Constituent Letter from Anaiah Kirk, our District 3 Supervisor

I received the following in this morning’s email inbox.  Good information.  By the way, Anaiah will be at the MAHA Board Meeting this coming Friday, May 3rd at the Mi Wuk Library, 1 p.m. (or 1300 hours to those of you who tell time that way!).

 

Dear Constituent,

The question I have most often received during my first three months as District 3 Supervisor, other than “what are you going to do about our roads?”, is “what is it like being a new Supervisor?”

My life experiences have prepared me well for the role of a County Supervisor. At the prison, I am a mid-level manager/supervisor. I have bosses and I have staff who work under me. Having both perspectives gives me a great understanding of what the county employees have to deal with. It’s easy to tell staff what to do; it’s another to understand how reasonable your requests are.

As a County Supervisor, there is a lot of reading and research. It is my responsibility to understand the information presented by the county staff. I am asking a lot of questions.

Government moves slow. I like to move fast, yet getting things done in government will take time. At the BOS January planning meeting, I pushed the board to focus on a few top priorities so we can get a few things done, versus starting many things. At my request, I had the top priorities posted on each BOS desk and distributed throughout the department heads. I want the entire organization focused on a few priorities.

I don’t know it all, so I am surrounding myself with people who do. I love finding experts and connecting them connected with the appropriate resources.

A fulfilling aspect of this position is working with people who did not vote for me. I am growing in appreciation for other peoples’ points of view even though I may not agree with them. Also, I have found we agree on more than what the media has wedged between us.

Every day, I ask God for wisdom, strength for my family and myself and the ability to remain true to myself. Being a County Supervisor is a lot of work, and an awesome responsibility, but with the support of my amazing wife, kids, and my community, I am blessed to do so.

Of interest:

  • The priorities for the BOS this year are:
  1. Fire Safe Communities
  2. Land use; finishing the zoning code relative to the recently adopted general plan
  3. Roads
  4. Vulnerable populations
  5. Employee development
  6. County building infrastructure

 

  • Two Fire Safety and Evacuation Preparedness meetings have been held in District 3. These meetings focused on Ready, Set, Go.  Key lessons from the Paradise Camp Fire is to have a plan, know your ingress/egress routes, and take care of yourself and your neighbor.  If you are not registered in the Everbridge notification system please do so right now so you can be notified immediately in the event of an emergency: https://www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov/AlertCenter.aspx
  • Many fires start along roadways, such as last summer’s Carr Fire near Redding. Tuolumne County has received a $1.6M grant for clearing roadside vegetation. These roads in District 3 will be treated; Tuolumne Rd (Lambert Lake to Terrace Rr), Twain Harte Dr, Tuolumne Rd North (S. Knox to Hwy 108), Longeway Rd (Soulsbyville Rd to S. Fork Rd), Confidence Rd, Soulsbyville Rd, Cherokee Rd, and Middle Camp Rd.
  • County Budget – I am working hard to understand the county budget. As presented currently, the forecast income and expense is not very clear/realistic.  It is hard to make informed decisions until this is more transparent.
  • The county held a BOS meeting at Black Oak Casino. The cost was over $800 which included lunch. Part of the meeting discussed raising taxes. I take full responsibility as a BOS member and will pay more attention in the future to not incur these types of costs.
  • Taxes – I am pushing back on the discussion to raise TOT and sales taxes. I might support a parcel assessment to immediately fund fire department improvements, however, the future of our fire organization needs to be addressed with the new fire study meeting in the near future.
  • Raises for (non-supervisor) elected officials.  I voted in favor as it amounted to about 1.2% per year over the past 11 years, well below peers in similar counties.
  • Juvenile Hall – I am looking at ways to fully utilize the Juvenile Hall which is costing the county over $1.5M a year to operate. At the CSAC conference, I signed up to participate on the Administration of Justice policy panel which may help address this issue.
  • New Positions – When new personnel positions are brought to the board, I look at the level of service they will provide and if we are cutting any positions to make room. If the county population is decreasing, then the bureaucracy should not be growing. However, California continues to mandate services the county must provide and California never seems to provide enough funding. It’s a balancing act.
  • Savings – As a supervisor, I am not collecting benefits from the county. This will save taxpayers $2.3K for the fiscal year 2018-19 and at least $4.7K per year in the following years.
  • Waste Management – Very little trash pickup occurred during the winter storms. Per my request, the contract was reviewed and Waste Management has agreed to credit your account for each week they did not pick up trash.
  • Snow Plowing – We spent around $50K in overtime on snow plowing. I am looking at ways to use that money to provide better/faster snow removal in the future.
  • Opioid Crisis – six weeks ago, my 27-year-old cousin overdosed on heroin. He started using marijuana when he was a teenager and said that’s when his battle with addiction began. The addiction led to heroin and now he is gone. My fight against commercial marijuana cultivation was based on facts, research and experience working in probation and at the prison and with youth in our county. Now my argument is fueled by this personal event which ended a life and ruined a family. When will we wake up? California, the state that is crying out for action against the opioid epidemic, refuses to acknowledge the gateway effects of marijuana that starts young children on a path to addiction and even death.

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