Springs group to mull Hwy. 12 question
The Springs Community Alliance may be trying to answer the question “what next?” at its Thursday meeting, after the state turned thumbs down on Highway 12 project funding.
Thursday’s meeting will be the first the group has had since the state gave its latest definitive “no” – and the first meeting since the county decided to sue the state over the Highway 12 decision. The suit hadn’t been filed as of Saturday.
Steve Cox, chair of the group, and former chair of the now disbanded Springs Redevelopment Advisory Committee, said he feels what the state did is illegal – and wrong.
“I think its decision is contrary to the law,” he said. “The law seems to be pretty straight forward.”
The decision Cox is upset with is the law that dissolved the redevelopment agencies statewide, AB1X 26, that invalidates contracts between county or city agencies and dissolved redevelopment agencies, but allows successor agencies to re-enter into the contracts – which the Sonoma County Oversight Board approved.
But the state Department of Finance has apparently decided that once a contract is invalidated, it’s invalidated in perpetuity.
“That goes far beyond what the law says,” Cox said. “The state is interpreting the law to allow it to veto decisions made by local governments.”
And Cox is glad the Board of Supervisors decided to sue the state over the issue.
“I’m really pleased and proud that the county has the fortitude and the political courage to sue the state,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Cox was on the Springs Redevelopment Advisory Committee from its inception and was chair of the group when it was dissolved at the same time the redevelopment agency was dissolved on Feb. 1.
At one time, he talked about wanting to walk his son to Flowery School on the sidewalks, but his son is now in college and half the Springs Highway 12 corridor still doesn’t have its sidewalks.
As of Friday, Cox hadn’t invited either of the Supervisor candidates to attend the meeting, but there may not be a winner in the 1st District seat by Thursday anyway.
“We’re going to want to engage our new Supervisor, whom ever it may be,” he said. “We’re looking forward to working with either Susan (Gorin) or John (Sawyer).”
“We’re hoping that both will support our effort,” he added.
Cox is hoping that the Springs Community Alliance can do something constructive to get the project done.
“We have to do something that makes a difference,” he said. “Something constructive. If we’re going to do something, we have to clearly say, ‘This is what we want.’”
If the state is unwilling to come up with the money, he hopes there are other avenues to fund the project. He knows the county has some money.
There’s also Caltrans, since Highway 12 is its responsibility.
“Now that we have a definitive answer, we need to seek alternative funding,” he said. “Who do we need to start talking to?”
The Springs meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Sonoma Valley Grange, 18627 Highway 12.