Area gains more clout within COG

“It helps to have them on our side of the process,” Olivas said, noting the success that local cities had when they banded together to support funding for upgrades to the 605/10 freeway interchange. “We hope this encourages the county to use more of its resources to support the San Gabriel Valley.” Tony Bell, a spokesman for Antonovich, said the idea behind the agreement is to help all Valley residents, whether they live in cities or in unincorporated county areas. “This is particularly important when it comes to tax dollars that are in jeopardy of being funneled to the city of Los Angeles because of the power base at L.A. City Hall,” Bell said. “The county’s participation will help the cities to compete from a position of strength for transportation resources, housing, public safety, water and many other vital services.” If approved, the move would make COG a more “holistic organization,” said Nicholas Conway, the group’s executive director. “This will help to ensure our Valley’s fair share of funding,” Conway said. “There is still more transportation funding coming, as well as money for water cleanup and housing,” Conway said, referring to the Proposition 1A through 1E package approved by state voters last November. “These measures all passed in the San Gabriel Valley, but the process to allocate those funds has yet to be determined. “Our goal in the next year is to make sure those processes are determined in a way that the Valley receives its fair share,” he added. Olivas said he hoped that all member cities would vote on the county’s membership in time to seat the supervisors with full voting rights by the April or May COG Governing Board meeting. The agreement is likely to receive approval from the majority of COG’s member cities. Thirteen members voted in favor of the agreement at the February board meeting, with only Glendora and South Pasadena raising concerns about the wording of the measure. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2306 The COG’s governing board approved the agreement adding the supervisors as full-fledged members last month. The issue now goes to each of COG’s member cities. A simple majority is needed to finalize the agreement. Baldwin Park Councilman David Olivas, who is also COG secretary, supports the move. “We have the largest unincorporated area in the county, and they should have a voice in what happens in the COG,” said Olivas, adding the agreement still has to be approved by his council. He said county representation should also have benefits for the Valley’s incorporated cities. The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments could soon get some influential new members: three Los Angeles County supervisors. Local Supervisors Don Knabe, Gloria Molina and Michael Antonovich already serve as non-voting members on the council, an inter-governmental lobbying group comprised of representatives from 31 cities throughout the Valley. Officials believe that making supervisors full-fledged members of COG will will raise the group’s profile and lobbying clout, as well as provide representation for the Valley’s 380,000 unincorporated county residents. The Valley is home to a total 4 million county residents overall, according to Antonovich’s office. Other sources put that total at roughly half that figure. “Membership in the Council of Governments is vital to ensure the unincorporated communities of the San Gabriel Valley are provided with an effective voice in regional public policy,” said Antonovich in a statement following the L.A. County Board of Supervisor’s unanimous vote to join COG on Tuesday. read more