A Fringe Report
The Sierra County Board of Supervisors met in continued regular session. All were present, Adams, Huebner, Nunes, Goicoechea and Schlefstein. Ms. Whitely was keenly missed, but she’s busy making trouble on the Loyalton City Council.
Here are the highlights:
The gavel shuffle.
Retiring Chairperson Dave Goicoechea and entering Chairperson Lee Adams traded chairs and the gavel around for awhile until both the Lee and the Gavel were in the Chair chair at the right time. It was very dignified and reminds us of why government works like it does.
The Board also welcomed the newest member, Scott Schlefstein, Supervisor of District 5. Schlefstein is welcomed by the press, as well, and if we can spell “Goicoechea” we can probably get “Schlefstein” right most of the time. It is noted that during the meeting Schlefstein asked reasonable, thoughtful questions and followed the discussion carefully, but he’s still new, and we’re sure it won’t be long until he’s no different from the other supervisors.
Director of Public Works Tim Beals reported: billing Loyalton for Lafco; building permits trying to escape new building ordinances, six in December which is more than most years; Prop 40 and the extension we need; NV Energy is hosting social events.
Genice Froelich, representing the Yuba side of the Tahoe National Forest presented Eli Ilano, new Deputy Forest Supervisor, and Ms. Froelich spoke with the board about a place to shoot on the West Side, a subject brought to the board’s attention by local Robert Eshleman. According to Ranger Froelich, people can legally shoot in many places in the Tahoe. If a group wants to do a coordinated effort, there will be permits required but an informal shoot is not a problem.
The Brush Creek location problems began because there is arsenic coming from a mine shaft, and there has been monitoring of the site. Equipment was vandalized, and so a gate and camera were put up. The camera was trashed and the gate was cut with a torch.
Very likely the vandals imagine themselves in some kind of battle for sovereignty with the Forest Service; it’s possible there is even some anger over the Travel Control Plan.
Even so, their efforts aren’t winning anything here, just making it difficult to monitor the mine.
People with ideas for great shooting spots should share them with friends; people with questions should contact the Forest Service.
Eli Ilano is a nice young guy, totally unprepared for Sierra County. He told the board about himself, which you can read on our Forest Service Update page; scroll down.
Director of Planning and Building Tim Beals told the Board the implementation of the General Plan is only a little behind, about 3 weeks. There are lateral cracks in West Side Road, he’s going to call the contractor back.
Then the subject of the Forest Service Travel Management Plan came up. Everyone who loves the wilderness as someplace you go instead of someplace you think about in fantasy hates the new travel management plan. It kills cross country travel for all time, and screws a lot of the back roads so many people love.
But, frankly, meeting after meeting was held by the FS; most were announced, though some weren’t, and no one came. Tom Quinn, TNF Forest Supervisor, came himself a couple of times to talk about it: no one had much to say.
Further, people have a hard time keeping the Humboldt-Toyabe, the Plumas, and the Tahoe distinct in their discussion and probably elsewhere.
The real problem is too many people, too many quads, too many SUVs. Way back in Washington, deep in the bowels of the USDA, Thomas Tidwell, no doubt on the recommendation of people whose salaries run in the hundreds of thousands, directed that there would be no more environmental and archeological damage from people going just anywhere on their public lands.
That directive and a lot of others trickle down to our National Forests, where people hoping for retirement do as they’re told to us.
Tidwell: not there.
Tidwell wasn’t there, but Eli and Genice were, and they struggled to make sense of the anger that was in the room, anger from people who’ve been disposessed of their lands for their own good, so the lands are saved, but not enjoyed. Eli, and especially Genice, have almost no power to change anything, and they aren’t Tom Quinn or Alice Carlton, but there they were, and they took what they could of the anger and made what sense they could of it. Supervisor Froelich tried to pin the problem down, trying to determine where the breakdown had occurred, though neither Deputy Forest Supervisor Eli Ilano nor Ranger Froelich have been in their positions for more than a few months at most, and weren’t here for most of it.
The letter from Congressman Tom McClintock (here
) was discussed, and the Board resolved to write an angry letter and to insist that from now on when the TNF does something, they’ll have to advertise in the Mountain Messenger. Froelich and Ilano agreed, just as others have agreed before them, and maybe the TNF did advertise in the Messenger, no one, and especially not Don Russell, could remember for sure.
However, the Board affirmed what Froelich and Ilano must have suspected. “This isn’t Nevada City, and it isn’t South Lake Tahoe, either.” Supervisor Goicoechea, forgetting he isn’t Chair anymore, cursed the Forest Service too; The Letters which are being sent show them (TNF) the respect they never showed us.
All in all, there isn’t much anyone can do, but what the Board could do, they did.
Retiring Superior Court Justice William Pangman was recognized by the Board. Pangman had served as County Council before being elected to the Bench. County Council James Curtis spoke to Judge Pangman’s professionalism, his efforts to help from the bench, and said that above all, he was a gentleman.
No one could disagree. Pangman is likely the most dignified person in Sierra County, a place where a gentleman stands out. Lee Adams spoke about what a great guy Pangman is and about the wonderful times they and other old boys have had.
Judge Pangman spoke about his faith in child welfare services and drug courts and expressed a commonly held but untested view that lives are made better through judicious use of the courts.
Judge Pangman didn’t describe his plans for retirement.
Sierra Brooks water system became the topic for discussion, and Director Beals gave a long narrative of the history of the Brooks, the water system, and the current problems. Engineer Keith Knibb described a problem both in supply and delivery. He said water meters were a good first step since water usage in the Brooks is amazingly high.
All in all, residents who use the water system will likely eventually pay $45-$60 a month for water.
Residents will have to approve the fee increase; if they don’t, they’re on their own for water.
Supervisor Schlefstein spoke on behalf of the citizens and encouraged everyone that there be “no surprises.”
The Board went on to talk about political objectives and what not, but the bang was out of the meeting by then.