The Town of Fairfax is one of five jurisdictions participating in a discussion about the use of Sir Francis Drake’s (SFD) name on the boulevard that traverses east-west across the central part of Marin County. The other jurisdictions through which the road passes are the County of Marin, City of Larkspur, and the Towns of Ross and San Anselmo.
Each of the jurisdictions appointed two Councilmembers to the SFD Ad-Hoc Working Group. The Town’s Council representatives are Mayor Ackerman and Councilmember Goddard. Collectively, the ten elected officials have been participating in a series of public forums with high attendance (i.e., community listening and learning sessions) and three Working Group meetings.
At the Council’s December 16, 2020 meeting, Councilmember Goddard and Mayor Ackerman reported that the Working Group agreed that members should return to their respective jurisdictions to take up the issue of whether to move forward at the local level with the renaming of Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Each jurisdiction committed to complete its own community process and make a final decision no later than March 31. Each jurisdiction’s members of the SFD Ad-Hoc Working Group will report back at the Working Group’s early April meeting.
They also reiterated that the request is focused on the concept of changing the name and not selecting a name. The selection of a name would be a separate multi-jurisdictional process that would occur after decisions are made regarding the renaming of SFD.
The Town of Fairfax’s process will include a Community Listening Session. The tentative date for the listening session is Saturday, February 6th from 10:00am to 12:00 noon. At the December 16th Council, the Council also discussed the concept of conducting a local community learning session. However, upon further research, Councilmembers Goddard and Cutrano have indicated that video recordings, such as the community learning session conducted by the County on August 17, 2020, would preclude the need for a local learning session. The recording is available at the County link below.
Click here for the staff report from the Council’s 12/16/20 meeting which contains the information compiled by the Working Group.
Below is a link to the Marin County Free Library’s resource and learning page focused on Marin County and the Sir Francis Drake roadway. The page includes information and perspectives gathered from local, national, and international sources about the indigenous community of Marin, the Coastal Miwok, present when Sir Francis Drake landed in what is now Marin County; Sir Francis Drake the person; and, the early 20th Century unified naming of the 43-mile roadway that is now called Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.
*Note: The information on this page and the associated links are not comprehensive, though the Library does expect the resources accessible through this page to grow.
Additional Francis Drake Resources (Note: these resources may also be referenced on the County Library page.)
The Working Group did research the potential impacts to the jurisdictions. In summary, the impacts are relatively modest. The postal service reports that it will continue to deliver items for eighteen months, giving most businesses and residents ample opportunity to convert letterhead, business cards, and other identifying items. The County Assessor and Clerk report that they will not require filings to change the name on documents. The information does not evaluate the costs to businesses for changing signage on buildings, vehicles, and/or other items such as printed materials. There would be nominal costs to the Town for replacing street signs.