In addition to Tim Fesko and Renn Nolan, whom we profiled last week, two other candidates, Tim Hansen and Bobby Tems, were recently certified as ballot-ready in the race for District 4 Mono County Supervisor. All will be vying for the seat that opened in the wake of the passing of Supervisor Bill Reid.
A 40-year Mono County resident, who lives on the north shore of Mono Lake on property where his family settled in the 1930s, Hansen’s earliest memories include watching his grandfather process Mono Lake water and distill Drokel Natural Mineral Salts, which he sold commercially up into the 1950s. Having observed Mono County politics for years, Hansen says he never considered running for public office until last year when Supervisor Reid passed away. “What motivates me to run for District 4 Supervisor now is my growing concern that we are at risk of losing the qualities and uniqueness that still exist in District 4,” Hansen stated. “As supervisor I would work to maintain and preserve the attributes that make it a unique part of our county.”
Hansen thinks that multi-use recreation, agriculture, and responsible resource development are all under attack. “Citizens of District 4 need to act now to protect what we love and value in our district, as well as the things that support our economy, or we may discover it’s too late.” Hansen has a number of specific concerns. “Fishing and agriculture are the two backbones of the District 4 economy. We can’t afford to see reductions in either sector.” Hansen contends that agriculture and tourism can enhance each other and help our economy. “Some of the most beautiful views in Mono County include irrigated meadows that are up against the base of some of the world’s most beautiful mountains.”
“I don’t believe anyone has an exclusive right to use or abuse our natural environment. Responsible development and reasonable, fair regulation is the key to maintaining the economic diversity we enjoy.” He is particularly focused on reductions in fish stocking programs that he perceives as a threat to local recreational fishing. He thinks Mono County must anticipate reductions in stocking and continue to develop contingency plans to maintain the local fisheries. He also is a strong advocate of agriculture. “Families who produce food and feed products are one of this most important segments of this county.”
Hansen is a small business owner himself, owning and operating High Sierra Brine Shrimp at Mono Lake for 20 years. During this time he has also owned and operated his own truck, worked in road construction, and been a permanent seasonal employee of CalTrans doing winter snow removal.
Hansen became a full time Mono County resident in 1970 after service in the U.S. Army following one tour of duty in Vietnam. He recently served two terms on the Mono County Grand Jury, and is currently vice-chair of the Mono Basin RPAC.
Originally from Texas, Tems has lived in California for the last half-century. He moved to Mono County just four years ago, but been nearby in the southern Antelope Valley (Lancaster/Palmdale) since the early ‘70s. “I know government in small cities,” he said, pointing out that Lancaster and Palmdale in those days resembled what is now Mono County.
Tems’ background includes a Bachelors Degree in Business Management, four years in the Marine Corps (including an 18-month tour of Vietnam) and four years in Naval Reserve. Professionally, he worked with Lockheed-Martin for almost 38 years, rising up through the ranks to supervision and program manager. “I learned a lot during my travels for Lockheed, interfacing with customers and dealing with the government,” he said, “what makes the wheels of government turn, and what makes them turn off.”
What brought him to the area? “My son, Ray, is a Mono County Sheriff’s Deputy, and my grandkids all live in Walker,” he related. “My wife and I were selling our place in Lancaster, looking for a place to retire, and the scenic beauty just overwhelmed us.”
Making a run for the Board of Supervisors seat was inspired out of “passion,” he said. “I always liked politics and what makes people tick. What’s happening today, the rejection of big government, I’d like to bring some integrity back to representing folks,” he said. “I’ve got time and certainly the energy to put into the community and projects for it … I retired early, but I’m not planning on sitting in a motorhome on the banks of a river somewhere.”
One major challenge he cites is better promotion of the north county. “People I talk to at meetings say they want more tourism. The question is, ‘Are they willing to give up some of their lifestyle for more visitation?’” he opined. He also pointed to the recent developments in the Eastern Sierra Unified School District budget situation. “I hope the school district can survive that.” He’s also lamented the long amounts of process and permit time it takes to start construction, relating that it took him six months to get a permit to install a pad for a backup generator. “And that’s small potatoes compared to the time contractors have to endure. Those are slow wheels turning.”