Candidates for two Napa County Board of Supervisors seats and the local Assembly seat tried to make their marks in 60-second bursts.
They took part in a Thursday evening forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Napa County before about 40 people at the Napa Senior Activity Center.
Audience members submitted questions. Candidates had 30 seconds to 60 seconds to put an exclamation point on their bids for office and leave a lasting impression with voters.
Incumbent Supervisor Mark Luce is trying to hold onto his 2nd District supervisor seat. Challenging him are business consultant Derek Anderson, civil engineer Ryan Gregory and longtime political observer James Hinton.
Anderson described Luce and Gregory as being establishment politicians and Hinton as being to the left. He stressed his conservative credentials, saying job creation and not a $15-an-hour minimum wage or housing programs is the real answer to income inequality.
“No matter what people tell you, this is not a problem government can fix,” Anderson said.
Gregory talked about his technical experience and how he could bring this to bear on such issues as affordable housing for the area’s workforce. His job has led him to work on both for-profit and nonprofit housing projects.
“Roofs over heads and as many of those as we can get,” he said.
Hinton called himself the working person’s candidate, the one who during his 2014 Congressional bid ran the most pro-worker campaign in the nation, the one who will open the door to medical cannabis in the county.
“Congress represents Wall Street and the Board of Supervisors represents the vintners,” he said, presenting himself as the one to make a change.
Luce talked about his 20 years of experience on the Board, his engineering background and the need to weigh facts when looking at such issues as reported, high local cancer rates. He also stressed issues of governance.
“The bottom line is still the bottom line – the county is one of the best run fiscally in the state,” Luce said.
4th District Board of Supervisors
Incumbent Alfredo Pedroza is trying to keep his 4th District seat, with county mental health professional Chris Malan and Napa Vision 2050 co-founder Diane Shepp challenging.
In light of the cancer rate reports, Malan urged more farms to go organic. She called herself “the longest-standing watershed activist in Napa County,” a claim that her rivals didn’t challenge.
A lot of local traffic problems come from a quantum leap in the burgeoning tourist industry that the Board of Supervisors doesn’t want to do anything about, Malan said.
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Pedroza said traffic is caused not just by tourists, but by people driving to local jobs because they can’t afford to live here. He presented himself as the one who has forged relationships to work with the cities to solve regional problems.
“The only way we’re going to continue to make Napa County work is to work together,” Pedroza said.
Shepp’s Vision 2050 group is in the thick of battles over winery growth and saving hillsides. But she sketched an expansive environmental view, saying “our environment is all of us,” and stressed such issues as having more programs to benefit children.
“I am a coalition-builder, Shepp said.
4th District Assembly
All five 4th District Assembly candidates appeared at the debate. They are Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Davis physician Elmer Mark Kropp, Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor, and Davis Mayor Dan Wolk, all Democrats; and Esparto farmer Charlie Schaupp, a Republican.
Aguiar-Curry brought a twist to a talk on traffic infrastructure by advocating broadband Internet for everyone. That would bring to rural areas such possibilities as distance learning.
“Accessibility is the No. 1 thing we’re looking for in this district,” she said.
When pondering traffic issues, Kropp noted the infrastructure benefits that Brazil is receiving from holding the Olympics. He suggested some type of celebratory event could bring light rail to the area.
Saylor tackled the issue of education funding. He supported extending Proposition 30, having an oil severance tax, seeing what adjustments might be made to Proposition 13 and legalizing cannabis to generate tax revenues.
He stressed a 20-year resume that includes serving on the Davis Joint Unified School District Board, the Davis City Council and the Yolo Board of Supervisors.
Wolk also supported an extension of Proposition 30 taxes that he expects to see on the ballot. He supported enacting an oil severance tax and making measured changes to Proposition 13, such as lowering the two-thirds threshold for special taxes.
He stressed endorsements from such people as Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St Helena, and each Napa County supervisor. He will be a Napa County advocate, he said.
Schaupp said that money being used for a bullet train – “the train to nowhere” – could instead be used to construct light rail, such as extending BART to Napa. People could take light rail to airports, making it easier to fly between Northern and Southern California.
He stressed an approach to prisons that includes both trying to reduce recidivism and having a return to American ethics. If kids want to join a tough gang, let them join the U.S. Marine Corps, said the Marine veteran of Desert Storm and the Battle of Fallujah.