Cole, Lamphier outline priorities at Democratic forum |

Cole, Lamphier outline priorities at Democratic forum

Other Voices
Nancy Eubanks

The Nevada City Veterans Hall was packed Tuesday night to hear candidates Terry Lamphier and Fran Cole roll out their platforms for a seat on the board of supervisors. Lamphier is running for his second term as supervisor of District 3; Fran Cole is vying for the seat currently held by Hank Weston in District 4.

Lamphier noted that one of the principle duties of the board of supervisors is to oversee the management of our $180 million annual operating budget. As vice chair of the Mental Health Committee, Lamphier is proud of the statewide recognition our county has received for its innovative programs. "Identifying and getting help for people with mental disorders is a matter of public safety," stated Lamphier.

Lamphier claimed the local economy is his primary focus.

"I'm for the mom and pop stores that give our county its unique identity and a decent living. I certainly don't want to see low-paying big box stores put our local retailers out of business," he declared.

When asked about taxes, Lamphier responded, "It's not about how much money you pay in taxes, it's what you get as a 'return on your investment,' and, of course, everyone has his or her own idea of what taxes should be spent on. I'm proud of the fact county government continues to be fiscally responsible and has had no need to ask for a tax increase."

Fran Cole is running for supervisor based on the need for diversity on the board and her strong business background. Cole and her family moved to Grass Valley in 1999. Fran was the former president of the Bear Yuba Land Trust, is on the board of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition and has been a volunteer at Sammie's Friends since its inception. These activities reflect her mantra of personal responsibility and giving back to her community.

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Fran served as a business and financial services attorney for more than 20 years.

"I developed executive and risk management skills, practiced in the area of municipal finance and negotiated major contracts for businesses," she stated when asked about her qualifications for the job.

Cole outlined her priorities as economic development; fire fuel-load reduction; and protecting our most valuable natural resource, our watershed.

"Roughly 60 percent of California's water comes from our Sierra Nevada mountains, yet we are only receiving 2 percent of the money the state gets from water sales," she declared.

"I will use my skills to negotiate a better deal for us."

Missed opportunities for grants and funding are another reason Cole decided to enter the race for supervisor. Because Nevada County has not developed a climate control plan, the opportunity to claim a portion of the $850 million that the state allocated for sustainable communities was missed.

When asked about the move to change Nevada County into a charter county, Cole responded, "As a risk control manger, I am against the concept of creating a charter county because it would create a lack of diversification in our investments, which I view as a unwise position. Beyond that, I believe the costs of amending our county charter would be prohibitive."

Lamphier supports the concept of moving money from Wall Street to invest in Main Street and asked proponents to provide more information on California counties that are or have recently become chartered, with an assessment of pluses and minus.

Supervisor Lamphier affirmed his commitment to steer the county's economic development direction toward developing environmentally and economically sustainable decent-paying jobs. Both support the idea of a biomass energy facility. If done right, it would reduce greenhouse gases and fire danger while creating good paying local jobs and decentralizing energy production.

The evening ended on a "high" note. When asked what he thought was the biggest mistake made by the board recently, Lamphier responded to gales of laughter by saying he thought the board has wasted a lot of money by refusing to mediate with Americans for Safe Access over the Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance the board passed 4-1 (Lamphier was the sole dissenter).

"I think we all realize that an ordinance is necessary, but I feel the process was rushed, and we ended up with a flawed measure," Lamphier said.

"It doesn't cost anything to talk with each other, but refusing to mediate has already resulted in a lawsuit, and now we might face the expense of a special election."

Nancy Eubanks is chair of the Nevada County Democrats Communications Committee.

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