VOICES-Humboldt County Fifth District Update
By RYAN SUNDBERG, Humboldt County Fifth District Supervisor
I am almost to the end of my second year as your Supervisor for the 5th District, and I am still learning new things daily. There are many challenges and opportunities our County tackles, and it has been an honor to represent our diverse District. Below are a few subjects that I have found interesting, and I would like to share them with you.
In California’s 2012 budget it states that revenues are based on Proposition 30, the School and Local Safety Public Protection Act. The measure, if voters pass it on the November ballot, would temporarily increase income tax on the state’s wealthiest individuals for a period of seven years, and sales tax would increase by .25 percent for a period of four years.
Locally, we’ve seen realignment affect our public safety agencies by bringing additional services to the County’s Probation Department. The Community Corrections resource center in Eureka provides services for behavioral health, alcohol and drug treatment, vocational assistance, electronic monitoring, jail alternatives, as well as services for realigned felons. These realignment efforts bring services to those who need them most, and Proposition 30 would constitutionally guarantee that funds would be available to local public safety agencies in the future.
If you’re not aware of realignment, here’s a brief overview: In April 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 109, which shifts some criminal justice responsibilities from state prisons to the county level. Passed in June 2011, the bill gives Counties the responsibility for supervision of prisoners placed on parole whose last offense was not a violent crime or a sex offense. Additionally, newly convicted offenders who are deemed to be non-violent, non-serious and non-sex offenders will be placed on probation or in local jails in lieu of being sentenced to state prison.
This year’s budget implements a permanent allocation structure for future realignment revenues. Proposition 30, if passed, will prevent deeper cuts to schools and public safety while constitutionally guaranteeing funds for local public safety.
Ordinance No. 2477
Since County staff brought back a draft of modifications to Ordinance No. 2477 in August, stakeholder groups have continued to meet and discuss further possible changes. The Board on Tuesday set the ordinance for adoption at least a week away, adding language that affirms the people’s first amendment rights. The Board also voted to develop a subcommittee to work with stakeholders on possible future revisions to the ordinance.
Other noteworthy changes to the ordinance include modifying the penalty from a misdemeanor to an infraction; disallowing tables and free-standing displays on the County Courthouse grounds from sunset to sunrise; and changing language so as to not interfere with candle light vigils.
The process of creating and modifying this ordinance reflects the County’s commitment to engaging in talks with the public, and we look forward to continuing that dialogue.
Airport Gets $750k Grant
In August, the Department of Transportation selected the County of Humboldt to receive a $750,000 grant that is aimed at improving service at the Arcata/Eureka Airport. In an effort to secure the grant, Redwood Region Economic Development Commission (RREDC) asked the Headwaters Fund to provide a $250,000 grant that will be matched by local funds. At the Board’s August 28 meeting, the Supervisors approved Headwaters to provide the grant. Now, Don Ehnebuske, director at RREDC, is working hard with city councils, service groups, industry clusters and others to provide the final bit of funds we need for this project. This is good work and the final product will benefit our entire community in a big way.
At the end of the day, this means that we will hopefully secure a new air route that will benefit people in our County. What that route will end up being remains unclear, but we know that a large portion of passengers here want to travel to Southern California, and the County is working diligently to find an answer that fills that need while at the same time meeting the requirements of this federal grant.
In 2010-11, staff of County Economic Development and Sue Burcell, retired Indian Economic Development Director at Humboldt State University, met with each tribal chair or staff to understand their community and economic development priorities. With support from County Economic Development these interviews resulted in the Tribal Economic Development Network (TEDNet) Strategic Plan. The TEDNet Strategic Plan is one important input document to the County’s update of their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).
The foundation of the County economic development strategy is these eight target industries, which offer tremendous opportunity for good quality jobs in the future:
Diversified Health Care
Building & Systems Construction
Specialty Food, Flowers & Beverages
Investment Support Services
Management & Innovation Services
Tribal members own businesses in each of the Target industries, and Tribal businesses play strong, important roles in Diversified Health Care, Forest Products and Tourism. To learn more about the Target industries, check out http://www.northcoastprosperity.com/local-economy/targets.
Citizens are also contributing ideas to Prosperity 2012. In fact 18 Citizen Action Teams provided over 60 recommendations for action to improve the health of our economy. An Industry Leader Council is working with staff to utilize all this input from industries, tribes and citizens to update the strategy, build an action plan, and prioritize infrastructure projects. You are invited to participate in dialog sessions in November. You can learn more about Prosperity 2012 at http://www.northcoastprosperity.com/content/prosperity-2012-launched.
The County also launched a new online tool that will help improve connections amonst citizens of our county. It’s called Nextdoor Humboldt County. Check it out at www.nextdoor.com/priority
I hope this information is helpful, and if you would like to follow up on any of these topics, please call me at 707-476-2395, or email me at email@example.com. Thank you for your time.