Alamo committees face uncertain future | August 21, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - August 21, 2009

Alamo committees face uncertain future

County advisory council to supercede citizen committees

by Geoff Gillette

Members of the Alamo Community Council met Thursday, one of their final meetings now that the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors has approved the creation of a Municipal Advisory Council.

Over the past several months, District 3 Supervisor Mary N. Piepho spoke with Alamo committee members about the possible creation of a MAC to act as the county's advisory council for Alamo. At their Aug. 11 meeting, the supervisors approved a resolution creating the MAC and folding in both the R-7A and Zone 36 committees.

The Alamo Community Council comprises all the various committees operating in Alamo; they have met monthly with Piepho's Chief of Staff Tomi Van de Brooke to discuss issues facing Alamo and events coming up in the community. At their Thursday meeting, the question arose as to what will happen to the ACC now that the MAC has been approved.

Roads Committee member Brian Hill asked specifically what would happen once the MAC is established. Van de Brooke confirmed that indeed the Roads Committee would cease to exist once the new council begins meeting.

Van de Brooke said that the loss of those committees does not mean that Alamo will not have representation or that those not on the MAC will cease to have a voice.

"There will be subcommittees formed that will deal with issues like roads," Van de Brooke explained. "Those whose interest is in those areas will be a part of those meetings."

ACC members were quick to point out that under the county's rules, sub-committees must be made up of members of the MAC, thus eliminating the participation of those not on the MAC.

Van de Brooke disagreed, saying that those meetings will be open to the public and residents are encouraged to be a part of them.

"It would be the expectation of the supervisor that the meetings would be open and would include the Alamo community," she explained.

She added that the same could be said of the Alamo Improvement Association, which many contend will be adversely affected by the inception of the MAC.

"It is not intended to eliminate a private organization. Government isn't set up to do that," she stated.

Larry Rodrigue, a member of the P-5 police services area, argued, "On the other hand, the government isn't required to listen to a private organization either."

The ACC is expected to meet again in September, but once the MAC begins its meetings in early October it will likely cease to be.

Van de Brooke said that the ACC can continue to meet, but the MAC will be the advisory body to the county.

That said, Van de Brooke stated that it is her hope that the MAC will embody much of the ACC's style and methodology.

"If there is a way the MAC can absorb that spirit, that would be good," she said. "But if they decide they would like to do something else, that is something this office wouldn't give direction on."