Part Two of “From where we sat.” Here’s the ultra-brief rundown on differences (or not) noted in Wednesday’s forum featuring Yuba County District 5 supervisor candidates Randy Fletcher, John Mistler, and Alton Wright.

– The Lake Oroville crisis: Fletcher said the county did as well as possible; Mistler said better evacuation plans are needed; Wright said there needs to be more training.

– The Charlie Mathews initiative to redistribute revenues generated from groundwater substitution transfers. Mistler’s problem is that he thinks Yuba County Water Agency illegally denied a vote on the former iteration of the initiative; Wright said the idea sounds too good to be true but should go before the public; Fletcher said Mathews’ initiative was an illegal tax.

– The Highway 70 widening project: They all like the idea of a Marysville bypass. Wright said the current plans turn Marysville into a freeway; Fletcher said Caltrans lacks funding; Mistler said the plans would make Marysville more dangerous.

– Marijuana: Fletcher said his issue is with large-scale, illegal grows and lack of resources; Mistler said the supervisors’ last iteration of the pot ordinance was set up as nuisance abatement and it should be a criminal ordinance. Wright said there should be a middle ground and they should be more accommodating for people who want to grow a small quantity on their own property.

– Loss of irrigation water in the North Yuba Water District: Mistler said the Forbestown Ditch needs to be piped; Wright said supervisors should have done more to help; Fletcher said he’s working on having Yuba County Water Agency help.

– A dedicated tax increase for public safety: Wright said they should look hard at how money is allocated; Fletcher said law enforcement needs resources and voters should decide; Mistler said the county needs to look at prioritization.

–  Better internet and mobile services in the foothills: Fletcher said he’s been working on it with legislators and Verizon and progress is being made; Mistler said he knows how to find the right people; Wright said improved connectivity is a top priority.

– Priorities for the next four years: Mistler said improving building and planning department, by cutting expenses for builders. Wright said building accountability and transparency. Fletcher said raising county employee morale.

– County’s response to the Cascade Fire: Wright said we need a public/private-funded siren system; Fletcher said they did well considering circumstances; Mistler said the biggest issue was a lack of information.

– The homeless situation: Mistler said 14Forward’s tool sheds aren’t good for people and the county needs to identify those who actually want help; Wright said 14Forward is a success, but the county needs to spend more wisely; Fletcher said homelessness affects the foothills by using up county resources and 14Forward is a model for the rest of the state.

The next forum, sponsored by the Appeal and chamber of commerce will be Thursday, April 26, at the Yuba City Council Chambers, starting at 6 p.m. Candidates will include Sutter County District 3 contestants Paul Basi, Bert Manuel and Mike Ziegenmeyer; and superintendent of schools candidates Baljinder Dhillon (incumbent), Joe Hendrix and Tom Reusser at 7 p.m.

Observers can write questions on cards and send them up to the moderators. Also, citizens can go to our website, appealdemocrat.com, click on the heading “Questions for candidates” and click into a survey where they can write out questions for specific races.

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I’m proud of our hardworking and talented newsroom team. It’s  nice when they get recognition such as kudos in the California News Publishers Association journalism contest.

Our staff placed in these categories: in-depth reporting for coverage of the Cascade Fire and also for our special report, “Close Call” about the Oroville Dam crisis; and investigative reporting for news about how the former Marysville police chief was being investigated.

And we came in second place in the General Excellence category for our division, in which we submitted a series of editions starting with coverage of the Oroville Dam evacuations. “This paper did a wonderful job of humanizing a big and sometimes complicated topic while doing its best to keep readers informed and aware,” the judge said.

We’ll take that. Thanks.

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Ugh. More one-liners from our friend TB: 

– Can an atheist get insurance against acts of God?

– I went to a bookstore and asked a sales clerk, “where is the self-help section?” She wouldn’t tell me. She said it would defeat the purpose.

– What if there were no hypothetical questions?

– Is there another word for synonym?

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