The business of the city isn’t always conducted at City Hall or City Council meetings. Matter of fact, much of what is done to benefit the citizens and the community is conducted at a variety of meetings and networking opportunities, many of which take place right here in Tehachapi.

Take emergency preparedness and response, for example. Just last week the Kern Operational Area Advisory Committee met at the Tehachapi Police Department as first responders and Kern County Emergency Operations Center staff talked about issues and tactics for responding to emergencies. As seen by the fires around our state, this is an important matter.

Additionally, the mayors and city managers with the Kern County Association of Cities meet monthly and recently we’ve been discussing mutual aid agreements for public safety and emergency situations. This would be a formal agreement between every city in Kern County to be able to provide resources and equipment in the event of an emergency. It’s important that we have something like this in place. That way when an emergency strikes, we’re free to help without being tied up in paperwork and liability concerns.

Last Thursday the city of Tehachapi played host to the Association of California Cities Aligned with Public Safety. This organization’s sole purpose is to provide a lobbying voice and platform for communities like Tehachapi that house a correctional institution. This group ensures legislation at the state level is balanced with the concerns of the communities affected when new laws and other initiatives centered on corrections are written in Sacramento. Our late Mayor Ed Grimes was passionate about this group and their conference last week in Tehachapi started with a tribute to Grimes and his contributions.

Two weeks ago we hosted another East Kern Economic Alliance meeting. For some reason when Tehachapi hosts, the attendance skyrockets. A lot of credit goes to local stakeholders who participate when this group is in town. Thanks to the alliance, Tehachapi will benefit from grant funding as a result of last year’s East Kern Diversification Study. The grant funds three county-level economic developers to help build new resources in both the city and county areas.

We’ve also been awarded the first ever California Local Association of Economic Development Rural Idea Exchange, which will take place Sept. 25-26 here in Tehachapi. This group of economic development professionals will descend on Tehachapi for two days as they address issues facing rural communities like ourselves across the state. It’s an honor to host the first event of its kind.

These groups represent just a fraction of the organizations that we do business with. Our best ideas are oftentimes generated by simply listening to others. These meetings have lasting results in terms of public safety and economic impact.

While there are those who believe the answer to any problem is found on the internet or a Facebook page, the reality is when there are issues that face Tehachapi, we use our network to help find solutions.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 822-2200 or ggarrett@tehachapicityhall.com.

Greg Garrett is Tehachapi's city manager.