The seven candidates seeking a two-year term

There are seven candidates on the ballot vying for two available two-year terms on the Portola City Council.

They are Max Bradshaw, Larry Douglas, Timothy Kreth, Pat Morton, B.J. Pearson, Stan Peiler and Kim Scott.

Each of the candidates was given an opportunity to respond to five questions with a 150-word limit per each question.

Most of the candidates responded; those that did not received a reminder phone call. All are represented here with the exception of Timothy Kreth. In an email to this newspaper Oct. 22, Kreth said that he was withdrawing from consideration. “I’ve put a lot of thought into it and I just don’t feel like I’m at a point in life where I’d be able to serve my community at the level they deserve. I’ve got too many pans in the oven these days,” he wrote. Though he no longer seeks the position, his name will be on the ballot.

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Election Day is Nov. 6, but ballots are already being returned in this all-mail election. Kathy Williams, the chief elections official, reports that as of Monday morning, Oct. 22, her office had received 1,755 of the roughly 12,000 ballots sent out countywide. She encourages people to return their ballots in advance of the Nov. 6 deadline if they want prompt results. All ballots must have the signatures verified before they can be counted.

Max Bradshaw

Max Bradshaw

1. What sets you apart from the other candidates for Portola City Council?

I’m a 35-year resident with business and administration experience. Keen observer of local issues and citizen concerns.

2. How would you increase resident involvement in council meetings and other community events?

Keep one seat on council a two-year term. I think that is one reason for this year’s interest in running for council. Dip your toes so to speak without making a long-term commitment.

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3. What benefits do the citizens of Portola experience compared to those who reside outside of the city limits?

Closer connection to city government. Your councilor members are your neighbors.

4. What will be your primary focus if elected to the council?

Seek funding for street re-paving, repairs and maintenance. Water and sewer appear to be on track for funding.

5. What would you like to say to the people of Portola before they vote?

Wait until the last minute. You never know what controversy will raise its ugly head at the last minute to make you wish you hadn’t voted early. Vote Max for responsive government.

Larry F. Douglas

Larry Douglas

1. What sets you apart from other candidates for Portola City Council?

I am a Viet Nam veteran whose name is on a bridge rather than the wall. Most of my life has been spent in business management, development and ownership in Sonoma County. Since moving my roofing business to Portola 15 years ago I have been a statesman involved in Portola politics.

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The community knows where I stand from my Letters to the Editor. The City Council knows from my public comments. I have served the City as a Planning Commissioner, City rep to Plumas Corp. and as a City Council member. I have been doing business as the High Sierra Community Development Center for the last eight years. It has developed a mini-college. I have been a community volunteer. I have re-roofed the Caboose and the Black Mountain Ranger Station. I have restored 25 Commercial St. I worked on the Streetscape plan, abatement projects and in the community garden.

2. How would you increase resident involvement in council meetings and other community events?

As one who has been passionately involved in advocating for community development it is my hope to inspire other residents to become involved in council meetings and other community events. We need to become involved in local politics to make a change in our present direction and focus on the future of our city. This passion fuels me once again to run for public office. We have 11 candidates in this election. After the election we can become the leaders for a reformation of Portola’s pride. It is time for another shake-up in city hall. Five years ago the new City Council hired a new city manager and conducted town hall meetings. Portola is still a field of possibilities to attract residents and new businesses from urban areas. Their passions and skills will lead them to fill the needs of the community.

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3. What benefits do the citizens of Portola experience compared to those who reside outside of the city limits?

Citizens of Portola live in the economic hub of Eastern Plumas County. It provides the majority of services to those who reside outside the city limits. We have the benefits of an urban community with nearby pleasures of a rural one. Many outside the city limits live in a rural area with access to services provided by the city like our concerts, swimming pool, parks and recreational areas. Together, we have the best of two worlds. We have the public schools and recreational activities for the youth within our city limits. We have a library. We have the sheriff’s substation and a hospital with emergency services to provide the elderly with a sense of security. We have our own local government with its general plan as the vision for the future of the city. We have a municipal code to address our urban needs.

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4. What will be your primary focus if elected to the council?

My primary focus will continue to be community development and implementing our general plan. It links community values, visions, and decisions that affect the physical development of the community, such as subdivisions and public works projects. Our general plan added elements for community development and economic development to give council direction. Our economic recovery can be jump-started through the restoration of the construction industry. It can provide the well-paying jobs for blue-collar workers. Vocational training in construction trades can be expanded in our schools and community college. We need to renegotiate development agreements and rethink our policies to provide the safeguards for the developers and incentives to build. We can be a mecca for affordable housing for those living in large cities wishing to relocate to our environment. We can control urban sprawl and develop our assets like the Railroad Museum and the Lake Davis fishery to attract tourists.

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5. What would you like to say to the people in Portola before they vote?

This is an election that your vote can change the direction of the City. In the last two years we have been declared a “disadvantaged city.” It has enabled the City Council to get technical assistance to seek state funding to repair our infrastructure. We had a City Council that tried to impose a Fire Tax to give themselves discretionary funds for less vital services. They disabled our Fire Department enabling another Fire District to provide our primary fire protection. Our volunteers were expected to pay for their training. I am running for the two-year seat as a community volunteer with a vision for the future that complies with a vision by the people and a government for the people. It will take a new majority to change city hall and its operations. It needs to overhaul its policies and procedures to become public servants with affordable services.

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Pat Morton

Pat Morton

1. What sets you apart from the other candidates for Portola City Council?

I have been active in community events for 39 years, beginning with preschool, Little League, soccer, youth basketball, 4-H leader, PTA, high school sports and clubs. I am a committee member for Eastern Plumas Angel Program, Portola Tree Lighting and Light Parade, and Railroad Days.

I retired from Portola High School. I also worked as a substitute office worker for the City of Portola, a cashier for Leonard’s Market and KS Market.

Because of my involvement in the community I am in contact with many Portola citizens and listen to their concerns and comments.

Having worked at Portola City Hall I know how government works and that patience is needed.

I have no agenda except for the continued improvement of the City for a better quality of life for all citizens.

I have been on the City Council for the last two years; I know what has been happening and what is needed to help Portola move forward.

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I work well with others, am a listener and researcher. I hope to continue to help make Portola a better place for all citizens.

2. How would you increase resident involvement in council meetings and other community events?

To increase involvement communication is the first step.   This can be achieved by a City newsletter, Facebook, City website, word of mouth or newspaper articles. We need to have a positive attitude and not the negative attitude of some citizens. If we can improve communication with the citizens I think some attitudes will change. Communication will also stop most of the false rumors that are always floating around.

We need to involve businesses, community groups, churches and schools as these are important elements of our community.

Many people work outside of Portola and it is hard to attend meetings. Terri Woods usually records our meeting and puts it on YouTube.

3. What benefits do the citizens of Portola experience compared to those who reside outside of the City limits?

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The basic benefit is that we have our own local government and control of our community.

The City provides safe water and sewer services, at cost, to the residents. Street lights, contracted fire and emergency medical services, contracted law enforcement, snow removal. Several of the above services are provided by special districts, at a local cost, in the county.

We have a hospital, doctors, dentists, chiropractors, pharmacy, grocery stores and gas stations.

Your elected officials are local, you see us on the street, in stores, etc. We are available to hear your complaints and answer your questions.

4. What will be your primary focus if elected to the council?

I have several primary goals. We need to hire a City Manager. We need to have enough qualified and trained volunteers to have our own fire department. We need to hire a CSO to enforce City ordinances.  I will continue to work to find funding and support upgrading and replacing our aging water and sewer system.

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5. What would you like to say to the people of Portola before they vote?

I live in Portola and I would like your support to continue working to improve Portola.  We can recover from the poisonings of Lake Davis and the recession. I am working to improve our quality of life.  Please vote. If you vote for me, Thank you.

B.J. Pearson

B.J. Pearson

1. What sets you apart from the other candidates for Portola City Council?

I have always had a true heart for the city of Portola. I care about its residents, businesses and financial temperature. I have created several thriving businesses in the area, thereby creating many jobs. I have history here as proof of 30-plus years of financial experience, diligent work on development projects and many other venues. In all these areas, I have been instrumental in creating jobs, cash flow, business longevity and bringing in funds available for city needs. (To view more about my qualifications, you can google: Supervisor BJ Pearson, Plumas.)

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2. How would you increase resident involvement in council meetings and other community events?

It is difficult to get the working public to attend nighttime council meetings, even though I believe they have an interest in their community. However, I will encourage them to come by my office anytime if they would like to discuss any ideas or have questions about anything. By doing this perhaps I can help them create enough excitement for their ideas that they will come to a meeting to share what we have spoken of. Also, showing them my support in this way, will not only let them know that their opinions are important enough to share with their peers in a formal venue, but also City Council cares and is willing to listen and discuss anything which may help create a more prosperous future for Portola and her residents.

3. What benefits do the citizens of Portola experience compared to those who reside outside of the city limits?

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In a small close-knit community City Council and government tend to become more responsive to the needs of the people. The officials live within the city limits and are very aware of the challenges and needs within these boundaries. They live the same life as the people who live there, shop the same stores, drive the same streets, their children attend the same schools, etc. There are some local issues which may not have been addressed or seen to fruition if they were dealt with on the county level.

Take the Woodbridge Project as an example. Had this project been on the County agenda, it may not have been focused on so diligently as it was on the City agenda because it would benefit the City of Portola as opposed to the County, we were able to move this through the steps without losing the emphasis on the benefits to our city. By keeping that local focus, the City of Portola was able to net $3 million which was a substantial profit and increase to our budget.

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4. What will be your primary focus if elected to the council?

Seek funding for street re-paving, repairs and maintenance. Water and sewer appear to be on track for funding.

There are three issues which are on my platform as priorities:

a. The city has lost a vital component which safeguards the health and safety of its residents when we lost the fire department. It will be a priority of mine to re-instate the Portola Fire Department.

b. With the economic downturn throughout the nation, Portola has suffered immensely. Losing businesses, dwindling population and loss of jobs were issues we had already been suffering from. However, creating opportunities for us in Portola is a stand I will take. With the right ideas, creativity and determination, we CAN create Jobs for Portola residents.

c. Hand-in-hand with the job implementation are my ideas for increasing city commerce. The two projects, Woodbridge and Project 192, have the potential to do just that! These projects have been stagnant for years. I have vast experience in creating local master planned communities and that knowledge will prove beneficial to this endeavor.

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5. What would you like to say to the people of Portola before they vote?

As a taxpayer you have an obligation to vote for the candidate who best serves your interest. I would encourage our community to be knowledgeable about the candidates before they cast their vote. Take the time to know each one of them. What are their qualifications? What is their experience in the vital areas that will create the most benefit to our City’s financial future? With an educated decision, you can make your vote count!

With your vote we can make Portola great again!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Feather Publishing for making this exposure possible.

Also, a sincere thank you to the voters for their consideration and for taking the time to educate themselves on the qualifications of the candidates. I am confident in their choice of the one who will strengthen the city of Portola’s future.

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Stan Peiler

Stan Peiler

1. What sets you apart from the other candidates for Portola City Council?

I believe as a newcomer to this position I am excited and eager to help organize and prioritize the needs that will greatly benefit our community. I would also like to ensure that the citizens of Portola know exactly where the money goes and how it is budgeted per project.

2. How would you increase resident involvement in council meetings and other community events?

I feel the newspaper is a wealth of knowledge, however utilizing banners across our bridge to get community involvement will work. We did this for sports signups and it proved to generate more signups and inquiries than the past.

3. What benefits do the citizens of Portola experience compared to those who reside outside of the city limits?

I would only hope that the citizens of Portola would greatly be benefited by the strength of good decisions made by city council, I would also hope that the surrounding communities are doing well because it plays a huge part in Portola’s economy.

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4. What will be your primary focus if elected to the council?

My primary focus consists of two personal goals and one ongoing goal.

First: I would like to involve myself with Portola High’s senior class to help ensure that every senior has the opportunity to head somewhere (college, military, job training or their preference).

Second: Our elderly I would like to make sure of their safety in times of disaster, heavy snow and power outages. To have a list so we can check to make sure they are ok.

Third: Roads and infrastructure although this is ongoing I would like to work with sectioning off the city and show a budget per sections and complete task so the community sees improvements.

5. What would you like to say to the people of Portola before they vote? 

To the citizens of Portola on behalf of my wife Lisa and my four boys we want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of this great community. To all the coaches and teachers that have played a role in helping move our sons forward in life, Lisa and I thank you. I commit to you all that I will do my best to make a positive difference in our community.

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Kim Scott

Kim Scott

What sets you apart from the other candidates for Portola City Council?

I am unique amongst the other candidates for City Council because I am excited and positive about the future of our City. I see so many opportunities to improve the quality of life for our residents.

While some goals may take time and others may move faster, we have to start with identifying what the needs of our residents are. Safe and affordable childcare and after school programs, an economic study that show us where we can direct our resources in the most fiscally responsible way to provide the best return to our residents, and in my opinion a complete overhaul of our law enforcement contract and fire department reorganization efforts. I am ready to acknowledge the uncomfortable topics and look for solutions to these problems.

2. How would you increase resident involvement in council meetings and other community events?

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Over the years I have seen members of our community attend council meetings when topics that directly affect them come up.

I believe we would benefit from first, focusing more on issues that promote the betterment to the actual resident. People participate when they are affected and feel their participation is valued.

Second, I believe providing the public with more options to participate outside of attending the council meetings is important. As a council member, you can expect me to announce a time and public location where I can be found once a month, so that Portola residents can come speak to me about concerns or ideas.

I will also be open to meeting with people individually, exchange emails, and let them know I appreciate and need their feedback to effectively do the job.

3. What benefits do the citizens of Portola experience compared to those who reside outside of the city limits?

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Portola is where you wave at people when you drive down the street, where your security system is telling the neighbor that you will be out of town for the weekend, and you know when the high school football game is even when you don’t have a kid in high school. When mail is delivered to the wrong house on my street, I still get it, and when the power inevitably goes out in winter we check on each other. Portola is the definition of community.

Portola residents are surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery the world has to offer and they also have the luxury of a one degree of separation from any other member of our community, including City Officials. Our Council members should be accessible to every citizen as our population does not exceed a manageable council member to resident ratio. We are very lucky.

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4. What will be your primary focus if elected to the council?

The revitalization of our quality of life, our pride in our city, and regaining the public’s trust that Portola is doing all it can to help each resident live their best life. To do that requires focus in more than any one area.

I will address the concerns of the people that have been expressed to me. Such as, what is happening with our water bills? When will our roads be repaired? Can Commercial Cannabis become an economic boost to our city? How do we get our fire department back? Demanding accountability from LAFCO since we pay half their operating expenses, demanding respect from our Sheriff when he makes demeaning comments about us in the newspaper, and asking Michael Sanchez what the County is doing for the City with 51 percent of our property taxes.

I have the backbone City Council is missing.

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5. What would you like to say to the people of Portola before they vote? 

Expect more from the people you elect. Regardless if it is me or someone else. You deserve to be a priority. The City of Portola is not the handful of people at City Hall, it is the people who live here, work here, raise families here, and have chosen to spend their last days here.

I promise the people of Portola that I will always think of them first, I will always do my homework and be informed on a decision before I make it, I will always consider your opinion above my own, and should I ever lose my passion … I will step away and support someone who will continue to do what is best for you. However, today I believe I am that person and I ask you to support me so that we can all have a better future.

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