1. What is the single most serious fiscal issue Calaveras County government will face in the next four years and how will you deal with it?
2. Is being a supervisor a full-time job, and are the current salary benefits appropriate? If not, what changes should be made?
3. The 2011-2012 Grand Jury chastised some supervisors for “shouting at other board members and the public, refusing to abide structure … and making sarcastic, inappropriate remarks.” What should be done about this?
4. The Grand Jury also said county employees complained of “hostile conditions as a result of being frequently pressured by current and former supervisors.” What should be done about this?
5. If you could reform one aspect of county government, what would you change?
6. Calaveras County taxpayers have a major investment in a new jail that because of staffing issues and costs will accommodate only half of its inmate capacity. Can supervisors do anything to improve this situation?
7. What are the top three needs in the district you hope to serve?
8. What can supervisors do to create more and better job opportunities in Calaveras?
9. What current county supervisor’s views do you most admire and why?
Occupation: Small business owner.
Place of residence: West Point
Place of birth and place where you grew up: Born-Salt Lake City, Utah; Raised in Rupert, Idaho.
Advanced degrees: BS, Design Engineering Technology, BYU
Prior public offices held: none
1. I believe the single most serious fiscal issue is local jobs. Not only is it the most serious issue for the next four years but it has been the issue for Calaveras County for at least the past decade. We need to adapt with our changing economy and take advantage of our strengths. We have to do more than say we are open for business, we have to prove it. Government should not be in the business of creating jobs but there to facilitate and encourage new business entrepreneurship.
2. Yes, being a supervisor is a full-time job. I have only missed one board meeting since December 2011 and have spent the past 10 months trying to attend every meeting I could possibly attend. I know the board members spend many hours attending assigned committee meetings and some of them spend time behind the scenes working with constituents on a one-on-one basis. I don't know what the full supervisor benefits entail but from what I have heard they sound appropriate when compared to neighboring counties.
3. The board members should act in a professional manner. Some of the board meetings I have attended over the past 10 months have been embarrassing. I believe in the ability of the public to censor board members on issues that affect them and our county. The board works for the citizens of the county and needs to be held accountable for their actions. They need to not respond in a negative manner but try to learn from the criticism.
4. Board members should work through department heads and not put pressure on individual staff employees. They should strive to have a working relationship with staff and have a common goal of serving the county.
5. I would like to see a permanent agenda item where the board would talk about the economic and business climate of the county. Each member could discuss things going on in their district and ways the board as a whole could help to encourage and facilitate job creation. We have seen how a stagnant economy affects our crime rates, property values, school budgets and much more.
6. Let's take the approach any business would take and try to find ways to use the extra capacity to generate income. Some jails with extra capacity rent out extra space to jails that are over populated. Some of those jails rent the space to privatized inmate-handling companies in order to eliminate increasing the load on their own departments. We can find solutions if we are willing to be innovative.
7. Jobs, education and crime. I believe they are all tied back into the creation of jobs. Without jobs our young families move out of the area in search of income which in turn has an effect on our local school’s enrollment and the ability of the school board to justify keeping them open. With the loss of jobs, property values decline taking with it the property tax revenue that in part is used to fund our schools and the Sheriff’s Department.
8. We have to create a focus within the county on job creation. Each new business will have different circumstances and needs that should take precedence when the need arises. We can talk all we want about inviting in new business, but until we prove it through our hard work and innovation no one will listen. Let's get the general plan done and let construction get started.
9. They each have qualities and views that I admire. I have great respect for Supervisor Wilensky for how hard he works for District 2 and his ability to bring people together; Supervisor Callaway for her strong defense of her district priorities; Supervisor Tofanelli for his current leadership of the board and desire to make it work; Supervisor Tryon for his length of service to our county, his record thus far has been enough to keep him in office for 28 years; and Supervisor Spellman for his desire to protect constitutional rights and for taking a stance on budget issues.
Occupation: Non-profit manager.
Place of residence: Rail Road Flat.
Place of birth and place where grew up: Chicago, Ill., and then Calaveras.
Advanced degrees: BA from Humboldt State University.
Prior public offices held: none
1. We must bring back jobs and build an economic base to serve the needs of our community. This can be done in a number of ways, from local food production to developing local industries. The CHIPS program provides a great example of how supervisorial and community efforts can lead to solid, lasting jobs and general economic growth. CHIPS is a program centered around West Point that provides forest jobs and promotes healthy public and private forests by clearing brush and harvesting smaller trees, then turning the harvested materials into commercial forest products. It was initially funded by a federal grant and is now being greatly supported by private contracts. In the future, CHIPS will produce more finished products in a plant that will be powered by a clean chips-burning generator. CHIPS is just one example of how we can build our own local economies.
2. The job is more than a full-time job. When done well, it requires an enormous amount of time and effort. This is a public service job, so nobody should come into this position thinking they are going to get rich. The salary is sufficient for the supervisor to immerse him/herself into the position while making ends meet, no more, no less.
3. Every supervisor should have the ability to separate emotion from logic and reason. If they can't do that, then they should not hold the title. Hostility has no place in this venue. Yes, we have problems and conflicts. These should be handled in a professional manner, focusing on the problems and the solutions. If we let hostility and emotion take hold, the whole system breaks down. Also, this is supposed to be a non-partisan position, yet we have influences in this county that want to bring partisan politics into the county chambers.
4. Again, we all need to work with each other. That means we must all have the ability to separate emotion from logic and reason. We must all remember that our county employees make our county work. Pressure from current and former county supervisors is unacceptable. Our employees are providing public services while supporting themselves and their families. They are entitled to a workplace that does not give them undue pressure.
5. I would work to make county government more efficient while growing revenue through economic development. If we create more jobs that will employ current residents and attract more employed residents to the county, we will be more able to fund essential services like public safety and road maintenance. We have many challenges, and we need to focus on long-term solutions to our local economy.
6. Dynamic economic development and a general economic recovery eventually will provide resources for such essential activities as jail staffing. As we have seen in the past, a jail that is too small leads to extra costs of housing prisoners elsewhere and criminals being released prematurely. We need to be tough on crime. At the same time, we need to look at the root of crime in our county and implement solutions through sound education and outreach programs.
7. The top three needs in District 2 are increasing jobs, keeping our schools open and fighting crime. We need to rebuild a strong, solid, self-sufficient local economy through added jobs and new local industries (including cottage industries); we must attract new residents to our communities to help grow our local economies and keep our rural schools open; and we must reduce crime so that residents never feel uneasy about what might be lurking out there.
8. A dynamic, resourceful and innovative supervisor can play a key role in bringing employers and Calaveras employees together for everyone's benefit. For instance, Supervisor Steve Wilensky is facilitating negotiations between local machinists and a major aerospace company for contracts to produce maintenance tools for worldwide commercial airlines and government defense contractors. As supervisor, I shall capitalize on the strengths and skills of our local residents to attract other such businesses.
9. I am running because Steve Wilensky is not running for re-election and his legacy must be preserved and built upon. Steve Wilensky has poured immeasurable time and energy into District 2 and Calaveras County as a whole. Calaveras County is a much better place today than it was eight years ago. Much of this is due to Steve's unrelenting focus, effort and commitment to making this county a better place for residents and visitors. Steve has never taken a partisan approach to anything he has done. He has always had the residents' needs in mind, first and foremost, above any political or personal ambitions. This is the philosophy I intend to carry forward in my time as supervisor. I am proud to be endorsed by Steve Wilensky.
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