So I was up in Bridgeport on Tuesday evening for the District 4 candidates’ forum.
In a nutshell, Peters has the gravitas, Fesko has the fire and Huggans just seemed a bit overshadowed.
While I admired Huggans’ long family history in the area, that should not entirely comprise one’s opening statement.
She was also challenged with the following question which I swear I did not plant. It went something like, “If you can’t handle the Bridgeport Public Utility District (the subject of an ongoing embezzlement investigation. Huggans is the Chair of the three-member PUD Board), how do you expect to handle the responsibilities of the Mono County Board of Supervisors?”
Huggans responded by saying, “In my community service, I’ve always given 100%.”
In my mind, effort in and of itself isn’t enough at the Supervisor level.
As for Peters, he appears to be the most middle-of-the -road candidate, but sometimes that can hurt you in North County.
While Huggans and Fesko were unequivocally against County participation in the commercial airline subsidy program at Mammoth-Yosemite Airport to guarantee summer air service (much to the approval of a Bridgeport audience), Peters first said he was in favor of subsidizing “some small portion.”
When pressed, he acknowledged that the current County subsidy of $85,000 a year is about all he is comfortable with.
Fellow partners Mammoth Mountain and the Town of Mammoth Lakes were hoping to split the subsidy evenly this year, which would cost the County approximately $215,000.
So while Peters talked about the tourist economy and the importance of marketing, he retreated into his political shell on the air subsidy issue. Further, he suggested that “business interests in Mammoth Lakes have the capacity to subsidize more.”
Fesko’s strength is that he’s opinionated. His weakness is that he’s opinionated. Hard and fast beliefs – “government should not bail out private industry” – are wonderfully pithy, but are not always compatible with the art of governing.
The Sheet was also surprised to learn that Fesko is apparently embroiled in a civil lawsuit with his brother, Greg Fesko. While Tim says this is a “private family matter,” and that he’s matured over the past few years, we do plan to ask a few more questions about it.
One guy who’s glad he’s not running in District 4 is incumbent District 2 Supervisor Hap Hazard. If there’s one thing all three candidates could agree on, it was that they were, to quote Fesko, “disgusted” when Hazard referred to Cougar Gold representatives as a bunch of snake oil salesmen.
Triple M staying
Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez (“Triple M”) has withdrawn her name from consideration for the City Manager’s post in Yakima, Washington. Instead, she has signed a one-year contract to remain with the Town. If you’ve ever visited Yakima, Washington, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Money for schools … or pensions?
According to an April 22 report in the Wall Street Journal, Governor Jerry Brown is trying to sell voters in November’s general election on his $6 billion tax hike package, a combination of a quarter-cent sales tax hike that would be paid by all California consumers and a series of income tax increases on people earning more than $250,000 annually, saying it will go to schools. And it will, but perhaps not where you might want it to go.
State law requires that half of all general fund tax revenues go to education, which under other circumstance might mean schools are in for a $3 billion to $5 billion windfall if the initiative passes. But critics, including some educators, insist the new revenues won’t go to arts education, sports programs or bus services, but only to backfill the insolvent teachers pension fund, not for actual education.
Schools, it seems, would have to use the money to cover their pension bills, or alternatively, to pay teachers more to offset the higher contributions that teachers may be asked to make to their retirements.