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Should the MAC Be Elected?

A discussion Monday night at the Castro Valley Library will consider this.

 

The Municipal Advisory Council is Castro Valley's local voice. Currently its members are appointed. Should they be elected? That will be discussed at the MAC meeting that starts at 6 pm Monday night at the Castro Valley Library.

Elected? Appointed? Or should Castro Valley incorporate? Thoughts? 

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Cynthia October 15, 2012 at 02:30 PM
In my opinion having the citizens elect the council that represents them is the only appropriate way to ensure that the citizens have a chance to have a voice. Unfortunately, I can't be at tonights meeting which has often been the case on topics I care about since the agenda is set so late (something I'm sure happens to other citizens as well)...does anyone know of another way of getting opinions/arguments heard in front of MAC?
Bob Swanson October 15, 2012 at 03:28 PM
At every MAC meeting there is a “Public Announcements / Open Forum” where anyone can speak for three minutes on any issue not on the current agenda. You can request that the issue you are concerned about be put on a future MAC agenda. The MAC is covered under the Brown act and cannot address an issue unless it is on the agenda.
Ashley Morrison October 15, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Um, elected please! While I'm sure it will be a cost to each of the 5 (I think that's how many there are) candidates that we as a community rally up and get to run for the positions, it would be much more worth its weight in gold to have people that the citizens of Castro Valley would want to elect into those positions rather than people who are just appointed. Being able to have that much of a "say" in what goes on in our little town is a very large responsibility (ironically enough) and shouldn't be taken lightly. Let the people decide who would best represent them, not just one governing person. We as a town have the capabilities to make change where it needs to be, and should have the right to choose this board just as equally as we see fit. Not just suggesting something and letting the same people, who were most likely appointed because they have similar views (which isn't neccessarily a bad thing, but it should be an individual thought for each person) handle these situations for the rest of us. Electing a board would force them to hear what we as a community have to say because we would, in the end, control whether or not they keep that position come the next election, just like many other boards in Castro Valley that have to be elected positions.
Ashley Morrison October 15, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Oops, I'm sorry I guess there are 7 MAC members. Well, the more the merrier to elect new ones!
Ashley Morrison October 15, 2012 at 07:39 PM
The last time I know of people getting an argument heard in front of the MAC board, one side got to speak and the other got shushed and the meeting moved on. As far as I know, going to their meetings is the only way, even if it means you might get passed over.
Captain Anonymous October 16, 2012 at 08:22 AM
Elections are not cheap. 7 more elected seats could easily cost the county half a million. Also, would they continue to volunteer their time, or would they get a salary? Where would that money come from? Each candidate would need to raise around $20-40 thousand to run for an office that only makes recommendations. What kind of people would do that? The idle rich, or those who are bought and paid for by interest groups or lobbies, that's who. If the job were like a city council where the office-holders actually got paid a real salary (so they could devote the time necessary to to do the job right) and had actual decision making power then having an elected MAC would actually mean local control. Otherwise, what is the point of spending all the money to elect someone if all they can do is make suggestions. You can make suggestions right now by attending public meetings and writing letters to our elected and appointed bodies. You don't need to run for office or be appointed to do that.
Anneke9 October 16, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Thank you for pointing out what should be obvious to everyone but apparently is not.
Ken Martin October 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Hell, yes, they should be elected!! Then they might have to reflect the views of the community instead of those of the supervisor that appoints them. Hopefully we would get a council that is more fair and doesn't try to stifle the views of anyone with whom they disagree and would make decisions based of the facts instead of personal politics.
Rachel Bradley-Gomez October 16, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Forgive my cynicism, but individuals don't cling to positions mandating that they selflessly step up to the plate and donate their precious time only to vote on what are ultimately impotent suggestions. I suggest that the devil is in the details here. And while it might prove impossible to ever shine a light on what's really going on in terms of the innate perks/advantages/power/incentives/entitlements granted for holding a position on the MAC Board, I'm sure a thorough investigation would bare some fruit to this point. The bottom line is, either the MAC performs a function or it doesn't. To state in one instance that its influence is completely negligible, and in another that selfless individuals line up to bare its burdensome yoke just doesn't add up for me. I'd like to know how the grease is applied.
Ashley Morrison October 16, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Mr. Captain Anonymous, while I don't know why you won't put your name behind your words, you are correct. While it won't be millions, it will cost, which is why incorporation and is becoming a city would be the best because it would take care of this situation on its own. And I agree with Rachel. These people are not life-long volunteers that are sticking to this to reap no benefits.
Yolanda October 16, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Hi Rachel, I'm the wife of one of the MAC members and I can honestly say that my husband devotes more time than I would like him to, pouring over documents, visiting sites, reading letters, attending meetings because he cares about Castro Valley. We have two very small children and we've lived here for over a dozen years, so he cares about what kind of community they will grow up in. Right now the MAC is the only planning body that represents only Castro Valley and all they can do is offer their opinions. There are NO entitlements/power/incentives for it beyond caring about the community. If you have school aged children, wouldn't you want to be a part of the PTA? Does the PTA give kick backs for participating?
Anneke9 October 16, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Ashley: Are you related to Brian Morrison? I noticed that his name came up most frequently as a mayoral suggestion at the Pop-up Museum. Do you stand to gain from incorporation? Where do you think the money will come from to run an incorporated city? From the citizens. Keep your hands out of my pocket.
Ashley Morrison October 16, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Woah, woah, woah, Anneke9. Yes we are related but how is his name being written down by other citizens mean anything? Not everyone in CV went to the museum, and not everyone who went to the museum put down a name I'm sure, so nothing is set in stone like you seem to be attempting to conceive from this. No disrespect, but where does your Alameda County tax money go now? Could you answer that? I don't stand to gain anything from CV being incorporated that you wouldn't gain as well. If you're going to sit here and say that we will be taxed indefinitely, it's better to research more about the incorporation rather than what you have just heard so you can tell everyone what new taxes we would be paying, their percentages, and where they would be going as opposed to those same aspects now. It's a little silly that you would make such a ridiculous statement regarding me sticking my hands in your pocket when it's completely irrelevant considering I don't have any say in Alameda County taxes. You act as if I, or any other individual, is able to implement procedures without a simple majority, be it "sticking my hands in your pocket" or not.
Ashley Morrison October 16, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I don't know if you've only experienced dishonest elected officials, considering your statement, but any honest elected official would only want to serve their community or specified area to make it better. Based on what you've said, do you feel like all elected officials are crooks? Because that's sure what it seems like if you automatically associate anyone with an elected position to constantly sticking their hands in your pockets.
Rachel Bradley-Gomez October 16, 2012 at 10:26 PM
This is all about transparency. When there is complete transparency wild accusations happen less frequently and folk tend to breathe a bit easier. Whether it's the MAC board, PTA organizations, or even charitable organizations, there can and will be corruption. Not long ago I remember a scandal which took place that involved a parent who volunteered as treasurer and embezzled well over $100K from a C.V. soccer league. This type of bad behavior can happen anywhere and power without accountability is a path to corruption. And while I'm not suggesting that the MAC receives kick backs, the thought has crossed my mind. I'm not so naive to believe that electing MAC members would instantly remove the incentive to take kickbacks, but it would certainly give C.V.citizens who clearly have a horse in the race the ability to remove corrupted or ineffective individuals.
Rachel Bradley-Gomez October 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM
I would also suggest, Ashley, that if your husband is as devoted to improving Castro Valley as you say, he would likely get my vote if an election were to occur. However, appointments regardless of term limit restrictions, are are conducive to cronyism. The bottom line is that I don't know your husband or his credentials, and there in lies one of many issues I have with the MAC. I too live in Castro Valley and have children who attend school here. I was born here as were my parents, so I'm as invested as they come. This investment makes me a bit curious about who it is that is deciding what, and why. The more resistance there is to making this information transparent and candidly answering the communities questions, the more I am inclined to assume the worst.
Yolanda October 16, 2012 at 11:03 PM
The MAC handles no money and they make recommendations rather than decisions that are binding. Who in their right mind would bribe or give kickbacks to a group who makes recommendations? You'd look for people who actually make the decisions. Meetings are open to the public, you can listen to audio recordings of the meetings (kinda hard to find - here's the calendar link http://tinyurl.com/8eap78d), and the Brown Act http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Act prevents the MAC from meeting outside of a publicly noticed meeting. Things are transparent - you just need to make the effort to read, listen, and attend. Personally I think there is more chance for corruption with elected officials because they have to raise money to win the elections.
Ken October 16, 2012 at 11:04 PM
But Rachel, would you not have more transparency if tax dollars were spent locally, as opposed to managed by the county?
Rachel Bradley-Gomez October 17, 2012 at 12:40 AM
If incorporation is what you're hinting at, I've long been in favor. Besides, now that I'm gaining further "clarity" on what the MAC is and isn't, its ineffectiveness and very existence are preposterous. Why not just draft a document that hyper-represents the collective desires of the entire population of Castro Valley as seen through the eyes of seven individuals, memorialize it, hope it's adhered to, and call it a day?
Bob Swanson October 17, 2012 at 03:47 AM
I would like to suggest that CV folks who have not attended a MAC meeting, come on down. We as individuals should get to know the folks who are our elected officials and those who are appointed. Check it out. Shake hands with the MAC members they are our neighbors. In Fact they want to hear from you. All of you. At every MAC meeting there is a “Public Announcements / Open Forum” where anyone can speak for three minutes on any issue not on the current agenda. You can request that the issue you are concerned about be put on a future MAC agenda. The MAC is covered under the Brown act and cannot address an issue unless it is on the agenda. After meetings folks talk with the MAC members and ask them questions an just chat. There is no mystery here. All these meetings are open to all of us. If you miss one you can download the audio on the county website. The MAC meets every 2nd, 3rd and 4th Mondays at 6:00 pm at the CV Library. I attend nearly every meeting and I want to meet you all. I have lived in the unincorporated area for 47 years and lived in CV for 39. Introduce yourself to me after the MAC meeting. My phone number at Supervisor Miley’s office is 670-5718. Give me a call I would enjoy chatting with you. Bob Swanson
Steve Ontiveros October 17, 2012 at 10:22 PM
I wish Captain Anonymous would comment on these vital public discussion boards in person. He makes some very valid points - many (but not all) of which I agree with. But I don't feel comfortable engaging in a respectful back and forth with an online alter ego. That's a shame, because a healthy debate with actual people in the know and on the MAC is what our town needs. Laypeople like myself could do well to listen to the opinions of current MAC members as it relates to being an elected MAC. I just can't bring myself to engage in respectful discourse with an pseudo anonymous online alter ego. If you can't tell, I suspect Captain Anonymous = Marc Crawford.

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