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Act quickly on District 3, governor

The Union editorial board

We know California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a lot of stuff on his plate more important than naming an interim supervisor for Nevada County’s District 3. But it’s plenty important to those of us in Nevada County who don’t want to see governmental paralysis until after next November’s general election.

As of today, District 3 Supervisor Drew Bedwell is resigning his seat to seek treatment for Hodgkin’s disease. Since his surprise announcement in May, several have made themselves available to be appointed or have indicated they will run – including the former supervisor Bedwell narrowly defeated in 2002, Bruce Conklin.

County offices are ostensibly nonpartisan, but Republicans think it is only logical that a Republican governor should appoint a Republican as interim supervisor. But Schwarzenegger’s office has not yet indicated when – or even if – it will pick a name. Some observers think that because November is so close, the governor may just let the voters make the decision.

We think that would be a mistake. With Bedwell’s seat open, that leaves a potential 2-2 deadlock on many crucial issues that will be coming before the board this summer, including the 2005 budget. That not only will bring county government to a dead halt but will lead to more bitterness and wrangling, something all too prevalent at the Rood Administrative Center already.

Schwarzenegger has shown himself to be surprisingly politically savvy for a newcomer. If he can spare himself a few minutes to think about the fate of a small county up in the foothills, the smart thing would be for him to name an experienced county statesman or stateswoman – a former supervisor, perhaps – who is mutually respected by both conservatives and liberals and has no political ambitions.

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Does such a person exist? We think so, and we hope the governor will make an appointment quickly.


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