1. Please briefly explain the relationship between the state and the county, both legally and functionally.
DY – Sierra County functions as a political subdivision of the state. The primary purpose for any government is to protect the citizens. That role has evolved into an elaborate and often complicated bureaucracy of laws protecting us from us.
Sierra County is bound by state law. County law may be more restrictive but not less restrictive than state law.
2. What, in your opinion, are the county’s strengths?
DY – The strength in any county is its natural resources and to what level the citizens choose to make best use of those resources. Sierra County has an abundance of natural recreation environments, and the potential for a sustainable timber industry. Science has made it possible for Sierra County to be a viable source of “green gas” production, biomass for electrical power, and compressed wood products for stove pellets, and pressed/particle board. Sierra County is well known for its ideal pastures for cattle and hay production.
3. What challenges do you see in the next four years?
DY – Putting people back to work in the timber and biomass industry, which in turn will promote the return of small businesses to spur the economy. The biggest challenge is getting the county and state bureaucrats to agree that sustainable timber management is doable and vital to our economic growth. Another challenge will be advertising and promoting recreational events through our Chamber(s) of Commerce.
4. Though at one time Sierra County supplied the silver mines of Nevada with dairy products, beef and even truck crops, currently, very little food is grown in the county, far less than the residents of the county would consume. Do you think it should be a priority of the board to encourage more local food production, and if so, how do you think the board might accomplish this?
DY – With the exception beef and dairy items, food for human consumption has never been a major product in Sierra County due to our short growing season and dry climate. However, modern green house technology has made huge strides in producing crops where before it has not been considered. The Board’s role in promoting commerce of any kind is limited, but a tax break for businesses that provide jobs and enhance tourism is always a good idea.
5. What is your opinion of county participation in RCRC, SEDCO, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and other opportunities for multi-county interaction, keeping in mind that participation requires time and travel for supervisors? If you find value, are you willing to attend these meetings?
DY – Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) and Sustainable Forest Action Coalition (SFAC) are two statewide coalitions whose primary purpose is to safeguard rural and forested counties from urban laws and policies that should not be imposed on rural counties. I strongly support participation in both these groups.
Sierra Economic Development Corp’s (SEDCO) mission statement alone makes it a vital partner in promoting and developing small business while preserving the quality of life we enjoy in our small towns and counties.
I believe Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) and Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLC) have their hearts in the right place, but they have restricted free access to some lakes that have been open to the public forever and should remain so. In addition to private donations they receive millions in tax dollars that could be used to protect our lakes without restricting access.
Bonus question, optional: There is a growing effort to have Northern California counties withdraw to form a new state. Efforts to do this have failed in the past and is unlikely to succeed since the process involves state and federal cooperation. Some feel the effort will at least draw attention to the problems of rural counties. Would you support a resolution to join a new state, and why or why not?
DY – I agree that dividing California into smaller states will likely never happen, but such a resolution could draw attention to Sacramento law makers that rural California is tired of being thrown into the “one size fits all” pool. Many of the laws and policies that work well in big cities have little or no purpose in rural California. Without seeing the new state(s) constitution and hearing more on how a new state would tax citizens and what new laws would be imposed, I could not sign on to a resolution at this time.
Don Yegge, Candidate for District 5 Supervisor