Jacob’s Coffee brings up many issues
By Jo Moreland
Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce
For The Alpine Sun
ALPINE ---- A farmer’s market problem in Alpine could lead to a solution throughout rural San Diego County, Supervisor Dianne Jacob said at her Oct. 25 “Coffee with Constituents.”
About 50 area residents, business people, organization representatives and officials attended the two-hour session at the Alpine Woman’s Club at 2156 Alpine Blvd. The club is a member of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce.
Covering a wide range of concerns, issues and updates, Jacob noted that in 2008 the county Board of Supervisors eased regulations for farmers’ markets in the unincorporated area, but their licensing enforcement caused problems.
“There is a solicitor’s license required for every single vendor” instead of just the market owner-operators, Jacob said. “The Alpine people brought that to my attention. . . . It didn’t just affect Alpine’s farmers’ markets. It affected (areas) outside Alpine.”
The supervisor said she met with people about it, including Diane Haworth, owner-operator of the Saturday morning Alpine Certified Farmer’s Market, a Chamber member.
Jacob credited Haworth with monitoring her almost 70 vendors to make sure they meet the standards required for her farmer’s market license.
The goal now is to regulate farmers’ markets through the market manager, rather than requiring a license for every vendor, said the county supervisor. Jacob has established a committee that includes Haworth to resolve the issue.
“We (committee) have 90 days to come up with a solution,” Haworth said. “I think what we’re looking for is an amendment of the solicitors’ ordinance that will exclude farmers’ markets and let the market managers continue to do what we’ve been doing ---- being responsible for our vendors.”
Haworth thanked Jacob, the Chamber and others who helped bring attention to the problem before it affected her market.
“If it wasn’t for Pat’s (Chamber President/CEO Patricia Cannon) help and Dianne Jacob’s immediate response, we probably wouldn’t have the farmer’s market here,” she said.
Jacob talked earlier in the meeting about the success of the county’s decision several years ago to be friendlier to agricultural business. At that time the supervisors began tiering ordinances to cut sometimes prohibitive costs and requirements.
Reducing regulations started with boutique wineries. It now includes boarding horses and could extend to cheesemaking, micro-breweries, growing olive trees for olive oil or hops for beer and even bee-keeping, Jacob said.
“When you see the domino effect . . . the sky’s the limit on that,” said the supervisor. “We (supervisors) can’t make it happen . . . but we can help through regulations and making it easier for everybody.”
The meeting began with audience members sharing memories of the enormous deadly Cedar Fire a decade ago after a lost hunter trying to get help started a signal fire on Oct. 25, 2003, in the Cuyamaca Mountains.
That started the worst wildfire in California’s history. The firestorm killed 15 people, including a firefighter, and destroyed 2,823 buildings ---- 2,232 of them homes ---- as it blazed through 280,278 acres of rural East County and parts of San Diego.
“It was amazing to me how much people fought that fire and helped each other as much as they did,” a woman told Jacob.
Others added their memories and ways they have become more able to protect themselves and their homes against wildfires. Jacob said that the county has spent more than $280 million since then to better prepare for fighting such massive fires, but nothing can stop them.
That’s because this area is one of the few places in the world that can have the right combination of plenty of dry brush, little rain and high hot winds at time to create massive blazes, she said.
Additional topics covered included energy rate increases with more to come, the effect of that on solar energy customers, ways to cut energy costs, the impact of 4,000 more state prisoners and parolees sent to the county, school concerns and paving community roads.
Jacob called on county personnel and others in the audience for answers when needed, referred people to other agencies or places when it wasn’t a county matter and made sure people knew how to contact her office.
For more information about county-related issues in Jacob’s Second District, call (619) 531-5522 or visit www.diannejacob.com.