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District 2 needs a juggler

May 11, 2012

 South of Mammoth to Paradise, east to the Tri-Valley and Benton, big sprawling District 2 is a distinctly nonhomogenous district that will require its county supervisor to be something of an acrobat to be eff ective.

It has Crowley Lake, essentially a bedroom community to Mammoth.

It has Swall Meadows and Paradise just down the hill, but whose kids go to Round Valley or Bishop schools and whose residents do most of their shopping in Bishop. Swall and Paradise never saw a development project they loved, or a deer or coyote they didn’t. 

Then it has the Tri-Valley, whose residents work and shop and study in Bishop and think deer are for hunting.

And then there’s Benton, increasingly a home to Mammoth flight risks, where cowboys collide with lycra-clad riders more than with horses these days.

Incumbent and former Mono County Sheriff ’s Deputy Duane “Hap” Hazard says he knows how to do the acrobat’s balancing act—and he can prove it.

His track record is out there for all to see.

Mostly, though, he doesn’t want the county to lose the benefi ts of the hard work and the value of the relationships he’s cultivated over the past years and have to start over. It would be a loss, he said.

“It takes a couple of years to become eff ective,” he said. “It’s taken me five to six years to gain these working relationships, like those in Sacramento, and I’m finally beginning to see the impact of them, be it for our fi refighters, or funding for the county jail.”

He’s running on this hard. “I’m not promising anything, I’m doing it,” he said. “I’ve got a proven track record. I’ve demonstrated I can walk the walk.”

He talked about the work he did to get Digital 395 to Mono County, much of it through his state and national connections. He said he’s got the time and drive to keep at it at the same level.

His challenger, Long Valley Fire Chief Fred Stump, thinks he can do the acrobat job even better, though.

He knows he doesn’t have the same track record, since he is not an incumbent, but he’s been a leader for decades and he knows how to pull people together.

“I know how to motivate people, to be a team player,” he said. “I don’t need the limelight to get things done,” he said. He also thinks the county’s gotten lost in the details, that is doesn’t know how to plan for the long run.

“I don’t think they have a prioritized plan for projects,” he said. “Th ere is no strategic plan. I would bring a focus to the table on this. We are going to need it more, as resources diminish and we have to decide where our money and eff orts are going to go.”

When the Mammoth Times asked if the county had a prioritized plan for capitol improvement projects, the county staff said no. The board has talked about it, the staff said, but never put one in place. This means projects are mostly passed by the “squeaky wheel” method, another word for crisis management, the staff said. 

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