Sustainable Mill Valley

Survey Response by Charles McGlashan

Charles McGlashan


The lack of affordable housing causes long commutes, air emissions, and increased consumption of fossil fuels. It is also unfair, and bad for the economy as employees and employers leave for less expensive regions.

Actions & Accomplishments
  • Work on a taskforce of the Housing Council (Marin Environmental Housing Dialogue) to develop 17 criteria for green affordable housing, including: habitat preservation, access to transit, use of mixed use areas, reduction of car trips, increase of a personal and community connection with nature, community gardens, access to services and jobs within walking distance, and green building materials and techniques.
  • Analyze and publicly support projects that meet these criteria.
  • Served as the lead environmentalist who spoke in support of the Fireside Project at the recent Board Hearing.
  • Through Sustainable Mill Valley (SMV), supported 420 Miller Ave. and 8 Old Mill, two projects with good design features that reduce environmental impacts from materials and are located in mixed-use areas.
  • Active supporter of the San Clemente project during environmental reviews.
  • Work at the Economic Commission to support inclusionary programs that provide affordable housing when commercial projects expand the need for lower paying jobs
  • Advocated and lobbied successfully for additional workforce housing at the Strawberry Village site.
  • Advocated for affordable housing zoning overlay for the Miller Avenue Specific Plan.
  • Worked the General Plan to locate sites, define criteria and to streamline review processes for green affordable housing.
  • Will continue working to find mixed-use sites, change zoning, provide fast-track reviewing processes, and overlays to support green, affordable housing.
  • Will support policies to utilize already-developed areas (e.g. under-used shopping areas, parking lots and mixed-use areas) and NOT to bulldoze open space.
  • Will continue working with the Economic Commission on location criteria and inventories of suitable sites
  • Will continue my work on the Environmental Housing taskforce.
  • Will promote features such as PVs, cisterns, low VOC paints and carpets, and better insulation that make the units function with lower operating costs. Will also orient projects to fit in with local neighborhood feel and architecture.
  • Will actively seek federal and state funding for affordable projects that meet green criteria mentioned above.
  • Will work on partnerships and trust fund development with local employers.
  • Will work to raise funding from foundations and government sources for affordable projects.

Natural Resources Conservation and Restoration

As an environmentalist, business consultant, Economic Commissioner, and Boardmember of MMWD, I've been a leader in ensuring the protection of habitat, promoting energy and water conservation, and in reducing impacts in business operations.

Actions & Accomplishments
  • Served as the leader in advocacy and teaching implementation techniques for MMWD's new environmental management system that will reduce energy, water, paper, and material use in our operations.
  • Led MMWD in analysis of renewable energy sources and strategies.
  • Worked on detailed investigations of a JPA for energy efficiency and energy information programs for the County. This program is moving forward in the Street Light JPA now.
  • Working on behalf of MMWD in its joint study of renewable-power-purchasing for increased renewable energy sources and lower rates.
  • Advocated for new rates for summer water conservation.
  • Working with major environmental groups and landscape service firms in partnership with MMWD to increase native and water wise landscape education.
  • For Sustainable Mill Valley, served as an advocate for the Cities for Climate Protection program.
  • At MCL and the Sierra Club, have worked on saving St. Vincent's, Bahia Marsh, and to create the Baylands Protection Corridor.
  • Served as Sierra Club's representative for three years in Community Marin to develop and publish environmental principles for the General Plan.
  • Advocated for Marin organic farming strategies to reserve agricultural lands and practices in the County.
  • Will create partnership between the County and MMWD in creating programs and consumer awareness for water conservation, in landscape education, water wise plant use, and many other "watergy" efficiency areas.
  • Will work against projects that damage habitat or open space.
  • Will protect habitat and natural resources throughout the County.
  • Will support teamwork for energy efficiency and investments in renewable power sources, such as tidal power and distributed PV.
  • Will support more mundane (but critical) efforts to improve efficiency (lighting retrofits, EMSs, and procedure development, etc.). I bring corporate energy investment and management experience to this work.
  • Will focus on restoration of biodiversity in occupied and wild areas of the County. In built areas, native plants not only save water, but they also create habitat for butterflies, birds, and other species. Restoration of natural systems is critical everywhere possible.
  • Will marshal County resources to provide consumer education on reducing over-development, over-consumption, and over-dependence on fossil fuels, and increasing radical resource efficiency and the use of low impact products, organics, and clean cleaning materials.

Local Economy

I believe that Marin can have a vital economy and restore its environment. We must be careful to provide more housing so that our jobs-housing balance doesn't get worse. I believe we can do this, however, and create a "thrivable" community that is fun to live and work in, and that is an environmental leader.

Actions & Accomplishments
  • Serve as the environmental representative on the Marin Economic Commission, where I have been a leader in developing strategies to grow local businesses in Marin that are uniquely capable of thriving in our limited built areas, that can succeed in our small villages, and employ the well educated and highly talented workforce of the County.
  • Advocated in the County General Plan for purchasing programs, certification systems, and production policies that will support more local and organic food production from small local farms in the County.
  • Advocated for the expansion of farmers' markets, community supported agriculture, and the use of local produce in County functions.
  • Promoted "buy-local" policies at the Economic Commission.
  • Wrote the Sustainability principle in the General Plan seeking "businesses that provide economic, social, and environmental benefits." Worked to avoid the word "balance" since that implies that trade-offs are valid among these benefits.
  • My wife and I maintain a personal membership in a local CSA farm for our eggs, fruit, nuts and vegetables.
  • Will expand funding for farmers markets and more buy-local programs in the County.
  • Will cultivate local large employers with personal attention and leadership.
  • Will seek to attract small firms and start-ups that can grow in our unique environment and utilize well our special assets.
  • Will pay special attention to the housing stock and avoid creating too many low-pay-scale jobs that make the housing shortage even more of a problem (see housing above).
  • Will seek ways to increase local agricultural processing so that our local dairy, beef, and row crops can remain in the County and we can increase the "value add" locally.
  • Will support mixed-use developments in proper corridors so that housing, small businesses and retail are mixed together. Strawberry Center, Marin City, and Tam may benefit from better use of built areas, as long as good shuttle systems are provided.
  • Will articulate a vision of local "thrivability".

Public Health

My professional career for the past 13 years has been focused on the reduction of toxins in businesses, government agencies, and in public areas. Through advanced management techniques and sustainability frameworks I've worked in numerous organizations to reduce toxins, metals and minerals that are threatening to environmental health, and waste. I've been a leader in teaching managers and government personnel new ways to reduce hazards before they cause harm.

Actions & Accomplishments
  • Work on numerous policy and environmental initiatives to create a vision of sustainability at the local level. This means removing dependence in all systems and economic activity on metals and minerals from the Earth's Crust, and all human-made materials that don't quickly break down in nature.
  • Serve as Director, the California Environmental Dialogue, which works on new regulatory policy for environmental health, clean air and habitat protection, all of which help to reduce exposure to toxins and health risks.
  • Advocated Integrated Pest Management and Precautionary approach at Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD).
  • Active on the Environmental Health Committee while serving on the Board of Marin Conservation League, focused on reducing pesticide use throughout the County.
  • Advocated, with SMV, the reduction of use of herbicides and pesticides in Mill Valley.
  • Serve on Board of Directors, Environmental Education Council of Marin, where school programs focus on organic food, and reducing use of non-organic produce and pesticides/herbicides in schools.
  • Assisted in the launch of the County's Green Business and Sustainability Partners programs, which recognize environmentally responsible companies.
  • Editorial Board, Environmental Quality Management, Wiley Periodicals Inc., 1997-Present
  • Visiting Professor, Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley; BA.278: Corporate Environmental Strategy, Spring 2001
  • Project Advisor, Merit Partnership for Pollution Prevention, EPA Region IX, 1996-2000
  • The Natural Step, certified trainer, 1997-Present
  • Will advocate for adopting of precautionary principle in County.
  • Will increase standards in IPM and pesticide/herbicide reduction programs.
  • Will advocate use of native plants in all County grounds and facilities.
  • Will advocate for "living machine" in County park ponds to reduce all manner of chemical use.
  • Will continue serving as a leader in teaching sustainability and toxics reduction techniques to our businesses and communities.
  • Will work to reduce fossil fuel use in all County vehicles, generators, equipment and transportation systems.
  • Will lead the County in building an environmental management system.


The citizens of Marin have clearly indicated the need for shuttles and for safe routes to school, both of which would help get automobiles off the roads in our towns and in the County. From an environmental perspective, local transit mobility is critical. Without a local, countywide shuttle program, we will not see needed reductions in vehicle use and congestion.

Actions & Accomplishments
  • Worked on transportation and economic elements of the General Plan, both of which stress transportation policies that focus on creating/expanding local shuttle systems, safe routes to school, more regional transit systems and reducing congestion.
  • Worked on Sustainability Principles of the General Plan, which call for improved transportation equity, mobility, access and services for transit dependent people.
  • Member of Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) advocating for tunnel opening and right of way development for bicycle highway.
  • Serve as liaison between MCBC and SMV.
  • Served as bicycle representative on Marin County Trails Committee for the Parks & Open Space Commission.
  • Have been active with MCL transportation committee, Sierra Club Marin Group, and Congestion Management Agency in advocating for local transit shuttles and regional transit solutions.
  • Advisory Board, Nevcore Hybrid Electric Vehicles Inc., 1994-1996
  • Board of Advisors, City CarShare, 2002-Present
  • My work with the Mill Valley shuttle investigation indicates that our towns can't afford shuttles on their own.
  • Active in community efforts, and with Board of Supervisors, in improving the flawed Comprehensive Transportation Management Plan (CTMP) intended to reduce weekend and peak season congestion associated with Muir Woods, Stinson Beach and other West Marin natural assets.
  • Will promote local shuttles countywide that run on alternative fuels.
  • Will promote paths, lanes, stairs and roadways that are friendly to bike riders and pedestrians.
  • Will promote a regional transit system with strict provisions for land preservation and environmental protection.
  • Would redirect efforts on any tax measure toward shuttles and safe routes. Sadly, current budget cuts in transit programs will make progress in this effort very slow, but now is the time to begin working on this vision, for unless we act, gridlock will simply continue to get slowly worse.
  • Will work hard with the National Park Service to improve the CTMP and integrate it with existing transportation plans in the County and to integrate it with intercept facilities that would empower local businesses and improve shuttle options.
  • Will work with Golden Gate Transit to expand morning and evening commuter service, and shift resources to local shuttle programs for intra-county service and transit for mobility impaired people.


I believe that diversity makes communities stronger. People are not given equal access to services, education, opportunity, healthcare, or leadership and it falls to government to remedy this inequity.

Actions & Accomplishments
  • Worked on the Equity Chapter of the new General Plan, in which I wrote several recommendations for the empowerment of additional community members from under served and under represented communities.
  • Promoted mentoring in civic leadership, moving arts and culture out into the numerous County facilities in community centers (rather than trying to force people to drive to the Marin Center for all cultural events), and building partnerships for the support of ethnic small business.
  • Teach the connection between access to resources and sustainability and environmental protection in my work on The Natural Step. Teach this course annually for the Environmental Forum of Marin.
  • Active in environmental justice with respect to San Joaquin Valley air quality in the Clean Air Dialogue working group, as part of my job at CED.
  • Will work hard to improve civic connections between the Board of Supervisors and all communities.
  • Will get out to local groups and communities and invite participation and work on County projects, task forces and events.
  • Will help communities showcase their local culture and arts.
  • Will utilize County facilities more for local culture and sharing.
  • Community arts and leadership experiences brought out from the Civic Center into our County facilities in our neighborhoods would help bring diversity and civic engagement into the public realm. Parks and community events would help build community.

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

I've worked for years in Marin to bring international sustainability concepts home, and have been amazed how a citizen can become deeply involved in County issues and make a serious difference in the County's future. In the span of just a few years I've become deeply involved in a myriad of County issues we care about, and have served as sustainability trainer, cheerleader, advocate, critic and constant nag - that all aspects of our County, towns, businesses and personal activities become more environmentally responsible, even more efficient, and economically viable. I've worked in Mill Valley with SMV and with Sustainable North Bay to promote Cities for Climate Protection in other localities as well. As mentioned in the discussion of energy above, new programs for energy efficiency and aggregation are in progress as part of my work. While Mill Valley so far has indicated little interest in these ideas, I remain optimistic that these ideas will continue to gain momentum over time.

I am a very strong believer that government can be a fun place to volunteer and work, and with more involvement from more citizens it makes better policy decisions and provides more value for all. It is critical for voting machines to be accurate and fair (paper copies to prevent fraud), for processes to be open, fair and inclusive, and for government leaders to reach proactively into the community to provide volunteer and leadership opportunities to more people.

To find out more about this candidate

Official web site:

Campaign headquarters:
Committee to Elect Charles McGlashan
41 Renz Road, Mill Valley, CA 94941
(415) 388-5273

All text and images on this site © 2002-2004 Sustainable Mill Valley
Last updated: 01/12/04