Candidates spar over county’s growth |

Candidates spar over county’s growth

Growth and the issues it creates surfaced as major topics at an election forum Friday featuring Nevada County’s District 3 and 4 supervisorial candidates.

Incumbents Bruce Conklin and Elizabeth Martin sat at the table to the left, challengers Drew Bedwell and Robin Sutherland positioned themselves to the right, and write-in candidate Rene Antonson took up the middle.

The forum was co-hosted by the Nevada County Contractors Association, Nevada County Board of Realtors and the Nevada County Chamber of Commerce.

Growth issues are very important and affect everyone in the county in different ways, “whether you’re a builder, whether you’re a land owner, whether you’re government,” said Antonson, a former District 4 supervisor running as a write-in for that district.

In planning for growth and the future, Antonson said a supervisor needs to listen to all sides and make common-sense decisions.

Growth and preservation of the environment are the central issues in Nevada County, and directly impact the health of the local economy, said Martin, the District 4 incumbent.

“The environment is the goose that lays this golden egg,” Martin said. “This beautiful place we live (in) attracts businesses, it attracts retirees, it attracts investors. So I believe that planning for growth is the most essential way to encourage economic development.”

Sutherland, who is also challenging Martin, said creating more affordable work-force housing is critical to strengthening the county’s economy.

Unless the county creates more affordable housing, it will be difficult to attract new businesses, she said,

Sutherland said the county is short 1,000 affordable units, a situation she called critical.

Bedwell, who is challenging Conklin for the District 3 seat, said his platform rests on three pillars.

“One is civility, two is preservation of our community as well as our environment, and three are fiscal matters,” Bedwell said. “As best I can tell, the first will dictate the outcome of the last two.”

Conklin took issue with Measure D, the controversial property rights initiative which his opponent supports.

Building affordable work-force housing will require a supply of land which Conklin said would be gobbled up if the initiative passes in November.

“Measure D would destroy any hope we have for work-force housing,” he said.

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