So here we go again, another big-big, great big, really big meeting on the Calaveras County General Plan update — tonight, in the cool, air-conditioned Town Hall in San Andreas, starting at 6:00 pm.
Yes, we’ve had lots of these meetings before, and each time the public makes its feelings very clear: we want a comprehensive update to the general plan that reflects the will of the majority of the people, not just the commercial interests or the real estate development industry. We’ve had workshops and written surveys and feedback and electronic voting and online surveys and each time the answers come back the same. We want to preserve our rural lifestyle, we want development centered in existing town centers, and we are all done with paying for the impacts of growth caused by, and profited from, just a few people.
For nearly ten years the people have waited for the County Government to respond. And for nearly ten years, here are the fruits of the County’s labors:
A half-dozen Planning Directors hired and resigned
A million dollars spent on one general plan update that the public isn’t allowed to see
First, discouraged communities from updating their obsolete community plans
Then, encouraged communities to update their obsolete community plans
Then, released the current draft General Plan update that throws out all community plans, including the Rancho Calaveras Special Plan
Nearly ten years ago, at the first meeting over the General Plan update, a former Supervisor looked out at the two hundred people in front of him, and he was not happy.
He was offended that all these people wanted to have a say in their own future. He was mad that the people were challenging the usual practice of a small group of people, including himself, making all the key decisions regarding growth and development in Calaveras County. So with a dismissive wave of his hand he said “I don’t care what you want, I don’t have to listen to this, I’ve seen it all before – all you people get excited and you show up for one or two meetings, and then you disappear.”
But we didn’t disappear… for nearly ten years we’ve been showing up, asking for the same things – public participation, focus on communities, sustainable growth policies, no more free-riding developers.
Yes, it’s hot today (did I mention the San Andreas Town Hall is air-conditioned?). But once again the people need to show up. All the work done by so many people for nearly ten years can, and will, go down the drain if we let them think we don’t care anymore. We need to make our feelings clear to this Board of Supervisors. Tonight, Six o’clock, San Andreas Town Hall.