Saturday, 02 March 2024

Borjon: Careful considerations for District 5 race

I was grateful for the opportunity to hear both candidates for District 5 Supervisor at the candidates’ forum held on Jan. 10 at Kelseyville High School.

In addition to answering questions that were provided to candidates beforehand, the process allowed for community members to submit written questions for more spontaneous responses.

During the two-hour process, both candidates were given the opportunity to hear community members’ concerns, and provide responses that clarified their individual approaches to challenges, resource acquisition, knowledge about local and state governments, the systems within supervisors must function as well as their knowledge about a broad array of Lake County and specific District 5 issues.

This process allowed me to give careful consideration about who could best fill the complex job of District 5 supervisor.

Candidate Daniel Boone Bridges answered many of the questions from the viewpoint of a local, long-term resident, building contractor, property owner and proud family man with involvement in church and his immediate community. His answers often reflected his frustration with the local planning department and concern about local fire and law enforcement staffing shortages.

I heard only one specific approach to resolving staffing shortages in those fields of employment. Questions were often answered with generalizations about the importance of communication, working well with others and finding new resources.

He acknowledged that he would be on a big learning curve and was willing to surround himself with good and knowledgeable people.

His generalized answers reflected that he possibly did not understand the way in which a district supervisor is required to work with staff employed by the county, or how to acquire county resources. He also said several times that the supervisor’s role does not need to be full time.

When water resources were being discussed, Mr. Bridges stated that he was not aware of the critically important Middle Creek Restoration Project. He also incorrectly stated that the Board of Supervisors had declared the hitch an endangered species.

His remarks indicated that an issue on which he is strongly focused is the possibility that the name “Kelseyville” could be changed. Based on increased crowd reaction, it is clear that this is a complex issue that is not able to be resolved by any individual district supervisor. He did not verbally acknowledge that there is a federal process in place to make that decision.

A lasting impression is that Mr. Bridges has a narrow understanding of District 5 issues, strongly discounts the time required to be an elected official and effective supervisor, and has insufficient knowledge about the functions and multiple roles of supervisors within county government.

His several remarks about a squeaky wheel getting results presented an image of someone who may not seek out all possible solutions or may not be able to listen to all sides of a complex issue from a diverse set of constituents.

Incumbent Jessica Pyska answered questions with the viewpoint of someone who loves Lake County, is raising her family here, values the beauty and potential of Lake County and recognizes a myriad of complex challenges and needs among a diverse constituency.

Her answers to complex questions were specific, based on factual knowledge of the issue and knowledge of protocol and policy in which a supervisor must perform. Her on-the-job experience was reflected in all of her answers. Her level of knowledge about fire safety and her active involvement with agencies that can help Lake County and District 5 with the ongoing issues of climate change were exceptional.

Mrs. Pyska’s answers demonstrated a broad base of knowledge about the many issues facing our residents. She was able to name specific resources and strategies that are successfully being utilized for the benefit of the county.

She spoke with clarity about the tedious planning process of government and that actualizing the plans that have been made in the last three years will benefit Lake County in multiple ways.

Mrs. Pyska’s answers reflected her ability to handle competing priorities that mirror the needs of Lake County citizens. She demonstrated a knowledge of county finances and expressed value for the roles that her fellow supervisors and county staff play in daily implementation of local government.

Mrs. Pyska’s demeanor when listening to responses from her opponent was respectful. She clearly stated her understanding that a supervisor must seek out ways to hear all sides of critical issues.

Mrs. Pyska’s responses to questions were thoughtful and most importantly contained accurate information based on her personal pursuit of information and her experience as a district supervisor.

Her work ethic has helped to put District 5 and Lake County in a position to acquire important resources and resolve challenges.

A lasting impression is that she has a positive, hope filled, and long-term vision for Lake County and has consistently demonstrated that she is capable of success and willing to work more than full time to realize that vision.

Mary Borjon lives in Kelseyville, California.

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