Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Candidates make final pitches

Yuba County Dem group hosts forum for June 7 election

- By Robert Summa rsumma@appealdemo­

With mail-in ballots currently in the hands of most Yuba County voters, candidates in the upcoming June 7 direct primary election were given the opportunit­y to address voters Tuesday night in Marysville.

Included in the forum were those seeking office for a wide variety of races including county supervisor, county superinten­dent and state and national positions.

Each candidate was given 5 minutes to introduce themselves and present their plans if elected in front of a packed crowd at Mountain Mike’s Pizza in Marysville. Afterward, members of the audience were able to ask questions.

The following is a summary of the night’s speakers and what they had to say.

Kermit Jones

Kermit Jones, a Democrat,

is running for California’s 3rd Congressio­nal District against Republican and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, Republican Kevin Kiley and Democrat David Peterson.

This newly-drawn congressio­nal district has no incumbent and stretches from Plumas County, through the Sacramento suburbs, parts of El Dorado County and down to Inyo County.

Jones said he’s been a physician for 17 years, served in the U.S. Navy and worked in the Obama administra­tion on healthcare issues, but has only been running for office for about eight months.

“Some people look at that as me not having the qualificat­ions to be in office. But I actually look at that as a significan­t bonus,” Kermit Jones said. “Because right now, what I’m seeing is people are tired of putting politician­s in office, they’re ready to put leaders in office. People are tired of putting people in office that can list a litany of complaints or maybe choose which side that they’re going to stay on in terms of the aisle, but aren’t willing to work together with both sides of the aisle to get real solutions done.”

Jones said as a deployed service member and doctor, it didn’t matter if someone was a Democrat or Republican.

“They never did a straw poll in terms of whether you’re a Democrat or Republican or independen­t. You just came together and you got the mission done,” Jones said. “I’ve been a doctor for 17 years. I’ve had the privilege of taking care of about 20,000 people and I’ve never asked any of my patients when they came in whether they were Democrat or Republican or independen­t. I just take care of them and I do that as a privilege and that’s exactly what I would do if I had the privilege of serving in Congress.”

Jones said he learned a lot of “smalltown community values” after growing up on a small farm in Michigan. He said he is running because people in Congress “care more about staying in office” than actually doing what they were elected to do.

“We have real problems that require real solutions. We have some of the worst fires in California and they get worse every single year,” Jones said.

“I’m the only candidate that talks about a federal fire insurance program just like we have a federal flood insurance program. … I have the most comprehens­ive and detailed healthcare plan of anyone who’s ever run for Congress.”

He said dental and hearing care should be covered by Medicare.

“When people can’t hear, they’re more likely to become demented. It’s a helluva lot more expensive to take care of someone who has dementia than it is to just buy them some hearing aids,” Jones said. “When you don’t get your teeth taken care of, it increases your risk of heart disease. It’s a helluva lot more expensive to take care of someone in ICU with a heart attack than it is to get a cavity fixed. We need people in Congress that understand what it’s like to be on the ground with people, frontline, and taking care of people first, and putting your issues first, and putting politics and partisansh­ip second.”

Kristopher Kramer

A candidate for Yuba County District One Supervisor, Kristopher Kramer is running against Eric Mallow and incumbent Andy Vasquez for the seat.

Kramer said he is running because he has seen the district decline in quality over time.

“We have a homeless problem. We have a vacant building problem. Somebody needs to do something about it,” Kramer said.

If elected, Kramer said he plans to connect with health and human services to start a program that helps the homeless and what can legally be done with vacant buildings on North Beale Road.

“I’d like to clean up the district and encourage more people to come,”

Kramer said. “With encouragin­g people to come, I’d like to start a small business program, helping people get their small businesses off the ground.”

Tambra Courtright

Tambra Courtright is a candidate for Yuba County Clerk and is running against Donna Hillegass.

A Wheatland resident, Courtright said her profession­al background in medical coding and records have prepared her for a role as clerk.

“I believe that my work experience, 32 years in medical coding and medical records, translates well into learning the task and responsibi­lities of the county clerk,” Courtright said. “That elected position, we have a choice of someone with experience or electing somebody who has been at the county and worked in that office for a long time who considers everything to be status quo and just comfortabl­e with the way things are. I want to look at things with a fresh perspectiv­e.”

Courtright said she would like to see

the county’s voter rolls cleaned and make sure that ballots sent and received are handled properly.

Anna Meyerpeter-newman

Running for Yuba County Superinten­dent of Schools is Anna Meyerpeter-newman.

She is facing off against incumbent Francisco Reveles.

With a background that includes different teaching opportunit­ies around the state, world and country, Meyerpeter­newman said she has been able to see what works and what doesn’t work in education. She said she decided to run for superinten­dent because of frustratio­ns in her attempts to bring change to the Yuba County Office of Education.

“Three-and-a-half years ago I came off a job at the Alameda Office of Education and I’ve been training teachers all across the state,” Meyerpeter­newman said. “I offered to do the training for free and was turned down. I said, ‘I will train the Yuba County teachers for free.’ And I was turned down there.”

Meyerpeter-newman said she wants to bring improvemen­ts to the office and use grand funding to expand programs offered by the Yuba County Office of Education.

“I would also like to streamline some of the existing programs that are at the county office,” she said.

Meyerpeter-newman said a program she would like to see “coordinate­d better” and expanded is the career technology education program.

“Right now there’s millions of dollars being funded into all of our school districts in the county, but there’s not much coordinati­on,” she said. “... I know if we wrote those grants through the county office of education, more money would be available for everyone.”

Zachary Cross

A self-described Libertaria­n, Zachary

Cross is running for the Yuba County District Five Supervisor seat against

Jon Messick and Bob Bagley.

Cross said his plans for Yuba County include not spending money on the Yuba Water Agency initiative to build a second spillway at New Bullards Bar Dam.

This planned secondary spillway, also called the ARC Spillway, is meant to improve the dam’s operationa­l flexibilit­y because the current spillway is not as efficient due to an “inflexible calendar-based approach,” Yuba Water previously said. It will enable the agency to be more flexible and release water ahead of storms, the Appeal previously reported.

Ryan Mcnally, a water operations project manager for Yuba Water Agency, previously said the ARC Spillway is not a “second auxiliary spillway.” He said the ARC Spillway is a controlled structure to prevent floods from occurring downstream.

Cross said the money intended for this “emergency spillway” would be better spent on “storage and conveyance.”

Eric Mallow

Mallow, a Yuba County District One Supervisor candidate, said as a supervisor for a railroad company, he understand­s organizati­on. He said some of the bigger issues in the county concern homelessne­ss, mental health and programs for troubled youth.

“We forget about the generation of our children,” Mallow said. “What do those kids have in this county to actually do? To actually help them grow? No programs.”

He said he’s willing to work with anyone who has the same goals that he does.

“We forgot that we are individual­s and we have a freedom of choice. We believe in what we want to believe in, but for some reason the two sides just can’t come together,” Mallow said. “I’m a registered Republican running as an independen­t because of that very reason. The Republican­s wanted to endorse me and I said no. I just don’t believe in either party right now. We can’t even come together. That’s sad for this country. What are we teaching our kids?”

He said besides common issues such as traffic and taxes, Mallow wants to make sure programs are created for kids that may not be able to attend college.

“Teach these kids some values they can take out into the streets and use,” Mallow said.

He also said more jobs need to come to the area before more homes and low-income housing can be built.

Wayne Bishop

Wayne Bishop is running for the Yuba Water Agency, South Division seat currently held by incumbent Brent Hastey.

Owner of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm, Bishop said he has experience as a small business owner during the offseason and a large business owner when the farm is open to the public.

Unlike Cross, Bishop said a secondary spillway at New Bullards Bar Dam is necessary.

“This is something that came up in 1997 in the last big flood. Somebody realized we had that huge atmospheri­c river that came in here,” Bishop said. “We knew it was coming for a week before it got here. If we could have released some of that water out of Bullards Bar Dam before the storm got here, we might have avoided that flood. It would have given us a chance. It would have taken some of the pressure off of the levees.”

Bishop said the millions in revenue that the

Yuba Water Agency has collected in reserves should start getting spent on economic developmen­t in the county.

“What I’d like to do is stop talking about it and studying it like we have for the last six years and let’s get on with it and get some work done,” he said.

Jon Messick

In the upcoming election, Messick is facing off against Cross and Bagley for the Yuba County District Five Supervisor position.

Messick, a lifelong resident of Hallwood, said he spent 13 years on the Yuba County Planning Commission and is the current commander of the Yuba-sutter Sheriff ’s Aero-squadron.

“I just enjoy helping people in the county,” he said.

Messick said he’s seen the county treat people unfairly and wants to change that.

“I’ve been the victim of some wrongdoing­s by county staff and I turned to my supervisor for help because I think the elected officials should help the voting public and community when the staff does something wrong,” Messick said.

He said if anyone ever has issues with the county, to call him so he can address it. Much like Jones’ plan for a federal fire insurance program, Messick said he would prefer to see a county fire insurance program.

“Anything the state or federal government can do, I think we can do it better and more cost effective,” he said.

Messick said he also wants to make sure District Five in Yuba County stays rural. He said he wouldn’t want to see “any subdivisio­ns thrown out in the middle of our rural area.”

Donna Hillegass

Current Yuba County Clerk Hillegass is running against challenger Courtright for the position. With 17 years of experience in the county clerk’s office and with elections, Hillegass used her time speaking at Tuesday’s forum to address concerns about voter rolls and the voting process.

“To understand how voter rolls are maintained, you have to understand the big picture,” Hillegass said. “We have 40,000 registered voters. That’s 40,000 records that have to be maintained. And we do. We address those records on a daily basis.”

Because of errors that can occur when voters enter their own informatio­n, Hillegass said names can sometimes be spelled wrong or others will put in an incorrect date of birth.

“Those records are still validated through the state system against DMV and Social Security to validate,” she said.

Hillegass said when the office is notified of incorrect informatio­n or comes across incorrect informatio­n, then steps are taken to correct what’s on the rolls.

“When changes happen that don’t make it into the system, we do rely on voters letting us know that there has been a change,” Hillegass said. “... Maintenanc­e of the voter rolls is a high priority in our office.”

She also said there are multiple layers of security to ensure that elections are valid.

During the question and answer portion of her presentati­on, Hillegass detailed much of the election process and how various checks and balances are in place to protect voters and the system.

“We have very strict security measures in place,” Hillegass said.

Jeanenne Hoston

Jeanenne Hoston is running as a write-in candidate for California State Assembly District Three against David Leon Zink and incumbent James Gallagher.

Hoston said she is a

U.S. Army veteran and currently works at Beale Air Force Base. She said she was a fifth-generation Sutter County resident.

“My great-greatgrand­father was the sheriff of Sutter County in 1890, so my family’s been here for a very long time,” Hoston said.

She said she decided to run for the Assembly because she was tired of talking about issues in the district and wanted to do something about them.

“I’ve spent the last six years running my mouth, sending emails and complainin­g about it and I finally got to the point where I decided to physically go forward and do something about it,” Hoston said. “I feel like at this point in time in our area we have kind of a good ol’ boy program going on. We’ve got this good ol’ boy program and if you’re not part of the good ol’ boy program, you don’t get taken care of. Those seem to be the people that are getting everything handed to them and being taken care of.”

Hoston said because she believed that Gallagher had aspiration­s for a higher political office, he was not putting the constituen­ts first.

“When I’m looking at a politician’s page, I want to know what their issues are,” Hoston said. “I want to know what they stand for. I want to know what they believe in and what policies they’re promoting. Instead all I see is them attacking the opposing party. That’s all there is today, is just attacking the other party. I don’t know who stands for what anymore.”

Hoston said her biggest issues that need to be addressed are drought, wildfires and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

“We’ve seen PG&E get bailed out so many times. And in our area, the majority of the fires are caused by PG&E,” Hoston said. “And then what happens? Their insurance companies end up bailing them out and guess who has to pay for it? We do. Every single time they raise their rates and we’re the ones that have to pay for it. At what point do we stop and say this is enough?”

Francisco Reveles

Yuba County Superinten­dent of Schools incumbent Reveles is seeking to get reelected in a race against challenger Meyerpeter­newman.

Reveles said he’s “not running on ideas,” but running on deeds and the love for children in the county.

“Judge me by my deeds, not what I hope to do. We’re rolling out a major career technical program – adult education,”

Reveles said. “Recently I met with all the heads of the labor unions, they support me. We’re talking about a systems approach between schools, we don’t compete for jobs. We’re talking about a policy with the school boards. My idea of a great place is to have career technical education informatio­n available in the counselor’s office along with other things.”

Reveles said the focus of the Yuba County Office of Education is about collaborat­ion, taking care of special needs children and holding school districts accountabl­e.

“The Yuba County Superinten­dent of Schools is about relationsh­ips,” he said.

David Leon Zink

Zink, a Butte County resident, is running for California State Assembly District Three against incumbent Gallagher and write-in candidate Hoston.

Zink said he believes in “we the people, putting we the people above we the political party and above we the special corporate interests.” He said an effective leader is needed right now to respond to the challenges within the district.

Zink said he wants to help bring more jobs to the district by doing things such as building out broadband infrastruc­ture.

“There are many other challenges that we’ve got here in AD3 including water, including fire prevention,” Zink said. “There are job opportunit­ies in those problems. We just need to exploit them to our benefit and with focus.”

Zink said he was “genuine” in his bipartisan­ship and wants to focus on the people of the district.

“As an assemblyma­n serving you in the California State Assembly, I promise I will listen to you first,” Zink said. “I’ll work with you to draw a line of interest around what you care about and try to work on pulling folks together so that we can come up with solutions that are right for us. Not pre-packaged by a political party. Not prepackage­d by big business. But something that’s right for us, that’s going to help us grow and thrive in our economy and in our families here in the North State.”

Max Steiner

Running for U.S. Congress in California’s First District against

Doug Lamalfa is the self-described centrist Democrat Max Steiner.

A member of the

Army Reserves, Steiner previously served in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and spent two years in Iraq in Baghdad and Kirkuk. Steiner, who has extensive knowledge of internatio­nal relations and issues, said he decided to run against Lamalfa because of what happened at the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Doug Lamalfa voted against certifying the election. I think that’s inexcusabl­e. He broke his oath of office. I swore an oath, I’m still subject to that oath … to serve and protect the Constituti­on of the United States.

That means that I accept elections that I didn’t vote for,” Steiner said. “I enlisted under (President George W.) Bush. I served under (President Barack) Obama. … I have served as a diplomat under Obama and (President Donald) Trump. I still serve as an Army guy under (President Joe) Biden. So, I’ve served four presidents at this point. I didn’t vote for four … but I’ve served all of them to the best of my ability and Doug refused to do that. I think that’s really a problem we have in this country and one of the main reasons I’m running.”

Steiner said his big focus for the constituen­ts of the district is fire and forest management.

“It means thinning, providing enough money to do it,” Steiner said. “It means prescribed fire, which will never be done by the private industry. We cannot tax cut our way to forest health and forest health is the key to fire prevention.”

Steiner also said more water storage is needed and how “environmen­tal water” is assigned needs to be reevaluate­d.

“We don’t have enough water in the state to do everything we want and we’re going to have to triage it,” Steiner said. “Many Democrats don’t like that I want to build dams or that I want to reduce instream flows.

But we have 40 million people in this state and this is a state for people. It is not a state for fish.”

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