Two run for 3rd district supervisor |

Two run for 3rd district supervisor

Voters will have a clear choice when they vote this fall for a supervisor to represent District 3 on the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.

Terry Lamphier, a former Grass Valley planning commissioner and a remodeling contractor, said he is running so people “have a choice.” Incumbent John Spencer, a land surveyor, wants to be re-elected because “two years isn’t long enough to be totally effective.”

Chief among Lamphier’s concerns is that Grass Valley is “growing too fast,” which he said impacts traffic, affordable housing and quality of life.

Spencer has another view.

“Growth is happening at a manageable rate,” said Spencer, adding that “a lot of protectionist regulation in place” prevents rampant development and environmental abuse.

Lamphier said fast growth in the Grass Valley area, which is primarily District 3, could damage the community and harm the environment.

“Every time you enclose a creek with concrete, it breaks my heart a little bit … The most valuable thing this county has is quality of life,” he said.

The candidates agree that an affordable housing shortage is one of the more pressing issues facing the county.

“We are all concerned with the affordable housing issue, and we can do something about that,” Spencer said of the current Board of Supervisors. He said the supervisors have not yet been able to make significant progress with this complex and difficult issue, but they are “poised to make a difference.”

Spencer’s predecessor was the late Drew Bedwell, who resigned in June 2004 after being diagnosed with Hodgkins disease. Bedwell was well known for his outspoken nature and conservative stance on local issues. At the time, Spencer was serving as Bedwell’s appointee to the planning commission and was Bedwell’s favored successor.

Spencer ran a successful campaign against former supervisor Bruce Conklin and former Grass Valley city councilwoman Linda Stevens. He had financial backing from other lawmakers, including Assemblyman Rick Keene, R-Chico, and Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville.

Lamphier pointed to the latest Lake Wildwood development as an example of a project that could have been handled better by the county. He said the development needed more deed restrictions and a greater number of smaller, more affordable units. Another idea of Lamphier’s includes building a satellite parking lot at Nevada Union High School to help with traffic flow.

A Nevada County resident since 1995, Lamphier moved here from the East Bay area. Spencer moved to the county 29 years ago from Long Beach.

Spencer, who is married to Grass Valley city councilmember Patti Ingram, emphasized that he has a close working relationship with the current Board of Supervisors, which includes three members who do not have to run for re-election at this time.

In the other race, District 4 Supervisor Robin Sutherland decided not to seek re-election. The candidates vying for that spot are: Hank Weston, former Grass Valley fire chief and a resident of Penn Valley; Martin Harmon, owner of Gold Country Ranch of Penn Valley; and Gordon Beatie, vice chairman of Holt of California of Rough and Ready.

Nevada County residents will have their choices in the supervisor races in the June 6 primary. If a candidate fails to get more than 50 percent of the vote at that time, the top two vote-getters for each district will square off again in the November election.

To reach the staff writer Josh Singer, e-mail or call 477-4234.

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