Response to ‘Hands off TOT’

By From page A5 | February 25, 2013

EDITOR: It could be called faint praise? Your editorial titled “Hands off TOT” had some things right, but sadly missed many points and totally misrepresented others.

Your mention of a “Super-duper department” is a bit outdated. The Economic Development Advisory Committee is advocating for a long-range planning process with very few staff who actually address the issues that both new and experienced businesses encounter when trying to work in El Dorado County. We have seen how limiting and ineffectual past reactive planning practices have been and believe a few good people in the right position can accomplish the needed results — and at a cost more than commensurate with the investment.

We agree with your call to “eliminate red tape” and have spent over four years of volunteer efforts offering suggestions of how to update the Zoning Ordinance to do just that. The current draft Zoning Ordinance should accomplish those goals when the EIR processes is finished.

Your comment about “grabbing county money” couldn’t be further from the truth. EDAC has proposed an investment of only 10 percent of the TOT funding. EDAC’s vision is to dramatically increase the return on that investment. We anticipate the same success so many other municipalities and county governments have realized when they invest in their future. The EDAC template for recommendations is in fact based on what has worked well elsewhere.

And “keeping it (EDAC) out of the taxpayers pockets” is an almost offensive distortion of reality. We have spent years and thousands of volunteer hours trying to help the county, as have other volunteer organizations through the years. Is it wrong to dream of greatly increasing the return on the Transit Occupancy Tax?

In every corner of the county, organizations have spent their own sweat equity, without a cent of help, trying to bring in visitors. It just may be time to help them in very small ways to increase that huge return to the economic coffers of the county.

Kudos to your mentioned publication, Adventures Magazine, but I’m sure you are aware other organizations also publish similar magazines to promote themselves? EDAC’s vision is to establish a countywide Website to direct citizens and visitors to every aspect of the county. It would be a constantly updated portal to what is happening. Printed media has a place, but once published immediately becomes obsolete… We are in the 21st Century and the way people want information has changed. Maybe we should as well?

And finally, did you really mean to say, “Let’s leave the envisioning to the developers?” Ignoring the abilities and aspirations of our communities shouldn’t be a goal and sadly smacks of paternalism.

EDAC volunteer and chairperson

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