The city of Half Moon Bay is currently going through a process to identify and prioritize the community’s needs. On March 3rd, 2019, the city council held a listening session to make sure that all voices were heard, including Spanish speakers and the Latinx community. I had been informed about this event a couple days before. It seemed interesting because I would have the opportunity to hear how city council can help us make this community better by working on what our community thinks we need to add, remove, or fix.
I wasn’t really aware of what was going to happen. I was expecting the city council members to speak instead of us. But once the listening session began I understood that they held this event to hear what the community has to say. But due to the fact that a birthday celebration for the priest was being held, only 9 people showed up. Those 9 people were made up of a woman from the school board, 3 residents of Half Moon Bay, and 5 people from the housing and transportation committee. This committee is part of a larger group of youth leaders that are involved in YLI programming at Half Moon Bay High School. The committee focuses on advocating for affordable housing and transit-oriented development in the community.
The room was pretty quiet, but I could feel all the positivity in the room. Whenever someone spoke, all the attention was given to them and everyone was respectful towards the opinions and experiences that they were sharing, which made it easier for me to speak. Like the others who had talked before, I spoke about the problem we have here with affordable housing by sharing how it has impacted my life.
What I liked the most about it was that throughout the whole listening session the city council members were very focused on what we had to say and gave their input on the topic someone spoke of. While listening to their feedback, I learned that there are many things you can and can’t do on your own property. One of those thing being that if the owner of a piece of land wants to build homes for their workers, a part of that land would have to be open for the community to rent and the rest would be specifically for the workers and their families.
After the listening session, I felt like our voices were actually being heard and that our opinions matter. Now that I know what goes on during the listening sessions, I will continue attending whenever possible. Not only will I continue attending these listening sessions but I will also continue working with the housing and transportation committee to help our community. Overall, it was a very interesting experience and I am glad I decided to attend because now I have a better idea of what the city council does for our community. I hope to attend and get more people involved, especially the Latinx community!
The city of Half Moon Bay will be hosting one last Priority Setting/Strategic Planning Workshop on Tuesday, March 26, 2 – 6 pm at the Adcock Community Center. The housing and transportation committee is planning on being there – come out and join us!! You can find information about the event on our website, and on the City of Half Moon Bay’s website.