Left, Right, Center

Last Thursday’s League of Women Voters Candidate Forum – for District 1 Supervisor – was interesting, to say the least. It’s clear that I’m not a politician, but I will work hard to rise to the occasion.

It seemed that Supervisor Hall was running on the successes of the Board of Supervisors rather than talking about her own personal successes. She also mentioned that one of the ways the County has succeeded in addressing issues of homelessness is through its assistance with housing vouchers. I, and most local experts in this realm, know that the County’s housing voucher program is no victory. Due to our housing inventory shortage and the required home inspection by the County prior to accepting these vouchers, most landlords in Nevada County are unwilling to accept them. Section 8 vouchers don’t cover the high cost to rent here. Why would a landlord accept these vouchers when they can make top dollar renting to those who can/will pay for it?

While Deborah Wilder and I share similar beliefs about the overly complex and cumbersome building department processes and the need to increase the local housing inventory, I have a lifetime of construction knowledge and will bring real construction expertise to the Board of Supervisors to effectively establish housing solutions and bring about smart growth.

While Deborah and I also share similar beliefs about the importance of fire safety, I not only understand fire safety preparedness, I, as a private firefighter, have a first-hand, boots on the ground understanding of fire suppression too. Successful fire safety preparedness and fire suppression depends on the work of a TEAM of professionals, consisting of qualified local and State government agencies and private contractors. I’m familiar with and have worked alongside many of these professionals in the greater Nevada County area.

Deborah and I differ in a number of other ways as well:

  1. I’m a strong advocate of personal and property rights. When presented the idea of the usage of drones for code compliance surveillance, I was adamantly opposed.
  2. Deborah is opposed to a “tent city.” I am a strong advocate for the incorporation of a SAFE SANCTUARY PROJECT in Nevada County. This project will provide a clean, drug free, well-managed and safe transitioning point for 20-30 individuals from our community who are experiencing homelessness. This project will also allow social service providers a better opportunity to find and assist those in need. I do not agree with Deborah regarding it being “unacceptable” for someone to sleep in their car, if needed. I’d prefer people experiencing homelessness be allotted the right to a safe space, with suitable sanitation offerings, rather than not providing this and forcing them further into the shadows.
  3. While I do support the consolidation of our local County fire districts, I’m hesitant to agree to incorporating a blanket 1% tax until fully understanding the cost to benefit ratio. Consolidating overhead of the multiple districts will create a surplus in the consolidation of budgets, which we should review first before talking about implementing additional taxes.
  4. While Deborah says she “won’t have any problems” with cannabis farmers who are operating “under the rules of the law,” her hesitation to openly support cannabis shines through. Cannabis issues with the code compliance division are civil, not criminal. To use the term “illegal” as she did on Thursday further highlights her lack of support for this industry. She’s right that the local cannabis industry isn’t “going away anytime soon.” We need a Board that fully supports this lucrative industry. When elected as Supervisor, I’ll be a trusted partner who will help streamline permitting processes and establish a successful taxing system, which will generate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars for our community in the years to come.

If we’d created reasonable policies years ago for licensing and taxing cannabis, and had healthy growth in our community of 2.5% each year since the last recession, the general fund would have the financial means to build a senior center and more homeless shelters. If not for multiple poor decisions with Cascade Shores wastewater treatment plant and County liability issues at the jail (to mention a few), we would have saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in attorney fees and legal settlements. I’m tired of the County wasting our hard-earned tax dollars and limiting smart growth.

As a Nevada County native, I’m strongly committed to our community. I will put an end to the current non-growth, CDA policies situation we’ve been living with for almost ten years. I love Nevada County and, while not a polished politician, I have the construction expertise the Board needs to help solve our local housing crisis. I’ve never been affiliated with any government agencies nor political parties and am committed to exposing as well as fixing problems at the County level. I believe the other candidates fall to the left and right, while I hold steady in the center. When elected as Supervisor, I will work for and with my constituents. I’m willing to call a spade a spade and will represent you well.

Read more about Thursday evening’s events in The Union: