County Supervisor, District 3 (Grass Valley Area) |

County Supervisor, District 3 (Grass Valley Area)

Drew Bedwell

Age: 62

Occupation: retired activist

Residence: Grass Valley

Family: wife, Ruth; daughters Wendy, 31, and Heather, 25

Local affiliations: Native Sons of the Golden West, E Clampus Vitus

Please tell us your stance on Natural Heritage 2020, the county’s long-range planning initiative.

My record is quite clear on my opposition to it. It abuses the Endangered Species Act and the habitat associated with it as tools to separate property owners from their rights as property owners. It’s more government intrusion.

Why are you seeking this office?

We had 8,700 people sign up for a petition to put Natural Heritage 2020 on the March ballot, and the supervisors declined to put it on the ballot. I had no choice but to run after that. They’re piecemealing whatever NH 2020 will be, and we have to get in there and undo what they’re doing. We have nothing to do but fight. Our only choice is to get in there and bring reason and common sense to the board. When you have open space, you take that money off the tax rolls, and that means less money for the county.

How has the county handled the low-income housing issue?

They’re doing nothing but giving lip service to it. Seniors should have spaces for mobile homes, and programs like NH 2020 close the doors for many kinds of affordable housing. There are no places for young people to live, and the red tape on properties drives up the cost of housing. If you take away the land, there will only be limited land for housing. Fee raises and permits will drive up the costs for housing.

Bruce Conklin

Age: 56

Occupation: County supervisor; forester; attorney

Family: Two children, three grandchildren

Hometown: Grass Valley

Affiliations: Member, California Bar Association

Please tell us your stance on Natural Heritage 2020, the county’s long-range planning initiative.

The purpose of Natural Heritage 2020 is to develop a comprehensive strategy to identify, manage and protect natural habitats and open space resources in the county as required by the 1995 General Plan. A Community Advisory Committee made up of 21 volunteers held a series of public input sessions attended by 900 citizens. This committee and its three working groups will make recommendations which will be on the ballot for the voters to decide. My opponents favor squelching these committees and throwing away all community input before the public can vote on the recommendations. I am the only candidate committed to giving the public a vote on the recommendations.

Why are you seeking this office?

Preventive programs, historic preservation and building cooperation between levels of government all take time. I have made a difference in three years, but it is just beginning.

How has the county handled the low-income housing issue?

We inherited a history of inaction. But here is what we have done lately. The county created a new sanitation district zone, approved land use and endorsed the financing for Eden Ranch, an innovative new neighborhood based on sweat equity. We helped the Penn Valley Gardens project obtain sewer connections. We are sponsoring affordable apartments as well as offices for our Housing Department in the Brunswick Basin. I personally assisted Habitat for Humanity volunteers in moving paperwork through the bureaucracy. I initiated the new agreement between Grass Valley and the county which changes incentives to make housing more attractive to the city.

Mark Johnson

Age: 41

Occupation: part owner, Foothill Flowers

Family: wife, Mary, no children

Residence: Grass Valley

Affiliations:Former Grass Valley councilman, 1994-1998; mayor 1996-98.

Please tell us your stance on Natural Heritage 2020, the county’s long-range planning initiative.

I have been an advocate for good planning. NH 2020 has divided us rather than brought us together on a common vision. I have been an advocate and a leader for doing detailed planning, and one of the key aspects is to make the process open to all sides. I was at first open to the idea of NH 2020, and I thought it would work.

Why are you seeking this office?

I love living here, and I believe I have the skills to be a successful supervisor. I want to open up a downtown Grass Valley office because I believe you have to make yourself accessible to the public.

How has the county handled the low-income housing issue?

The county, even though it has a task force working on this, has done very little to deal with the issue. We need to have a plan to develop 40 to 80 units of work-force housing within the next 12-18 months to address the issue. I would hope to do this in partnership with the city of Grass Valley.

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