LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) has been called “the most powerful agency you’ve never heard of.”
Meet four candidates for the Commission on Citizen Marin’s panel video, along with an introduction to LAFCO from Carla Condon, Corte Madera City Councilwoman who currently sits on the LAFCO Board. Candidates who participated included John Carapiet, Sanitary District #5; Lew Kious, Almonte Sanitation District; Justin Kai, Marinwood Community Services District; and Pam Miegs, Ross Valley Sanitary District.
Why LAFCO matters to Citizens
LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) is an influential planning and regulatory agency that controls boundaries of cities and special districts, such as water, sewer, and fire. Marin’s 7-member commissioners are not directly elected. Instead LAFCO is comprised of 2 city council members (Carla Condon and Gary Phillips – Alt. is Herb Weiner), 2 county supervisors (Judy Arnold and Damon Connolly – Alt. is Kate Sears), 2 special district members (Dennis Rodoni and Craig Murray – Alt. is Jack Baker) and 1 public member (Jeff Blanchfield – Alt. is Christopher Burdick), who oversee 65 agencies.
The California Legislature created LAFCO in 1963 for the 58 counties to discourage sprawl and encourage the orderly formation of local government agencies. LAFCO can annex, consolidate, merge, and dissolve boundaries. Because LAFCOs are agents of the Legislature, voters can’t use an initiative or referendum to challenge decisions, but must use the courts. Some people point to the efficiency of LAFCO as a means to discourage sprawl and encourage orderly growth. Others challenge LAFCO’s powers, lack of direct representation, and working out of the public’s view.