At the outset of the pandemic, one of the practices that had to change was how public agencies conduct meetings. Under California’s open meetings laws, meeting remotely typically wasn’t done, but that changed under the statewide state of emergency declared on March 4, 2020 by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The special provisions that allowed remote meetings expired on Oct. 1, but Assembly Bill 361 enables agencies to continue complying with the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act and the Brown Act while meeting via teleconference. (One key element of AB 361: A legislative body is prohibited from requiring public comments to be submitted in advance of the meeting, and must provide an opportunity for the public to comment in real time.) Under the new rules, legislative bodies need to reconsider the state of the pandemic every 30 days; the Monterey County Board of Supervisors did so on Oct. 26 and approved continuing remote meetings, likely to continue every 30 days for the foreseeable future.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I really thought I was dead.” - Kecia Denk of Monterey, who survived the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, remembering the moments just after the explosion. She still runs locally, and returned to Boston in 2014 (see Face to Face article).
GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK
There is finally movement toward building affordable housing in East Garrison, 14 years after a memorandum of understanding was signed between East Garrison’s for-profit developers and nonprofit housing developer CHISPA. On Oct. 26, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 in favor of the issuance of tax-exempt revenue bonds by the California Municipal Finance Authority to CHISPA, up to $30 million. The money from the bonds will be used to build 66 units for low-income residents on Ord Avenue. (CHISPA is solely responsible for paying the money back to the state, but a vote by the local municipality that approved the project is required for issuance.) Supervisor Luis Alejo made the motion to approve in honor of Alfred Diaz-Infante, the late CEO of CHISPA who died in August and who, he said, would have been there advocating to move the project forward.
It’s been bone-dry in Monterey County for the past two years, and mostly dry for the past 10 years, and nothing could have been more welcome than the atmospheric river that dumped rain on the parched Central Coast (and throughout California) on Oct. 24-25. Most places in the county received at least 1 inch of rain, and many received more than 2 inches. The highest precipitation levels, as always, were in Big Sur – Chalk Peak recorded 9.14 inches of rain over a 48-hour period, and Anderson Peak recorded 7.68 inches. A few locations in Carmel Valley recorded more than 5 inches of rain, and Del Monte Forest got more than 3. The county’s reservoirs, meanwhile, which have been hovering at near record-low levels, haven’t yet started filling up – Lake San Antonio remains at 7-percent capacity, while Lake Nacimiento is at 11-percent – up from 10-percent on Sunday, Oct. 24.