News Briefs

When you read this the Country will have elected a new President and Vice President. California will have elected a new Senator. A new Member of Congress and a new State Assembly member will have been elected to represent our area. Depending on which City you live in incumbent mayors and council members may have been reelected or there may be some new faces. But what does that have to do with MCHA and Government Affairs…? Well, a lot …

In an editorial November 4th KSBW posted an editorial (here is the link if you want to see:
http://www.ksbw.com/article/editorial-the-new-president/8243891) which reads in part “This Tuesday night, the 45th President of the United States will be elected.  And whoever is elected our President, they’ll not stop local crime, nor solve our water woes, nor our housing and development issues. That’s up to all of us.”

Working on local problems at the local level is up to us. MCHA has been prominent in addressing local issues. The GAC is the Association’s means of being up to date on those issues, looking for options and solutions and working with local officials on matters of mutual interest all with an eye to benefit the community and our industry. We routinely deal with water and traffic issues. We review and respond to proposals for new or revised regulations that may impact our industry. We push for projects, such as the renovation of the Community Center, that are essential to the vibrancy of the area. We sit on ad hoc and standing committees dealing with everything from water projects, to local road and highway improvements, to oversight committees for the expenditure of local funds. We vet local candidates and recommend to you those candidates and measures we believe will be the best options for us all.

It is a lot of work. The GAC has a core group of members who routinely take on the task of serving on these committees, studying issues, and attending GAC and community meetings. It is not easy but it is important. It is equally important that MCHA develop a larger and deeper cadre of members to bolster the efforts of the GAC and to add to our core group. Some of the key issues for 2017 will be:

Water Supply and Water Rates – this will continue to be an issue until there is a long term, sustainable water supply at a reasonable price.  The Coalition of Peninsula Businesses has taken the lead in the water supply efforts but MCHA needs to continue to be a working member of the Coalition until the work is done.

Transportation – There are several transportation issues that will be addressed 2017, particularly if TAMC’s Measure X was successful and there is a new revenue stream for local and regional road projects. The Highway 156 toll road traffic and revenue study should be completed early 2017. It will be particularly important that we continue to be a voice for the improvement of 156 and to reduce the current the traffic logjam that occurs between 101 and Castroville. The Eastside Parkway, a much needed alternative to Highway 68, will begin its environmental review process and will undoubtedly face opposition from those who fear a transportation improvement is an invitation to new development.

Local government regulations – Throughout the year the cities and the county will bring forward new regulations that will deal, in all likelihood, with special events, short term rentals, housing, new fees and taxes and actions that may be a constraint to our industry.

FORA – FORA faces a year where critical decisions will be made on a range of issues from the aforementioned Eastside Parkway to habitat conservation to how to transition their responsibility to local governments should their agency not be extended beyond its current 2020 sunset.

If you are interested, or just curious about these issues and what the GAC will is doing we invite you to attend a GAC meeting. The GAC meets the first Thursday of each month at 8:30 am. If you are interested in attending please email me at dale.ellis@sbcglobal.net and I will add you to my distribution list.