Seaside Inside November 21, 2023
Volume 1 Issue 11
Working for Seaside
Thanksgiving will be upon us in two days, and we will celebrate by being with our families at a big feast. As we have this beautiful dinner, we must be mindful that many people cannot enjoy this special time due to illness, homelessness, or lack of income. We can help at the shelters, donate food and money, or say kind words to those in need. Doing a little extra makes this season unique.
In this newsletter, I want to do two particular things. The first is acknowledging the kitchen cabinet that helps me make decisions. Secondly, I agreed when one of my cabinet members asked to write a guest editorial. So, I am making this newsletter available to anyone who wants to elaborate on an issue concerning Seaside. Of course, I reserve the right to determine if the content is appropriate and edit it for clarity and length.
Alex Miller's Kitchen Cabinet
The Kitchen Cabinet is a group of unofficial or private advisers to a political leader, and the first one in the United States occurred during the Andrew Jackson Administration in 1831. In keeping with tradition, my cabinet comprises five people involved in various Seaside activities. These people have been very generous with their time, and it feels so good to get other perspectives on the issues paramount to our city.
So, at a city council meeting, when I am the only one voting against an issue, rest assured that in almost all cases, I have discussed the subject and the pros and cons of the vote with my kitchen cabinet.
The First Guest Editorial
I am an ad hoc advisor to Alex Miller and a kitchen cabinet member. My primary responsibility is to serve as a sounding board for Alex's ideas and to suggest ways that he can accomplish his goals. As part of my duties, I monitor the Facebook pages of the city council members, and I can say that council members are hardworking and dedicated to the City of Seaside. The residents should be very proud of their elected representatives.
Since January of this year, I have been monitoring parts of the city council meetings (It's difficult to watch an entire session). Even though the individual members of the council are great, I would have to characterize some of the decisions made by the council as missed opportunities.
In February, the council got bamboozled by the Monterey County Tourist District. The district wanted Seaside to create a surcharge on hotel/motel rooms for the next ten years. They had been planning this vote for eighteen months but showed up in Seaside five days before the deadline, and the council was told that the deadline couldn't be changed. When the Grand Hyatt is in full operation, this surcharge will put a million dollars into the coffers of the Tourist Bureau. All Seaside got out of the deal was a promise to receive a copy of their yearly report.
The city has spent a large amount of money related to the infrastructure of the downtown. However, the chicken and the egg controversy exists. People won't come downtown until there are retail businesses that attract pedestrians. Companies won't locate downtown until it is demonstrated that people will visit their stores. The city needs to step in and create some pedestrian-friendly venues. A no-brainer would be the Oaxaca/Seaside Cultural Center. Over 400 people from Oaxaca live in Half Moon Bay, and Greenfield has many people from this Mexican state. Since Seaside is the sister city of the capital of Oaxaca, it seems logical to propose making it the center of Oaxacan culture on the central coast. The council refused to discuss this topic. So, the opportunity to present a proposal for the center was wasted since the mayor of Oaxaca was present for the Seaside Oaxacan festival.
Without an appraisal, the council voted to give, at no cost, a portion of the land on Fort Ord to the State of California for a courthouse. Currently, the state needs seventeen million dollars more to fund this project, and revenue projections for the state budget are grim. If they don't build the courthouse within twelve years, the city can buy back the land at market value. This is not a good deal.
I believe that the city council needs to understand that Seaside is a city, and they need to stop behaving like it is a small town.
Five Star Service This Month Goes to the Public Works Department
This month's Five Star Award goes to the Public Works Department, directed by Nisha Patel. Not only is the Public Works Department working on our roads and sidewalks, but they also have a major focus on repairing our parks. Last month, we opened the new basketball court at Lincoln Cunningham Park, and roughly five other parks are being upgraded. In addition to these important projects, they placed holiday lights and banners throughout the city. This is one of our hardest-working departments.
A big thank you and this month's Five Star Award goes to the Public Works Department.