formed an assessment district due to the costs associated with its formation.


Public Safety Advisory Committee (2012)

Working with then-Councilmember Gomes, Marti co-sponsored a resolution to establish a Public Safety Advisory Committee to research, analyze and recommend cost-effective best practices for improving the City's public safety efforts.


The Result:

The Council appointed a committee of citizens with liaisons from the Police and Fire Departments to conduct public meetings, receive input and ideas from the public and invite experts in various areas of public safety to guide the analysis and final recommendations to the City Council. Key recommendations included creating a volunteer program for the police and fire departments, increasing police training, hiring key department positions, improving revenue generation such as parking enforcement, reducing calls for service, suppressing crime, enhancing technology, improving relations and communications with the public (e.g., Nextdoor), and establishing a citizen advisory committee similar to a Police Review Commission.


Participatory Budgeting (PB) Vallejo (2012)
During Marti’s tenure on the Vallejo City Council, she spearheaded bringing PB to the City of Vallejo in 2012 becoming the first city-wide PB process in North America. At the time of its approval, PB Vallejo was the single largest allocation of funds for a PB process in the United States; received the highest number of actual votes as well as percentage of votes per capita; and it was the only PB process that allowed for funding of programs and services, as well as capital projects.

The Result:

In 2013, the City of Vallejo completed its first city-wide pilot PB process. It allocated ~ $3.2 million toward PB projects and nearly 4,000 people voted for 33 projects. of those, 12 projects won. The following year, the City hired permanent employees to staff the City’s 2014 PB process. Today, PB Vallejo is in its third cycle, and it has become an integral part of the City’s annual budget cycle.


In 2014, the League of California Cities recognized the City of Vallejo’s efforts in open and transparent government by honoring PB Vallejo with theHelen Putnam Award of Excellence. In 2015, Harvard University’s Ash Center also nationally recognized PB Vallejo as a Top 10 Program for Public Engagement in Government Award.’

Comprehensive General Plan (GP) Update (2012)
Marti secured the support and efforts of the Center for Sustainable Communities to apply for and win a Strategic Growth Council grant enabling the City of Vallejo to update its 30+ year old General Plan. She also proposed and the Council later approved additional GP funding from its sister organization, the Vallejo Sanitation and Flood District. As part of the GP Update, Marti also initiated and received Council approval for the city’s first-ever Health Element ('Healthy Community').

The Result:
In 2013, the City of Vallejo began a Comprehensive General Plan (‘Plan’) and Zoning Update that included an appointed oversight committee and considerable public outreach. As of 2015, the City has approved three draft planning scenarios and will now move forward in choosing a preferred scenario’ and preparing the Plan’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL; 2011)
Working with the Mayor, Marti co-sponsored a HEAL resolution to increase healthy eating and active living in the City of Vallejo.

The Result: 
Upon approval of the HEAL resolution, Marti was instrumental in winning approval for the City’s first-ever Health Element in its Comprehensive General Plan Update. In addition, she sponsored a HEAL related event called, Just Food, Celebrating Locally Grow, that focused on local and regional agricultural systems; addressing food security and food Justice issues; preventing obesity; and promoting a healthy eating lifestyle. The resolution also laid the foundation for the Mayor’s initiative to institute a City Employee Health and Wellness Program.


Inter-Agency Committee* Collaboration (2011)
Marti initiated a local inter-agency resolution to direct staff to research, analyze and recommend opportunities for multiple agencies to jointly procure goods and services. In addition, Marti and the Mayor jointly proposed allocating city funds as “seed money” to hire a consultant and begin the initial research and analysis.

The result:
All governing boards approved the resolution to collaborate and look for opportunities for joint procurement of goods and services. The City of Vallejo hired a consultant who researched and recommended areas of joint-Agency procurement.

*The Inter-Agency Committee is a formal committee of the City of Vallejo that consists of elected and appointed officials from the Vallejo City Council, Vallejo School Board, Greater Vallejo Recreation District, Community College, Library, and Sanitation and Flood District.


Measure C – Taxation of Medical Marijuana (2011)

Marti was a vocal proponent of taxing medical marijuana and developing legislation to regulate dispensaries. While there was no formal “Yes on Measure C” campaign, Marti single-handedly raised more than $10,000 to create and send one “Yes on Measure C” direct mail piece to registered voters.

The Result: 
By more than 70%, Vallejo voters passed Measure C allowing the City Council to tax Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (MMDs) up to 10% of their gross income. By the end of 2014, the City of Vallejo was receiving more than $1 million in special taxes from MMDs.

Reinventing City Government – Public Speaker Series (2010/2011)
During Marti’s first year on the Vallejo City Council, she held a five-part public speaking series on ways to potentially improve the City of Vallejo and its governance.

The Result:
With no funding, staff or other support services, Marti held five public forums and brought experts to speak and answer questions in the areas of budgeting for outcomes, priority-based budgeting, regionalizing and out-sourcing police and fire services, benefits and disadvantages of contract versus full-service cities, Community Benefits District – self-assessment districts to provide additional public services, and Participatory Budgeting.

Measure A – Removal of Binding Interest Arbitration (BIA)* from the City Charter (2010)
In the spring of 2010, Marti Co-Chaired the “Yes on Measure A” campaign to remove binding interest arbitration from the City of Vallejo’s Charter.

The Result:
After a demanding four-month intensive campaign and being out-spent 12-1, the “Yes on Measure A” initiative won at the ballot box in June 2010 permanently removing binding interest arbitration from the City Charter after 41 years.

* BIA is a tool used to settle labor contract negotiations when an impasse is reached at the negotiating table between labor and management. Under BIA, rather than allow elected officials to make the final decision on public employee labor contracts, an outside arbitrator is hired to make a final and legally binding determination of contract deal points.
 

Labor Contract Negotiations (2009)
As President of the Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency Employee Association (SHRAEA), Marti successfully spearheaded labor contract negotiations and contract renewal in 2009.

The Result:
Labor contract negotiations resulted in a 8.5% salary increase for Association Members over a four-year contract and an immediate 5% step increase for 25% of the Membership; preserved existing employee/employer contributions to the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS)—at a time when public employees were being asked to contribute more; retained modest increases to employee contributions for health care; and protected the employer’s retiree health care benefit contributions.

Vallejo Waterfront Coalition (VWC) Settlement Agreement (2006)
Working with the Vallejo Waterfront Coalition, Marti Spearheaded negotiations and a settlement agreement resulting from a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit between the VWC, the City of Vallejo’s Redevelopment Agency and Vallejo’s Waterfront Master Plan Developer. In 2005, the VWC also won The Waterfront Center’s Clearwater Award—recognizing the group for its grassroots effort to better its community and waterfront.

The Result:
Negotiated improvements included: increased open space and parkland, improved design guidelines, overall higher quality urban design, mixed use zoning and land use changes, and more human scale building heights.

 
For additional professional and educational information about Marti, please visit her LinkedIn profile.