Spriggs: Tidelands Committee Could Spark New Start for IB Politics

Published May 7, 2013 by Imperial Beach Patch.

After two years of inactivity, a Tidelands Advisory Committee (TAC) will again be formed to make recommendations to the Imperial Beach City Council on issues related to the coast and tidelands.

Applications must be turned into City Clerk Jacqueline Hald by 5 p.m. April 12.

Councilman Ed Spriggs is calling for a revival of city advisory groups, even if they can be a “pain in the ass.”

Spriggs was involved with the Tidelands Advisory Committee before being elected to the Imperial Beach City Council in 2010. Councilmembers are working on bringing back the Youth Advisory Committee. Spriggs would like to see a mayor’s advisory council return and possibly an ecotourism advisory committee as well.

Imperial Beach has a lot of expertise, smart people and talent, he said. He wants to see more committees emerge as a way to increase community engagement and challenge City Council to make the best decisions possible.

It’s not always easy to deal with a more informed public, he said, but the City Council can be “smarter and wiser in our decision making” by tapping into local talent.

The city also benefits in the long run because individuals who choose to sit on a committee can later become “real, high-quality elected officials,” he said.

“It’s a pain in the ass maybe if you’re the mayor or the city manager and you’ve got to deal with informed, intelligent citizens who are raising issues. Yeah, it’s a pain in the ass, but you up your game. Otherwise you come to work, do your thing, go home and no challenges,” Spriggs said after City Council voted unanimously to bring back the committee at a Feb. 27 meeting.

Applications can be picked up at the City Clerk’s office, downloaded at imperialbeachca.gov.

See a copy of the application attached here.

Residents and environmental groups like WiLDCOAST and Surfrider Foundation called for the return of the committee in the wake of flooding last fall and in early 2013 as a result of a sand replenishment project.

As a Seacoast Drive resident, Spriggs was recused from discussions of the matter at meetings, but told IB Patch he hopes the commission takes a closer look at the impact of the projects on local homes.

Spriggs also hopes TAC can seek the guidance of experts and take a closer look at the sand replenishment project’s impact on the flow of the Tijuana River and Pond 20.

“We need people other than staff who don’t keep the public informed about some of the discussions going on,” he said.

Assistant City Manager Greg Wade will sit on the committee but will not have the power to vote.

Wade said the committee was first formed in the 1990s and disbanded in 2011 shortly after Spriggs left. With fewer projects to consider, Wade said, the committee had trouble forming a quorum, or getting enough members to show up for meetings.

Spriggs said committee members were dedicated but City Council gave them few issues to consider.

“Although monthly meetings were scheduled, sometimes we only met four or five times a year,” he said.

Mayor Jim Janney will appoint members to the committee but appointees must be approved by the City Council.

To qualify applicants must live in the city and file documents which disclose their economic assets to avoid conflicts of interest.

Compiled of five members, per city municipal code, two committee member’s terms will expire Dec. 31, or the end of the year in which a presidential election is held. Remaining members terms will expire Dec. 31, 2014, or at the end of even years.

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