Election Day is June 3, but vote by mail begins next week

Feather Publishing

District 5 Supervisor Jon Kennedy ceased his campaign for re-election partly because of the relentless barrage of negative rhetoric that had been leveled at him and affected his family. But none of that vitriol was on display during the League of Women Voters election forum held last week in Graeagle.

The League’s format requires that all questions be written and then asked by the moderator, which results in no dialogue between the candidates and the audience. Nor did Jeff Engel or Jim Judd address each other directly, except during closing remarks when Judd complimented Engel’s character and voiced the hope that when the campaign ended they would still be friends.

About 70 people attended the forum. If they came in undecided about which candidate to vote for, they probably left equally uncertain. The questions were often presented in a disjointed manner, and the one-minute response requirement seemed to limit the candidates’ ability to answer the multi-layered inquiries.

Time is running out for the public to hear from the candidates. Even though Election Day isn’t until June 3, mail-in ballots hit the post office May 5, less than a week from now. And because 75 percent of the Plumas County electorate is registered as permanent vote by mail, it’s critical that the candidates get their messages out quickly.

There are two more scheduled opportunities. The Special Districts Association is sponsoring a forum Wednesday, May 7, at 12:15 p.m. in the Quincy library meeting room. The League of Women Voters presents another forum later that same day, at 6:30 p.m., in the same location. We encourage the constituents in District 5, which includes Graeagle, Mohawk Valley and East Quincy, to attend.

This is a critical election and affects all of the citizens of Plumas County, not just District 5. The supervisors have been leading this county without the benefit of a CAO (county administrative officer) and thus far have done an admirable job. The result has been a balanced budget and a good working relationship with county department heads.

Both Engel and Judd said during last week’s forum that they favor hiring a CAO. And, in the absence of Kennedy, that might be necessary. One of Kennedy’s strengths is his grasp of the county’s finances and he became the go-to leader during the budget process.

Judd and Engel could prove equally adept, but there will be a learning curve. The current supervisors now have been through two budget cycles, during which they learned the machinations of the county and its departments. It will take time for either of the two candidates to get up to speed.

Last week’s forum attendees heard from the candidates on a variety of issues — they answered 17 questions in all. But Engel and Judd were only able to respond superficially, at best. That makes it difficult to form an opinion on who would be the best representative for their district and county leader for the next four years.

The candidates will be holding their own gatherings and no doubt going door to door to meet their constituents. Take advantage of all opportunities presented before you cast your vote, which for most could be within the week.

Editorials are written by members of the editorial board and should be considered the opinion of the newspaper. The board consists of the publisher, managing editor and appropriate staff writers.

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