Jacob coffee covers local, global topics
By Karen Brainard
The United Nations’ Agenda 21 plan, the county’s Red Tape Reduction Task Force, and a bridge for 13th Street were among topics at County Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s “Coffee with the Constituents” last Thursday morning.
Held in the Barnett Barn at the Guy B. Woodward Museum, the coffee drew about 50 people.
Discussions on Agenda 21, a plan to take action on human impacts on the environment at the global, national and local levels, have been cropping up in local meetings and emails.
Resident John Selck asked Jacob how local planning ideas and concepts relate to the UN plan that was implemented at an Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero in 1992 and signed by 178 governments, including the U.S.
Selck called the summit “flagrant socialism” and expressed concerns to Jacob that local planning groups, which he called the “soul of citizen government,” could approve a project, unaware that it could have a socialist agenda.
Jacob sought to reassure residents that the county’s General Plan Update, which establishes future growth and land use development for unincorporated areas, had nothing to do with the UN plan for sustainable development.
The county updated its General Plan because of lawsuits, she said, and impacts from environmental acts, beginning with the Federal Endangered Species Act’s listing of the California gnatcatcher in the 1990s.
When that happened, Jacob said, the feds stopped development.
“There was basically a moratorium on all projects,” she said.
The county’s Multiple Species Conservation Program evolved from that, Jacob added, to balance the environment with development.
Since then, Jacob said, the list of environmental regulations has grown.
“The Rio agenda comes through in the federal (environmental) acts that were done,” said Selck.
Another resident said a goal of Agenda 21 is to eventually close open spaces to the public.
Jacob responded by saying that is not what the county is doing and she supports trails through the Ramona Grasslands Preserve.
The county and The Nature Conservancy established the grasslands preserve, about 3,500 acres of open space, to protect multiple species and habitat.
The only public access is a four-mile trail that the county opened last year off Highland Valley Road. Jacob noted that the county has plans for more public trails but some people are opposed.
Other items discussed at the coffee:
Resident Sharon Lynch said she was concerned about the county’s Red Tape Reduction Task Force’s recommendation to eliminate or reduce the scope of community planning groups.
“We citizens depend on our local planning groups. It’s our first line of defense,” Lynch said.
“I have been and always will be a strong supporter of our community planning groups as they are today,” said Jacob. “To me your local planning group is your grassroots government.”
Jacob said the county supervisors will be voting on recommendations for planning groups at their March 28 meeting.
Of the five supervisors, Jacob said she and Supervisor Pam Slater-Price support planning groups, two supervisors are opposed and one is undecided. Jacob said she expects a showdown on March 28.
13th Street bridge
Ramona Community Planning Group Chair Jim Piva said the county has secured 100 percent federal funding to construct a bridge on 13th street over the Santa Maria creekbed. Details will be provided at the planning group’s meeting on March 1, starting at 7 p.m. in the Ramona Library Community Room, he said.
67 and Highland Valley/Dye Road intersection
Jacob said she, Piva and and Ramona Community Planning Group Secretary Kristi Mansolf met with San Diego Association of Governments on funding for a project report on state Route 67 and Highland Valley/Dye Road intersection improvements.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we may have some good news on that project,” Jacob said.
In response to questions about Intermountain Fire and Rescue Department, Jacob said the volunteer fire district has had financial problems, but she added that Intermountain is in the County Fire Authority, which is investing in volunteer fire stations.
Jacob also mentioned the new state law that imposes a fire fee on habitable structures in state responsibility areas (SRAs) which cover much of Ramona. Property owners won’t be seeing a bill soon, she said, because the state Board of Forestry is still defining habitable structures. The county government is fighting the fee, she said.
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