Q and A WITH ROBIN SUTHERLAND
Q:What are your thoughts about the county’s general plan?
A: I think right now we’re in a situation where we have a severe affordable work force housing situation that is affecting other segments of our county and our economy, such as employers. If you look at the Sheriff’s Office or the various fire districts, they’re having a hard time keeping their staff once they hired them because of our lack of affordable housing.
I think any time you pass a restriction that is unneeded, based on a one-sided philosophy or perspective rather than on what is good for the people overall, I think that it drives up the cost of housing and the cost to do business in Nevada County. I am opposed to additional restrictions – that’s something I’ve said from day one. In working for government as long as I have, one thing that I’ve seen is the brunt of unnecessary restrictions.
The 20 percent slope issue is a big issue for me now. That’s one example of a building restriction that’s going into force … How much open space do we need? I look out my window. Even if they were to build the houses buildable across the street, I have 27 acres of open space around my house. I’m not saying I’m an opponent of open space. I’m a proponent of it as long as it is properly presented and reviewed by the people as to what they want, and as long as it’s also feasible.
Q: How can the county be more fiscally responsible?
A: I have to say I question that only one department cut its budget in the midst of the state budget crisis. When you look at what has happened at the state budget level, I believe the last comment to come out of the legislative analyst’s office was that there’s going to be another $3 billion in deficit that hasn’t been isolated yet. That can really roll into our budget. We’re going to suffer cuts, too. When you look at how they’ve restructured the budget at the state level, there will be a lot less disposable income at the local level.
Q: How can we improve roads and traffic?
A: My husband and I lived off a dirt road that was never maintained. There was two years that they didn’t come out and gravel the surface like they were supposed to. I think we had to have our car aligned twice, even going at slower speeds, and there are safety issues. I think we need to look at the road work that needs to be done immediately … I think we need to look at safety issues. The second issue would be those roads that are very congested. I believe we need to look at the road issue out of Brunswick before any development out there. I’m a supporter of the Dorsey interchange.
Q: Do you support or oppose Measure D?
A: I’m still pondering the issue. I need to go back and read the actual language. But with regards to compensation for lost property rights, I want to make it clear that I do not believe that people should not be compensated. They should be compensated when their property rights are taken, period.
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