Candidates seek North County District 2 seat on Monterey County Board of Supervisors – Monterey Herald

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With Supervisor John Phillips retiring after serving District 2 for two terms, the North County District which includes Pajaro, Aromas, Moss Landing, Castroville, Prunedale and parts of North Salinas will have a new representative on the District Supervisory Board. Monterey County.

Glenn Church, Kimbley Craig, Regina Gage, Grant Leonard, Adriana Melgoza Ramirez and Steve Snodgrass are competing for the opening of the board of overseers in Tuesday’s primary. If a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, they are elected and the race will not feature in the November general election. If no candidate obtains more than 50% of the votes, the first two will appear in the November ballot.

Church, 62, is a small businessman who runs Church Christmas Tree Farms in Royal Oaks. Although he has never held elected office, Church says he was heavily involved in county affairs in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, before stepping back for a few years to raise his two sons. He is currently President of the Fire Safe Council For Monterey County.

“Much of my involvement has been as a community activist on county issues regarding water, environment, open government and other issues,” Church said in an email. “However, I have served on county committees since the 1970s, including the committee that first drafted an oak protection ordinance to more recently sit on the board of the Water Sustainability Agency subterranean basin of the Salinas Valley. The first committee I sat on dates back to 1976, when I was 17 years old. It was for the development of activities for young people in Royal Oaks Park. Over the years I have also served on the boards of non-profit organizations from the local to the national level, where I served as program chair and was involved in national legislation and the lobbying.

When asked what he thinks is the most important issue facing District 2, Church said it is a diverse district with at least 10 distinct communities, each with their own unique needs.

“Wildfires are a major concern, and I’ve come up with a four-part plan to deal with them,” he said. “The lack of adequate county services applies to unincorporated areas (including poor roads, lack of sheriff’s deputies, trash, animal services, etc.). In the incorporated part, which includes parts of Salinas, homelessness is a major problem. Throughout the district, housing, water and traffic issues are the big issues, as they are elsewhere in the county.

Church said the board of oversight should follow the health department’s lead rather than institute its own indoor masking orders.

Craig, 46, is the president and CEO of the Monterey County Business Council as well as the mayor of Salinas. Before being elected mayor in 2020, Craig spent eight years representing North Salinas on city council.

When asked what she thinks is the biggest issue facing District 2, Craig pointed to the area’s infrastructure, including “potholes, traffic, broadband and general underfunding of unincorporated areas of North County”.

In response to her take on the oversight board implementing COVID-19 health and safety mandates like the indoor masking ordinance, Craig said she came from a business background and felt that restrictions were difficult and inconsistent.

“Supervisors put a mask mandate in place for the county, but local cities and police departments had to enforce it,” she said in an email. “Efforts to reduce exposures to COVID were clearly needed, including requiring mask-wearing – but the overall enforcement of it was not there. I think this should have been a county-wide effort of the county and cities working together, rather than a mandate given to cities and local police departments to enforce a county ordinance.

Gage, 57, is the executive director of Meals on Wheels of the Salinas Valley, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing food insecurity by providing nutritious meals to homebound seniors in the Salinas Valley. Since 2018, she has served on the board of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. Previously, she was the financial director of St. Andrews Residential Programs for Youth, a non-profit organization that provides housing and support services to youth in foster care, worked as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and as a volunteer for adult literacy in the libraries of Salinas.

According to Gage, the most important issue facing District 2 is ensuring the region receives its fair share of county services.

“North County needs a responsible and approachable leader,” she said in an email. “I have spoken to many neighbors who have never met their county supervisor or don’t know what they are doing. Once elected, I will hold regular meetings at City Hall in each North County community to meet, listen, and act on the concerns of District 2 residents. As supervisor, I will fight to ensure that North County gets our fair share of road repairs, clean water, fire and neighborhood services.

Asked about the board of supervisors implementing COVID-19 health and safety mandates, Gage said supervisors must act in the best interests of the entire community.

“This certainly extends to the physical health and well-being of our citizens. I think supervisors should work closely with public health officials and local health care officials to make informed decisions based on evidence and facts,” she said. “What we have learned from our governments’ responses to the global pandemic over the past two years should inform future decision-making at the county level.”

Leonard, 32, manages the City of Monterey’s housing programs office as the city’s housing analyst. Prior to joining the City of Monterey, he worked as a transportation planner with the Monterey County Transportation Agency from 2012 to 2018. He serves on numerous boards and committees, including the North County Recreation and Park District, the Hartnell College Measure T Oversight Committee, the Castroville Land Use Advisory Committee, and the North County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

He said it’s hard to pick a single issue as the most important facing District 2, especially since so many issues are intertwined.

“That being said, I would say the need for more housing is the biggest issue, and that includes all types of housing: rental housing, affordable housing to own, and transitional housing for the homeless,” Leonard said. by email. “We need to produce more housing to help people who are homeless, housing insecure, overcrowded and those who have to spend the majority of their salary on rent/mortgage payments.”

Leonard said he supports public health measures to reduce COVID-19.

“With respect to the board of oversight, I think the board should defer to the county health officer and his expert advice on when to implement safety measures such as the requirements of masking,” he said. “Ultimately, this should be a decision made by health experts, not politicians.”

Melgoza works as the Director of Organizing and Education for the Center for Community Advocacy, a nonprofit organization in Salinas. She is an elected member of the Castroville Community Service District Board of Trustees, chair of the English Learner Advisory Committee representing North Monterey County High School, and a board member of the Community Foundation for Monterey County. . She has also served as Vice President of the North Monterey County Latino Citizens League and a member of the North Monterey County High School School Site Council among many other groups she volunteers with.

Melgoza did not respond to the Herald’s request for comment. His website outlines priority areas for his campaign, including social services, infrastructure, recreational/open spaces and housing.

“A community thrives when we have everything we need,” says her campaign website. “As a community, we are tired of having to travel outside of our area to get the social services we need. This includes health care, mental health, food, public benefits, childcare, etc. We need to find ways to bring them into our communities. I will continue to collaborate, work with and advocate for social services to come to North Monterey County. »

Snodgrass, 67, recently retired as chief financial officer of Granite Rock Co. He said his 45-year career ranged from practicing as a certified public accountant to ending his career as a chief financial officer. , explaining that he had a deep understanding of finance and budgets and would bring much-needed financial discipline to the board.

Snodgrass was a full and alternate member of the Local Agency Training Commission (LAFCO) for 10 years. He has served on the Pajaro Sunny Mesa Water Board, Monterey Workforce Development Board, Central Coast Community Energy Advisory Board, and County Land Use Advisory Board. of North Monterey. , the Dominican Hospital; Community Board, the Cabrillo College Foundation, Together in Pajaro and United Way. He was recognized as the United Way Volunteer of the Year and was a finalist for the 2020 Jefferson Prize.

“Strong advocacy, the Supervisor is the only voice of a largely unincorporated District,” Snodgrass replied when asked what the most important issue facing District 2 was. “Additionally, the district is very complex and the supervisor will need to understand the interrelationships with districts based in Santa Cruz County.”

Asked about his position on the board of supervisors implementing COVID-19 health and safety mandates like the supervisors of the indoor masking order issued last year, Snodgrass said he was troubled by that action. .

“The state assigned authority to (Monterey County Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno) and the board of oversight decided to override his recommendation,” he said. “I should have relied on his expertise.”

District 3, at the southeast end of Monterey County, is the other seat of the Board of Supervisors up for election this year. Incumbent Chris Lopez runs unopposed.

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