Residents meet local candidates
A correction has been made to the treasurer/ tax collector candidate statements.
Wednesday, May 7 — Lassen County residents seized the opportunity to question and meet local candidates running for county and city positions in the June 3 election.
On Wednesday, April 30, the Janesville Town Council hosted a forum for Janesville residents to have the opportunity to see how the county candidates would be able to help them.
“I think it went really well,” said Austin Meinert, Janesville Town Council chairman. ”Hopefully these events give people a better idea of who they are voting for … I have an idea of who I am voting for.”
Additionally, on Thursday, May 1, the Lassen County Republican Central Committee hosted an event for the public to hear county and city statements and mingle afterward.
Mike Bartley, a Lassen County resident who attended the Republican Party meeting, claimed he felt the candidate night allowed him to change his mind on some of the races.
“I did not have everything firmed up yet,” said Bartley.
However he claimed the most striking theme he heard during the evening was concerned about economic development.
“…To have someone more growth-minded … you need that (in a county),” he added.
Additionally, Republican meeting attendee Carol Byers stated the night helped her also confirm or change ideas about who to vote for in the upcoming elections. She also felt the evening was beneficial.
“People need to be informed voters and this gives them an opportunity to find out more,” she said.
During the Janesville meeting, however, audience members were able to question individual candidates or all of them in the same race at once. Many questions were targeted at the District 3 supervisor candidates, since they would represent the Janesville area.
One attendee addressed the candidates asking how they saw their plans for economic development affecting District 3 and asked whether they knew about the current economic development plan already initiated by the board of supervisors.
Jesse Claypool responded he was focused on business stability, rather than bringing in new businesses without a stable economic base. He also claimed to get the economic development plans out to the public. Chuck Downs said he was part of the plan suggested, but said he was concerned with how long the process was taking to implement the plan. He suggested not waiting, but bringing in new businesses immediately and making it easier to bring in jobs. Jeff Hemphill claimed the board of supervisors needed to redirect county staff with the plan, but should bring in more businesses and change the board to a can-do attitude. He claimed anything happening in the county was good for all the residents. Max Tinnin claimed to help make the area more business-friendly and bring in more jobs that could employ a large number of people. Joseph Turner said he would implement the plan as soon as possible, but in the meantime, he said the local leaders should encourage and petition other businesses to come to the area.
Another question presented to the candidates was what they would do to make the board of supervisors more accessible, in regards to the board hiring County Counsel out of the area.
Claypool added he discovered the length of the meetings did not allow for evening meetings, but said he, as an individual, would be an accessible and responsible supervisor. Downs answered he believed the in-fighting in the office was unacceptable, but claimed he believed the board should not hide anything. Hemphill claimed he would do his best to change the attitude of the board and be easy to get in touch with on a personal basis, and said he did not agree with the hiring process, but thought the county should move forward. Tinnin responded he believed the meetings were pretty accessible despite the closed sessions. Turner believed the hiring process was not completed in good taste but claimed the meetings should be shifted to a time where the community could best attend.
Directed at the candidates running for county clerk-recorder, an audience member inquired after what Julie Bustamante and David Cole felt about county heads having term limits.
Bustamante had mixed feelings concerning the board of supervisors, but believed constant change in department heads did not allow the elected official to have the needed background to get the job done. Cole responded that public service positions should have term limits and said it was important to get fresh, new ideas.
Candidates for the county superintendent of schools Richard DuVarney and Patricia Gunderson were posed with a question regarding what they would do to help ensure having vocational programs in schools for students skilled in those areas.
DuVarney responded that school districts had to do what they needed to in order to survive during hard times, but believed times were improving and said he would advise and encourage school districts to reinstate vocational courses. Gunderson believed skilled laborers were gone and believed the educational department should work with local businesses and the college programs to encourage the high school and community to look at vocational programs.
Additionally, an audience member questioned the candidates for the county treasurer/ tax collector whether if elected they could serve 100 percent of the time.
Brian Wilson said the position would claim 100 percent of his attention and he would work full time in the office, but said he would switch his time working at his business from full time to part time, and said he would dump his other obligations. John Mallery claimed his family would come first but the he would serve the position fulltime. Nancy Cardenas said her family also comes first, but said she would not dump any other obligations she is committed to if she were elected to the position. Candidate Richard Stovall was not present at the forum.
Finally, the public had the opportunity to question the district attorney candidates David Evans and Stacy Montgomery.
An audience member posed a question on how each candidate would handle truancy in schools. Montgomery responded saying she would prosecute parents, and possibly offer the parents a diversion program to get parents to send children back to school. Evans said he already was prosecuting parents as deputy district attorney, and said it was important children stay out of trouble, but said the parents needed to be punished for not making children go to school.
Another questioned posed focused on the relationships each candidate had in place to hit the ground running in the office, and asked what kind of relationship he or she would have with county counsel Bob Burns.
Evans responded he would not allow Burns to influence the job he would do as district attorney, but after working with him for the past seven years, is prepared to work with Burns. Montgomery replied saying she has worked with Burns, but said the county counsel could not work over the district attorney. She also mentioned her ongoing dialogue with Susanville Police Chief Tom Downing and Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon.