Last night Bob & I spoke at the LAFCO hearing in order to comment on the report of the status of Calaveras County CSAs. Three other CSAs were represented by their advisory committee members. Diamond XX residents, Ed & Diana Fischer, also attended the meeting and offered comments.
In general, LAFCO got an earful from the community of volunteers who put much time and effort into their roles yet were completely ignored when it came time to conduct a study of their CSAs. As a result of being left out of the reporting process, Diamond XX Advisory Committee was compelled to present their comments at the LAFCO hearing in an effort to identify faulty opinions & recommendations made by this report that lacked sufficient data. We did this because we believed the report should be both thorough and accurate with opinions based on sound analysis and because LAFCO will use this report to make recommendations to our Supervisors that may effect county CSAs.
LAFCO’s response was a promise to include advisory committee members next time (5 years from now) a report on CSAs was to be conducted.
Going forward, my own responsibility will be to keep a watchful eye on LAFCO and other county agencies who are spending our tax dollars and making decisions that effect our lives.
Sometimes just to show up and let them know you are watching is enough.
Respectfully submitted, Jeane Kennedy, CSA 4 Advisory Committee Member
An article in the Calaveras Enterprise concerning Calaveras County CSAs and LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) came as a surprise and generated concern to your Diamond XX Road Committee members – Bob & Jeane – particularly the following quote, “Moving forward, Jennifer Stephenson, who prepared the report, told the Local Agency Formation Commission at a November 16 meeting that it would be more cost-efficient to establish a countywide CSA to maintain roads.”
$20,000 of your taxes was budgeted for the creation of this report on the status of CSAs within Calaveras County. Your Diamond XX Road Committee was not interviewed by the consultant nor were we informed that there would be a comment period and then a hearing.
Because we were alarmed about several of the conclusions this report made, we began seeking information from our Supervisor, Debbie Ponte, as well as from LAFCO’s Executive Officer, John Benoit. As a result of those emails we were able to find out LAFCO’s hearing date for this report is January 25 and we urge anyone with concerns to attend. There is also a current comment period ending December 29th. Comments can be submitted to: John Benoit (LAFCO Executive Officer), firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a link to the report: http://www.calaveraslafco.org/uploads/1/1/4/5/11454087/calaveras_csas_public_review_draft_downsized.pdf
This report leads you to believe that CSA’s are sitting on a pot of money rather than spending it on road maintenance. Yet, when our Road Committee looked back through correspondence with Public Works during the reporting period, the reason CSA #4 had almost $300,000 was because:
- FEMA had finally paid us for flood damage suffered in the flood of 2006.
- Public Works did not have the resources available to do the projects we wanted to have done that year.
- Some CSA funds were saved for the Stagecoach Bridge project (which we later we found out did not require matching funds)
While no factual errors were found in the report prepared by Ms. Stephenson, the report does not tell the whole story about road maintenance activity that was or was not taking place in the CSAs nor the reasons why.
In studying the recommendations made by Ms. Stephenson, we fail to see a benefit to Diamond XX residents for the following reasons.
- We fear that the compiling of our funds with other CSAs will remove it from the close scrutiny your Road Committee has applied to these funds for over a decade.
- More administration costs rather than road maintenance will be applied to our account.
- Our road fees may then be able to be raised at will by the county.
So, please read the report, comment if you wish, and attend the hearing Jan. 25, 6pm at the Board of Supervisors chambers.
Road Committee members
County Public Works has replaced one of two culverts on Cantle. They expect to replace the second culvert, completing the road repair, the week after Thanksgiving. Cantle will be closed to traffic during the day as they replace the culvert, but the road should be open in the evenings.
One of the annoyances in managing this site is the continual barrage of spammers trying to register and hack the site. I’ve changed the registration process with some new software, and you may be required to confirm your registration the next time you visit. Confirming is easy – just follow the instructions and the site will send you an email.
A new neighbor has lost their older dog. Here is the note I received from Christina G.:
My dad just moved into Diamond xx on Chuckwagon Drive. Sadly his old dog has walked off and he cannot find her anywhere. Because she is old she doesn’t hear like she used to and isn’t used to the area. I was hoping you may know a Copperopolis site for Diamond xx that I may be able to post on about his dog? I figured I’d ask. This site is the only one I’ve seen.
I’m worried people will think she isn’t friendly because she looks like a smaller Doberman. But she is the sweetest dog, and VERY old.
Keep an eye out, and if you see (or have seen) a dog that meets that description, contact Christina at capttinkerbell (at) gmail.com
Many of you have attended our recent community meetings with Debbie Ponte (our County Supervisor) in attendance. She and the rest of our county leadership meet most Tuesdays, with the public portion of the meeting beginning at 9am. You can attend these meetings and make your voice heard during the public commenting time. The November 10th meeting is coming up!
Here’s the agenda from the Road Committee:
- Financial Report
- Current Projects
- Reserve Funds
- Clarification of Community Easements
- Community Security
Thanks all for the great turnout at our meeting last Saturday. For those who couldn’t attend, here’s a brief recap:
- This was not a Road Committee meeting, just a meeting of concerned Diamond XX residents.
- About 40 people attended. Debbie Ponte, our County Supervisor, and 3 members of the Sheriff’s department also attended.
- The Sheriff’s representative shared with us that there have been two significant enforcement actions recently, one a pot grow and the other a coordinated operation with Stockton PD, San Joaquin Sheriff’s office, and the California Dept. of Justice. The latter action resulted in 7 arrests, kids taken into protective custody, and confiscation of weapons and drugs.
- The Sheriff’s representative committed to having a strong presence in our community.
- We talked about options for a more significant Neighborhood Watch program, including installing cameras that can record traffic into and out of Diamond XX. The Sheriff’s representative shared that the most effective way to help them solve crimes is by capturing license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles.
- The Neighborhood Watch group is researching options for Neighboorhood Watch and for camera systems – they will share his findings at the next Road Committee meeting.
- The most effective thing we can do to deter crime is to know and communicate with each other. While many of us live here because we value our privacy, we can make an extra effort to know our immediate neighbors, recognize what cars belong in our areas, and talk to each other when we see something out of place.
- This website and the announcement list are one way we can communicate. If you haven’t done so, please consider signing up for the email Announcement List (the link is on the Right-hand side of this page). This email list is only used for things like Road Committee meetings, fire updates, etc.
- There may be some interest in setting up a Facebook or similar group. If you are interested, find me at the next Road Committee meeting.
Please mark your calendars: Your Road Committee has reserved the Copperopolis Fire Dept. Training room for our next meeting, SUNDAY, Oct 25 at 1 pm. An agenda & road signs will be appearing in the coming weeks to remind you of this VERY important meeting that will include the expenditure of our funds for security within our community.
I want to personally thank all those who attended the emergency community meeting last Saturday and ask you to help spread the word so that most of Diamond XX is able to attend this next meeting.
Road Committee Member CSA #4
Over the past two weeks there have been two major police actions in the Diamond XX, one of which was part of a multi-jurisdiction “gang takedown” involving the three counties and federal law enforcement. These busts have included confiscation of thousands of marijuana plants and the arrest of known gang affiliates.
A few of our neighbors have arranged for a community meeting at 10am, Saturday, Sept. 26th, at the Copperopolis Fire Station. We’ve invited the Sheriff to brief us on these recent developments, and Debbie Ponte, our County Supervisor, to attend as our representative. I know this is short notice, but please plan to attend, and invite your neighbors who might not subscribe to this website to come as well.
See you there.