I represent the City of Benicia on the Cities-County Coordinating Council  (4Cs) and am on the Steering Committee as Vice Chair.  Our Supervisor, Linda Seifert is the Chair.  Every year the  4Cs adopt a legislative platform
consistent with the purpose of the Council:

"To discuss, coordinate, and resolve City/County issues including but not necessarily limited to land
use, planning, duplication of services/improving efficiencies, as well as other agreed to topics of
regional importance, to respond effectively to the actions of other levels of government, including the State and Federal government, to sponsor or support legislation at the State and Federal level that is of regional importance, and to sponsor or support regional activities that further the purpose of the Solano City-County Coordinating Council."

For several years (since 2008) the legislative platform has evolved into a lengthy document with regional issues covering transportation, water, human services, revenues and so forth.  The process includes county, STA and Solano County Water Agency staff drafting the platform and each of the boards then review the platform and make comments.  Missing from this process is the formal role of the cities.  This year the county staff sent the platform to each of the cities and the City of Benicia responded with suggestions for amending and enhancing the platform.  These suggestions were not well received at a meeting that my alternate and I could not attend which meant that there was no one to defend or advocate for the suggestions.  The 4Cs did not receive the suggestions in a positive way.  Some reported that the comments were disrespectful and harsh. 

County staff was directed to work with the City of Benicia (yes, we were the only city that did so) and the city staff - already short handed - negotiated the additional language with county staff which was in the draft platform for approval last night.
This is the link
is to the draft platform which was slightly amended last night at the 4Cs meeting.  Highlights of the discussion was the transportation safety issue that Benicia added: 

Support efforts to improve safety of hazardous materials transported by rail, including
crude by rail and enhance capacity of local emergency responders to appropriately
respond to potential emergency events resulting from derailment or releases.

Last night there was spirited discussion and accusations of "agenda driven" thinking and the language not necessary and other detracting remarks.  Because the 4Cs was established with a consensus protocol, a simple majority of the quorum was not enough to carry this suggestion forward.  After more discussion and the lead objector, Supervisor Speering, saw that that half the Mayors and three Supervisors did want the above language, he offered language that seemed to capture the essence of the suggestion.  In the end we gave direction to staff to finalize the language to be reviewed by Supervisor Speering and the City of Benicia. 

After this bruising effort, I once again offered State Parks language for the platform: 

Support, enhance, maintain and fund State Parks in Solano County especially in under-served areas.

My testimony last year in San Rafael at the State Parks Forward Commission hearing stressed the need for additional state parks in Solano because we have many agricultural workers, military service personnel and retired people and they do not have access to many of the state's iconic state parks.  These are undeserved areas.  My proposed language was to make clear that we should support the whole county's interest and not just the existing Benicia State Parks.  Well.  The word "under-served" was questioned vigorously by Mayor Batchelor (Dixon) and some supervisors joined in and so the "in under served areas" was deleted.  The good news is that the item will now be in the 2015 adopted legislative platform for the 4Cs.  Special thanks to City of Benicia staff - well done!, Mayor Davis (Vallejo), Mayor Richardson (Rio Vista), Supervisor Seirfert, Skip Thomson and Erin Hannigan for their vocal support.

The very next item was a discussion about formalizing connections with all levels of education for the "under-served" needs.  I commented that we don't use the word anymore.


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