If you are a registered voter in Alpine County, your ballot for the national election and for the general election will be mailed out on Oct. 9. Ballots must be received on or before Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. to be counted. Postmarks do not count, so remember to mail early.
The general election consists of a run-off vote for supervisor of District 2 because none of the candidates received a majority of the votes in the general election held earlier this year. The two candidates receiving the most votes are now on the ballot, but only voters in that district will vote for that position. The candidates are business owner Scot Hansen and Markleeville resident Ron "Red Lake" Hames.
Hansen's platform statement is, "As a business owner and father of six and grandfather of five, I know that communication is the key to success. I will work diligently to make sure that I fully understand the positions of those I represent and the full details of the issues I will be voting on before making any decisions. Alpine County is a naturally rustic and very beautiful wonderland that draws a vast cross section of the country's vacationers, preserving this exceptional place is my top priority. I want to work closely with the people who live in this wonderful place to ensure the preservation of the rich and scenic environment we love so much and call home."
"Red Lake" Ron Hames' platform statement is "My 30-plus years in the county give me the experience to understand the challenges facing Alpine County. Visitor-dependent, weather-reliant, declining disposable incomes and constant fire danger are just some of the problems and they require knowledge of the entire county."
The Alpine County Unified School District Governing Board, or school board, also has one position up for election.
The school board has one designated position in the Washo Community, Hung-a-lel-ti, which makes up most of the people in District 3, and that school board position is not up for a vote this year.
Therefore, if you are a resident in District 3, you will not be voting for a school board member this year. The rest of the county will be electing one new member for what is called Trustee Area A, or the rest of the county. There are four candidates for the position: Small business owner Kim Jackson, educator Jane Starratt, retired college educator Tom Sweeney and incumbent Jill Wegenstein.-
Kim Jackson's platform is: "Two of our children attend Diamond Valley School, where I have been actively involved, serving four years as a member of the Diamond Valley Site Council as well as President of the Alpine County Parents Club. We are involved with Alpine Kids and know many families here, as well as the concerns that parents have. In addition, we own a trucking business, and I hope to apply some of my business experience in budgeting, hiring, meeting deadlines, and complying with specialized laws and regulations. I also worked for Douglas County School District as a school bus driver, so I am familiar with transportation issues. As a board member, I hope to address issues with budget and finance as we face declining revenue, help to insure that we keep programs that most directly deal with the needs of all students, and address issues related to our students as they transition into Douglas County. Improved communication between the board, the administration, and the parents is my main goal."
Jane Starratt's platform statement is "I am an experienced educator with an understanding of the unique needs of all children in Alpine County. The Board's goal of maintaining growth in reading, language arts and math is vital but we need to look for grants to supplement our district funds. I am unfaltering on student achievement."
Tom Sweeney's platform statement is "I have a background which will be beneficial for Alpnie Schools. We all know that the more we know, the easier life is. Learning is a lifelong process which starts at a very young age, which is why it is so important to make the very best school possible available to our children. I want to help that process and that is why I am a candidate in this election. With every increased requirement along with diminishing financial support, the role of the school trustee has become more important than ever. I have learned that everyone working together makes those insurmountable problems easier to work through. I do not believe that there is only one answer to every problem, but I have learned that if a group applies logic and common sense the best answer will be found. I have the time to spend on doing the very best job to carry out the duties of this position. When elected I will spend the time it takes to do the very best job possible."
Jill Wegentein, the only candidate from the west slope or Bear Valley area, gave this platform statement "I am asking for your support because I believe it is important to have continuity on the Board in this era of fiscal uncertainty. As an educator I know the issues we need to address-how to maintain a quality education for our students while managing an increasingly smaller budget. -I have been a homeowner in Bear Valley since 1994, am married and am the mother of two adult daughters. I have been the incumbent school board member since 2008, and I am a retired educator and business professional."
All county voters will decide on "Measure A," which is an ordinance passed by the Board of Supervisors that requires voter approval. It is called The Fiscal Office Consolidation Act (consolidating the current elective offices of auditor, controller, treasurer, and tax collector into a new appointive county office of director of finance). Due to a vacancy in June of 2012, the Board of Supervisors consolidated by ordinance the elected offices of Auditor-Controller and Treasurer-Tax collector. The Board of Supervisors transferred the office of the Recorder to the office of the Assessor. According to "Table A", provided by the county clerk, the fiscal impact was estimated to generate an annual cost savings of approximately 20.7 percent or $113,643.
Also, the county's analysis states that "Consolidation may result in greater departmental efficiency for long term cost savings Opportunity for long-term cost savings include automated processes, greater accountability, reduced duplication, increases sharing of resources, ability to cross train, improved coordination between departments and the ability to eliminate or greatly reduce the use of outside consultants. The process of consolidation under Measure A may result in increased cost of initial investments but may produce cost savings in future years. If Measure A is defeated the county may need to reorganize to ensure fiscal stability. The cost to reorganize may increase and is unknown at this time."
The details and figures for Measure A are available online at the county website, alpinecountygov.com, as well as an impartial analysis of Measure A by County Counsel. The printed information will be available at Candidate's Night and will be included with the ballot that comes in the mail.
Tuesday is the county's candidate night. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at Turtle Rock Park. Please bring questions to write on postcards for the candidates. All candidates will speak and answer questions from the audience. After the candidates speak, at 8 p.m., there will be time for questions and discussion of Measure A. Plan to attend to meet the candidates and learn more about Measure A.