George Boardman: ‘I Spy,’ global warming, and why Richard Anderson will be reelected
Observations from the center stripe: Signs of the times edition
THE PEOPLE stealing the “Yes on W” signs apparently haven’t visited the south county; there are more “yes” than “no” signs at the entrance to Lake of the Pines … THOSE RECYCLED campaign signs for Supervisor Ed Scofield and Rep. Doug LaMalfa have reached the end of their useful life … GUARANTEED TO start fights: A bill in the state Assembly will make it legal to break a car window to rescue a dog that’s either over-heated or freezing … BIG SURPRISE: The cost of the Kings’ new arena in Sacramento is now 12 percent over budget. Has one of those projects every come in on budget? … TWINKIES and Velveeta have “best by” dates, but it probably doesn’t make any difference …
A majority of the seats on the county Board of Supervisors are at stake in the June 7 primary, something you may have missed in all of the smoke and haze created by the debate over Measure W.
Incumbents Ed Scofield and Richard Anderson are seeking reelection in Districts 2 and 5, while somebody who isn’t old enough to collect Social Security will replace Nate Beason in District 1. (Around here, a candidate under 62 is considered youthful.)
Measure W is also a major issue among the candidates, with four of the five contenders staking out positions on the controversial issue. As far as Scofield is concerned, it’s about the only issue worth discussing. As he told The Union, the election comes down to one question: “Do we want to be a pot county, or do we want to control it?”
Scofield voted to ban the outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana and put the issue on the ballot. He predicted it will pass, and apparently thinks there’s more to be gained by focusing on Measure W than what he’s accomplished during seven years in office.
Just in case Scofield’s resolve isn’t strong enough, Sheriff Keith Royal showed him a Google map of pot grown by Scofield’s opponent, Alta Sierra business owner Richard Harris. That in turn prompted Harris to accuse the sheriff of conducting a whispering campaign against him.
The Google map — presumably prepared at taxpayer expense — was also shared with Beason and a candidate to replace him, Duane Strawser, according to Harris. Beason told YubaNet he doesn’t recall such a meeting and Strawser — his source of information, according to Harris — told The Union he wouldn’t comment on a private conversation.
Harris has taken the current board to task for its lack of openness, the Outdoor Events Ordinance that he claims has ruined the wedding industry, and the money the county has spent on lawsuits — $2.3 million in the last three years, according to him. But Royal called Harris a single-issue candidate because of his opposition to Measure W.
“I found (Harris’ pot grow) important to share with Ed, so he understood what type of campaign he was facing,” the sheriff said, but denied conducting a publicity campaign against Harris. “If I was going to go after him as a candidate, I would be very vocal and outspoken. I haven’t done that.”
But at least one person knew about the grow, because Harris was asked the question at a recent public forum. Scofield said he won’t use the issue against Harris, who said he grows a legal amount of medical pot to treat his daughter’s incurable neurological disease.
Lost in all of this back-and-forth is the apparent lack of concern that Royal would use sensitive personal information to advance his political agenda. The FBI, CIA and numerous police agencies have gotten in trouble over the years for spying on private citizens. Where’s the concern over Royal’s behavior?
Global warming? Here?
As far as I can tell, global warming isn’t a major issue in District 1, but that hasn’t discouraged Strawser and his opponent, Heidi Hall, from staking out extreme positions (according to the opposing sides) on the issue.
Strawser received a $1,000 contribution from Diamond Properties, Inc, whose agent Frank Pinney ran a full-page ad in The Union last year decrying the “Global Warming Hoax.” The candidate said he’s open to all viewpoints and has supporters with clashing beliefs.
“I’m astonished that he would take money from people who reject the science outright,” Hall said. Of course, she counts among her supporters climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, one of the creators of the “hockey stick” graph that purports to show a spike in world temperatures. Skeptics ridicule such claims.
This one issue illustrates why the race for a non-partisan office turned into a partisan showdown before we even knew who all of the candidates would be. The Americans for Good Government PAC, which includes the usual suspects found in local conservative circles, announced a fundraiser for Strawser before the filing period closed, and Hall got the Democratic Party endorsement the day after filing ended.
Hall has the kind of background that makes local conservatives foam at the mouth—20 years with the hated Environmental Protection Agency and currently a manager with the state Department of Water Resources. She was board president of SYRCL, and has been endorsed by Peter Van Zant and Bruce Conklin, former supervisors who were part of the notorious Gang of Five during the NH2020 days.
Hall has said she opposes W, wants to see smart economic development, and would be a supervisor with an “open door and open mind.” She has also staked out positions on homelessness, protecting the environment, and fire safety. That’s about five more positions than Strawser has taken.
Strawser is apparently trying to get elected by not annoying anybody. He is the only candidate who hasn’t taken a position on Measure W, and has declined to comment on past actions of the supervisors. Homelessness is the only issue he really discusses on his web site; he wants to see more cooperation between non-profits and county agencies.
But Strawser has deep roots is the community and through his involvement in the Fathers Day Classic bike race and the Amgen Tour of California, has probably done more to boost the local economy than anybody else running for office.
That apparently is good enough for the local Tea Party contingent and Republican Party, which are backing the long-time Democrat who said he is re-registering as “decline to state.” (The Tea Party has always said it’s a non-partisan movement, and maybe this proves it.)
I don’t know who’s going to win this race, or the one for District 2, but I am willing to bet that Richard Anderson will easily win reelection in District 5. It’s hard to lose when nobody’s running against you.
George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at email@example.com.
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