The AAUW held a candidate debate forum on Wednesday May12, 2010 during the evening hours at the Government Center in Mariposa.
Most of the questions asked the candidates were generally very sophomoric questions. No one asked Supervisor Janet Bibby what she tried to do to stop the meteoric rise of the CalPERS debt from a surplus to the county finally financing $14,000,000 at 7.75% interest for twenty years. Did she ever put an article out to the media denouncing this rise in debt? The Sierra Sun Times never received one. The big department head raises that were given out, did you ever see an article by Supervisor Bibby denouncing this? No, neither did I.
Supervisor Aborn should have been asked why he sided with some of the other supervisors over the Hazel Green issue and why he sided with trying to keep Mr. Johnson from returning to his job when he was cleared by medical doctors to return to work. Now there is a suit against the county for this issue. Who will pay if the county loses? You and I. Supervisor Aborn did mention the massive county retirement plan, but he has went along with the program. He said that the issue has been partly corrected. The only thing done was an adjustment to the new hires, nothing has been done to stop the bleeding as almost 400 current county workers will retire under the old system. Ever see a letter to the editor or a editorial about the CalPERS issue from Mr. Aborn? No, neither have I.
Another question that could have been asked directly to the two current supervisors is how many jobs besides a few grant funded jobs the county has produced?
Another question that could have been asked to the current supervisors is what good was the spending of $50,000+ a few months ago on the Global Warming aspect that will go along with the Cathey’s Valley Plan and do they think it will prevent a lawsuit over the plan?
Supervisor Lee Stetson was not at the debate last night so no questions could be asked of him.
But I wonder what he would say as he presided also over the massive buildup of CalPERS debt while the county was out going in debt for the Composting Facility and the ‘Field of Dreams’ property. Both boondoggles to the county so far.
Once when I asked Supervisor Stetson why the Board information packets were not online he told me that is was unimportant.
Tolley Gorham when asked how he would increase county revenues said that we have to increase jobs. Tolley said that nothing has been done to increase businesses to come to Mariposa. I agree totally with that statement.
Theresa Castaldi said Mariposa needs to spend more time with EDC securing business to the area not concentrating all the time on grants and also to get the Planning Department to improve.
Floyd Davis said that he would like to see a a Building Advisory board established to get the builders back to work and then work on telecommunications in the county.
Supervisor Aborn mentioned water in the county and how much money could be secured from those rights.
Supervisor Bibby said the county has to invest in infrastructure. She said she has been on the broadband bandwagon. That was news to me.
She also said that grants are not a bad thing.
On the question about the Mariposa TPA or a TPA in your district Supervisor Aborn said to get in there and get the true words and to learn from the past. Supervisor Bibby mentioned that planning is important to the county and that you can update the plan as commercial growth comes in. She said we have to have these plans in place as it is your Constitution and it is the people who define it. Tolley Gorham said that it is extremely important to the planing areas and that Midpines will be a mess. He said we have to start again on the Mariposa TPA. Theresa Castaldi said that with the 2006 General Plan that things are in place to protect Ag in the county. She said we do not need the Cathey’s Valley Plan. Floyd Davis said that he brings a lot to the table with his experience.
On the question of jobs and vision for Mariposa County;
Supervisor Bibby said that ‘There is no job that is low paying because you are gaining experience.” Fabulous quote!
She said they are looking for any grants and that they are marketing Mariposa to draw them in. I have never seen a marketing campaign promoting Mariposa besides a brochure that has just been put together by the EDC. Tolley Gorham said that the Chamber of Commerce and EDC and a business advisory council could market Mariposa. Theresa Castaldi mentioned about how she has twelve years experience building jobs in the county and how she had six people working but that the county pulled those six workers from Coyote Springs. Floyd Davis said that county staff was a bit obstructionist and that he would get all the departments together. Also that there should be no eleventh hour meetings at the planing commission over an issue. Supervisor Aborn mentioned U.C. Merced for jobs for the county and how the high school graduates cannot come back to Mariposa as there are no jobs.
At the closing statement Theresa Castaldi said “Help me, help all of you to protect your property rights.”
Tolley Gorham said the key to success is working with the other supervisors and that he would bring a vision that Mariposa has to be more than a cattle ranch and a bedroom for Yosemite tourists. He said he can get the job done if you do not want the next twenty years in Mariposa County to look like that last hundred years in the county. Supervisor Bibby said that she is not a politician that she is a public servant. She said she takes pride in all the jobs the county has completed. And that Mariposa County is not in dire straits. She said she stands by her votes and has no special agenda. Floyd Davis mentioned his knowledge, education and experience. Connie Stetson mentioned Lee’s prior commitment as a supervisor and that the last election was only a ten vote difference. Supervisor Aborn said that change was made four years ago and now the board is all pulling together.
Part two will be on the Candidates for Sheriff.