This last week has been quite eventful to say the least. On Thursday 3/21 Home For All hosted its first Brisbane-focused workshop and on Saturday 3/23, Brisbane celebrated Women’s History Month with its first LUNAFEST. Read on for my takeaways from each.
Home For All
Home For All, a San Mateo County funded program, approached the city last year offering to host a workshop for us. They specialize in facilitating conversations around housing and providing policy-makers with the resulting feedback. Upon the passage of Measure JJ, the council recognized the continued need for a robust public engagement process surrounding the Baylands and agreed to partner with Home For All on two workshops to help us begin this journey. The first workshop focuses on general topics like community values and concerns and from there, Home For All will work with the City of Brisbane to identify more specific topics to delve into for the second workshop. We anticipate the second workshop will occur on May 4th (time TBD) at Mission Blue. We welcome everyone to attend this second workshop whether you participated in the first or not.
For the first workshop we had a packed house with over 100 participants. I want to thank everyone who attended. I saw many new faces and of course, many familiar ones. I floated from table to table to gain a sense of the conversations being had and could tell immediately how invested attendees were in Brisbane and the passion they have for our community.
People explained their love of Brisbane came from: our location, small-town feel, tight-knit community, safety, volunteer spirit, diversity of residents including many artists and musicians, the mountain, the ability for an individual to make a meaningful contribution, city services that work well, and that many organizations have formed to help different groups in our community.
At the same time, there were discussions of the drawbacks of living here which included a lack of: public transportation, retail, grocery store, gas station, high school, and neighborhood watering hole like a bar. There were also concerns around current and future traffic and bottlenecks, disappearance of starter homes and a lack of affordability, and people moving away when they retire.
When looking to the future and the development of the Baylands, I heard a desire in wanting those missing amenities included along with addressing the traffic challenges, providing as many affordable units as possible, going beyond sustainability and thinking about how we can make this development regenerative, and wanting to be a progressive and innovative city. Participants mentioned a desire for connections between the communities like a corridor people could use to walk or bike, and a shuttle network. In addition, I heard strong concerns regarding clean-up and safety, liquefaction, how we would integrate the new community at the Baylands with the one already established in central Brisbane and the Ridge, and how we would maintain our cherished small town feel.
The workshop left me hopeful that together we can address the many concerns regarding the Baylands and at the same time, create something that feels like Brisbane and embodies our values. Home For All will compile a report summarizing the comments made at each table which will be made available on the city’s website and through our weekly email newsletter. While I know many wanted to get into deeper discussions, the outreach and engagement process will go well beyond the two workshops facilitated by Home For All. There will be plenty of opportunities for us to contemplate and discuss these topics and I look forward to working with you all in that process.
LUNAFEST, a film festival featuring short films by, for, and about women came to Brisbane this past weekend. The festival, created by CLIF Bar in connection with their women’s health bar, Luna Bar, aims to illuminate the gender inequities in the film industry and provide a vehicle for women to tell stories that are often left untold. For more information on the festival, please read my column in last month’s Luminary.
Along with promoting female filmmakers, LUNAFEST provides a mechanism for hosts to raise money for women’s causes. When I decided to bring LUNAFEST to Brisbane with the support of my council colleagues, I knew the money we raised needed to stay in town. The Lions Club has always had a presence in my life and when I needed their assistance most as a college student, they ensured I had funds for my education. It seemed only fitting that the money raised from LUNAFEST should go to the Lions. Thankfully, they shared in my vision and have agreed to use the funds from LUNAFEST to create a scholarship for women pursuing a degree in a male dominated field such as film, engineering, science, math, technology, politicalscience or the trades.
When I approached the Lions they asked me, “how much do you think we can raise?” I said, “I’m pretty confident we can raise $4000.” Fast forward just 8 weeks and we’ve raised over 7.5 times that amount at… over $30,600. That is INCREDIBLE. For context, the average LUNAFEST screening raises $5,000. Last year out of 180 screenings, the highest grossing event netted $27,700.
I must acknowledge all the people who have helped us accomplish this feat. First, I must thank my LUNAFEST committee of 6 amazing ladies, Mayor Pro-Tem, Terry O’Connell, President of the Brisbane Lions Club and Park and Rec Commissioner, Sharon Boggs, Recreation Manager, Noreen Leek, Park and Rec Commissioner, Renee Marmion, and Admin Management Analysit, Angel Ibarra. These women worked tirelessly, fine-tuning every single aspect of the event. To the Lions Club, thank you for supporting us in this mission and for lending a helping hand with the staffing of our screening. Of course, thank you to my city council colleagues for agreeing to fund this event with the venue, risers, and staff. I also need to acknowledge CLIF Bar for waiving the $350 LUNAFEST host fee and providing us with the the films, ticketing portal, programs, marketing materials, and of course, Luna Bars.
As you may have guessed, we didn’t raise $30,600+ solely from ticket sales. The majority of this money has come from sponsorships, many of them Brisbane businesses. Our Bronze sponsors include South San Francisco Scavenger, Golden State Lumber, myself, Kaiser Permanente, Yerdle Recommerce, and Terry O’Connell. Our Silver sponsors include Recology, Sound Productions, and Amazon. Our Gold sponsors include Universal Paragon Corporation, Sangamo, an anonymous donor, Anna Sweeny and Brett Crocket in partnership with Dolby Laboratories, who have also offered to give the scholarship recipients a tour of Dolby. Finally, our Platinum sponsors include Prologis, HCP, Phase 3, Wayfarer, Karen and Emmett Cunningham in partnership with Google, and Caliva, who also provided us with promotional swag items. We’ve also had donations made by Davis and Company Realty, San Mateo Credit Union, and Kannibox. I expected to call on many of the businesses and discover they had no interest in sponsoring. I found quite the opposite. Despite the short time frame, almost every single business I put a call into, wanted to support the Brisbane community, our Lions club, and especially women pursuing an education.
Along with our sponsors, we had significant help from donors who gave us thousands of dollars in product. Our donors allowed us to make sure that every single dollar taken in can go directly to students rather than to funding the event. Donations have come from the following businesses: candy from Midtown Market, sodas and waters from Jasama Patel, coffee from Madhouse Coffee, cheese, popcorn, and paper products from BiRite, lumpia from 7-Mile, VIP reception snacks from Rachel Ennis, Pizza funded by Belinda Li, beer from 47 Hills, wine from Gloria Ferrer, Angeline, and Breathless, who also donated a sabrage experience. Wine glasses were donated by Terry O’Connell which were printed by Off Beat Productions, wearable concession trays were handmade by Sue Cochran Construction, all the audio-visual services were provided by Sound Productions, and 1000 bags of chips were sent to us from an anonymous donor.
As we were planning the festivities we realized pretty quickly we needed help from an event rentals company. I put in a call to one and they gave me a bid that was very expensive, even with a hefty discount. Feeling at a loss, I called Brisbane business, Hensley Event Resources and explained to them our situation and the mission behind LUNAFEST. Without batting an eye they said “we’ll give you whatever you need.” They gifted us a gorgeous tent complete with chandeliers, high top tables, red carpet, stanchions, and the installation of the risers. Thank you for your generosity.
Brisbane never ceases to amaze me. We are a city unlike anywhere else, where volunteerism runs through our veins and compassion for each other can be felt at every turn. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who made LUNAFEST possible.
Finally, here’s this month’s Brisbane Fun Fact: In 1930 Brisbane’s first school opened in the basement of the Mozzetti home.
If you have a question, concern, compliment, or feedback I invite you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 415-706-5276.