http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2009/06/19/alamo-mac-discussion-continues


Danville Express

Newsfront - June 19, 2009

Alamo MAC discussion continues

Participation and representation are two big issues

by Geoff Gillette

Talks concerning the establishment of a Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC) were the main focus of the June 11 meeting of the Alamo Community Council. Over 40 residents attended the meeting to find out more about MACs and to learn the overall plan of District 3 Supervisor Mary N. Piepho.

A MAC is an advisory committee that reports to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. Under county statutes, the MAC would be made up of seven members and would have the ability to create subcommittees to address specific issues.

Piepho's Chief of Staff Tomi Van de Brooke led the discussion at the ACC meeting. Residents were given a draft copy of the board motion to create the MAC. The resolution explained the basics behind the formation of the advisory body. Those included:

* Boundaries for the MAC

* Membership is set at seven

* Term of office is the same as the District 3 Supervisor

* Duties and Powers

* Staff support will be provided by Piepho's office

Unlike the recent attempt at incorporation in Alamo, there is no vote on the creation of a MAC at the public level. If Piepho decides a MAC would be beneficial to the area, she presents a board motion and the county Board of Supervisors votes on whether to approve it. If approved, Piepho would then name the MAC members.

This led to the first questions from residents. One resident asked why the county can simply declare a MAC, instead of allowing for a vote.

Van de Brooke said they had decided not to seek an election on the issue as it is not mandatory. California state code does allow for elections, but Van de Brooke said the county had chosen to opt out at least in part due to monetary considerations.

"It cost around $100,000 to put the incorporation question on the ballot. I'm not sure there's $100,000 around to put another question on the ballot," she stated.

Conversation on the proposed MAC became more animated as residents brought up two main concerns. The first is that while the MAC can create subcommittees, they must be comprised of current members of the MAC, not other residents. The second is that the MAC is limited in how it can interact with other agencies. County codes prohibit MAC members from representing Alamo to non-county agencies or groups.

ACC member Steve Mick, a supporter of the MAC, said that second proviso is one he can't stand by.

"That's a stopper. That's a big stopper for me," he said. "California code allows that for MACs, but it's up to the counties to set up the rules for their MACs. And the county's rules are stricter than the state's."

Community advocate Grace Schmidt said she does not think that the MAC should be going to other agencies in a representative capacity, but she did question whether the rules against communicating with other entities would preclude them from getting information they need to discuss issues and come up with opinions.

"Information needs to come as directly as possible. The MAC has got to have full access to the information because you can't give advice if you don't know the score," she said.

Van de Brooke disagreed with the assertion that information would be unavailable to MAC members.

"I don't understand the concern because anybody can ask for information. The concern I heard was that by becoming a MAC member you're giving up certain rights as individuals. That's not the intent," she explained.

She added that there are ways for the members of a MAC to provide representation to other agencies. They can address the agency involved as an individual, or they can contact the supervisor and either request that the supervisor send a letter addressing a specific concern or request permission to allow the MAC members to address an entity on an issue.

Afterward, Van de Brooke said she was pleased with the turnout and by the level of discussion.

"I think those who attended asked a lot of good questions," she said.

Van de Brooke will be back before the ACC at its next meeting to continue the dialogue on establishing a MAC. She said that at this time there is no timeline as to when a MAC formation will take place, but she did say that it will occur before the end of 2009.

Comments

Posted by One HAL of a TIME, a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2009 at 7:01 am

Dear Dolores and Geoff,

The meeting, according to the handful that attended, was held on June 11.

Now, we all know that Alamo Time is 11 minutes later than Pacific Time, but is it Seven Days (or DAZE) earlier? This is very important because I keep one of my watches set to Alamo Time so I will not be frustrated by the difference.

Please advise,

Hal, as an Alamo TIMEkeeper


Posted by Timekeeper, a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2009 at 7:00 am

Dear Dolores,

Let me thank the many readers that helped me set my watch to proper Alamo Time by confirming that 5PM, June 4, 2009, happened in Alamo at 5:11PM, June ll, 2009 Pacific time.

So everyone can synchronize their watches to Alamo Time, it is currently 6:56AM, June 22, 2009 Pacific Time and 6:45AM, June 15, 2009 in Alamo.

AS a timekeeping courtesy, but I wonder if there are more important timing issues related to the subject of the district 3's community council meeting?

Hal


Posted by registered user, Geoff Gillette, a resident of Danville Weekly reporter
on Jun 22, 2009 at 10:21 am

Mr. Bailey,
We are aware of the date discrepancy. We have tried to modify the story to correct the error but it is not showing up online. I have informed our IT department and they will look into it.


Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2009 at 11:35 am

Dear Dolores and Geoff,

Many thanks to you, Geoff, for correcting the time of the meeting. You both know your story had significant content that deserves continued consideration. Among neighborhoods' e-exchanges the primary questions continue concerning county presence in 94507 Alamo CA and the surrounding region. Those questions in continuing discussion are:

#1 - What justifies a MAC in our region and what is its purpose?

#2 - Does current CCC MAC policy provide any advantages from a 94507 MAC to neighborhoods?

#3 - Draft proposal for a 94507 Alamo CA MAC does not define citizens' participation beyond the seven district 3 appointees, so will there be some definition of an Alamo MAC before it is unilaterally created by CCC-BOS?

#4 - What purpose and advantage is district 3 to our region and what potential relationship is possible?

Neighborhoods have researched answers to these questions, but it is likely that your readers without access to e-exchanges have similar questions that require answers from district 3 and the county.

Hal, as a community courtesy


Posted by Informed Resident, a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Hal,

At the risk of believing that you don't listen to anyone but yourself, I suggest you attend the very meetings that you are so apt on reporting. Others with questions should do so also- wouldn't you agree?

It would be at the community meetings that you would get answers such specific questions. All you will get on a message board such as this, is assumption and commentary. If you are really looking for no nonsense answers, you will only be able to get them directly from the county. They are responsible for the rules and conditions, therefore would provide the answers.

In closing, "the county presence in 94507 Alamo CA" will always be present because Alamo is the county.

There really is no entity, city or town of Alamo just like there is no Bay Point, Saranap, or Byron. They are all areas (places) within the Contra Costa County without independence.


Posted by Halamo, a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Dear Dolores,

The majority in Alamo has been invited to a district 3 meeting by a pseudonym. The meeting itself, as the Alamo Community Council, is a pseudonym for CCC district 3. So, as are pal, Ron, would say, "Let's see, a real majority is invited to a pseudonym by a pseudonym to listen to unilateral intentions of strangers!"

Certainly sounds like a plan to me! Shall I bring my piano?

"Oh, golly gee, and what will be, time for another tune? No! I have to leave, but not for long when I'll be back for Mother's and another little song. For it's Mother's, there are no others, they are the cookies in the passionate purple package!"

Blissful and wise,

Hal, as Halamo
The Alamo Towne Fool
@ODDs, a Saloon for Fools
The Hotel Snaysmuth
2625 Crescent Moon Lane
Stepford CA 94507-1078


Posted by Informed Resident, a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Hal,

Your derailment speaks volumes way beyond anything I could write.

Thank you.


Posted by Community courtesy, a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2009 at 7:00 am

Dear Dolores:

The cause of this forum is part of your original article: "Conversation on the proposed MAC became more animated as residents brought up two main concerns. Readers should once again read the complete article. Here are the majority's concerns gathered by neighborhood reps:

**The first is that while the MAC can create subcommittees, they must be comprised of current members of the MAC, not other residents.

**The second is that the MAC is limited in how it can interact with other agencies. County codes prohibit MAC members from representing Alamo to non-county agencies or groups.

**"California code allows (other agency interaction) for MACs, but it's up to the counties to set up the rules for their MACs. And the county's rules are stricter than the state's" as a resident's comment.

**Chief of Staff Tomi Van de Brooke, "The concern I heard was that by becoming a MAC member you're giving up certain rights as individuals."

Thus, Dolores, district 3 has been increasingly at-odds with our region's majority since June 2000 and nothing in CCC-MAC policy or the district 3 proposal provides definition, agenda, and purpose/advantages to gain majority support within the 94507 boundaries. The commentary by a few pseudonyms in this forum should not be considered the required answers from our district 3 supervisor and staff.

Thus, let us return this forum to the key question, "Draft proposal for a 94507 Alamo CA MAC does not define citizens' participation beyond the seven district 3 appointees, so will there be some definition (agenda, plans and purpose/advantages) of an Alamo MAC before it is unilaterally created by CCC-BOS?" Neighbors expect the answer to be posted on the district 3 website for district residents to review.

Hal, as a community courtesy

Hal, as a community courtesy


Posted by Informed Resident, a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2009 at 1:32 am

Hal, you are simply repeating yourself. (In more ways than one).

"Hal, as a community courtesy"
"Hal, as a community courtesy"