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Meet The Mayor: Jim Fraser

Tiburon's third-time mayor discusses volunteering, the ongoing debate around housing vs. open space and why his mayoral commitment comes easy to him.

As an active real estate agent, do you often have to abstain from voting on local land use issues? If not, why not?
The need to recuse myself from participating in any item or issue brought before the council is dependent on a potential conflict, not my vocation.Before moving to Tiburon in the early 1980s, Jim Fraser and his wife Diane lived in Australia, Japan and Singapore; that’s when he was president of Levi Strauss, Asia Pacific.

Once in Tiburon, before seeking elective office, Fraser served on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, Parks, Open Space and Trails (POST) Commission and Tiburon’s Planning Commission. He first became a member of Tiburon’s Town Council in 2009.

Now in his third term as mayor--he has served in 2012, 2017 and is the current mayor--Fraser has been instrumental in Destination Tiburon and the traffic-alleviating Yellow Bus Challenge.

Volunteering is important to you. Let’s start with asking you about the ways that Tiburon's residents can get more involved?
It's fairly easy through one of our town’s commissions (we have vacancies come up throughout the year; check our site and don’t be shy about applying). There are volunteer groups such as the Tiburon Peninsula Foundation, The Belvedere Tiburon Library Foundation and The Foundation for Reed Schools as well as others. If you need more ideas, I’m always open to helping those interest in volunteering within our community to get involved.

The hotly contested 43-home Martha Property is 110 acres slated for development on land that’s which is adjacent to, but not within, the Town of Tiburon. What role is Tiburon’s Town Council playing in deciding its fate?
Given that this issue is being handled by the County of Marin, our role is more advisory as it pertains to potential and/or real impacts to Tiburon and its residents. (The Martha Property is on county land and is partially designated as open space). Our Town Council and staff have provided volumes of feedback to the county, and will continue to stay actively involved in all aspects of the approval processes as well as any subsequent activities resulting from county approvals or judicial decisions.

As an active real estate agent, do you often have to abstain from voting on local land use issues? If not, why not?
The need to recuse myself from participating in any item or issue brought before the council is dependent on a potential conflict, not my vocation.

Just curious, what’s the difference between a town and a city?
Urban legend maintains that towns are smaller than cities, and villages are smaller than towns. The governance of a municipality is determined by statutory law and within a public entities incorporating documents. Naming Tiburon a town instead of a city was part of Tiburon’s incorporating documents.

What’s been your most time-consuming aspect of being mayor of the Town of Tiburon?
Volunteering and participating within our community takes a sincere commitment and time. Whether one is on a board, commission, or an elected official, commitment and time are part of what one does.  To do anything well, and on behalf of our residents and community, one does whatever needs to be done. I have never looked or felt that serving as mayor is “time consuming,” rather it is a great honor and pleasure.

What aspect of life in Tiburon is overlooked by many people, but has been a source of pride to you?
This is not an easy question to answer, for all of us have so much to be thankful for as residents of Tiburon. Perhaps we forget, as I often forget, just how lucky and fortunate we are to live in such a great county and to reside in such a great town as Tiburon. And, we are fortunate for many reasons, but the one we that should never forget about is how blessed we are to have so many residents who volunteer their time, energy and ideas for the general benefit of our community. Tiburon would not be the community that it is today without the hundreds of volunteers we have on boards, commissions, task forces and clean up teams; all focused on making Tiburon a better place tomorrow than it is today.

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