Supervisors’ bias all too obvious |

Supervisors’ bias all too obvious

The Board of Supervisor election was not only about Natural Heritage 2020 but also about lack of credibility, poor judgment and bias because of influence by special-interest groups. Some examples:

Title 25, a compliance permit program, allowed exemptions to Title 24 Building Regulations. This was to allow people who had built their own homes without legally securing building permits, paying the required fees and complying with building codes to rectify their situation legally with the county. In 2000, Izzy Martin spearheaded amendments to further relax the requirements: reduce mitigation fees which can be paid over five years with no interest charges, not requiring energy standards and waiving structural analysis. Poor judgment? Hmmmm.

September 2000: The BOS claims to support private enterprise and has stated that logging is an important Nevada County industry. However, after an excellent presentation by SPI of their logging practices and forest management, the BOS voted to send Gov, Davis a letter asking him for his involvement in banning clear-cutting of any sort. (SPI clear-cuts up to 20 acres in an area, on their own property, and replants for a reharvest 30 years later – a tree farm concept. SPI is already highly regulated by stringent state logging regulations.) This is exactly what the environmental organizations wanted. Where is the support of the BOS for private enterprise? Does this bring into question lack of credibility, bias or poor judgment? You decide.

In early 2001, Martin and Bruce Conklin lobbied state legislators to introduce an assembly bill which would have given our BOS power to appeal any approved SPI timber harvest plan which has already undergone extremely stringent California timber harvest regulations. An effort to micro-manage private industry? Was there bias or poor judgment expressed by this pursuit? (Fortunately the bill never came out of committee.)

Martin claims to be a fiscal conservative. Why did she pursue and press to spend an extra $160,000 to provide an aesthetic, historical look on the Old Auburn Road bridge at Wolfe. Supervisor Sue Horne argued that the $300,000 for a plain, functional bridge was adequate, yet the other supervisors were aligned with Izzy. Could this be lack of credibility and judgement? Appears so. (Fortunately, this never developed. There was public outcry over the unwarranted expenditure proposal).

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, there was a pledge of support by the National Association of Counties and the California State Association of Counties backing President Bush on the war against terrorism. Because of an objection by a Green Party member, Chairperson Martin along with Conklin, Peter Van Zant and Barbara Green agreed to rewrite the pledge to remove the word “fully” from the sentence where it stated NACO “fully” supported President Bush. (Sue Horne objected to this revision). Apparently we were the only county to not accept the phrasing as presented and didn’t “fully” support our President. Bias and poor judgment on the part of the four BOS members? You decide.

Last December, the regional sewer system (“super sewer”) was reviewed by the BOS. DIstrict 1 Sanitation District recommended Alta Sierra be included in the study and Horne made a motion to include it, however, it failed because none of the other four BOS members would second the motion! Even The Union editorial questioned the judgment by the four BOS members. Isn’t it interesting that so many BOS votes are always 4-1? Doesn’t it make you wonder?

In the Oct. 1 issue of The Wildwood Independent, Martin stated, “Last week, I voted to put the NH 2020 program on the ballot … I was renewing my commitment to give the public the final say on NH 2020, while responding to an active campaign asking that the public be allowed to vote on the program.” Credibility here? You decide. The “active petition campaign,” 8,900 petitioners, was to put the whole NH 2020 process on the March ballot for an up-or-down vote. What Izzy voted for was to put it on a ballot for an advisory vote, not a binding vote! Big difference! Don’t be fooled! It was very disappointing that Chairperson Martin (1) didn’t have the petition discussed nor (2) did she allow Horne’s request to table NH 2020 for a balanced review to be discussed or voted upon by the Board. Poor judgment? Hmmm.

During the July 1 NH 2020 forum at Miner’s Foundry, one of the CAC panel members was questioned by an attendee as to what the downsides were to the NH 2020 program. He stated that the only downside is that people don’t listen to each other. I thought this was such an appropriate statement as applied to (1) attendees at the community meetings not being listened to and that questions and responses were controlled by the NH 2020 persons conducting the meetings and (2) Martin and the other three BOS members not listening to their constituents on putting the NH 2020 process and further taxpayer dollar expenditures to a binding vote on the March ballot.

When asked by an attendee if NH 2020 were put on a ballot, would the BOS accept the results if it were voted down, Van Zant said he would consider it. Consider it? Why wouldn’t he outright accept a ballot vote? Hmmm. Martin stated she couldn’t believe anyone would vote against the program. No direct answer. Hmmm. Also hesitant to accept a ballot result? Not accepting the will of the people reflects badly on our four BOS leaders. Where is their judgment?

At one point, Martin stated “If you don’t trust their (BOS) judgment, you vote them out!”

In the recent primary 62 percent voted against Izzy and 61 percent against Conklin. We need to re-establish trust in the BOS where there is more credibility, no bias because of special-interest group influence, respect for private enterprise and private property rights and where constituents are listened to and appropriate responses are made.

This November, Robin Sutherland and Drew Bedwell, as our new board members, will provide the trust and judgement we need. Yes, well said, Izzy: “If you don’t trust their (BOS) judgment, you vote them out!” The voters will in November.

Joe Vielbig is a resident of Penn Valley.

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