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By Lew Avera
In June, I attended the City Council interviews for new appointments to the various city commissions and committees serving San Clemente. As usual, the quality of applicants was excellent, and having served on the Planning Commission I knew this would be the case. However, this year I was particularly impressed with the experience, qualifications and interest of the applicants for the Human Affairs Committee. Individually, and as a group, they were truly outstanding. Three were selected to serve on the committee of seven.
The Human Affairs Committee does not have the same visibility as the various other commissions, largely due to their place and role in the city’s governmental structure. The commissions have distinct ongoing responsibilities in day-to-day operations and city decisions. The HAC, on the other hand, operates strictly as an advisory body to the City Council. However, when considering the breadth of HAC interests, it can be suggested that it can have a “direct effect” on more local citizens than any of the other groups short of the City Council.
The stated purpose of the HAC is to act as a catalyst and advisory body to the City Council in the assessment of human needs and issues. They track trends and needs and assist in identifying resources to meet those needs. Specifically, they are tasked with assisting in the resolution of social needs in the areas of affordable housing, welfare/safety of the homeless, innovation in mental health care, elder abuse, youth safety, transportation needs, foster care resources and employment opportunities for the unemployed.
Clearly, they have a big responsibility. I would suggest that while the majority of our population does not fit directly into the above population segments, these segments actually have some impact on every citizen of San Clemente—if not physically and direct, then on property values, safety, etc.
The most recent and visible activity of the HAC is supporting the development of a nonprofit group called the “San Clemente Village.” This is an identifiable and tangible organization of citizens devoted to assistance to the elderly and handicapped in the areas of transportation, medical care assistance, friendship, etc. This can be followed on the city website.
I see a continued and even expanding role for the HAC in San Clemente in such areas as expanded areas of interest, more publicity and visibility of activities and meetings, increased citizen involvement, and possible subcommittees. As indicated above the HAC serves not only the elderly, but young people as well. One of the issues brought up by applicants was the well-being of our young people after school and beyond their participation in organized athletic activities etc.
The HAC meets every other month at the San Clemente Community Center downtown at the corner of Del Mar and Seville. Their next meeting is Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 3 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. HAC welcomes attendance and public input.
Lew Avera is a retired career officer, Lt. Col., U.S. Marine Corps. He has been a director of the Talega HOA since 2003 and served on the San Clemente Planning Commission from 2005 to 2013.