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Role of MACs

There is great variation in MACs across California; not much uniformity from county to county. Some MACs (like Sacramento County's CPACs) are just plaecs for the public to vent anger over development projects and then fade away when the proposed project goes to the Planning Commission, having learned that the County is bound and determined to do something the constituents don't like. Other MACs function as a kind of temporary government - as a stepping stone to something more permanent. Humboldt County's McKinleyville MAC follows the Brown Act, keeps records, posts agendas and minutes online, gets regular reports from local special districts, and delves into a wide range of topics of interest to the community. It is not limited to review and comment on some development proposals. The McMAC, as it is known, is actively exploring incorporation for McKinleyville by working with Cal State Humboldt to update an old financial feasibility analysis.

Section 31010 of the Government Code allows Supervisors to determine a MAC’s scope concerning services provided to an unincorporated area by the county. and the Supervisors are free to establish MACs that benefit their friends or hold their competitors at bay. Supervisors can use MACs to force neighborhoods that don't play well together to meet. They can appoint the "right" people to MACs to ensure predetermined decisions are not violated by a pesky public. There is no transparency or reliability in the selection of appointees. MAC advice can be overruled by both the county planning commission and the Board of Supervisors. Our coalition does not seek a "one-size-fits-all" solution, though we do feel it is time for some consistency. Therefore, we recommend:

Reform of Section 31010 to consolidate various land-use, planning and zoning authorities into one council for each unincorporated community, with appeals directly to the Board of Supervisors

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