All The Pieces

The candidates for Humboldt County Supervisor on jobs, land use, law enforcement and trails

| May 22, 2008

FIRST DISTRICT

Jimmy Smith

What do you do for a living?

I retired from commercial fishing and am a full-time supervisor.

Why are you running for Supervisor?

To continue my work as a regional (seven-county) leader and secure badly needed water and wastewater systems and watershed funding, and to hopefully expand the region's scope to access transportation bond funding. To continue being a leader in the battle against methamphetamine, to represent people equally and with respect, to enhance our economy, to help get us through the most difficult budget in recent history, to use my background in natural resources to benefit the people I work for. Most importantly, this is my home and these are the most wonderful, caring people in the world!

Which General Plan option do you prefer? Why?

These options are still being refined. The public is more engaged than ever and their input is essential. I have more workshops planned and want to listen carefully.

What's the most broken thing in the county? How can we fix it?

Several: roads, a sustainable budget and related economy, drug addiction, homelessness. [We need to] receive flexibility from the state; let us prioritize spending, reduce employer burdens.

What is the main problem in your specific district that the county needs to address?

Cannot be one, my district is too diverse.

Cooperative answers (Eureka/County) to growth supporting each others' needs: transportation; core services like police and fire.

King Salmon/Humboldt Hill: tsunami planning and nuclear plant decommissioning, new power generation system, improving drainage and roads; evacuation planning.

Loleta: water and wastewater infrastructure, housing, protection of AG lands, improving tourism.

Ferndale: stop the flooding at Salt River and resulting impacts to the city wastewater system. Help maintain the entrance to the city, protect the city's right to manage its sphere of influence, protect and support the ag industry.

What do you see as the top priority for use of the General Fund?

Law enforcement. Public works/roads.

What's your strategy for trails? What about rails?

Support trails around Eureka, especially in concentrated foot areas (Cutten) in and around schools to encourage walking. Rail may be a benefit locally, could coordinate with trails — [there is an] assessment of the canyon due in the future, I would like to see the 101 improvements quickly. They could make the difference in our area being competitive and insure constant access to Humboldt.

Thoughts on law enforcement and its funding?

We are finally recruiting patrol officers but are still short on correctional officers. We will need to guard our budget to keep the positions secure. We will have to keep all options open for maintaining essential services.

Under what conditions should owners of TPZ parcels be allowed to build homes on their land?

No changes have occurred. Home building on TPZ parcels remains a ministerial, across the counter application. Regular site requirements. I have received a lot of excellent input from landowners. Status quo.

How much do you figure you'll spend on the election? Where will the money come from?

$35,000-50,000 from friends, businesses, supporters, legislators, all whom have expressed confidence in me.

John Vevoda

What do you do for a living?

I am a farmer, businessman and dairyman. I operate a conventional and organic dairy along with an organic farming operation. I have been in the agricultural business for the last 34 years.

Why are you running for supervisor?

I want to make a difference. There is an opportunity to do a better job than what is presently being done. I know my skills, creativity and drive can take this district and county to a new level. I have compassion to serve the people for the greater good and this time of my life, I have to commit to get things done.

Which general plan option do you prefer? Why?

The state mandates that there be seven elements in a plan. Those seven elements have served us well over the last 20 years. We need to stick to those basic seven elements, tell the truth, follow the law and finish the project. We need to keep our rural lifestyles and not turn Humboldt County into an urban area such as Walnut Creek or the Bay Area.

What's the most broken thing in the county? How can we fix it?

The level of leadership that we are getting from our supervisors. We should be expecting and receiving excellence. Leadership starts at the top, with clear vision, direction and goals. We must start projects, and finish projects in a timely manner.

What is the main problem in your specific district that the county needs to address?

Lack of infrastructure to handle the mandated housing element. In meeting this mandate the First District shouldn't be saddled with a couple of thousand new homes, therefore we need more diversified housing throughout the county. It infringes upon our rural lifestyle and quality of life.

What do you see as the top priority for use of the General Fund?

I see as a priority for the general fund use to strengthen law enforcement and fix our roads.

What's your strategy for trails? What about rails?

Trails are an essential element of tourism in this county and should highlight our magnificent scenery as we develop this county into a destination for tourism.

The rails in this county have unseen potential when you look at how few ports of entry there are on the West Coast. The rail would be instrumental to shipping. We have an important deep-water port — with access to rail, our area would realize new energy. Our port and rails would also be imperative to national security. This venture can be realized through creative partnering and initiative to make projects like this happen.

Thoughts on law enforcement and its funding?

I support strong law enforcement. Funding is of utmost importance and should be the top priority. The other priority should be getting control of our county's out of control drug problem ... methamphetamines, marijuana and heroin. Agencies must cooperate, coordinate and have the support of all county agencies to promote the safety of all citizens.

Under what conditions should owners of TPZ parcels be allowed to build homes on their land?

People should be allowed to build on their own land. This is a property rights issue. Those who wish to build must follow applicable law, whether state or federal. If all criteria are in place, then people should be allowed to build on their land.

How much do you figure you'll spend on the election? Where will the money come from?

About $40,000. Grassroots people, individuals ... people like you and me ... people who are concerned with the direction the county is headed and want to change.

SECOND DISTRICT

Clif Clendenen

What do you do for a living?

I'm an apple farmer and businessman. I've owned and operated the family business, Clendenen's Cider Works, for the past 30 years.

Why are you running for Supervisor?

For a long time I've been interested in community planning and design. After participating as an interested citizen in Fortuna's General Plan Update process, I saw that I could use my experience as a business and community leader to lay the foundation to grow our economy while maintaining our quality of life.

Which General Plan option do you prefer? Why?

A-/B+ will best accommodate growth near existing infrastructure, create healthy, walkable communities and maintain productive timber and agricultural land as the county's economic foundation.

What's the most broken thing in the county? How can we fix it?

The economy. I want to make sure that we support our base industries and local merchants. I will encourage and welcome new industry and business by having appropriately zoned land, infrastructure, redundant broadband and a trained workforce available.

What is the main problem in your specific district that the county needs to address?

Services to outlying areas have been our greatest challenge and will be even more difficult with the state budget shortfall. Many areas, including road maintenance and sheriff's staffing, will be affected.

What do you see as the top priority for use of the General Fund?

Public safety is the top priority for use of the General Fund. We're in a difficult fiscal situation, but adequate funding for the Sheriff's Department to fully staff and retain officers is key. While fire departments have their own funding, we should assist them in any way we can.

What's your strategy for trails? What about rails?

We should continue to work for the federal grant to build a county-wide trails network. I encourage Fortuna and other Second District areas to participate.

I believe we should keep the rail lines and rights-of-way in single public ownership, but not spend more taxpayer money to restore rail service without a better cost/benefit ratio.

Thoughts on law enforcement and its funding?

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Department covers an unusually large area, especially in the Second District, and more deputies and funding are needed. I'd work creatively to find additional funding.

Under what conditions should owners of TPZ parcels be allowed to build homes on their land?

Small TPZ owners should be allowed to build with a CDF conversion permit. Ranchers should have flexibility for family and worker housing. Industrial timberland should be maintained for our resource economy. TPZ [gives owners] a 90 percent tax reduction to keep those lands in timber production.

How much do you figure you'll spend on the election? Where will the money come from?

I'll probably spend $35,000 on this election. I received $10,000 from the Blue Lake Rancheria, $3,500 from family members, and most of the rest in amounts ranging from $10 to $2,000 from friends and supporters.

Estelle Fennell

What do you do for a living?

I'm a professional journalist and graphic artist.

Why are you running for Supervisor?

I've been asked by many members of my community to run for this office and I agree with them that it's time for a change in county politics. I know that the skills I have learned and the experience I have gained through my work as a journalist and radio news director over the better part of two decades makes me uniquely qualified for the job.

Which General Plan option do you prefer? Why?

It's not that simple. I've been following the General Plan process closely and attended numerous meetings and at this point do not think any of the proposed options nails it. The final preferred option will incorporate elements of all four. We must come up with a balanced blueprint for sensible land use decision making. My core concern is that it include input from all sides, especially those who will be most affected by any changes put in place. It's also very important to me that current property owners do not lose any of the rights conveyed at the time of original purchase.

What's the most broken thing in the county? How can we fix it?

There is a crisis of trust in county government, as witnessed by the recent uproar over code enforcement policies and the moratorium on building on property zoned TPZ. We can fix it by being more open about policy development and implementation and by being more inclusive in our approach to county government, recognizing the very diverse needs of this mostly rural community.

What is the main problem in your specific district that the county needs to address?

The most pressing problem on most people's minds is the economy. We must stabilize our resource-based industries so that the associated jobs remain a sustainable force in our community. We must also work quickly to diversify our economy by making it possible for innovators and entrepreneurs to locate within the district. This means ensuring we have the needed infrastructure in place, including redundant broadband Internet. A thriving economy will bring better jobs and more money into the district, which will also lead to better public transportation, roads, emergency coverage from law enforcement, health care services and other pressing needs.

What do you see as the top priority for use of the General Fund?

In order to be included in General Fund allocations a project should address the health and safety of community citizens.

What's your strategy for trails? What about rails?

As gas costs become prohibitive for many, it makes good sense to look at trail improvements not just for recreation but as a viable, efficient and affordable means of transport between residential and commercial areas. There are different needs in the more built up areas and rural byways. I would propose the formation of a blue ribbon commission to research and review county owned property and right-of-ways for possible installation of trails. We could work with public interest groups and explore funding streams from organizations that support this healthy transportation alternative.

A re-vamp of the railroad appears cost-prohibitive and environmentally problematic at this juncture.

Thoughts on law enforcement and its funding?

Low wages for county deputies are already affecting my district. Deputies can't afford to live in outlying areas and that means a much longer response time in emergencies. In some cases, that becomes a matter of life and death. Deputies are also leaving the Sheriff's Department for better paying jobs in city police forces or even out-of -state. It's in the interest of the common good that this situation be remedied. As it stands now, law and justice already take the lion's share of the county general fund (42.3 percent) so we may be forced to look to other revenue streams to augment the law enforcement budget.

Under what conditions should owners of TPZ parcels be allowed to build homes on their land?

Current regulations allow for families to build a home on property zoned TPZ. Other improvements are subject to additional regulation. I know that traditionally, most families that live on the land are better stewards of that land. I do not support the overdevelopment of valuable timber resource lands. Such development flies in the face of common sense, considering the lack of infrastructure and limitations such as availability of water, and it is also currently highly regulated.

How much do you figure you'll spend on the election? Where will the money come from?

Approximately $50,000. The money comes in the form of numerous contributions from individuals throughout the district with a few from friends elsewhere. The smallest, $5, the largest, thus far, $2,000.

Johanna Rodoni

(Note: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently appointed Johanna Rodoni to fill the seat on the board of supervisors held by her husband, Roger Rodoni, who was killed in a car accident last month. Roger Rodoni's name is still on the ballot. If he wins, the governor will appoint a replacement to serve in his stead in the 2009-2010 term. It is extremely likely that Johanna Rodoni would be tapped to serve; she told the Journal last week that she would be willing to serve if the governor so chooses.)

What do you do for a living?

I own and manage Rodoni Ranch, a commercial beef cow-calf business. Geographically, the ranch is located in three different areas within the county. My cattle are raised and sold as both natural and grass-fed beef. As part of the ranching operation, I also make and sell hay.

I am currently employed as the executive director of the Buckeye Conservancy. Buckeye is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of family farm, ranch and forest landowners dedicated to those ideals and policies that support the ecological and economic sustainability of natural resources and open space in family ownership.

Why do you want to be Supervisor?

My late husband Roger stood for honesty and integrity in county government. He was a champion for the rights of his constituency. Roger and I were partners in his political career. I've been appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to finish out Roger's term. I am honored to be in the position to take up where Roger left off in his role of being a strong "straightforward" voice on the Board of Supervisors, and I look forward to continuing with his common sense approach. Humboldt County needs a representative on the Board of Supervisors who has a background in private business and who also understands our rural culture. I am a natural fit for that segment of our county.

Which General Plan option do you prefer? Why?

I have no preference at this time. I have been engaged in the process from the beginning and I am extremely disappointed in the amount of time and tax dollars spent on the process. It has turned from an "update" to an expensive and languishing experience. Many citizens with vested interests in Humboldt County continue to feel their input is being ignored. I will continue to study the alternatives as proposed by county staff and listen to the public input. I will participate in the upcoming discussions about the General Plan update and give careful consideration to the options as the update moves forward. I will advocate for whichever plan makes the most sense for the future of the county and its citizens.

What's the most broken thing in the county? And how can we fix it?

I don't see that there is one thing that is "most broken" but several things that need to be set as a priority and fixed. Many of our problems would be solved if the state gave us our fair share of our own tax dollars. We should be able to allocate the funds to the services and programs we need for Humboldt to prosper and survive. As Supervisor, I will fight for those dollars. The current Board of Supervisors has kept the county in the black for over 10 years despite a declining revenue stream and tough economic times and I will strive to help uphold that tradition.

Some of the "most broken" things for me that need to be addressed are:

Jobs. Good paying jobs are essential to our economy and I will do everything in my power to make sure the businesses that provide those jobs thrive. We need a planning department dedicated to serving the people of Humboldt County to make this work. As a county, we need to be open to new ideas to diversifying our economy. Our natural resource base continues to play a major role in our economy and we need to protect that viable asset.

Roads. Humboldt County's Public Works Department budget has dwindled dramatically in recent years. They have been very innovative in acquiring funds from non-traditional sources to do the necessary maintenance on our county roads, but it's not enough to keep up with our many miles of road.

Redundant Fiber. Our community cannot afford to have banks, businesses, government, gas stations and virtually all communications stop because a backhoe accidentally cuts through our one and only communications line. We need a backup fiber optic line not only to sustain our way of life, communicate in the event of an emergency, but also to prosper and grow our businesses, tele-medicine, educational opportunities and economy by having reliable and fast communication lines with the rest of the world. The private and public sector need to work together on a solution. Much of the groundwork has already been done. Now we need to assure that it is a top priority and get it done.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety for all areas of the county. We need for our citizens to feel safe and secure in their homes. I plan to work with Sheriff Philp to help figure out ways to bring back some services, such as a fully staffed substation in Garberville and increased patrol in the outlying areas.

What is the main problem in your specific district that the county needs to address?

Public Trust, Infrastructure, Jobs, Planning, Code Enforcement.

What do you see as the top priority for use of the General Fund?

Public safety.

What's your strategy for trails? What about rails?

Trails make sense for Humboldt County. Our natural beauty and healthy environment are assets to showcase, and how better to do it than with trails? The Second District is fortunate to have several outstanding trail systems, including a horse trail at Cuneo Creek, a walking trail in Bull Creek, walking trails in Humboldt Redwood State Park and the Lost Coast Trail, which traverses the coast from the mouth of the Mattole to Shelter Cove. I think we should improve on marketing these trails to draw more tourists from the Bay Area. With the high cost of fuel, I believe we could attract many "local" visitors to our area.

As much as I love trains, having traveled throughout the United States via railroad, a viable train line from the San Francisco Bay Area to Humboldt County is not likely to come to fruition any time soon. The costs to rebuild the line are staggering and the environmental review would be daunting.

Thoughts on law enforcement and its funding?

There simply is not enough discretionary funding to pay for adequate law enforcement. I would like to find a way to be able to afford regular-ongoing 24-hour law enforcement protection to every community and area of Humboldt County, inclusive of deputies' patrolling the streets and neighborhoods.

Under what conditions should owners of TPZ parcels be allowed to build homes on their land?

Owners should be able to build houses on their land consistent with the current General Plan.

How much do you figure you'll spend on the election? Where will the money come from?

The Committee to Re-elect Roger Rodoni has raised approximately $60,000. The money has come from hundreds of individual donors including ranchers, business owners, retirees, doctors, teachers, accountants, timberland owners, contractors, farmers, county, state and federal employees, entrepreneurs, truckers, firemen, family members and friends. The donations range from $10 to $1,000.

THIRD DISTRICT

Mark Lovelace

What do you do for a living?

I have a business as a manufacturing consultant, helping small manufacturers here and around the country develop products, design tooling and improve production. Before that, I worked for many years with a local manufacturer. I also work with a variety of community organizations, dealing with environmental issues, land use, development, affordable housing, infrastructure, economic development and public health.

Some of my community work has been paid for, but much of it has been volunteer. I have also volunteered my time with a number of organizations on behalf of our area's youth, and consistently in my daughter's schools.

My background has given me broad experience working on the issues that are most critical to Humboldt County's future. I have demonstrated that I can bring diverse interests together to work towards solutions, even on contentious issues. I have also worked with local, state and federal agencies both here and in Sacramento, and have shown that I can get things done.

The Sunny Brae Community Forest is a great example of this. I was able to bring together the community, a major landowner, agencies, funders and the city of Arcata to add 175 acres to the Arcata Community Forest.

Why are you running for Supervisor?

I'm running for Supervisor for the same reason that so many of us choose to live in Humboldt County: It's a great place to live, work, and raise a family and I love it. As we continue to grow, it's important that we figure out what things we want to hold on to, and what things we want to change.

Our scenic beauty, our rural character and our quality of life are the reasons people live here, and the reasons people stay here. At the same time, we need to build safer, healthier communities and a stronger local economy.

Having been involved in so many county issues over the years, I have a deep understanding of the concerns on all sides. I believe that my broad experience and leadership abilities would serve our community well as we move forward.

Which General Plan option do you prefer? Why?

I have been involved in the General Plan Update process since it began in 2000. Two of the most important goals are to keep our working forests and farmlands, and hold on to our rural character.

Alternative A would allow us to grow at about the rate we've been growing, while keeping our rural areas rural. Alternative B would allow us to grow up to twice as fast by moving development out into some of our forests and farmlands. Alternative C would allow us to grow up to three times as fast as we've been growing, which would make us one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. That would have a huge impact on our rural areas, our environment and our community character.

Developing our forests and farmlands would also lead to a loss of jobs in our traditional industries like timber and farming, and will result in the higher costs for new roads, road repairs and more law enforcement.

I believe Option A would best protect our rural character while still allowing us to grow at a reasonable rate in those areas that have the infrastructure to support it. This would also help us build safe, healthy, livable communities and provide for more affordable housing.

What's the most broken thing in the county? How can we fix it?

Housing affordability is a huge issue here in Humboldt County. In recent years we've seen home prices spiral out of reach, to where only about 14 percent of residents can afford the median priced home. This is a statewide issue, but it is made worse here by our comparatively low wages.

We are going to need a variety of tools to address this issue. We need to allow a greater variety of housing types that are affordable to a wider range of buyers. Most first-time buyers are not going to be able to afford a large house on a large lot, so we need to build some entry-level homes that allow families to build equity. We need to provide greater flexibility in terms of lot sizes, setbacks, parking requirements and other restrictions to allow for more creativity.

We will also need to provide some assistance to help first-time home buyers, and to ensure that affordable housing stays affordable.

What is the main problem in your specific district that the county needs to address?

I have been walking door-to-door all over Arcata, and the number one issue I hear about is grow houses. They are in every neighborhood, and people know which houses on their street have gone dark. People I talk to all say that they support the compassionate use of medical marijuana, but they feel that their compassion is being abused, and that these grow houses are sucking the life out of their neighborhoods.

I believe that we are dealing with the unintended consequences of creating a new industry without even the most basic of regulations. If a person wanted to open a family child care center in their home, they would need to get a Conditional Use Permit from the city or the county, yet we don't require that for a growing operation. What does this say about our values as a community?

Some basic rules, including zoning, permitting and fire and electrical safety inspections, would deal with most of the problems from this issue by getting it out of our neighborhoods and ensuring that it is done safely.

What do you see as the top priority for use of the General Fund?

General fund monies should be used first and foremost to cover our most basic necessities as a county. In tough budget times like these, one of our top priorities should be making sure that there is adequate funding to retain our skilled county employees and to continue the services they provide.

County staff are our most valuable resource. The work that they do helps families put food on the table, provide health care for children and helps people get out of abusive situations. County staff also maintain our roads and our infrastructure, and protect public safety.

As your Supervisor I will work to make sure they receive the funding they need. This is one of the reasons that I have received the endorsement of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Local 1684, the Humboldt Deputy Sheriffs' Organization and the last three county supervisors from this district.

What's your strategy for trails? What about rails?

I strongly support the creation of a regional bicycle and pedestrian trail system that connects Arcata and Eureka, as well as McKinleyville, Fortuna and other communities throughout the county. With the rising cost of gas and the threat posed by global warming, sustainable and affordable forms of transportation are becoming more important than ever before. This project is strongly supported by the public and in my opinion it is long overdue.

Trails will benefit our environment by reducing automobile use, and will lead to new economic growth by attracting tourism and businesses that value a high quality of life. They will also provide huge benefits to public health and safety by getting bicyclists and pedestrians off of our roads, and encouraging active lifestyles.

Numerous studies over the last 10 years have consistently shown that the safest, most feasible and most cost-effective approach to making a regional trail system a reality is to use the railroad right-of-way. Through rail-banking, the trail would help hold on to that right-of-way, and would not prevent us from being able to use it for a railroad again in the future, should that become feasible.

The public owns this right-of-way, and we should be using it. As Supervisor, I would make this project a priority.

Thoughts on law enforcement and its funding?

As a strong supporter of "community policing," I will work closely with local law enforcement to ensure that they are fully integrated into our community. It's important that our officers feel respected by the community, just as it's important that community members feel respected by law enforcement.

I'm proud to be endorsed by the Humboldt Deputy Sheriffs' Organization. These are the people who are on the front lines every day. I will work with our elected representatives in Sacramento to secure the funding they need to keep our communities safe.

Under what conditions should owners of TPZ parcels be allowed to build homes on their land?

TPZ is a program that allows owners of timberlands to pay reduced property taxes in return for keeping those lands in timber production. Those taxes are deferred until the time that timber is harvested, to prevent landowners from having to log just to pay their tax bill. In this way, the TPZ program benefits both landowners and the public by encouraging better timber management, and by keeping lands in working open space.

Though this has been a contentious issue, I believe our community is largely in agreement that we want to keep these lands as working timberlands, and not see them lost to runaway development. State law allows landowners to build and live on TPZ lands so long as it does not conflict with the management of the land. We need greater community discussion on how to do this, and how to protect the equity that people have invested in these lands.

How much do you figure you'll spend on the election? Where will the money come from?

I am expecting that I will need to spend around $50,000 on this campaign, but it could end up being more or less than that depending on spending by my opponents. Most of my campaign's money has come from friends, family and other community members who support my candidacy. I also expect to receive some funding from local businesses and labor unions.

Paul Pitino

What do you do for a living?

I am a self-employed landscaper and Arcata City Councilperson.

Why are you running for Supervisor?

Third District Supervisor is a great opportunity to use the training and experience I have received as a councilman and chairman of the Humboldt Transit Authority. I bring an educated, working class perspective with me and, as a bonus, local campaign finance reform taking money and influence out of politics.

Which General Plan option do you prefer? Why?

Option A. It's environmentally superior (per Fish and Game). It's the healthiest (per County Health). And it's the slowest growth option, with fairly good infill plans.

What's the most broken thing in the county? How can we fix it?

Alternative Transportation. It's not broken, it is just not complete. First: We need to address the bus system, by adding Sunday service and late night service Thursday, Friday and Saturday between major cities. Second: We need safe bike/ped routes/trails between the major cities in the county.

What is the main problem in your specific district that the county needs to address?

The conditions of the homeless/houseless population. We need an emergency shelter large enough to actually service the population that lives here. It doesn't need to be anything other than a place to sleep, eat and get clean that's safe and contained. The county services can go there and assist people getting on their feet and getting connected to their families, friends and services. It should be temporary and flexible to change with the times and the emergencies that come up.

What do you see as the top priority for use of the General Fund?

I'll have to leave that to the budget sessions, but I realize that Health/Human Services and public safety are the big ones, so they naturally would be on top.

What's your strategy for trails? What about rails?

Convincing the NCRA to abandon and rail bank the Annie & Mary line from Arcata to Blue Lake for starters; it's almost there as a trail, now get it done. Then using that experience to consider abandoning/rail banking the line from Arcata to Eureka for use as a corridor trail as part of a possible Bay Trail.

The rails need to get trains running out of Samoa. I suggest a short line from Samoa to Manila for a beginning, to be followed with a longer line from Samoa to Arcata. Prove it's possible and start small. Maybe light rail for the future from Arcata to Fortuna is something long-term to consider.

Thoughts on law enforcement and its funding?

Law enforcement always needs more funding, but money isn't everything. Hours of work and conditions are things to consider too. Possible county-wide tax for funding law enforcement is always available.

Under what conditions should owners of TPZ parcels be allowed to build homes on their land?

I believe that law limits building to a residence or other structure necessary for management of land zoned for timber production, so it's pretty flexible. However, planning needs to look at this parcel by parcel so as to limit road building and sprawl. Homes need to be as close as possible to existing infrastructure.

How much do you figure you'll spend on the election? Where will the money come from?

I'll be spending $200-300 on my campaign 'til June 3 and less than $1,000 total if it goes to November. The money comes from my own savings.

I don't take donations, endorsements, or place ads, signs or buttons, all in the spirit of local campaign finance reform.

Bryan Plumley

What do you do for a living?

I am a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments. I work with individuals, families and business to help them plan their financial future and meet important financial goals.

Why are you running for Supervisor?

Humboldt County is an incredible place to live, work and raise a family. As a financial advisor I have shared my clients' struggles as they have worked to find and keep a good job and a home they can afford so that they can stay here.

While I am not politically connected, I believe that my education and experience as a landscape architect with a focus on sustainable community development, combined with my extensive background in economic development and financial skills, make me the most qualified candidate. This balanced background will help me identify the opportunities that will both protect the rural quality of life we treasure and create the jobs we will need to stay here.

I am in this race because I am passionate about economic development and I did not see another candidate with the background necessary to create jobs, raise our standard of living and improve our quality of life.

Which General Plan option do you prefer? Why?

My background in both community development and economics makes me uniquely qualified when it comes to the general plan update. The most important thing to remember about the general plan is that it will have a tremendous impact on the affordability of housing over the coming decade. While many associate the various plans with growth rates (build it and they will come), nothing could be further from the truth. The drivers of population growth are incredibly complex and, to a large extent, are out of a community's control. Quality of life is preserved by being prepared, and having robust standards that insure good development not just restrictive policies.

From an environmental standpoint, community development should focus on standards that drive innovative solutions to infrastructure that are less industrial in scale. There are great examples out there like Davis' Village Homes, where many of the impacts of the development, in terms of storm water, energy and transportation, are addressed and mitigated for internally. I support the development of a state-of-the-art green building program and aggressive goals for regional energy independence. In terms of the environment, our economy and our overall quality of life, we will get much more bang for our buck by focusing on building innovative communities than we will by focusing entirely on constraining supply.

For these reasons, I am most inclined to support alternative B, as it is the most attractive in terms of both environmental and economic concerns and is also the alternative supported by the staff.

What's the most broken thing in the county? How can we fix it?

My passion is economic development and I believe we are sitting on a world of opportunity. Today, rising energy prices and growing concern over global climate change have made the environmental leadership that the Third District has built over the past decades incredibly valuable. In the past, economic development policy has focused on retail businesses and has been more about stopping projects we don't like than inspiring the kinds of innovation that are the real drivers of new jobs. We need to think differently. If elected I will work to implement policies that will build on our environmental leadership like a state-of-the-art green building program and a strategy for regional energy independence. I am the only candidate with the background in sustainable community development and economic development needed to take advantage of these emerging opportunities.

What is the main problem in your specific district that the county needs to address?

Grow houses. The county needs to take a leading role in the development of regional standards that will protect a patient's access to medical marijuana while at the same time protecting the community from the negative impacts of large scale marijuana production. The recent explosion over the past several years of a highly profitable and virtually unregulated business is having a large impact on the Third District's neighborhoods both in terms of quality and affordability.

What do you see as the top priority for use of the General Fund?

Government's role is to lay the foundation upon which a thriving community and economy can be built. I will prioritize public safety, job creation and fiscal accountability. As someone with a strong foundation in setting financial priorities and real experience solving financial problems, I am the only candidate qualified to make these decisions based on objective, rather than political criteria.

What's your strategy for trails? What about rails?

It is clear that the construction of a regional trail system is a high priority for the residents of Humboldt County. If elected, I would focus my efforts on first, creating a regional team that could combine resources to be more effective in designing and securing funds for the system, and second, expanding the trail feasibility study to include a wider range of possibilities for a trail location between Arcata and Eureka and a more thorough examination of the potential for rail banking and/or less expensive rail with trail alternatives.

We should not pursue a narrow strategy that could either potentially delay a project due to unrealistic assumptions regarding the potential of a particular alternative or make long-term sacrifices in terms of future rail development.

With regard to rails, I believe that at this moment rail transportation in Humboldt County has some serious problems to overcome. I have however, learned as an investor that things can change quickly and unexpectedly. Success comes from being prepared when opportunity presents itself.

Thoughts on law enforcement and its funding?

Law enforcement should be implemented in such a way that it is able to prevent crime rather than simply react to it. This requires a well staffed, trained and compensated department that is able to focus on building strong relationships in the communities they serve. While on the short term this is more expensive to implement, I believe that over time the benefits of reduced crime and its associated costs to the government and community are well worth the investment.

Under what conditions should owners of TPZ parcels be allowed to build homes on their land?

I fully support the right to live on your land. It is the foundation of the rural lifestyle we treasure and I do not believe the productivity of our forests is put at risk because there is a home on the property. To the contrary, I believe environmental stewardship is enhanced by a closer connection to the forest and that this is a key step in creating more sustainable timber industry. Rather than creating impediments to homestead forestry we should be working to facilitate the certification of these parcels to the highest environmental standards. In this way we can receive the environmental benefits of less intensive forestry practices and the economic benefits of higher prices for sustainably harvested forest products.

In addition, we need to set high environmental standards that mitigate for the environmental impacts rural development can have. This is an opportunity to find innovative solutions and build industry leadership in environmental technology that will both protect our rural lands and create jobs.

How much do you figure you'll spend on the election? Where will the money come from?

Our strategy to win this election is based on meeting and talking with individual voters. A certain amount of advertising is necessary to build name recognition, which helps open doors. The key is what happens once the door is open. This is why, instead of broad platitudes, I have chosen to put forward a detailed platform. I spend my time talking about the issues I am passionate about, not what I think people want to hear and I spend a tremendous amount of time listening. We will spend less than $30,000 on the primary election and it will come from our supporters. I do not believe money wins elections so I am more concerned with the number of supporters than the size of their checks.

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