A group of Southern Humboldt locals want to form a new representative body

Meeting on Tuesday in Garberville starts conversation with community

In Garberville, a group of locals and Humboldt County representatives will meet next week to discuss the possible formation of a Southern Humboldt Municipal Advisory Committee to represent the region’s interests at the greater county level. (Times-Standard)
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A group of locals want to form an advisory committee that would communicate Southern Humboldt County’s interests to the powers-that-be in the greater county government.

A public forum on Tuesday in Garberville will be the first chance for Southern Humboldt residents to formally give input on what such a body, or a “municipal advisory committee,” would look like.

“This meeting is intended to provide public dialogue early in the MAC formation process,” states an announcement of the forum. “What topics will the committee focus on? How will committee members be chosen? What areas will the MAC represent? Where and when will meetings take place? Join us to weigh in on these questions and more.”

In government, a MAC is comprised of community members who meet to decide how to represent an unincorporated area. Southern Humboldt’s largely rural region remains unincorporated, which means they aren’t recognized cities.

The committee is far from a finished product. When 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell brought the concept to the county’s Board of Supervisors in June, county staff — specifically, Planning and Building director John Ford — was quick to say that the committee would not be established soon unless other planning interests were re-prioritized.

Fennell said Thursday that the public workshop will be the first step in thinking through the concept.

“I think we need to have this meeting to hear all the different kinds of ideas of what the makeup of this advisory committee should be,” Fennell told the Times-Standard.

One key consideration Fennell offered is whether the committee would cover all of Southern Humboldt or just the Redway, Benbow and Garberville areas. The MAC that already exists in McKinleyville doesn’t have this problem, she said, since it’s limited to one community.

Fennell said the group of people who approached her was “frankly, not very large,” but that she imagines there will be a “fair amount of interest in something like this as we go forward.”

Among the community members who have raised talk of a MAC is Christina Huff, a Southern Humboldt resident. Huff spoke at the June meeting of the Board of Supervisors, saying a MAC could ensure Southern Humboldt locals retain a voice at the county level, especially in an “economic downturn.”

“We think this is an opportunity to bring Southern Humboldt together and all of the different interests that exist in our community,” Huff said in June. “It will be a way for us to communicate with each other, as well as communicate with the county.”

If you go

What: Public forum to discuss the formation of a Southern Humboldt Municipal Advisory Committee

When: Tues., Nov. 12 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Where: Redwood Playhouse, 286 Sprowl Creek Road, Garberville

More information: https://bit.ly/2roxgZd

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