Peter Huebner Answers 4/2/14

District 2 Supervisor Peter Huebner

District 2 Supervisor                           Peter Huebner

 

1.  Please briefly explain the relationship between the state and the county, both legally and functionally.

PH – Legally, all counties are political subdivisions of the state (whether charter or general law). Sierra County is a general law county like the majority of California counties. As political subdivisions of the state, all counties are created by state law, and duties outlined by the state constitution.

Counties were created to provide services locally on behalf of the state. All powers of a county are vested by the authority of the state. Deputy sheriffs are granted peace officer powers, building officials have inspection powers, so is the health inspector. Counties enforce state laws, and provide state services.
Good or bad, we don’t get to pick and choose the state programs we want to provide, for instance  term limits for county supervisors or elected and appointed county officials are determined by the State.

2.  What, in your opinion, are the county’s strengths?

PH –  First, and thanks to all board members up to now, Sierra County has no long term indebtedness, we pay as we go. We retain a quality of life in this beautiful county unmatched by few. While we may miss some convenience, and comforts enjoyed by others, we live in a place of beauty, clean air, clean water, unspoiled, and with few fears to our personal safety. We live here by choice, in Gods country.

3.  What challenges do you see in the next four years?

PHWhile the county is able to provide very basic government services, a limited economy that you have in a county of 2900 is unable to provide extras that many have come used to having. 24 hours patrol service,  a proactive animal control program, etc. A recovering economy is delayed in all rural counties, and the next few years will be tough in Sierra County as well.
The board has had to cut programs and county staffing is as low as its been in my 15 years on the board. Some huge funding programs so important to us, like Secure Rural Schools, have been maintained at the federal level and we can only pray that they continue. Some of our supervisors pushing very hard, singularly and thru our membership in CSAC and RCRC, to get the state to fund its commitment to the PILT, and pay monies it owns counties for land control, over a decade this debt to Sierra County is some $600,000.

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?

PH – When it comes to encouraging any private enterprise, the best the board can do is to try to make and keep an environment where business can prosper. That means keeping requirements and fees as low as possible. This board has been very good, and Sierra County requires no business licenses and no mitigation fees. The biggest problem here is the economy and for business to succeed, be it food or otherwise. A business here has to meet the same STATE requirements as a business in Los Angeles. The state pasteurization laws is what discouraged the dairies in the Sierra Valley, and that is sad. We have a great farmers market in the Valley, and I hope it will grow in the future.

5.  What is your opinion of county participation in RCRC, SEDCO, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and the 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?

PH – I believe these opportunities are huge, and are the only hope for us to be heard in a state of 40+ million people. RCRC status in influencing the state and federal government is enormous. And we are lucky to have Supervisor Lee Adams representing us as Vice-Chair in this organization this year. My own involvement as a member from the board in our CSAC Excess Insurance Authority committee was very important for our counties insurance programs, I served as President, and Director. The trust the members and employees had in me by presenting me with a donation check for over $17,000 for our Senior Center in Downieville was a surprise bonus. The supervisors involvement in all committees outside and inside the county are very important and beneficial for our future. My own involvement is I participate and sit on over 20 committees.

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?

PH – As we lobby Sacramento to understand us, I believe we are in much better position to argue if we are seen as a willing member of the team of 58 counties and not one throwing insults to leave.  

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