Elected leaders with the Pescadero Municipal Advisory Council offered apologies to San Mateo County for raucous behavior at a meeting last month, pledging they’ll soften their tone toward public servants even if they disagree on issues.
The apology came following a warning from Supervisor Don Horsley that county employees would essentially boycott the South Coast council meetings until its sitting members began treating visiting officials with more respect.
As an advisory council, PMAC advises the Board of Supervisors on matters of coastal interest. Losing the county’s participation could render PMAC impotent, according to some sitting members.
Speaking last week, PMAC Chairman Greg Bonaparte admitted he deserved much of the blame for crossing county representatives, saying he should have kept better control and not lost his temper during the July 10 meeting. At another meeting last week, he apologized publicly.
“I was wrong, there’s no question about that,” he said. “I should have kept a more professional attitude during the meeting.”
County officials described the July 10 meeting as the low point in their dealings on the South Coast, saying they were insulted and treated like liars. Hot-button issues such as seasonal flooding and increases in garbage dumping fees dominated the meeting, but several other items on the agenda were never discussed.
“We thought this is just not productive,” Horsley said. “We don’t want agreement; we just want people to be civil. And until I see that, I’m going to withdraw and have a little space.”
Total agreement is something county officials won’t see anytime soon in Pescadero. Last week, as sitting council approved sending an apology to the county, they also unanimously approved reiterating their major objections over increases in local garbage rates to the Board of Supervisors.
At issue is the garbage transfer station in Pescadero, which is losing $300,000 a year in operation costs, according to Public Works officials. A proposal from Allied Waste would scale back the transfer station schedule from five days to three days a week, and basically triple the cost to dump garbage.
Bonaparte and other council members say they understand the need for higher fees, but they say the fee hike could spur illegal dumping. They want discounts for local residents, particularly low-income families and seniors.