Business / Economy

OPINION: Looking Back At 2017

As San Benito County Supervisor for District One, Mark Medina reports to the community on his first year in office.

Biggest accomplishment for 2017

Perhaps my biggest accomplishment for 2017 was to have successfully navigated (thanks to my family community and employers) my first year as an elected public servant for the people of San Benito County. Having never held an elected position, I’m honored to represent the residents of San Benito County and serve for the greater good. I feel that I have taken extra steps to actively reach out, engage and actively listen to residents and the business community, acting as a liaison to get questions answered, help mediate issues and leverage opportunities at hand. Building consensus with fellow board members and working closely with staff, we were able repair the levees in District 1 and adopt a 5-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Against staff’s recommendation, I also held residential developers accountable to their development agreement to ensure safety, improve infrastructure and accountability. I was also instrumental in helping with negotiating a more than fair deal with the Panoche Valley Solar Project.

Biggest issues or challenges for 2017

  1. Thrown into the fire and national media spotlight right out of the gate on January 11th when we experienced major flooding in the Lovers Lane and Fairview area with many residents being displaced and businesses impacted.

  2. Proposition 64 and the cannabis ordinance was an issue that truly affected the entire county. Although proposition 64 was victorious in the State Of California, San Benito County and my own district, perhaps some voters intended to vote for personal consumption and not have up to 22,000 square feet of cultivation in such close proximity to their homes. In the future, if we do wish to cultivate cannabis in San Benito County, I feel we should go to the ballot and tax operations based on the square footage cultivated. This ballot measure would be voted on by the entire county with the voters knowing this measure deals with large, permitted & HIGHLY regulated commercial cultivations. This would leave the decision to the voters rather than having 5 individuals deciding on this fate.  

  3. There was a lot to learn in my first year as an elected official but in order to be successful I must learn how to become more of a local change agent using my unique experience and perspective in the government sector.

2017 issues or topics I wish would’ve gotten more attention

  1. Some board members and staff may not have thoroughly analyzed the options for the county contract lobbyist with adequate due diligence, and reference checks.

  2. The District 1 Pacheco Creek levee repairs were eventually completed but it took our board too long to make the decision.

  3. Local business development and job creation will help us to act collaboratively, build our general fund, lessen impacts on our road infrastructure, improve our quality of life, lower our unemployment rate and bolster our economic vitality the 2017-2022 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) developed by the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) with the participation and support of a diverse coalition was adopted by the Supervisors by unanimous vote with my encouragement and my lead motion early this month. 

Goals for 2018

My goals/goal for 2018 is to actively listen to and engage the residents of San Benito County and educate all on why and how I arrive at my decisions. Over the past year, I have been told by many people that government is not a business but I strongly disagree and I will continue to make decisions based on my education in business and experience in public service. If we are all to make our decisions based on business and service quality decisions and not worry whether or not we will be re-elected, our community, employees, families and businesses will be much better served.

  1. We need to grow local businesses and bring additional businesses into San Benito County by working collaboratively, hand-in-hand with the EDC and partners.

  2. We need to build a better relationship with the City of Hollister as we elected officials and staff represent and serve both city and county residents.

  3. We need to engage our community and work to develop and pass a self-help roads tax to fix our pot holes.

  4. We need to hold ourselves accountable for decisions made by staff, appointed commissioners and elected board members by developing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound) goals and objectives and support each other to reach them.

In closing, I offer sincere thanks for the honor and pleasure of serving the residents of District 1 and wishes to all for an actively engaged, prosperous, healthy and thriving San Benito county in 2018.  If you have any questions, comments or would like to provide me with advice or feedback please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] or call me at 831-801-4784.

Mark Medina