Man on the street
The fliers Nevada County Supervisor Bruce Conklin left with residents and wedged in doorjambs during a recent canvass of a Grass Valley neighborhood said he came here 22 years ago to get away from the big city.
“I ran for supervisor four years ago because the city was close on my heels,” Conklin’s flier reads.
Others will move here, too, the 3rd District incumbent concedes, but the message Conklin preaches is that growth can be directed into livable, affordable, beautiful neighborhoods if the county has leaders who understand the consequences of unchecked, poor-quality growth.
The county’s most important growth issues are in District 3, Conklin said, and preserving neighborhoods and stopping sprawl are two of his top priorities.
The outcome of the 3rd District race could change the county’s approach to land-use planning, he said. He’s worked throughout Northern California and in Oregon as a reforestation contractor with a focus on planting trees and training others to do the same.
“We can’t live with the kind of sprawl they have in Auburn or Roseville,” he said.
“Do we have something crucial happening?” asked a woman who said she was new to the area when Conklin knocked on her door.
“Yes, we have an election in November and it’s crucial,” he said.
During his door-to-door knock-and-talk, Conklin stopped to talk to a half-dozen constituents gathered at the end of a street about speeding drivers, traffic and fire safety in their neighborhood. He had previously attended a neighborhood meeting and helped the residents work toward resolving the issues.
“Thanks for helping us out. You kind of coalesced the whole neighborhood,” one woman said.
Campaigning door to door through the neighborhoods is a way to really reach constituents and learn their concerns, Conklin said.
But does getting out of what is often perceived as his “ivory tower office” at Rood Administrative Center, walking the neighborhoods and talking to the people really make a difference at the polls?
“It’s not a dramatic thing where you can say someone voted for you just because you came to their house, but walking the neighborhoods has changed how I approach the office,” Conklin said. “You remember the people you meet, and they’re more comfortable calling about concerns if you’ve been to their house and met them personally.”
“There is no ivory tower,” Conklin said. “I’m right here.”
Q&A with Bruce Conklin
Q. What is your position on Measure D and why?
A. My opponent takes a very different attitude. He supports Measure D, which would essentially allow developers to do anything they want or compensate them for it. To compensate them for not being able to do what they want is to bankrupt the county. And I’m afraid that the combination of (Drew) Bedwell and Measure D would destroy the human services, as well as police protection, by bankrupting the county, and at the same time destroy all land-use planning.
Q. What are the critical issues in the District 3 race?
A. The ability to work with other agencies is one example. We’ve got the best relationship now that we’ve ever had with the schools. Mr. Bedwell has said that the schools are poisoning our children’s minds and accused the superintendent of schools of being essentially a pawn of the United Nations. How in the world is he going to be able to cooperate with, continue the programs with, even have any kind of vision with the schools or with the superintendent of schools, whom he has attacked so viciously?
Q. Why should people vote for you instead of your opponent?
A. Besides the fact that I am willing to stand up for the residents against these huge property interests, I have a track record that I’m proud of. I’ve worked hard on children’s issues. Because I have a degree in psychology and have children and grandchildren of my own, I’ve been dedicated to that since the day I got on board, and we have some of the most innovative early childhood programs as a result.
Q.Where will the county be in four years if you are re-elected?
A. If I’m re-elected, we will continue with the positive administration; we will continue with the positive relationship with our employees; we will have a more stable work force. We will continue to make progress on streamlining our ordinances and making the land-use ordinances clearer. We will also make progress on working better with the City of Grass Valley, which is a long process which I’ve begun and have worked on for four years. I feel that Mr. Bedwell would be unable to work with the City of Grass Valley, because he sees these conspiracies virtually everywhere. And I believe it would be a very difficult time for county employees and for county management if Mr. Bedwell were elected. I don’t see a cooperative, professional attitude on his part.
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