OWN VOICE. ~ InPerspective by Gregg Dieguez —
No, this is not a political ad. My father told me there are 3 kinds of people: those that Make Things Happen, those that Watch Things Happen, and those that Wonder What Happened. I bring this up in the context of the 2022 election for our new supervisor, which has already started based on the 3 candidates who have reached out to me for input and endorsements over the past 4 months (a year and a half EARLY, but that’s elections these days). [Note: due to reader & constituent feedback, this list has been amended with four (4) new items, and more will come.]
But I’m not ready for a popularity contest; I’m ready for some effective governance, with rational priority setting and actual progress on actual plans. We’re on the bleeding edge of sustainability out here, and I don’t want us to draw blood. My suggestion: let’s put together a “Coastside Platform” of our issues – even those we don’t agree on but want some analysis on and discussion of leading to resolution – and GIVE IT TO THE CANDIDATES, and have them reply, in writing, what they’re going to do about them.
Now, they could lie – we’ve sure seen that in Washington – but to me providing some framework and analysis is more effective than sitting back and watching while they try to figure things out. None of the 3 candidates who have approached me live out here. They’re unlikely to comprehend, in any depth, the issues we face. And from Pacifica to Half Moon Bay to Pescadero we only represent about 3% of the County population, which means we have to work to get noticed. So let’s give them some help, and we can add their subsequent understanding and pledges (or lack thereof) into our decision criteria before we cast our votes. Even if we don’t know what district boundaries are going to be, it’s likely we’ll still be together.
I have not yet proposed this to my MCC colleagues, but I will at the next meeting. And whether they agree it’s a worthy effort or not for the MCC, I’m sure going to come up with a list leading to a short paper and an article or two here even if I have to do it by myself. In fact, several of us have already written articles here on traffic, wildfire risks, sewers, evacuation risks, cancerous growth, blinding night lights, and other topics. At a minimum, this community should be able to put together an issues list with links to existing supporting analyses. And with just a little more work, that list can include a paragraph or two explaining our problems and perhaps requested resolutions. When I wrote the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 13, 2020 regarding a suite of wildfire and evacuation risks, it seemed to make an impression, and that wasn’t even a Petition, just a collaborative presentation involving about 60 of you. I think we need to orient our candidates, because one of them will become our next Supervisor.
SO, I offer this article as a Suggestion. Post your thoughts here, or email me at email@example.com with Subject= “Coastside Concerns for Candidates”, and I’ll put together a draft before Thanksgiving, and I’ll write an article here, and we can refine improved editions as we go. [There really is no time limit for feedback, because, hey, I’m an elected official. But we’ll need some cutoff dates for editions of Coastside Concerns for Candidates.] I’ve already told the candidates I’m going to provide them with such a document, by way of orientation, and it’s a simple sentence to extend that into a request that they respond with a Coastside Platform underpinning their candidacy.
Here’s a rough draft of such an issues list, and there can and will be several sub-points for most of them:
- Wildfire: Remove and revegetate all eucalyptus: fire code, grants, FEMA, etc.
- Turn over the CalTrans Bypass in Montara to MWSD for watershed management and water security
- Evacuation from natural disasters is inadequate, and growth is making it more deadly
- Nightime lighting is harming our sleep and preventing you seeing the stars (e.g. the new El Granada fire station)
- Airport noise, safety, and pollution
- Sewer costs up, and capacity and long term viability threatened
- Needless lawsuit over sewer charges
- Drought risking quality and/or affordability of life here
- Traffic routinely congested at the level of rush hour in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles
- Housing: too much, not enough, or the wrong kinds?
- — Related: Impact of Short Term Rentals, and what to do?
- A Planning Department that thinks “developers are my customers”, rather than County voters
- Unenforced code violations: from on-street parking to parking in fire lanes on El Granada Blvd, 190 Princeton, #4 above, etc. etc.
- Inadequate school facilities
- No real healthcare facility Coastside
- Sea level rise: adaptation required
- SFPUC still hasn’t replaced the top of Montara Mtn. they lopped off
- Need for a Community Center?
- Get rid of Natural Gas? (HMB initiative)
- Cost of garbage and composting – end of the landfill?
- Public meetings: in person, or Virtual forever? or both?
- Preserving Open Space
- Reliable electric service, or what? (see also #18)
- Consolidation (or not) of anything with HMB (e.g. sewer) – Support for Special Districts
- Reliable internet connections
- Reliable cellular connections
- Reconciliation of growth with preservation of treasured natural environment & open space
- Reconciliation of growth with limited infrastructure and cost/capacity for road/sewer/water/ fire/evacuation risks
- Ownership & management of, and plans for, El Granada medians
- …. your Issue(s) here….
Remember, You Get the Government You Deserve, and Asking Isn’t Stealing.
Mr. Dieguez is a native San Franciscan, longtime San Mateo County resident, and semi-retired entrepreneur who causes occasional controversy on the Coastside. He is a member of the MCC, but his opinions here are his own, and not those of the Council. In 2003 he co-founded MIT’s Clean Tech Program here in NorCal, which became MIT’s largest alumni speaker program. He lives in Montara. He loves a productive dialog in search of shared understanding.