Six weeks from Tuesday, CSAC will kick off its 116th Annual Meeting. 116 years…think about it. Since 1895, county supervisors have been coming together to discuss common concerns and potential solutions. Back then, California was home to less than 2 million people. But in some respects, have things really changed that much?
In the CSAC Conference Center in Sacramento, there are number of vintage photographs of Annual Meetings past: 1937 in Sacramento County, 1940 in Alameda County, 1948 in San Diego County… It is interesting to gaze into the faces of the county supervisors captured in these photographs and wonder what issues they were facing.
Were those issues so vastly different from many we still fret over today? Water? The quote, “Whiskey’s for drinking and water’s for fighting over” is attributed to Mark Twain. Providing for and protecting our residents? That’s why counties were created in the first place. Immigration? An issue is as old as the state. Wrangling with the state to cover the cost of services? It’s been going on for decades. Medical marijuana? Granted, that’s a new one.
Perhaps the major difference is that the issues of today are more complex, the solutions harder to find. The repercussions of decisions – or as of often the case, the “indecisions” at the state level – are more severe.
A few years ago, I found this old quote from a Sacramento newspaper editorial, written when county supervisors were considering creating a statewide association in 1895: “Such an organization will become actually a more important body than the Legislature. It will do more for the State than the Legislature can, for it will not make laws, of which there are too many now, but it will study how to make the State and its communities better, stronger, more economic and prosperous, and all the people more happy. ” And so county supervisors came together as CSAC and the “county voice” at the state level began.
Beginning on November 16 of this year, county supervisors from Modoc to San Diego, Alpine to Los Angeles will come together once again. They may travel by Southwest Airlines rather than horseback, they may represent 38 million residents rather than 2 million, but they will share many of the same concerns and have a similar level of commitment as their predecessors.
At our June Legislative Conference, CSAC President and Kings County Supervisors Tony Oliveira told his colleagues around the state, “You are what California needs to lead us through these troubled times. Your advocacy in your own communities and through the halls of Sacramento is a resounding sign of hope and of courage. We come together at CSAC as a united front on behalf of the most essential government in this state: county government.” Truer words couldn’t have been spoken.
We urge you to join us in Riverside County and be part of “the county voice.” For 116 years, your predecessors have been making that journey and being part of that voice. You can start by clicking here.
For more, visit The County Voice, a place where CSAC, county officials and stakeholders can voice their thoughts on governance and issues that impact California’s 58 counties.