Supervisor candidates Heidi Hall, Duane Strawser tackle issues at political forum
The two candidates for the District 1 seat on the Nevada County Board of Supervisors fielded questions Thursday ranging from marijuana to homelessness, staking out issues in the first political forum of the election season.
Heidi Hall and Duane Strawser agreed on some topics, like the need for affordable housing. However, they drew distinctions on others, among them Measure W and an outdoor medical marijuana grow ban.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there about regulating medical marijuana,” Hall said, arguing that the ban would have no effect on large, illegal grows.
Hall said the nuisance associated with marijuana is a valid concern, adding regulation is the method to address that problem.
Strawser said he has compassion for patients who need medical marijuana, though he declined to be a “backseat politician” and second guess the current board. He encouraged the crowd, about 100 people, to get involved.
“It’s up to you guys to step up and vote,” Strawser added.
The candidates also differed on the future of the timber and mining industries in the county. Strawser called the industries a large part of the community’s identity, saying the county should work with all local industries.
Hall said the county’s future doesn’t involve timber and mining, industries she argued have declined because of the harm they can cause.
Funding for the county’s Economic Resource Council also led the candidates to disagree. Strawser said the group needed more funding, calling it the only tool the county has.
“I don’t see a lot of money going to them,” he added. “I believe they are on a shoestring.”
Hall said she’s excited by the ERC’s pursuits, though she worries it’s missing details. She wants to see the “nuts and bolts” of the organization.
“I know how easy that money can be wasted,” she added.
Switching gears to homelessness, Hall said more houses are needed in the community. She also advocated for a 24/7 homeless facility.
Strawser said homelessness has been an issue in Nevada County for decades, noting no easy answer exists. He added that the board should encourage cities to expand affordable housing options.
Both candidates noted they volunteer at Hospitality House.
The forum was sponsored by the local League of Women Voters.
Nevada County voters will select the new District 1 supervisor on June 7.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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