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AB 1204 would help El Dorado Hills if it incorporates

By: Raheem Hosseini Telegraph Correspondent
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A state senate committee’s approval may be the final significant hurdle faced by a piece of legislation intended to bring greater representation to El Dorado Hills — if and when it incorporates. The Senate Local Government Committee voted 4-1 last week to send Assembly Bill 1204 to the appropriations committee, despite the opposition of committee chair Sen. Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks). With no request for state funding, the appropriations committee should send the bill to the floor of the California Senate, where passage is expected but not guaranteed. The bill by Assemblywoman Alyson Huber (D-El Dorado Hills) would direct the six-member El Dorado County Transportation Commission to add a fourth supervisor to its board, and guarantee newly incorporated cities representation on the commission. An earlier draft of the bill that granted El Dorado Hills commission seats without incorporation was met with fierce opposition in Placerville, which sits three city council members on the current commission. Huber’s compromise bill, introduced in January, would drop Placerville down to two members in the event another community incorporates. Each incorporated city would get two seats, with the board of supervisors retaining four. Cities in the Tahoe Basin would be excluded. “This is actually a very small piece of legislation,” said John Jakowatz, vice president of the Four Seasons Civic League, an El Dorado Hills neighborhood group that lobbied for greater representation on the transportation commission. “This is basically correcting an error.” According to a senate bill analysis, the error involves neglecting a “heavily populated” community “that is currently underrepresented, in terms of population, on EDCTC.” Huber said El Dorado Hills’ rapid growth, population trends and changing county transportation needs prompted looking at a commission whose structure hasn’t changed in 13 years. The unincorporated western slope town boasts 35,000 residents to Placerville’s 10,000. At stake is the influence over millions of dollars in transportation funding, funding the commission controls. Jakowatz said the request for an expanded bus route in El Dorado Hills was turned down because “there’s no money.” “We could have a bigger voice (in local transportation planning),” he added. As of now, the community’s only voice belongs to Supervisor John Knight, whose district encompasses most of El Dorado Hills. There is no formal opposition to Huber’s bill, as Placerville dropped its objections after the legislation was revised. The transportation commission formally supported the bill earlier this year. “Alyson really worked hard (and it is hard when the Chair of the Committee is against the bill, particularly when the bill is in his district) and spent a lot of time working the Committee members to get the bill out,” Tim Reardon, Huber’s chief of staff, said in an email. “The bill now goes to Senate Appropriations, where it should move out and then to the Senate floor for a final vote.” Still, talks of another incorporation effort in El Dorado Hills have only risen to “a low murmur,” said Jakowatz, so it may be some time before the bill’s passage effects any local change.