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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
May 5, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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May 5, 2010

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14A we0nesclay, May 5, 2010 Feather River Bulletin FORUM, from page 1A priorities, a lot of times we find that he's missing in action." Leonhardt argued the ERC was a group that advocated for the timber industry and the local economy, which formed a coalition with 17 counties. The assessor said he went to Sacramento on county time to meet with the regional forester and repre- sentative from other counties "to try to impress upon him the impact of losing infra- structure such as mills, the impact of losing the hospital in Greenville." He added, "When I have the opportunity to put a few hours in a month to work on a project of that magnitude that has "to do with the livelihood of everyone in this room, I think that's worth spending some time." The audience responded to this with a considerable wave of applause. In answer to a question about how much experience the candidates had "assess- ing boats, mining claims, possessory interest and busi- ness equipment," Gardner responded that he didn't have any more experience than any other assessor had before they took the job. He added, "This is a job that is for the folks. This is not a career that you spend 17 years in." "The president of the United States only gets eight years for crying out loud." Leonhardt countered, "In the last 72 years, four people have held that position." "I think it's important to see in history that this is Chuck Leonhardt Incumbent Assessor a very complex job and it requires a lot of knowledge." Later, Gardner said his main focus was lowering every assessment possible in the county every year. "All of you who have had any kind of buying of homes or real estate in the last 10, 12, 15 years have got taxes that have gone up 2 percent minimum a year and we need to get 'era back down." "We have to do it across the board." This drew enthu- siastic applause from two people in the audience. Leonhardt told the crowd, "I'm sure the concept of an across-the-board tax cut makes a lot of sense to all of us. The problem is it's not consistent with the California Constitution." Sheriff Challenger Bob Shipp opened his forum by telling the audience that distrust had grown between the sher- iff's office and community because of "a good old boy administration within the sheriff's office that lacks ac- countability, responsibility and an infrastructure of checks and balances." Legal aid for seniors Legal assistance is avail- able at no cost to low-income Plumas County residents age 60 and over. Services in- clude legal information and advice on such concerns as elder abuse, consumer fraud, credit problems, housing issues, MediCal, SSA/SSI over payment, pow- ers of attorney (both health and financial), IHSS and Long Term Care MediCal. For more information and to schedule an appointment in Plumas County, call PASSAGES Adult resource Center at 283-0891. Appoint- ment times are currently available May 10, and June 14. Seniors may also access the Senior Legal Hotline that provides free legal information, advice and brief services by phone to Californians over 60 at (800) 222-1753. Questions can also be sub- mitted through the website at Open 7 Days - All Year Drink Specials Margaritas Pinata 11:30am - 9pm 8296 Hwy 89, Graeagle (Located at River Pines Resort) The former Plumas County Sheriff's deputy said the sheriff's office administra- tion "does what it wants, when it wants, because it can. "I Understand the nature of these problems, have the ex- perience and know how to correct them." Sheriff Greg Hagwood agreed that the sheriff's office had "suffered some chal- lenges" over the past several years. He argued he and his staff have been addressing those issues since he became undersheriff. "I'm very pleased to say that we have made tremendous progress in a very short period of time." Asked to describe his most significant duties at the sheriff's office, Shipp told the crowd working on the "Every 15 Minutes" anti-DUI pro- gram was his biggest selling point. He said he also started a program called Prevention/ Intervention of Exploitation of Juveniles that had been in all the county high schools for more than 10 years and was the only program of its kind in the state as far as he knew. Asked about experience preparing budgets, Shipp responded that he worked with many budgets in his various sergeant positions in Santa Cruz County. Hagwood said he'd put to- gether "two back-to-back balanced, on time budgets" for the entire sheriffs office. He said the sheriff's office lost more than $800,000 in revenues and general fund contributions in that time. "I have not laid off one officer. It has been a challenge. It has required a tremendous amount of work not only on my part but my staff." Asked how to improve the relationship between the county and sheriff's office Shipp said that was the reason he was running. He said the SO had a responsi- bility "not just to be the watch guard of the commu- nity but be a participative, active, involved participant of the community." Hagwood said created a citizens' liaison committee that spent four hours at the sheriff's office every month studying various parts of its operation and reporting to the Board of Supervisors. He said the department Mike Gardner Challenger for Assessor also gave jail tours to other groups upon request. "We're bringing the community into the sheriffs department. We're opening our doors. We're explaining to them what we do, why we do it, and it's every aspect of our agency" Asked how the two candi- dates were different, Shipp said he didn't think his opponent understood the community's perception of the sheriff's office. "We have a perception here that Greg was a sergeant, and then the sheriff backed him and promoted him to under- sheriff and ,then the sheriff retired early and then he got put into incumbency. "I don't think he sees the perception of that good old boy system working to move him to the sheriff and put him in that position." Shipp said Hagwood had driven a sheriff's office car to political events. "I called him on it a couple times and he repeated it two more times. The perception is that he is able to politic on duty. "Now he could of left it, 100 yards away was the substa- tion. He could have left it and walked across the street, but he doesn't see the perception of how that looks." In his closing statement Hagwood responded, "Never in my life was I ever described as a good old boy. I've-been on the receiving end of the good old boy system. I know exactly how disastrous that is to an organization. "I can assure you that the good old boy system is not present at the sheriff's department nor will it ever return as long as ! am there." Addressing the patrol car he added, "I'm a working sheriff. When I leave there, I Mother's Day at in Historic Johnsville 9PI NIN Friday May 7 for the season Take your lady to the Door Executive Chef, Chris Simone Reservations suggested - 836-2376 Dinner 5:00pm Closed Tuesdays Your Hosts, The David Family Charming and historic...perfect for that "Special Occasion" Fine Dining--Marvelous Meals--Full Bar lO minutes from Graeagle via Johnsville Road am on duty, and in two of those instances I backed my officers up on the way back to the office. One for a mental health suicide attempt, the other one for a 911 call." He concluded, "I'm work- ing 12 - 15hours a day. I don't have a secretary, ! don't have an officer manager, I don't have an undersheriff, and I'm not going to have one for a long time." In closing, Shipp argued, "It's not enough to be honest and hard working," the sheriff's office also has to "give the community the image and perception of honesty and hard work. The perception here is that those who are in power are not ac- countable. It reminds me of Washington, D.C., politics." District 5 supervisor Ralph Wittick opened by telling voters, "I'm beholden to no one, no organization, no group of citizens, no busi- nesses. I'm supporting myself and I'm working for you. "I'd like to bring good common sense to govern- ment, and I'd also like to see spending stop right here in Plumas County, Sacramento and especially in Washing- ton, D.C." Dick Lundy said his ex- perience working as a civil engineer privately and with Caltrans gave him a lifetime of county level planning experience. Jon Kennedy argued his best quality "is my concern for others and my concern for the successful future of this county. I care about the hard- working people trying to earn a living in this county. I care about the hardworking people that earned the oppor- tunity to retire in this county. I care about my kids. I care about your kids." When asked about plans for increasing revenues in the county, Kennedy said, "It would be lovely to have the timber industry back like it was in the '70s. We may or may not see it hit that again." He said Plumas had to "branch out and try to look for other types of industries just in case we don't get that same :industry' back'." " Wittick said Downieville was doing very well with mountain biking and, "We could do the same thing. We have the greatest golf courses in the world as far as I'm concerned. "Why can't we do some- thing like they do at Tahoe where you advertise in like a golfing magazine?" He said the county should offer packages for tourists to "play the various golf courses for a set amount of money, maybe we could subsidize it with some of the TOT money or some of the money that's been wasted for years and years and years with Plumas Corporation and that's into the millions of dollars. "We could do whitewater rafting. We've got the greatest river from the Red Bridge at La Porte all the way down. "All we have to do is map it out and then get a hold of all these people that do rafting in Truckee and around Grass Valley, Nevada City, and invite them up here." "We've got a railroad museum. People love rail- roads. When they run those trains through, you see hun- dreds of cars, people taking pictures. We have so much to offer and we have to promote it." Lundy agreed that tourism should be a focus, "But I think that we need to spend time on industry. We've lost a lot of that and it's cost us jobs." He also said the county was being "hurt vecy badly by demands from the state." He said the county should "start doing studies in the forest on what is the very best thing that we can do to a forest to make it the healthiest forest avail- able." "Rather than just think of the timber harvest plan we need to think of the forest as a multi-use facility." Wittick argued he would like the supervisors to have county counsel focus on count ersuing environmental groups "or even hire more attorneys" to pursue that type of action. Kennedy said he wanted to make sure the $1.2 million in transient occupancy tax was being spent on essential services and marketing the county to increase tourism. EMS, from page 1A very sensitive to rural issues. Ingstad added he'd never heard a local emergency services provider talk about wanting to switch to another provider. 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