The League of Women Voters of Plumas County sponsored the first in a series of forums for candidates vying for district and county office met on the evening of Wednesday, April 20 at the Quincy Public Library Conference Room.
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization of women and men devoted to increasing civic dialogue and public involvement in democratic processes at the local, state and national levels.
The 7 p.m. forum included the candidates for District 5 supervisor as well as candidates for county sheriff and assessor. Despite the stormy weather, the event was very well attended, with others watching on social media via livestream.
The evening opened with the two contenders for the position of supervisor for District 5, Incumbent District 5 Supervisor Jeff Engel and challenger Mimi Garner, a Realtor-broker. To read that story, please click here.
District Attorney David Hollister
Current Plumas County District Attorney David Hollister, running unchallenged for his fourth term in the Plumas County district, stepped to the front of the room to speak at the forum, thanking all for coming.
“I’m very proud of the DA’s office and I think you would be too,” he said first. “We have successfully tried many difficult cases that have been on national television, and we’ve done it with dignity and grace.”
Hollister went over a few recent cases, including murders, rapes, arson, and a recent child molestation case with a conviction.
“We take care in what we do, and we make sure that we get to the right result with the right process,” Hollister said.
Hollister then stated that he was currently facing one of the biggest challenges of his 30-year career, with his office receiving an average of nearly 1,000 cases per year, and over 800 prosecuted. There is also an average of 6,500 court appearances per year.
“Those statistics warrant five prosecutors,” Hollister said. “We are funded for three- and starting May 2 we will have one. We will have me. This is the first time ever in Plumas County’s history that we have not had one applicant for a deputy DA position.”
Hollister then went on to say that he had said for a couple of years that this was not sustainable for two people, and it is impossible with one person.
“I am worried about the stress it is going to place on my office, other agencies, myself, and quite frankly, the public.”
Hollister said that there was a short-term fix in place for the time being, with a larger office to loan the county a prosecutor one week a month to try and get through days when they are needed in more than one court at the same time.
“That is not a solution. I understand that this is a problem throughout California, but it is nowhere near as acute and serious as it is in Plumas County,” Hollister said. “If this goes on, I’m concerned that the consequence will be an inability to make court appearances, we could have defendant’s cases dismissed and them released, and local cases prosecuted by an outside agency that has no stake in Plumas County. In my mind, this is the most emergent situation we have ever had in the DA’s office.”
Hollister then stated that he knew other offices were struggling. “I am sickened by the fact that we have no one running for auditor,” he said. “That is a sad state of affairs and a strike to the heart of democracy when we can’t have one person run for an elected office that is that important.”
Hollister stressed the need for a plan and hope in the community moving forward. “We’ve got to have a plan to deal with this, and you have my pledge that if elected to serve my fourth term, I will do everything in my power to continue to provide the excellent public service my office has provided the last 12 years,” Hollister said in closing.