San Luis Obispo County, CA November 7, 2000 Election
Smart Voter

People get the kind of government and representation they deserve.

By Colby Crotzer

Candidate for Mayor; City of Morro Bay

This information is provided by the candidate
People get effective, efficient and responsive government when they make it happen by participating in the activities that shape and influence how government works.
People get the kind of government and representation they deserve.

That old saw is always used negatively to dismiss the kind of ineffectual or deplorable behavior that some automatically associate with government and the people who run it.

But what about the effective, efficient, responsive government we get and deserve? We rarely hear about that, but if you stop and look around, we have a lot of government that works, especially right here in Los Osos and Morro Bay.

Why? Because we made it happen by participating in activities that shape and influence government, including volunteer groups of all stripes and individuals who stay informed and make their views known to the decision-makers. When you analyze it, government is really a reflection of
us and how much effort we put into making it work for us.

In Los Osos/Baywood, residents have taken government into their own hands by forming the Community Services District and have assumed responsibility for solving the area's major sewer problem in a creative way.

Working with public and private agencies, the Morro Estuary Greenbelt Alliance (MEGA) and other groups such as Small Wildnerness Area Preservation (SWAP) have raised money to purchase land for creation of a greenbelt along the estuary and preservation of habitat, such as the Elfin

Even small groups like 4-Mor-Courts have obtained seed money through car washes and other fundraising events to induce the county to address the recreation needs of Los Osos, which will result in a new skateboard area and four more tennis courts.

In Morro Bay, citizen activism comes alive when there are signs that the environment or neighborhoods are threatened by development.

We got a much-needed new supermarket because citizens organized and passed an initiative which led to development of the Albertson's shopping center. It placed the market where it belonged--near the central business section--and helped avoid commercial development at the outskirts of the

Residents banded together to force the City Council to kill the ill-conceived boat launch ramp at Morro Rock, heading off a possible four-lane extension of the Embarcadero to Highway 41 and private development of Coleman Beach.

Caltrans was determined to place a cement center median in Highway 1 through the city, but a wide spectrum of residents convinced the agency instead to install a wood and metal barrier that is more aesthetically acceptable and friendly to wildlife migration.

An outpouring of residents persuaded the Council to save the Caratan bluff from bulldozers and to reject Albertson's proposal to build a gasoline station in its parking lot along Quintana Road. People simply felt Morro Bay doesn't need another gas station, especially at that location, which was the most recent instance--and hopefully not the last--of the community good carrying the day in Morro Bay.

In both Los Osos and Morro Bay, citizens have been engaged in the promotion of the common welfare, which is an essential function of government. They have accomplished it through grassroots action, which is an important part of governing.

People who condemn government because decisions have not gone their way delude themselves into thinking the state and federal governments are alien creatures. They usually are the ones who do not participate and who do not give their input when asked for it.

We take it for granted, but representative government is a precious experiment that can easily fail through apathy and nonparticipation. We really do have abundant opportunities to exert our influence on decisions that have a huge impact on how we lead our lives.

If we don't exercise our right to influence these momentous decisions, we can lose the potential to control our own destiny. We enjoy an enviable quality of life here because enough of us have directly participated in the process of government to make sure it works to protect
what we cherish so dearly.

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