On March 6th, the BIA hosted an audience gathered at the Riverside Convention Center for the BIA’s Legislative Affairs Committee Luncheon. At the Luncheon we heard from Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) Executive Director Rick Bishop who gave an overview of what a Council of Governments is and how WRCOG is working to facilitate regional strategies in Western Riverside County.
As explained by Bishop, Councils of Governments (COGs) are voluntary associations that represent member local governments, mainly cities and counties, that seek to provide cooperative planning, coordination, and technical assistance on issues of mutual concern that cross jurisdictional lines. In this sense, COGs serve to develop consensus on many issues that need to be addressed in a sub-regional or regional context. If properly structured, COG duties complement and do not duplicate jurisdictional activities, and serve to unify jurisdictions and agencies on matters of mutual concern, but independent of the responsibilities traditionally exercised by the individual members within their own communities.
In general, COG responsibilities and programs are wide-ranging, and WRCOG is no exception. Some of the programs that WRCOG facilitates include the BEYOND Framework Fund Program, which provides local assistance funding to help its member agencies develop and implement plans and programs that can improve the quality of life in Western Riverside County. WRCOG also helps with Transportation, working together with its member jurisdictions, the Riverside Transit Agency, the Riverside County Transportation Commission, and other regional entities, WRCOG conducts various transportation studies and develops plans to help address the transportation, transit, and active transportation issues in Western Riverside County.
WRCOG is also in the process of developing a Community Choice Aggregation, called Western Community Energy, to provide consumers a choice in where their energy comes from, competitive rates to Southern California Edison, and more local control.
Bishop expounded on the partnership WRCOG enjoys with BIA, highlighting several areas of collaboration in finding ways to deal with the burdensome statewide regulations affecting the housing market. We would like to thank Rick Bishop for spending his lunch with us and for the partnership that is enjoyed between the BIA and WRCOG.
Our next Legislative Affairs Committee Luncheon will take place on Friday June 14th at the Riverside Convention Center.