2016 District 2 Reports
By Merlin Jones
As I'm sitting here writing this article, the days are starting to get a little cooler, but the moisture content of the vegetation is even lower than this time last year. We'll need to be extremely careful about anything that might cause fire, like a chain dragging on the road. There was a 150-acre fire below Pilot Peak on the Old Yosemite Highway We have been lucky so far with all the bug trees that we have had no major fires in Mariposa County.
There are a few issues on the county level that the B.O.S. is deciding on. One is what we are going to do with the landfill, in hopes to lower the cost of disposing of our garbage. I was involved in getting the Silver Tip Project started with the grading permit. The project will bring in a lot of TOT dollars into the county to help fund a lot of our discretionary money projects. Another item that each one of us can help with is we are mandated and watched by Cal-Recycle to continue to improve on our recycling, so it doesn't go to the landfill.
We, in Mariposa County, are fortunate to have our fairgrounds. The state has cut almost all funding for the fair, but they regulate how we maintain it. This year, for the first time, the county contributed $150,000 to help keep our fairgrounds running. It is not only the fair, but it is the center for fire crew's camps, fundraising events, social events and much more. I have strongly supported our fair, both personally and through the county.
The tree mortality issue is still something that the county and all agencies are trying to work out the details to solve the problems. The B.O.S. passed a log sorting site with page&E in District 4 to take a lot of the bug trees. Some of the neighbors are unhappy because no one wants it in their backyard, but it needs to go somewhere. The B.O.S. has put out an RFP to hire a person or firm to manage the tree removal around houses and roads, in doing so it will make the county a safer environment for everyone. The mills are about through taking logs, but China is still importing some, otherwise, I don't know what we can do except burn the wood. If anyone needs any help, let me know and I will put you in contact with the right grants or agencies.
We posted our website and the number of hits it is getting is amazing. It is being updated daily. We are just getting started and are putting up more information all the time. Thank you to all of you who have responded, letting us know that this is what Dist. 2 has needed for a long time. If you haven't already, check out our website. You'll find current road and fire conditions, calendar of events along with pictures of what has happened, county job postings, and an inexpensive advertising section that will be available to you.
I am not talking about all the meetings I attended and going to Mariposa 4 to 5 days a week, because I am limited on the amount of words I can have, so if you want more information, go to my website.
I always remember I work for you, the people of Mariposa County and District 2. Call me any time in Mariposa at 966-3222 or my office in Greeley Hill at 878-3158. Thanks for letting me work for you.
I am sitting here looking out the window and seeing how the bark beetle continues to devastate our tree population without no end in sight. It is estimated that we will lose about 80% of all conifer trees in Mariposa County. With that said the Board of Supervisors continues to work on ways of disposing of the dead trees. We are working with the state and trying to get help from the federal government. We are asking for your patients and are continuing to implement new programs all the time. But to put it simply the wood is worthless and it cost money to haul it and there is no legal place to put it. An item is coming before the B.O.S. regarding working with some large national companies to set up a sorting and storage site. I am very supportive of this and due to the fact that we are now losing some oak trees, I will be adding them to the program.
We already have many programs in place from the Fire Safe Council, NRCS, CAL Fire and page &E. If any of you have any questions feel free to call me and I will point you in the right direction or meet you in Mariposa to get you signed up. This is a fluid problem and more programs are becoming available almost on a daily basis. With all of your help and hopefully with some cold weather we can put an end to this catastrophic problem.
For the people in the Greeley Hill community, our school continues to grow and improve. The Superintendent of Schools and the School Board is 100% behind making this school one of the best schools in the county. I am still proud to say without all the volunteers and my stubbornness to bring in the charter school to keep a school in the community, we would not be where we are today. "Thank you, everyone."
The Bean Creek Meadow restoration project by the Sierra Foothill Conservancy will be starting around mid-September. Don't be alarmed because at first, it will look ugly, but when completed it will return to its original look. There will be a community meeting to inform everyone what is going to take place and answer any questions you may have.
There is also a new pizza restaurant in Greeley Hill called Bambino's. It is by the laundromat on Greeley Hill Road Try it out! You won't be sorry. In Coulterville, the park is open along with the Coulter Café and Sierra Flowers, just to mention a few of the local stops. The Mariposa Events Center in Lake Don Pedro has their lights up so you can rind in the cool of the evening. You can't ask for better people than Marla and Ken.
There are vacation rentals opening up all the time. If you are considering opening one, be sure to go to the county first and see what is required. Do it the right way. You will need a permit and an inspection. If you don't, the fines and penalties are high and you will get caught. That also goes for people who are building without a permit. Do it the right way first. I am here to help you. All you have to do is ask. I work with people almost every day with their projects.
I am working on some road issues by trading some roads not used (take them of the system) and using that mileage on roads that need maintenance.
Don't forget to come to the 4th Annual Northern Mariposa County Art Show. Sunday, October 2, 1 to 4 p.m., at 10403 Fiske Hill Road, in Greeley Hill. Free to artist and spectators.
I have saved the best news for last. I am coming out with a website so I can keep you better informed and updated on a daily basis. The website will have a calendar of events for all of District 2 and Mariposa. It will provide information on many of the helpful programs available to people in District 2 and give information on local fires and road problems. Businesses will be able to advertise reasonably and pictures of local events will be posted. You will no longer have to wait for the monthly paper to find out what is going on. My goal is to have this available to you by mid - September. Check out the website, or send an email to me.
I always remember, I work for you, the people of Mariposa County and especially you in District 2. You can reach me at my Mariposa office at 966-3222 or in Greeley Hill at 878-3158. Let's all work together to make Mariposa and District 2 even better.
I have been busy catching up with things after campaigning. For those who voted for me, thank you very much and thank you for those who graciously let my wonderful and dedicated committee members put signs up on your property. Next month I will have some exciting new things to announce and catch you up on what is happening in our county and District 2. There is a long list and with me as your Supervisor there will be some changes to look forward to next month.
Don't forget the Mariposa County Fair starts September 2nd through the 5th. Lots of fun stuff is happening...rodeo, rides, destruction derby, music, fair food, exhibits and good friends! Don't forget to visit 4H and FFA livestock exhibits and support the kids at the livestock sale. Hope to see you at the Fair!
As I'm sitting here writing this article, the days are getting longer and the grass is drying out. Make sure you have 200 feet to 300 feet clearance around your structures. With more rain comes more grass, which increases the fire danger, especially with all the bug trees, we all need to do our part in making this a safer place to live.
On April 21, I sponsored the 2nd annual Mariposa County employee appreciation BBQ-potluck. I do this because the county has so many dedicated hardworking employees. A big "thank you" to all the employees. On that same note I attended the Search and Rescue benefit on April 23. We have so many great volunteers in Mariposa County. If it wasn't for the volunteers, we couldn't offer all the health and safety service in the county.
We all need to be concerned about keeping our fairgrounds open. Over the last few years, the State has given very little funding to operate the fairgrounds, but yet they have complete control over hiring, wages, and all other regulations because it is state owned. We use it for fire camps and for many community activities. If it wasn't for the Friends of the Fair raising the money, it might not be open today. With the Friends of the Fair, the fairgrounds has about 2 years of reserve left, then it will have to close. Brian Bullis, our great fair manager, can use all the help he can get.
Most everyone has bug trees. If you need help, call me and I will tell you about some of the different programs that may be available to you. It is keeping me busy trying to help as many people as possible.
For the people in the Lake Don Pedro area, I was able to get your Amador Fire Fee reduced by 25% and I am working on getting it completely eliminated, but keeping the same service you have. It is very difficult for a volunteer fireman to get and keep their certifications, I am working on a plan to have everyone working together to give us even better fire protection.
I enjoy helping new businesses start and one of the first I helped in Dist. 2 was the Mariposa Events Center. On May 13th Marla and Ken Corallo held an arena light ceremony. This is their 3rd year and they keep adding and improving their place. The turnout for the event was excellent and now we have a facility for dogs, horses, cattle, 4H, FFA and much more. "Good Job," Marla and Ken.
On that same note, I am working with a young couple from the valley who are realtors who would like to move up to the Greeley Hill area. They are good, hardworking, honest people and have already started getting listings. I wish them the best of luck and will help them get started.
This is only a few of the items I'm working on, but due to the fact that I was told by the owner of the paper, I had to shorten my article I can't give you more information.
I've been to 5 candidates forums and the public can tell who knows what is going on in the county and who has gotten money and projects done in Dist. 2. There is some things that are out of my control and there is nothing I can do about it. For example, yurts are not a residential dwelling and consequently can't be used for a vacation rental. I have no control over that.
Always remember I work for you, the people of Mariposa County and District 2. You can call me at 878-3158 or at my office in Mariposa at 966-3222.
As I'm sitting here looking out the window, the Black Oak trees are all leafed out and flowers are in full bloom. It makes for a beautiful drive to Mariposa on Highway 49. The tourists are stopping to take pictures of the wildflowers and enjoying the beauty of Mariposa County. Looking down on the Merced River at Bagby, it is flowing more than I have seen it in 4 years, which means Lake McClure is starting to rise, but it has a long way to go. M.I.D. must release so much water for the fish according to their permitting requirements. So let's hope it continues to rain with snow in the higher elevations.
On March 16 to 17 I had full days interviewing candidates for the Deputy C.A.O. position. These candidates were from all over the county. I want to make sure they will be qualified, fit for the county, work well with the other employees, most important be able to step in as C.A.O and live in the county.
I had 3 very successful Eat, Meet and Greets, where I could tell the people of Dist. 2 what my goals are and to listen to them on what their needs are. At the end, we all agreed my goals and their needs are the same. Better roads, better fire protection, less taxes, less fees and the list goes on. So my work is cut out for me and I will continue working 40 to 60 hours a week for the people of Dist. 2 and Mariposa County.
On March 23, I had a meeting with Jay Johnson and Steve Smallcomb on the biomass project. I feel strongly that if it is going to happen, it needs to be owned and ran by the private sector and the county should have no part in it.
I had a meeting with staff, on March 24, to plan our 2nd Annual Employee Appreciation BBQ Potluck. I brought it back after many years to show in a small way how much I appreciate our dedicated county employees. "Thank You" and thank you staff for your help. This event is at no cost to the county, just myself.
I set up a meeting on April 7, with the planning, building, and environmental health departments, myself and two ladies who are purposing an event center between Greeley Hill and Coulterville. I feel it would be a great asset to Mariposa County and Dist. 2. I am working with them to help make this as easy as possible, including all the departments that they will need to get permits from, all in the same room, so we are all on the same page.
On April 9, we held a Tree Mortality workshop in Greeley Hill. We had many different agencies with tables set up around the hall and also had some great speakers who answered everyone's questions. It is a combination of everyone working together to solve the bug tree problem and the state of California is still trying to decide how best to help. I am hoping we can get the Federal government to step in with some serious money because that is what it is going to take. I keep doing all I can to help, but there is no one solution.
The members at the Swift meeting in Moccasin, held on April 13, talked about the tall grass due to the rain is going to create a bigger fire hazard. CAL Fire is being trained on sawmills, burners and other equipment to use in getting rid of the bug trees. That evening I attended the Lake Don Pedro Owner's meeting. They have a great board and a lot of activities planned. I'm in the process of getting them a large dumpster for free to help them clean up the neighborhood. It should be there for two days for normal garbage. No tires, batteries, computers, etc.
I'm writing this article with a heavy heart, for on April 15 there was a benefit dinner fundraiser for the Dino Baca family. The turnout was amazing, along with the generosity of so many people. Dino was the King of the Destruction Derby held at the County Fair every year. His wife, Rene' was always more than willing to cook her famous chili beans for all the fundraisers I put on. Three of his boys worked for me and the whole family was very special to the community and myself. I was fortunate enough to be asked to be the auctioneer at the benefit. People from all over the county donated and participated in the event. Around $20,000 was raised for the family and after 3 hours of auctioneering, I had no voice left. That night, just after midnight, Dino left us, but he and the Baca family knew how much the community loved them. We will miss you, Dino.
There is a new kid on the block in downtown Coulterville, Tori's Story. Not only does Tori stock all sorts of gift items and antiques, she has around ten computers with Internet service you can rent by the hour. Tori offers printing, coping, scanning, laminating and other office and web rental services. What a great idea for our area. If you want to check out Facebook or Google something, go visit Tori's Story across from the Coulter Café.
The campaign season is moving right along and keeping me busy. I am sorry to report I was encouraged to file a report of 25 missing and destroyed campaign signs and the number keeps increasing. We know who some of the people are that are involved. I heard a person in the community is going to report this to the district attorney, along with some of the ugly letters containing false statements that were posted at a grocery store. The same people who write these ugly lies are the same people who don't do anything to help our community or attend fundraisers, like the one the other night. I have instructed my committee to not get involved, and they and I have stayed above all these lies and dirty truths. All candidates must remember they need to get permission to put signs up. When I see signs on Forrest Service property, I know they didn't get permission.
I will continue to work for District 2 and Mariposa County. You can always reach me at 878-3158 at my office in Greeley Hill or in Mariposa at 966-3222.
As I'm sitting here writing this article, the weather is getting warmer and the oak trees are starting to bud out. Thank goodness for the rain that seems to come about every week. We need every bit of it. With the warmer weather, the bark beetles will become more active, which mean more dead trees. With spring coming I don't see much chance of real cold weather to get a good bug kill. That means another summer of high tree mortality. On Saturday, April 9th, there is going to be another tree mortality workshop in Greeley Hill, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This will include all the funding and chipping programs available and how the county can help you.
I'm working on setting up a town hall fair that will bring in representatives from all the social service organizations in the county regarding county transportation, food programs, health programs, temporary assistance programs and much more. When the date is set I will let you know. It will be held at the Greeley Hill Community Hall.
My wife and I attended the Renaissance reception in Yosemite. This is an art show that starts in Yosemite and tours the Central Valley. The manager told me I was the first supervisor to attend. It is a great display of art in various media. If you get a chance to visit, I'm sure you will enjoy it.
I'm serving on the courthouse restoration committee. This project has been put off far too long. The historical courthouse needs to be maintained for the generations to come. The restoration will start in June and finish in August. It will be reroofed, the outside will be painted, the bell tower will be fixed, the clock repaired and A.D.A. ramps installed. What a "Great Project."
Currently, I'm heading a risk management committee. In my opinion, the county has gone way to long without a safety program. When asking about a safety manual, a longtime employee said they thought we have some. After much looking and digging they were found. They will be updated and all the departments and employees will be required to implement them. This way our workman's comp. claims will be reduced and save the county money.
When a constituent has a concern, they either call the county or me. There are many problems a supervisor has to settle and mitigate such as a barbeque in a county parking lot or Merced County putting locks on gates of a Mariposa County landowner. There are people who have garbage issues, but remember that one person's treasures may be garbage to his neighbors. This makes it difficult for our compliance officer. The other thing is all the legally required notifications take quite a while, but people must be given their due process.
While spending the last two days interviewing for a new deputy C.A.O., we found there was a very diverse set of candidates. We're able to save money by interviewing a couple of candidates, who live across the country, via Skype. It is important to save money where ever we can. There are so many money saving ideas I've learned since being in office.
While running for supervisor and I still work a 40 to 60 hour a week as supervisor. On Tuesdays, the Board of Supervisor's holds their meeting. A candidate can come and go as they wish. Some candidates leave at noon while the B.O.S. meeting continues on until 4 p.m. or maybe even 7:30 p.m. By not attending a full B.O.S. meeting, the candidates won't fully understand all that takes place in the afternoon. Sometimes the most important transactions take place then. Does your candidate attend the complete meeting?
Like most of you do, I believe in personal property rights. What I don't understand is why candidates put signs on people's property without the land owner's permission, which is a misdemeanor. Anyone can make a mistake on a road easement, but when asked to remove the sign and ignore the request, it is ignoring people's personal rights and is really going too far. Remember the candidate is responsible for everyone on his/her campaigning committee. Be advised, all property owners who did not give permission, notify the Sheriff's Department so they can have the signs removed.
On a positive note, I look forward to working on getting better roads and better fire protection for the people of Dist. 2. The person in charge of retention and recruitment, which should bring in more volunteers to the fire department, is paid by the county. According to the fire chief, we have fewer volunteers now, than we had in the past, therefore we will need to make some changes.
I'm working on many projects that are in their early stages such as a long-term solution to get more water for the citizens of Don Pedro and Coulterville, to continue the weed spraying program along our roads, and bring an ecological project that will provide good paying jobs to Dist. 2.
For the last three and a half years I've always remembered I work for you the people of Mariposa County and District 2. Feel free to call me any time at 966-3222 in Mariposa or 878-3158 at my office in Greeley Hill.
As I am sitting here writing this article, the temperature is about 70 degrees which is much too warm for this time of year. Warmer temperatures like this encourage the bark beetles to become active in the trees. What we need is some temperatures in the 20 degree range to start a kill off of the beetles. The snowpack in the high country isn't bad but we could use a lot more.
On January 20th, I attended the Tourism board meeting and the main topic on everyone's mind was the resolution about some new regulations on the B and B and vacation rental. The one thing that we always have to put on the top of the list is the health and safety of everyone, which can be a fine line between peoples personal property rights and safety. We will be voting on this in mid-February.
On the 27th of January, I received an update from Public Works on all their projects, from finishing up the paving of Dogtown, Schilling, and Bondurant Mine roads, to the spraying of all the county roadways. The first spraying will start in the Lake Don Pedro area. Spraying the roadways will cut down on fire danger and noxious weeds, save our roads, and gives us better visual distance on roads. With the help of Cal Fire, Public Works is starting to remove all bug trees along the county roads and public parks. Road crews are shorthanded, but the county is in the process of hiring more people. The same day I had a meeting with Chevon Kotari about the Health and Human Resources Department The main thing that interested me was the new program coming to Dist. 2. It sounds great.
On February 1st we had a mandatory safety meeting regarding what changes we need to do in our building to make our employees safer, and what we should be doing as individuals. In today's world, we all have to be mindful of a few sick people in our community. I learned a lot and we will be having drills. On the 4th of Feb., I had a meeting with Rick Peresan regarding our IT personnel and they will start putting videos on our county website. I just wanted to make sure the right information was going up.
My wife and I attended the Northern Mariposa County History Center gala on February 6th. The displays were very interesting and the food was great. I have done the auctioneering for this event for four years now. I always try to make it fun and raise lots of money for the history center. I had a meeting, on February 8th, with the Yosemite Renaissance board. For the first time in many years, I have convinced them to put a display in the administration lobby. This will be new and exciting if you like art. We are already starting to plan for our annual art show in Dist. 2 at our home. More news to come.
On February 9th, after the regular B.O.S. meeting, we held the public review meeting about the regulations on the B and B and vacation rentals. We started at 2 p.m. and ended at 8:30 p.m. The outcome in my mind was a good compromise, but it made for a very long day. 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., then a 1-hour drive home. This isn't uncommon for a supervisor.
I attended a SWIFT meeting in Moccasin on February 10th. I got an update on the tree mortality and learned what the different agencies are working on, and the grants that are available.
On February 11th, I attended the Solid Waste Task Force meeting where much of it had to do with our landfill and the options of doing a clean closer or not. The other thing that I am excited about is we will soon have some recycle bins in Dist. 2 at no charge. Please do not put regular garbage in them.
Not only am I your current county supervisor, I'm also running for re-election. To work 40 plus hours a week and campaign, makes for very long days. I am running for a second term so I can finish up some major projects that will be a huge benefit to District 2. The learning curve to get up and running on these projects for a new supervisor would be about 2 years, and in the meantime, District 2 will lose these opportunities.
I would like to thank all the 560 plus supporters that signed my petition, and also all the past supervisors who served over the last 24 plus years who signed. Your support and confidence mean a lot to me. I look forward to bringing more new and great projects to District 2. I always remember that I work for you the people of District 2 and Mariposa County. Call me anytime at my office in Mariposa at 966-3222 or home office in Greeley Hill at 878-3158.
As I am sitting here writing this article, looking out the window, our deck and the mountains are covered with snow. What a wonderful site. Let's hope the rain and snow continue to come. Right now the snowpack in the high country is about 30% above normal. This snow is what keeps our wells filled and the rivers and streams running that fill our ponds and lakes. Another positive point about the rain is that our trees are getting moisture so they can fight off the bugs, therefore slowing down the tree mortality. Another positive thing is it has been colder than normal, which also helps kill the bark beetles. Let's hope this weather continues because only Mother Nature can stop the tree mortality and the water issue. The governor signed a tree mortality disaster declaration, but as of yet hasn't funded any money to do anything about it. Even if he does fund it, what are we going to do with all the dead trees? The mills don't want them and if a biomass plant was built, which will take at least five years, with all the permits, the trees will be rotten and worthless. A biomass plant will only work if it is subsidized by the state, and they are finding out that solar and wind is more efficient.
I hope everyone had a great holiday season. We are so fortunate to live in a county where we can celebrate freely. Let's not let anyone take that freedom away from us.
On January 3rd, I attended the Greeley Hill Community Club breakfast. It was good as usual and gave me time to visit with the locals. I can answer questions and help people solve some of their problems.
On Monday, January 4th, I attended the agenda review meeting for the last time as chairman for this term. As Chairman of the B.O.S., I met every Monday in 2015, with the C.A.O., Clerk of the Board and County Council to discuss the B.O.S. meeting that would take place the next day. After this meeting, I went over to the Election Office to pull my papers so I can run for District 2 Supervisor again. The reason I am running a second term is with the government moving so slow, I couldn't get done all the projects that District 2 needs. Some of them will take someone else a couple of years to get the background and knowledge to get them done. These are major water and economic projects for our district. Right after visiting the Election Office I attended my usual meeting with our Human Resource director, Steve Johnson. We talked about some county employee issues. Being the liaison with HR, I have worked to eliminate employees who are not doing their job, but more importantly, rewarding those who are doing a great job.
On January 6, I met with the committee to restore the Mariposa County courthouse. This project will start in the spring. This has taken a lot of pushing, but with the help of our new Public Works director, it is all coming together. I also met with the Environment Health director about some issues in Dist. 2. If you are handling food, make sure you have all the proper permits. Right after this meeting, I met with Terry Selks who is head of Tourism. We went over the new regulations that will be coming before the B.O.S. pertaining to cottage rentals and B and Bs. The new regulations will put them in line with the mandates of the state building codes. I called my wife before I left Mariposa to go home and asked her to have dinner ready in 1 hour because I hadn't had lunch. I had 30 minutes to eat then headed down (in the snow) to Coulterville for a Northern Mariposa County History Center meeting at 7 p.m. I should be able to save them some money on insurance through the county. Still snowing, I made it home by 9 p.m. This was like many days from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at night. I do feel like I am getting a lot done for District 2.
On January 13th, I had a meeting with a constituent about a road easement issue. Always remember when you are buying a parcel of land check the Recorder's Office to see if there are any liens, easements or other things that might encumber the land. It will save you a lot of grief later. After that meeting, I met with some of the department heads so everyone will be working together more effectively and in turn serving you, the public better. The following morning I spent all morning with the employees in those departments working on the plans that were made the previous day. I am excited about the outcome and would like to thank all the parties that were involved.
These are only a small sampling of the meetings and committees I attend. Over the last 3 years, I have gotten to know the people and work with them to get the most for Dist. 2. The departments and employees have also learned they can trust me. I help them with their needs and problems. It is a great working relationship that has taken time to build and that is another reason why I am running for a second term. This way I can finish up some of the major projects that are on my plate.
I always remember I work for you, the people of Mariposa County, and more importantly, the people of District 2. Call me anytime at my office in Mariposa at 966-3222 or my office in Greeley Hill at 878-3158. Thank you for letting me work for you.
I will have a questions and answers session about tree mortality, Tuesday, February 16, 6 p.m., at the Greeley Hill Community Club Meeting.
As I am sitting here writing this article I'm looking out over the snow-covered mountains. It seems like we are getting a storm about once a week. The moisture will help the trees fight off the bugs and give the cedar trees the much need moisture they need to survive. We still have a huge problem on what to do with all the dead bug trees. The governor has signed a tree mortality emergency declaration which is good, but he hasn't appropriated any money to solve this problem and that might be some time in coming. There are a lot of ideas floating around out there from falling the trees and letting them rot, hauling them to areas to either burn or grind, or hauling them to a biomass plant to burn for power. The problem with the latter is I don't want the county to be involved because I feel it will be a money pit that will never end, and we don't need any more of those in government. If the biomass plant is such a great idea, let the private sector do it. If it can be done, they will figure out how to do it in a cost-effective manner and make money doing it.
On November 23, I had the privilege of privately honoring an employee who had been working for the county for 27 and a half years but didn't want any fanfare as he slipped out the back door into retirement. We are blessed to have so many good dedicated employees. Sometimes we only see and remember the one or two bad apples, but there are many loyal, hardworking ones. On the same note, I feel that the B.O.S., along with my pushing, made a lot of very positive changes among the department heads. These changes should have taken place a long time ago. We now have department heads that are committed to running a cost-effective department instead of thinking about their golf game in the afternoon.
On December 7, I had a meeting with Fadzayi Mashiri about needing more help in both the Ag and Master Gardener programs. I fully support extra help because for the first time they had a Master Gardener tour in Dist. 2 and to their surprise, it was bigger and better attended than the tours normally held in the south county. In the future, they plan on alternating them each year. "Thank you, everyone, for your help."
On the 10th of Dec., we had our yearly weed prevention meeting. One of the important things I felt I got accomplished this year was to get the county again to fund the spraying the edges of the roads. This will help save our roads, prevent fires and keep noxious weeds from spreading. In 1 to 3 years we will start to see a huge improvement. Don't forget about the Ag. Department 50/50 plan for noxious weeds.
Being the liaison with over half of the departments, which takes time, I feel I have a great working relationship with all of them. When you take the time to build that relationship, one can get a lot more accomplished, and faster. In my relationship with the other B.O.S., 99% of the time I can get at least the 3 votes needed to pass an item. All this takes time to build these relationships. I have never worked in government before and didn't realize how long things take to get it through the system. I feel like I have accomplished a lot in 3 years for Dist. 2 .....from a lot of miles of new roads to bridges; to helping people start their own businesses; to bringing a public school back to Greeley Hill; to cleaning up a number of departments and making the leadership more accountable, which in turn saves money; and the Amador fire plan in Lake Don Pedro fire fees were lowered. These are just a few of the items I have worked on and got accomplished.
I am going to run for County Supervisor again, so I can finish up some major projects that I am in the middle of. One item is a constant, affordable supply of water for the Lake Don Pedro subdivision and Coulterville. Another is to see finished a major ecological development in Dist. 2 which would create a lot of good paying job opportunities. I am also in the middle of getting some more businesses opened in Dist. 2. As a business person, I have the knowledge to be able to accomplish these and a lot of things I haven't mentioned.
I always remember, I work for you, the people of Mariposa County and especially you in District 2. You can reach me at my Mariposa office at 966-3222 or in Greeley Hill at 878-3158. Have a happy New Year and remember how blessed we are to live in such a great county...the best county in all the country.