McKinleyville Advisory Committee - A Promise Broken

Nearly 10 years after being mandated on page 4 of the McKinleyville Community Plan (MCCP), the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (MMAC) was established by Ryan Sundberg. Supervisor Sundberg considers the MMAC one of his prime accomplishments.

According to the MCCP, the MMAC “ … provides a consistent and inviting community forum for the public to hear about and advise the Planning Commission and Board on local community issues.”

However, the reality has hardly been consistent, inviting, or an effective means for ordinary citizens to have their issues represented to county leaders.

There were only seven meetings in 2016 and seven in 2017. Meetings have been cancelled without public notice, agendas hard to find, minutes often nonexistent, Brown Act sometimes ignored. For the public to get issues on an agenda has been described as “difficult, unpleasant, and unproductive.”

One problem for representation is that the appointees reflect a very narrow perspective. All are white. Seven out of eight are probably over 55. Seven out of eight are men. Four belong to the same service organization, mainly for the business community.

Another is the limits on the committee’s purview, which disallows some of the most significant community concerns, and which have been interpreted and enforced in a way that seems to reflect the interests of the chairman.

Before the promise of this committee can be fulfilled, committee appointees and its bylaws need to be changed. I believe only the election of Steve Madrone for 5th District Supervisor can do this.

Kate McClain, McKinleyville