By CSAC President Keith Carson.

The days are getting shorter, students are back in school and the California legislative session is over. That means it is time to plan to attend the CSAC Annual Meeting. Our theme this year is “Sharing the Vision” and the Annual Meeting is both a chance to reflect on the past year for our association, and to point us to new goals and new directions for the future. Registration is now open and I hope you can join us in Sacramento County for this year’s Annual Meeting, November 28 through December 1.

To me, our theme of a shared vision means that together we can create public policies that help us achieve our common goals and yet still reflect the diversity of our 58 counties. In that vein, we have much to celebrate this year. Senate Bill 1 is beginning to provide new revenue to fix our aging transportation infrastructure. CSAC was successful in mitigating the impact of the cost shift to fund In-Home Supportive Services as proposed in the Governor’s January Budget, and overall, our relationships with the Governor and Legislature remain strong.

But there is still work to do. California is now the sixth-largest economy in the world, and yet we are struggling to provide homes to everyone who needs one. We must keep working to care for the aged and vulnerable, protect our environment, engender safe and vibrant communities, and ensure that every California resident has the opportunity to reach their full potential. The CSAC Annual Meeting will provide you with some of the tools and information you need as we work together on our shared vision.

This year we meet in the Capital city just a month before one of the most profound changes in California public policy takes full effect. The legal recreational use of cannabis poses both great opportunity and potential risk for counties. CSAC is bringing together some of the state’s leading experts for a cannabis policy workshop to make sure you are fully informed and ready for the changes that take effect with the new year.

Another workshop will focus on homelessness, and what has been working to provide places to live for more people. We will examine Proposition 57 and other changes to public safety policy, including how we can incarcerate fewer people and still make our communities safer. And we will discuss the political tumult in Washington DC and what it means for us here in California. This year has been like no other in American politics, our discussion will try to put that into perspective.

Another important part of the CSAC Annual Meeting is the opportunity to expand your horizons and experience new ideas. To that end, we are lining up several speakers that will inform, inspire and enlighten you. We can’t share all the details yet, but soon we will add this exciting lineup of nationally-known speakers to the CSAC Annual Meeting web pages.

CSAC’s policy committees also meet during the event—offering any elected supervisor a seat at the table as we consider the issues that impact counties now, and next year. This is your opportunity to be heard, to influence, and to make a difference.

We also hope you will help us make a difference for foster youth in our host county. CSAC is working with Sacramento County to provide backpacks filled with the personal items foster youth need the most. We’ll provide more details soon, but the event will coincide with the Annual Meeting exhibit hall. We hope you’ll be able to help us assemble the backpacks or make a contribution for foster youth.

These are just a few of the reasons I hope you will attend and participate in our annual meeting. I know it will be a valuable experience for you and it is important to the future of our association. Our diversity is our strength and we are never stronger than when we act on a shared vision. I hope to see you in Sacramento County, November 28 through December 1.

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Originally posted at the California State Association of Counties.