Edwards is back
Experience touted by City Council hopefuls
Former City Councilwoman Salina Edwards says she is healthy and ready to jump "back into the arena."
Edwards served on the council from 2004-08, but was not re-elected.
She described that as "a blessing" since she was in poor health at the time and had several surgeries.
Edwards said the council is bigger than any one person because it is a group of five, but the closer it works toward common goals — the better it is for the people.
"Because there are five individuals, you have differences of opinion," she added, "but that does not mean they cannot be worked through."
Edwards said she was concerned the council did not require an environmental impact report on the Crystal Geyser sparkling water bottling plant right up front.
Since Orland is an agricultural community, that is a basic, she said, to make sure there were no adverse impacts on the water table.
She expressed support for new City Manager Peter Carr, whom she met and heard speak.
"I think he is great and has a lot of enthusiasm," Edwards said. "It takes a lot of enthusiasm to (promote the city)."
With the exception of a few mining towns in the West, Orland is like most other places across the country in terms of weathering a slumping economy, she said.
"I see way too many vacant homes in Orland and way too many in foreclosure," Edwards said. "I'd like to see them bought and cleaned up."
Abandoned homes bring down property values for everyone here, she added, and the city loses students in its schools and loses contributing members to the community.
"We need to promote the city more than we have," Edwards said, by utilizing the Orland Chamber of Commerce.
She said the chamber's office provides a place for visitors to stop instead of just heading to Chico, but a visitors' center also would benefit the town.
If people stop and find out about Orland, they would see the benefits of living here, Edwards said. It has good schools, the crime rate is low and there is plenty of medical help from doctors and dentists.
And being next to Interstate 5 provides easy access to other localities, she said.
She said there are a lot of older workers in the city's public works department who will be retiring in the next few years.
"I am wondering if the young staff has the history knowledge to know where a connection is for a sewer line," Edwards said. "To keep things running smoothly, will the city promote from within when the public works director retires or hire without?"
Edwards said she believes Orland's agricultural base is important to its economy since several packing plants employ hundreds of people.
She said her survey of parking lots brought a count of 30 cars in one plant, 20 in another and so on.
"These are employers they bring people into our town," she said, along with dairies and other entities.
She added the goal is to improve Orland but not lose what it already has with the ag. industry.
Edwards wants to see a cultural center built in the future, she said, once the city starts growing again.
Past accomplishments from her early days on the council include keeping the public informed, she said, and having few lawsuits against the city.
Goals for the future are to see improvements to Orland's streets where pot holes are popping up and getting a stop sign or stop light at Fourth and Walker streets, Edwards added.
A child was killed at that intersection a few years ago, and it is plagued with accidents, she said.
"I know it is up to Caltrans, but with enough history — we can urge them to take precautions," Edwards said.
As for the economy, Edwards said cities and others could be drawing back on spending after this election - depending on where things go, but Orland can still plan a head and minimize the fall out.