SALINAS — After a bitter debate, there will be virtually no changes to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors’ representation on various county and local committees, boards and commissions.
In a clear rebuke to new county board Chairwoman Wendy Root Askew and her ally Supervisor Mary Adams, the board majority on Tuesday insisted on keeping the same assignments as last year.
In a 4-1 vote, with Askew joining the majority only after calling the assignments “not equitable,” the county board voted to remain on the same representative bodies including the much-debated Monterey One Water board, the Local Agency Formation Commission and the county cannabis committee, with Askew simply assuming her predecessor Jane Parker’s assignments.
The majority also backed forming a new COVID-19 Communications committee and adding the name “homelessness” to the current Health, Housing and Human Services committee to form what Supervisor Luis Alejo called the “Four-H committee,” while rejecting Askew’s proposal to form a new Affordable Housing committee and Adams’ proposal to make the LAFCO assignment a rotating one.
In addition, the board agreed to disband the Fort Ord committee and the 2020 Census Steering committee.
Early on, board Chair Askew called her assignments recommendation an attempt to “balance the workload” and result in a “more equitable representation” between the supervisorial districts.
But Alejo, who made the motion to essentially keep the status quo assignments, objected to Askew’s recommendation, which he noted largely mirrored the one she made ahead of last week’s meeting when the board debated the proposal at length and said he felt his and the rest of the board majority’s input had been “disregarded,” and noted the “tension being caused here.”
During public comment, a number of speakers called for Askew to replace Phillips on the Monterey One Water board, accusing Phillips of “obstructing” the proposed Pure Water Monterey expansion project by refusing to certify an environmental document and arguing it would be fairer to include Monterey Peninsula representation on the board.
Alejo responded by saying he was “offended” by the attacks on Phillips, who said he was sorry his presence on the Monterey One Water board had become so “politicized” and the agency had gotten enmeshed in the “Peninsula water wars.”
Adams attempted to make two substitute motions, saying she was “not satisfied and not happy” with the status quo, especially the denial of her bid for the cannabis committee assignment. One of her motions sought to postpone the appointments for two weeks in what she called an attempt to reach a unanimous vote instead of a split one with winners and losers, but that died for a lack of a second, and another that County Counsel Les Girard said was not allowed.
Also Tuesday, the board unanimously approved a resolution “condemning the violent, seditious actions at our national capitol incited by President Donald Trump,” while resolution author Alejo accused Trump, his family and his staff of inciting the riot by a “terrorist mob” in an “assault on our democracy,” and called for them to be “held accountable to the fullest extent of the law” and for Trump to be impeached as a “moral, ethical and legal responsibility.”
Contributed by local news sources