Seaside Inside October 24, 2023
Updated: Oct 24
Working for Seaside
We are rapidly approaching that magic night when the children dress up and go house to house to collect those beautiful candies. The ritual continues as the parents become very concerned and devise many schemes because they don't want their children to eat all those sweets.
It would be so lovely if the Halloween candy problem were the primary concern in our city. However, that's not the case, and in the last two weeks, situations have developed that threaten our democratic process. I am going to discuss these situations in this edition of the newsletter.
Racism Has No Place in Seaside
October 19, 2023, was the worst council meeting yet for me. I'm saddened to report that a group of callers started spewing hate in our chambers, including using unacceptable racial slurs against our mayor and community. I consider this an attack on Seaside.
Before the meeting, I had read the Monterey Weekly article about this happening in the city of Monterey, so I was somewhat prepared. I called for a point of order to interrupt the speakers to help protect the people listening to the meeting. Our mayor did the right thing, muted their microphone and removed them from the meeting via Zoom.
Seaside is a strong community with decades of resilience towards racism and hate. From this, I hope we can move together to stop this kind of abuse in our community. I pledge to stand up to these extremists and the evil that they represent. Let's stand together.
The Fireworks Debate
For democracy in Seaside to work efficiently, an item needs to be brought to the attention of the City Council and then placed on the agenda for a future meeting. The agenda is posted several days before the meeting. When the item is considered, the public then weighs in with their opinions. The public can attend the meeting, comment via Zoom, or call in. This process is highly beneficial and allows the council to consider various views.
Problems ensue when outside actors try to influence the deliberations by making outrageous claims and questioning the motivation of council members. One example occurred when a friend showed me an email written by a man who distributes Safe and Sane fireworks and lives in the Sacramento area. The actual email is available on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=626056996365083&set=pcb.626057096365073
I was taken to task in that email because I voted against measures being considered by the police department. My position is simple: I want what is best for the residents of Seaside.
There were several misstatements in the email; I have detailed them below.
It won't cost tens of thousands of dollars because the initiative will appear during a regularly scheduled election.
Nonprofits will not lose $294,000 in profit. The total sales were $294k, and the fireworks company took over half.
Seaside will lose the $25K the nonprofits give to the city. That's not correct. The actual amount is $20K, not $25K, and it is a surcharge, not a gift. That money is more than offset by our overtime costs.
Banning safe and sane will increase illegal fireworks. That's a biased opinion, and no evidence supports that position.
I, Alex Miller, am requesting a fireworks election now because I know I can't get the requisite voter signatures. No, I am doing this now because the government moves slowly.
It was insinuated that I was against the police. I'm incredibly pleased and grateful for the Seaside Police and Fire Departments. I support them in every instance.
There were several truths in the email:
A group has been organized to get signatures to put on the ballot. I am not an officer of that group.
I refused to support the after-action report. The reason for my refusal is that it doesn't make sense. I think having a fireworks buyback program, banning the sale to nonresidents, or having safe and sane zones or cut-off times won't work.
Illegal fireworks are the problem. That is correct, but there is a correlation between legal and illegal fireworks.
Why is the company's representative that distributes fireworks for sale in Seaside so against an election? Follow the money.
Five Star Service this Month Goes to FOSPA- Friends of Seaside Parks
The Friends of Seaside Parks- FOSPA is the hardest working group in Seaside, and their work significantly impacts our parks. Recently, we opened a new basketball court at Lincoln Cunningham Park, and the whole council was in attendance. During the ceremony and ribbon cutting, I saw FOSPA volunteers completely ignoring the ceremony and continuing to pull weeds, move around mulch, and plant plants. They are a passionate and driven group. Every Saturday, they have a park clean-up and are committed to sticking to the schedule, rain or shine. I remember it was a few days before Christmas 2021, and it was pouring rain. FOSPA volunteers were still out fixing the park! It was truly inspiring to see their devotion.
For their dedication to fixing our parks, they indeed get a 5-star review. Thank you for your service to our parks FOSPA. We appreciate your service.