Stevens: I can be an agent for change
This is one in a series of Other Voices guest columns by candidates for Grass Valley City Council and Nevada County supervisor.
There are many different aspects to the word “vision.” It’s interesting because vision is always defined in the eye of the beholder. Some mornings I get up and the only vision I have is to get to work on time. There are other times when I’m cutting someone’s hair and they mention what a pain traffic was that morning, and I find myself asking what changes could be explored by the City Council or Board of Supervisors to create an impact that could make a difference in traffic problems.
Often I have a vision that our communities and neighborhoods are free from the impact of drugs on our children. I know the police, schools, and court system are doing their best, but perhaps my vision could include looking at what other cities and counties are doing to successfully address drug problems.
I want a county that maintains it’s unique beauty, has sufficient work-force housing, balances budgets without raising taxes, and provides adequate services and programs for our seniors and youth. I believe that most citizens would agree that these are worthy goals.
My vision goes even further. If you talk with those running for public office, you will probably find they all want good things for our county. The problem is at the county level, and for nearly a decade, the “talk has been talked” but the “walk” always seems to conclude at a dead end.
Unfortunately, the burden of seeing that the “walk is walked” falls on the shoulders of the voters, and that is no more apparent than in the District 3 race for supervisor.
As voters, if we ask, “What are the five most important problems the supervisors have solved over the past decade?” the answer is difficult. But if we ask, “What are the five worst things that come to mind? The answer would be a lot simpler. I have picked the five worst:
1. County employees are continually whipsawed. The board should create policy and let the staff implement it. Micromanaging only leads to oversights and low morale.
2. Imposing a policy (i.e., NH 2020) on the people without adequate education, discussion and public input has lead to misunderstandings, division, mistrust and fear.
3. Taking one of the most important offices in the county (the Elections Office) and turning it into a partisan political football represents the best in violating public trust.
4. Taking the housing element (which would open doors to thousands of dollars in grant monies for affordable housing) and holding it hostage out of personal angst can only leave the average people shaking their heads.
5. Finally, and perhaps the worst, is the increasing attitude that has evolved over the past decade that “as supervisors we will govern by decree” and the heck with the citizens. The supervisors work for the citizens, not the other way around!
I have talked to countless voters who agree, but ask how can you change it? My answer is that I cannot do it alone, but I can be an agent for change.
Look at the city and town councils of Grass Valley and Truckee. They are made up of diverse individuals who have personal opinions and biases and come from various backgrounds. They discuss, they argue and even become passionate when they don’t always get their way. In general, however, they have been productive because they govern by using what I like to call the three “Cs”: Common sense, Cooperation, and Civility. When the three “Cs” come into play, more times than not the business of the people will get done.
As voters, you need to know that I will never claim to have all the answers, but I will always work hard toward workable solutions. I admit I have made mistakes, but I attempt to learn from them.
I do not have the endorsement of either major political party, as I really don’t think they like my independent streak. I am outspoken and passionate about my city, my county, and the citizens I serve. I consider public service an honor.
This, then, is my vision, that we have the will to elect people to public office who truly believe that they serve the public interest and the whole of the community.
As voters, you hold the key to making my vision a reality. The choice between what has been and what could be for our county is in your hands. I respectfully ask for your vote.
Linda Stevens, candidate for Nevada County supervisor for District 3, is a Grass Valley City Council member and owner of Stevens Haircutting in downtown Grass Valley.
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Six months ago, the future looked pretty bleak in terms of the live music scene, and I could not have predicted where we are now.