Fourth candidate enters race for District 5 Supervisor
Three names appear on the ballot for District 5 supervisor, and now a fourth has filed to be a write-in candidate.
Clio resident Alice Berg knows that she is entering the fray late in the process, but wants to give voters an alternative.
She plans to campaign via social media and personal contact, and won’t be putting up yard signs.
Election Day is June 3, but vote-by-mail ballots, which account for 75 percent of Plumas County’s registered voters, were sent out May 5, and many have already been returned to the county elections office.
Following are the questions that the other candidates answered at the beginning of the campaign. In the weeks after they were printed in this newspaper, incumbent Jon Kennedy announced that he has decided to relocate out of the area and ceased campaigning, and candidates Jeff Engel and Jim Judd have campaigned and met in three public forums.
Name: Alice Berg
Family: Husband Quentin; son Sam, age 24
Occupation and work history: Consulting natural resource manager; grant writer; owner of Community Multisport Events LLC; board of directors, Mohawk Valley Stewardship Council; advisory board member, Johnsville Ski Hill; vice president, Plumas-Sierra Bicycle Club; owner of Alice Berg & Associates; Contractor Ocean Associates Inc.; and Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce board member.
How long have you lived in or have had ties to Plumas County?
I am a third-generation Plumas County native. My grandparents lived in Portola and my parents moved to Mohawk Valley from Portola when it was still considered a “wild and untamed” place with a few ranches. I grew up here, graduated from Portola High School, left for college, moved back to Calpine from 1993 to 1997, moved away to get a better job, then moved back here in 2008.
What prompted you to run for District 5 supervisor?
Seeing the lack of choice in candidates once Jon Kennedy backed out of the race.
What experience do you bring to the position?
I have over 25 years of experience working in natural resource management in both the private and public sector. I have a formal education that includes a bachelor’s degree in premedical studies and a master’s degree in natural resource management. I owned and operated my own consulting business and have had several tours of duty with state and federal agencies. Relative to the tasks that a county supervisor is responsible for, I submit the following partial list of experience:
Oversight of county government: I have represented businesses in the private sector in obtaining permits and approvals from various county departments. I have attended BOS meetings to understand proceedings of the BOS.
Represent residents: I grew up here and am very involved in local efforts to bolster our economy and build a sense of community. I also started an event company that brings hundreds of people into our district each year.
Our athletes are typically in the 35 – 44 age group, are educated and have money. We need to tap into this demographic more because people are looking for new outlets of participation and fitness. These events directly benefit local businesses by attracting people from out of the area who stay in local hotels, shop and eat in local restaurants.
Voting in public meetings: I have over 20 years of experience on various boards, which has given me an understanding of board governance processes.
Local legislation: I have little experience with this, but will learn, as is the case with most new candidates.
What would you do differently than the current supervisor?
I am very involved with local projects that are economic and cultural anchors for our communities, including restoration of White Sulphur Springs Ranch and the Johnsville Ski Hill. I would continue this work but also expand my involvement to other projects, to a level that is appropriate for a supervisor.
What do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the county and how would you address them?
Jobs: We have few good paying jobs in the private sector. Eastern Plumas County used to be vibrant and alive in the hey-day of the railroad and when the mills around the county were open. Now, we have lost those major industries for various reasons. So, young families have to leave here to find good paying jobs.
We are losing young families, which affects our schools, our services, our cultural values and our economic stability. Many young families that do live here work in the service industry, which is seasonal. But we are rich beyond belief because of the beautiful place that we live.
So, the question is how can we share that with others while maintaining the beauty, quiet places and safety of our communities? One way is through thoughtful recreational development and the second is providing the services that make this area attractive to small businesses.
Demographics: Our district has attracted retired folks because of the beautiful landscape, championship golf courses and the sense of peace, safety and community that we have here. We need to foster and build on this but we also need to attract and keep young families here in order to strengthen our communities and economic foundation.
Seasonal economy: Since we have transitioned away from a natural resource-based economy, tourism is supporting many of our businesses in this district. So, we need to expand and attract visitors through the “shoulder” seasons and in winter months to increase economic stimulation year-round. One step forward in that direction would be to get the Johnsville Ski Hill open for business.
Forest health and recreation: Most of the 87 percent of our county that is forested is on public lands. Management of these lands is important to residents because this is where we recreate; these lands are a “source of origin” for clean water to communities and agricultural interests downstream, are home to wildlife, and are important for timber production and biomass.
To protect all of these assets and sustain our economies into the future, we need to actively manage our public lands to develop more recreation opportunities, protect sensitive areas and manage our forests to reduce hazardous fuels that have built up as a result of fire suppression.
Fire tax: This is not one of our top three issues but it is indicative of a level of dysfunction in our government and it’s important because it affects many property owners in this district. We have all remitted our payment for the Fire Prevention Fee Assessment issued by the California State Board of Equalization. Most, if not all, properties do not fall within a State Responsibility Area: responsibility for fire suppression lies specifically with the U.S. Forest Service as outlined within the California Master Cooperative Wildland Fire Management Agreement. These lands are clearly outside of the jurisdiction of Cal Fire as per the California Master Cooperative Wildland Fire Management Agreement.
So, the way this fire tax came down, the penalties and the “visits” by Cal Fire are an issue. Further, most of us in this district have tax bills that show that our parcels are within the boundaries of an agency that provides fire protection services (e.g., Graeagle fire).
What about District 5? Is there an issue that is unique to Mohawk Valley and/or East Quincy?
Our district needs to continue to develop important services that serve us or we will trend toward a skeleton community that provides trophy homes in some areas (with folks driving to Reno to buy toothpaste), poor road conditions in others, and a lack of services for everyone. This trend will not attract young families or businesses to the area or sustain the population that lives here.
Do you consider the work of supervisor to be full-time?
What would you like county residents to know about you?
I believe we all are living here because we have family ties that go back generations and/or because this incredible landscape that surrounds us has “gotten under our skin.” We all want to maintain the quality of life we enjoy but also expand opportunities and attract new folks that will love it here as much as we do.
I have a nephew that is a local sheriff’s deputy: all the more reason that I care about our law enforcement capacity and making sure they get the support they need.
My niece is a nurse at Eastern Plumas Health Care (and many of us have been taken to the emergency room at one time or another due to illness): all the more reason I care about keeping the hospital open and viable.
My parents live here and are aging: all the more reason I care about local services for seniors, electricity costs for people on a fixed income and keeping our long-term care at EPHC open and viable.
My brother is in the construction industry: all the more reason that I care about jobs, streamlined permitting and approvals for responsible development.
My sister-in-law works at the local coffee place and a niece works as a waitress at local restaurants; I know what a struggle it is to stay open all winter.
My mother and sister are in real estate; I know what the downturn has done to housing, jobs and home values here.
My grandnieces and grandnephews attend school in Portola: all the more reason I care about the quality of education here, striving for low dropout rates, vocational training opportunities for kids and college prep programs.
I could go on, but the message is that I care deeply about this place and our community.