When asked, “What is the NCAC?” Cambrians give many different responses, among them “I have no idea” and “That’s the controversial political group.” Some may call it entertainment, though one never knows what kind of talent to expect — a screech or a melody. Since I was bestowed the gavel of the North Coast Advisory Council again, after a hiatus of 15 years, the monthly meetings have been informative, hilarious, controversial, amusing and sometimes a little boring — a bit like a good variety show.
The North Coast Advisory Committee is Cambria and San Simeon’s “town hall” and a forum for education in eclectic civic matters, but controlled with the formality of adhering to rules of order.
On the third Wednesday of each month, in the Community Room of Rabobank, the 12-member council gathers at 6:30 p.m.
I try my darndest to get things wrapped up by 8:30, but by the time we hear the crime report, public comments, committee reports and a guest presentation, we sometimes run just a tad late. I always provide cookies or candy so we don't faint from hunger. (At our next meeting, on Jan. 15, I may offer coffee just to speed things up.)
Why do we do it? It's not for the salary — there is none. The SLO County Community Advisory Council Handbook tried to warn us about long hours of preparation, personal expense (cookies and coffee), phone calls at odd hours and criticism. We do it because we care about our community. Despite the rumors, we’re not controversial (but the chair has grown thicker skin).
We encourage everyone to come and let their mellifluous voices be heard. Minutes are conscientiously taken, posted on the NCAC website, and the esteemed Kathe Tanner forwards her report for publication — from the sublime to ridiculous, she tells all.
If you prefer one-on-one contact, the second Friday of each month at Cambria Farmers Market, NCAC representatives can be seen weathering the elements in anticipation that passersby will stop a moment to chat about what’s grooving in the North Coast and what’s not.
Both the NCAC bylaws and the CAC handbook tell us that our mission is to represent local folks in matters of civic interest. We work pretty darn hard at doing just that. We have subcommittees that comb through the maze of county ordinances — not an easy job, even for experts.
The dedicated researchers of the Land Use Committee bring their findings to the public and the council with recommendations for sound building and land use.
The Transportation Committee offers thoughts and recommendations for moving cars and trucks around town in a safe and genteel manner — no horn honking for us.
County and the state laws require meticulous and sustainable community growth — a balance between our natural environment, the economy and social culture. With collaboration and cooperation, the North Coast will flourish.
You have my personal invitation to attend our meetings and voice your opinions, concerns and desires for the present and future of your community.
Claudia Harmon Worthen is chairperson of the North Coast Advisory Council. This is the first of a series of columns about the North Coast Advisory Council of Cambria and San Simeon to the Monterey County line. For more, go to NorthCoast AdvisoryCouncil.org.