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|Political Philosophy for Jim Mastin|
Environment: As 5th District Supervisor, I will reject any attempt to sacrifice our coast to off-shore oil development. We cannot allow our beautiful, world-renowned coastline to be auctioned off for the benefit of outside interests. We must also realize that the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) will have a socio-economic impact on our coastal communities. The MLPA could be an excellent tool for protecting fragile areas of our coast, but it cannot be allowed to close down sustainable industries. Protecting our watersheds is as fundamental as life itself. I will work to restore and protect the health and fisheries of our rivers and creeks.
Jobs: Job creation in the private sector is the key to turning our economy around. It provides much-needed income for residents, sales for our beleaguered merchants and revenue for local governments. As your supervisor I will work with existing local agencies such as the Economic Development and Financing Corporation (EDFC) and West Co. in stimulating job growth. Their proven approach of helping startup businesses to succeed and existing businesses to expand should be supported and encouraged.
Fiber-Optic Broadband: The negotiations that allowed Williams Communications, AT&T and Comcast to ignore the greater good and essentially bypass Mendocino County must be revisited. Our communications void has compromised the ability to expand our economic potential, conduct normal day-to-day business and attract vacationers who want and need to stay connected. The mistakes of the past must be corrected now, and I'm prepared to fight that fight. We shouldn't have to wait decades to get fiber-optic broadband where we need it.
Water: The drought conditions of the past few years have highlighted Mendocino County's severe water shortage. No one has the magic solution, and no solution will have an attractive price tag. Protecting the viability of our watersheds is a critical priority. In the short term, continued conservation, reuse and groundwater recharging can provide additional time to find the right solutions. I applaud efforts by our agricultural community to develop streamside catchments for frost protection and water reuse, and will support other forward-thinking approaches to the challenges we face in managing this vital resource.
Medical Marijuana: Prop 215, AB420, Measure G, Measure B and the California Court of Appeal have all had their say on the issue of medical marijuana and the bottom line remains that it is legal in the state of California and we must ensure access to it for those in need. I'm not convinced that County Code 9.31 is the appropriate vehicle by which we should be regulating medical marijuana. I prefer to see the issue treated as a land use, zoning and planning issue related to public health rather than a nuisance regulation enforced by the Sheriff's Office. But as a resident of Mendocino County, I'm concerned about the crime and environmental degradation associated with illegal grows. Properly regulating and taxing marijuana has the potential to benefit, as is occurring in the city of Oakland and soon in Arcata, rather than create problems for our county. As supervisor I will closely monitor these programs and work to resolve the conflict within our communities. Planning: Measure A proved that we need to get our planning process on track. Nineteen years is too long for the Ukiah Valley Area Plan to be derailed. Thanks to an incredible countywide effort encompassing the entire business, political and economic spectrum, we were given a breather before the next challenge. Before then, however, we should be working to implement a comprehensive, well-thought-out planning and zoning road map. The County General Plan, Local Coastal Plan, Mendocino Town Plan and the Ukiah Valley Area Plan are where this process begins. As 5th District Supervisor I want to ensure a viable, transparent process to keep planning staff, developers and the public on the same page at all times.
Budget: The County budget is being severely tested, and cuts can only be made so deep. There are two areas of "new" money that I want to pursue as supervisor. The first, tax-sharing between the County and cities, is at least fifteen years overdue. It provides revenue to both partners while taking the sales-tax incentive of retail development off the table, allowing the County and cities to plan our communities cooperatively rather than competitively. The second area I will pursue is closing the "Amazon Tax" loophole. It is estimated that the State of California loses well over $5 billion every year in uncollected sales tax on online purchases. Mendocino County should be receiving its fair share of this revenue. We need to take an active role in nationwide efforts to force online retailers to collect and distribute sales tax based on the zip code where sales are generated. It should also be noted that keeping these sales within the county would help support local merchants and provide local jobs.
Services: With reduced budgets, furloughs and unfilled positions, our dedicated County staff has been tested by fire - and the end is not yet in sight. Whether it's County services such as Mental Health, Social Services, Transportation, Sheriff's Office, Parks and Planning or the fire districts, water agencies, public transit providers and so many others, we need to ensure their ability to provide essential services. As 5th District Supervisor, I will work to preserve access to these services. We must decide what services we need, what we want and what we are required to provide. To that end I propose that County government invite public input, through a charrette-like process, to plan an overall strategy of county government that reflects a workable approach to current and future needs.
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 13, 2010 10:40
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