Dear Fellow Community Members,
My goal is to meet each and every one of you before the election in March. In addition to participating in local events such as coffees, forums, and constituent meetings, I am also going door-to-door and will send out mailings to second district residents. I very much look forward to meeting and talking with you in person to discuss my candidacy and your concerns. I want you to know why I am running for supervisor and what I intend to do once elected. Because the Internet allows me to reach so many of you, I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss a number of concerns and issues that prompted me to run as a candidate in 1996, and now again in 2000.
Because I have the perspective of having lived in this community for the past 30 years, this history and background leads me to conclude we are rapidly approaching a crossroads in our quality of life in our area. I believe we are reaching a crisis point in a number of areas that haven't been handled very well. Despite the well intentioned efforts by a number of people now in leadership roles, many of our vital infrastructure, social, and natural systems here are being extended far beyond their carrying capacities and are in decline.
While many of us probably take our ground water somewhat for granted and don't think very much about it, I have learned that it is what most importantly sustains us and our way of life here. It also sustains the huge agricultural industry in our region, which consumes 80% of our supply. In recent years especially, this water is being used up at an alarming rate.
In tracking this problem over the past several years I've spoken privately and publicly to the Board of Supervisors about the water problem. But, for reasons that are not fully understood, the Board has not been responsive to our water crisis. My concern about their lack of responsiveness on this, and other important issues, are what led me to run for Supervisor.
Whether our Board is willing to acknowledge it or not, we are in a county wide groundwater emergency situation due to our agricultural use and our growth rate here. The problems of salt water intrusion, nitrate/chemical contamination, and basin draw down are systematically eliminating and poisoning our groundwater resource which we exclusively depend on. Unfortunately, our Board has done absolutely nothing to address this. They discuss and debate conservation but apparently don't realize that the best conservation practices that might possibly be implemented over the next ten years can only hope to address no more than 20% of the current overdraft problem.
While I was sorry to cause them embarrassment, their unresponsiveness on this critical matter necessitated my filing a Grand Jury Complaint against our Board. Furthermore, our roads, schools, housing, courts/jails, and natural and human systems are similarly overburdened and are in decline and gridlock.
Though the present Board of Supervisors is comprised of fine, capable, well intentioned, and hard working members, unfortunately action by the current board is often no more than reactive crisis management. There is no specific proactive, realistic, strategic-regional, and sustainable social, environmental, and economic model or plan in mind.
In order to better solve many of the problems we face, I think we need to model and run our county government, with its $260 million a year budget, more like a real business. Right now I think it's being run more like a cash guzzling, inefficient bureaucracy. And, frankly, I'd like to see better service for value than we're receiving right now. Getting our county to fix our roads, our drainage, enforce our codes or, seemingly, accomplish virtually any task requires an enormous effort.
Moreover, we currently have additional daunting and complicated financial workout challenges. The county, a self insurer with a self insurance reserve fund of only $1.6 million, faces 34% financial responsibility for a potential $50 million judgment for our county's Pajaro River flooding negligence. Also, the yearly $8.7 million utility tax revenue is under legal challenge and might be possibly lost (more if retroactive) from the $65 million discretionary county funds. Topping it off, county participation in the Corp of Engineers levee project will present formidable financial and other challenges.
I'm running for this office is because I think there is a need for a creative business and environmental thinker on the Board. That's an important element and perspective that's lacking. I firmly believe that business, entrepreneurship, and concern for the environment can, and should, go hand in hand. For well over the last 10 years, I have been continuously and effectively working and participating in the community on these very same and serious concerns and issues, have already given much thought and effort to them, and have achieved tangible positive results.
Among the candidates, I believe I am the only one with a 30 year record as a successful business person in the community. In addition, I have a record of active participation in region-wide land, resource management, environmental, and social issues. I'm already "up and running" and have already been working on many of our vital problems. I have the rounded and varied practical experience (business and otherwise), and a long term track record of effective involvement, results, and commitment.
In the course of my community activities over the years, I have either met and/or interacted with all members of our current (and past) Boards and the Santa Cruz city councils. Additionally, I am already acquainted with virtually all county department heads (including LAFCO, Soquel Creek, Pajaro, and Monterey County, and other water districts), local judges, public defenders, other law enforcement officials, key UCSC and Cabrillo College officials and supporters (I am one), Capitola and Watsonville council members and other key city and county administrators and personnel. In short, I have taken the time and effort to get to know our community leaders. Additionally, the individuals who will work with me as part of my supervisorial team will further buttress and widen the capabilities and regional reach and effect of the Second District Supervisorial office.
From a practical perspective, I have pulled permits, constructed buildings, roads, septic systems, wells, designed the busiest street intersection in the county, saved wetlands and historic buildings, proposed viable and innovative low income housing tax credit financing initiatives to UCSC, proposed creative local solutions to our regional water crisis. From my personal experiences, I appreciate full well the trials and travails involved in these activities and their accomplishment.
Although I have sincerely attempted to convey to you my concerns about and my vision for our community in this short letter, there is much more I could say to you. Moreover, your reactions, thoughts , and concerns are equally important to me. This is the reason that I have placed my telephone number on my ballot statement. I want to hear from you and be responsive to you.
So, please feel free reasonably to contact me by any means at anytime, and after you elect me, please feel free to continue to do the same. This community critically needs your support, your vote, and your help now to put me in this very important office, and, after you elect me, you will always be able to rely on mine. I know well the meaning of the words "fiduciary" and "steward", and I will be ours. I appreciate that, if elected, this will be (outside my family) the most important responsibility I will probably ever undertake. I will perform it accordingly.
The vision and performance of our next supervisor will be critical to our district, our county, and our region if we are, at last, to start to establish ourselves as a sustainable and livable community. This will be a community with a long term, viable future, instead of one continuing in our present decline. I will provide this vision and performance and fight for our quality and maintaining and improving our way of life here. I will help us establish a sustainable and livable community, so together, as a community, we may thrive and prosper. I promise you this.
Thanks for your support and vote March 7,
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