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Smart growth, environment lead concerns

I have a vision of a Nevada County with free-flowing rivers running through it, a Nevada County that honors its neighborhoods, a Nevada County that provides for its seniors and protects the quality of life for our children. My vision is for managed growth that does not overwhelm us with traffic or increase our vulnerability to fire and respects our unique topography and natural resources.

We all know our county is golden on every level: its scenic beauty, our South Yuba River, our proximity to the mountains and the forest, the history in which we are steeped, our rich cultural life, and the people, our neighbors.

I have steadfastly supported Wild and Scenic status for the South Yuba River. I am opposed to the Deer Creek Park II subdivision proposal due to the devastating increase of traffic it would impose on the residents of Red Dog Road and Boulder Street, and the threat it poses to Nevada City’s drinking water. My stand on these issues is a good barometer of what you can expect from me as your next supervisor.

“Where will my children live?” is a question I hear every day while knocking on the thousands of doors in my district. Steps toward a solution of this complex problem have been made and many more must be instituted.

The recently approved co-housing project in Nevada City is a good example of how we can approach this complex task. Co-housing promotes multi-leveled ownership for mixed moderate- and low-income residents by providing a few modestly priced, single-family homes with attached second units. This and the successful Community Spirit sweat-equity project off of Searls Avenue, and other multi-family and small home development proposals, can lead the way to providing housing for our teachers, law enforcement, fire protection personnel, service workers, small business owners and others that provide the vibrant infrastructure we enjoy. They would increase our ability to support a healthy mixture of residents of all ages: young families, as well as seniors.

Having presided over two chambers of commerce, I am keenly aware of the needs of small businesses and their contribution to the vibrancy of a community. I will support the vitality and well-being of our local business community. I have the experience to be effective in this arena.

Nevada County has the highest proportion of residents over 65 in the state of California. It is good management to address the issue of services for these residents before it becomes a crisis. Revitalizing our public transportation system to allow our seniors to give up their car keys when the time is right is one issue; protecting our In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is another.

Growth is inevitable. and our Board of Supervisors must make wise decisions about land use and avoid developments that would overwhelm our infrastructure of roads, water supply, septic fields and sewers. This is imperative to me to maintain the quality of our existing neighborhoods.

Proceeding, for instance, with a super sewer in the southern part of our county would lead to an explosion of growth overwhelming our already stressed Highway 49. I am adamantly opposed to building a super sewer in Nevada County. We should look instead to improving and increasing our regional wastewater treatment facilities to accommodate growth where roads, shopping and schools already exist.

Fuel modification is not the only answer to fire prevention. Land use is important and our supervisors can keep residents out of harm’s way by responsibly placing new developments in areas that will allow our firefighters to do their job. The Board of Supervisors must require adequate evacuation routes to allow fire protection equipment to enter at the same time as residents evacuate for all development, as well as an adequate water supply for fighting inevitable wildfires.

It is a privilege to run for District 1 supervisor to represent you on the Nevada County board. I fully recognize what a terrific place Nevada County is to live and work. I want to help keep it that way. I believe that to protect our quality of life, you need a supervisor with a clear vision, the political will to defend it and the skills to implement it.

This election and its outcome will greatly affect our future. I thank The Union for inviting me to define my vision for Nevada County and I thank you for your attention.

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Olivia Diaz of Cascade Shores is a candidate for the Nevada County Board of Supervisors for District 1.