Supes Corner: Representation and good government relations
As you may have read in the Sierra Sun, Sen. David Cox paid a visit to Truckee a couple of weeks ago. The visit was initiated by the senator. While here, he met with town officials, county staff, and board members from the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce and addressed the Truckee Town Council that evening. I was impressed with his ability to capture issues presented to him and demonstrate a willingness to go to work on several issues, such as west Nile virus, Trout Creek restoration and Caltrans.Before politics, Sen. Cox owned and operated an insurance brokerage firm. His wife, Maggie, runs the business to this day, as Dave is slightly busy with Sacramento. He began in local politics, first serving on a school board before serving on the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Before running for the state Assembly, he served as a Sacramento County Supervisor. It seems to me to be very important that our representatives, both at the state and federal level, have such a background. Understanding the woes of small business and the work of local government, where the rubber hits the road, is an important perspective. Last year I had the pleasure of hearing U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta speak about his days in local government back in San Jose. He felt that if more members of Congress came from a background of local government, decision making would be markedly improved.Regardless of political persuasion, we should all be pleased that we have a representative interested in Truckee needs.
Recently the Town of Truckee joined Grass Valley in support of Nevada City regarding a land use decision before the board of supervisors. The issue was whether or not to approve a request for a general plan amendment and rezone on a parcel next to Nevada City but not in the city boundary. The Town of Truckee and the two cities took a collective position that the county could not enact such a change on a parcel within the sphere of influence of Nevada City. The board agreed with the cities and did not approve the request.There are two reasons I raise the issue. First, the same scenario could play out here in Truckees surrounding unincorporated region. Second, it was impressive to see Nevada City receive support from Grass Valley and Truckee. It was effective.One of my goals for Nevada County is to tap the three cities to form a formal relationship by developing a Council of Governments, or COG. Such an organization can not only improve relations but can work on issues of common interest such as housing, transportation, cooperative purchasing, regional policy relations and lobbying our state and federal officials.
Dave Dunlap met with me recently about a fair-share issue with the county. Area 4 dollars make it up the hill for Truckees nutrition and meals program, but not for all the Area 4 services that ar enjoyed down the hill. Dave pointed out that due to proximity, logistics make it difficult for the county to fairly meet the needs of Truckee seniors. An example of this is the information services that enable seniors to access an array of helpful bits of information local in nature. Unfortunately, the system is based down the hill and lacking in Truckee-related information. Nevada County Supervisor Nate Beason, who serves on the appropriate county committee, has pledged to assist me in solving Truckee-related Area 4 issues. Thank you to Dave Dunlap.
Contractors on the western slope of the county have issues with building department required site plans. While these have been required in Truckee for a number of years, they havent caused the raucous as down the hill. Truckee is largely subdivided and done so in recent times. Not so other parts of the county.There are many parcels that have abandoned mines, handshake deals from a hundred years ago, lacking monuments and many that, although they exist on a map, have never been surveyed.The county is currently undertaking the same community-based approach to improving planning and building department issues as Truckee did over a year ago. I am hopeful we will produce similar results, but as you can see by the example above, it may not be easy.Ted Owens, former Truckee Town Council member and mayor, is the District V supervisor for eastern Nevada County. He can be reached at email@example.com