Mark West Citizens Advisory Council: MWCAC
by Supervisor James Gore, 4th District, County of Sonoma
The Mark West/Larkfield/Wikiup area (including parts of Fulton) represents one of the largest population areas in Sonoma County that is unincorporated, and therefore under County jurisdiction rather than a city (see map pg. 4). This means that as your County Supervisor, I and our County Departments, are your direct line of government.
One of the challenges of representing such a large community is the fact that there has never been a mechanism for citizen input aside from individual outreach. I was elected in November 2014, and was aware that the Mark West Area Chamber of Commerce and Mark West Community Services District had for many years discussed the opportunity of creating a formal Citizens Advisory Council (CAC). A CAC is advisory in nature, with appointees from the community to review specific issues and share a local perspective to County Departments, Planning Commissioners, and in this case, directly with me as your elected official. It does not have authority to approve or deny projects, but rather to offer a local perspective. I therefore worked to create the first MWCAC on June 14th, 2016 through formal Board Action.
As a starting point, I asked the Mark West Area Chamber of Commerce to appoint 2 members (since they were the advocates for this Citizen empowerment committee). I asked the MW School Board to appoint one member. I appointed two members directly. One at-large in the area and one to represent Fulton (also included in the mapping area because they are in the Cal Am Water District zone). A Secretary of the Council, taking minutes, publishing public agendas, etc. would be selected by the Council.
This advisory council began holding their organizational meetings, Aug. 30, 2016. These volunteers will advise me, through consensus based voting, on how to:
- Spend the franchise fee dollars coming from Cal Am Water
- Review and advise on projects to provide a citizen’s perspective
- Advise on prioritization of transportation, public works, and transit issues
Summarily, such entities are intended to provide a public forum (they also operate under the Brown Act, same as I) for community members to opine on the above three areas.
In the coming months and years, I will look for this Board and the wider community to identify the best way for this council to be relevant and help provide a voice for the Citizens in this area. I would really appreciate it if you all would share info on this new Council with your neighbors and the wider community.