Today, the defining issue for Calaveras County and other smaller governments in the Foothills, is the revenue from property and sales tax, and other sources are not always enough to meet the current demand for public services, let alone finance the major investments needed to re-build our deteriorating infrastructure.
We need to pursue every opportunity at the state and federal level and our county is right to pursue every grant.
Today’s changing economy means we have to be especially ready to look at new ideas. County government cannot alter the course of the economy, but it can be open to new opportunities by taking advantage of new trends.
Old values created and built this county -- hard work, persistence and a willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of our community are what we need today.
We have always disagreed -- but that does not justify bad beliefs and intolerance. If Calaveras County’s history teaches us anything, it is when our leaders put their personal feelings aside and work together, things get done. When there is an emergency, We Are A Team!
When Supervisors keep their focus local and work hard every day to find common ground and common-sense solutions, we can come together and make District Four and Calaveras County a better place. I pledge to be that kind of Supervisor. Below are my priorities:
The first responsibility of government is public safety and law enforcement. Wildfires must be our first budget priority.
The proximity of our county and the widespread distribution of population makes both law enforcement and firefighting especially challenging and relatively more expensive. The demands on our county’s taxpayer are many but as your District Four Supervisor public safety will be my top priority.
As a former mayor, I know we must live within our means. But in Calaveras County, supervisors and other county officials say conflicting things about the budget, and a steady exodus of high-level county officials has only aroused more concern.
It is time for Calaveras County to make every effort to communicate honestly and clearly what the state of our county’s budget is.
Unfortunately, indications are our county’s budget is not good. Operating budget shortfalls of between four and nine million dollars have been reported.
Indeed, without the revenues from one year of Measure C taxes and the PG&E Butte Fire settlement, it is not clear that our county could have avoided severe cuts across the spectrum of services, including law enforcement.
As your Supervisor, I will support pragmatic, results-oriented budgeting.
With open and honest dialogue, and clear and consistent budget reporting and accounting, trust can replace suspicion between the residents, county staff, public safety institutions, and Supervisors. And as I did on the City Council, I’m prepared to make the hard decisions and vote to achieve a functional and sustainable county budget.
As your Supervisor, it will be my duty to support all Calaveras County ordinances. This includes the cannabis cultivation ordinance, approved by the current Board on October 22, 2019. I will never support commercial cannabis cultivation in residential neighborhoods and neither does this ordinance. To continually focus on this single issue is detrimental to our county resources and divisive for our community. There are plenty of county concerns to capture my focus. Top priorities will be public safety, a transparent budget, and sustainable economic growth. My main goal will be uniting the voices of District 4 and advocating for a unified Calaveras County.
Located predominantly along Highway Four, the communities of Copperopolis and Angels Camp represent the centers of economic activity in District Four. The District’s economy is based on agriculture and tourism. Most citizens are over age 55 and either retired or semi-retired. There is some mining and small manufacturing, and the retail sector provides most of the entry-level jobs available.
As your Supervisor, I will continue to support efforts to:
· Grow our economy
· Make our county an easier place to do business and find a job
And, I will always support the Visitor’s Bureau in their efforts to bring tourist dollars to our economy.
Before the collapse of the housing bubble ten years ago, residential development provided a significant boost to the construction industry in the District. Today, in the Copperopolis area, there is renewed interest in residential development.
As your Supervisor, it will be my job to evaluate and vote on various projects, including residential development in Copperopolis. As with all projects, I will ask the following questions:
· Is the project well-planned?
· Does it conform to our county’s General Plan?
· Is it market-driven?
· Does it help or hurt our county’s budget, especially in the long run?
· Does it contribute to a better quality of life for all Calaveras residents?
Projects that answer these questions in a positive way will receive my full support.
My family has lived in Calaveras County for three generations. I grew up breathing clean air and drinking clean water. The natural environment of our county is part of me and makes me proud and extremely grateful to be here.
As your Supervisor, I will work to ensure the environment that makes our quality of life so special -- the rural atmosphere, open space, agriculture, clean air and water are never compromised.
In our county we need not choose between economic growth and a healthy natural environment. Here, the healthier and more beautiful our natural environment is, the better our economy will be, both in attracting investment, earning tourist dollars, and maintaining relative property values.
To meet the fiscal challenges that face us, we need to be flexible, open minded, and pragmatic. At my age, I can hope to live to see the long-term results of the decisions we make now right here in District Four and Calaveras County.
My five years on the Angels Camp City Council and two years as your Mayor, have convinced me the pessimists are wrong. I know it is possible to find common ground and agree on solutions.
I won’t pretend it’s easy. Building the trust that leads to real win-win solutions is hard work.
Public policy should not be driven by whim, emotion, or prejudice. Consistent with our core American values, we need to be willing to try new ideas and discard these if they don’t work. It sounds simple, but of course it isn’t. Ironically, we need a mutual agreement that regular people can, with mutual respect, come together, work together, and find the right way forward
The men and women who make up our county’s workforce represent the collective investment and we should be proud of the hard work they do every day to make this a great place to live and work. In many cases, if they did the same work in another, richer county, they would likely be paid more than Calaveras County can afford to pay.
But we know that people work for more than money. For many, being part of something vital to the lives of everyone, working together for a shared goal, and having their work appreciated, is worth as much as money. To build that kind of commitment takes leadership, and that kind of leadership must come from the top -- the Board of Supervisors.
As your Supervisor, I will dedicate my leadership to building the kind of workplace that attracts and keeps talented and motivated individuals.