Category Archives: General

ELECTION BY DEFAULT

In a previous blog I announced that I am seeking reelection for a third term as Plumas County Supervisor representing District 3.  The last day to file papers to run for election in June was the 7th of March.  As of that date, I am the only candidate seeking that position.

It has been my honor to represent you for a little over 7 years.  I want you to know that I take that responsibility very seriously and will do my utmost to be your advocate and represent your interests for the next 5 years.

It is interesting to note, however,  that all Plumas County elected officials, with the exception of the District 5 Supervisor position, are running unopposed in this election.  On my good days, I like to think that is because we are doing a good job; on my bad days, I fear it is because people are simply so fed up with government at all levels that they do not wish to be involved.  It is disappointing and of great concern to me that no one was willing to seek any of the numerous positions currently up for election.  I can’t help but wonder why?

I have asked the League of Women Voters to consider hosting an election forum in our area so that those of us who will be your Plumas County elected officials, even though we are running unopposed, will have a chance to introduce ourselves and answer any questions you may have about Plumas County government. If the League is unable or unwilling to host such a forum, I will set one up giving you the opportunity to interact with your Plumas County elected officials on a personal, one on one basis.

I sincerely appreciate your questions or comments; they help frame my decisions on your behalf. You may use the comment link at the top of this blog, the Contact form or email me at sherrie.thrall@almanorpost.com.

I sincerely thank you for the support you have given me these past 7 years; it has been a privilege to serve my community and Plumas County!

WATER, WATER, WATER ~ 3

Looks like we are getting some relief from the drought!  As y’all are aware, anything can happen when it comes to weather in the Almanor Basin. Our days of rain have noticeably increased the water levels in our reservoir (Lake Almanor) and the bypass has actually been activated.

Bypass Running
Bypass Running

With a large storm cell predicted to come through our area tonight I would imagine there will be even more water cascading down the bypass by tomorrow.  The drought is far from over – however, our rainy season is not over yet.

Keep up those rain dances!

REMINDER! WATCH BOARD MEETINGS LIVE-STREAMED

Your Board of Supervisors meets the first three Tuesdays of each month.  Meetings can now be viewed as they are taking place by visiting the Plumas County website and clicking on the button titled “Live Board Meetings” located below the map of Plumas County.  Meetings start at 11:00 am on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday and at 10:00 on the 2nd Tuesday.

To subscribe to the Board of Supervisors Agenda email list, contact Nancy DaForno, Clerk of the Board at 283-6170 or pcbs@countyofplumas.com with your request.

If you are unable to watch while the meeting is taking place you can visit the web site and view any of the archived videos of past meetings.  These are indexed to the agenda for that day giving you the ability to view only the segments and discussions of interest to you.

There are many other committees, councils and commissions whose meetings could be live-streamed.  Do you have an interest in being able to attend the Coordinating Council or Transportation Commission meetings from the comfort of your home or office?  Please let me know as I will be working to bring some of these meetings on line.

LAKE ALMANOR WATERSHED GROUP, LAKE ALMANOR WATER QUALITY TESTING AND DWR DROUGHT INFO

In September 2013 the Almanor Basin Watershed Advisory Committee (ABWAC) changed from being an advisory committee to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors to a working group under the umbrella of the Sierra Institute.  In order to reflect this change in status the group has changed its name to the Lake Almanor Watershed Group   (LAWG). This change in status frees up the group to take on worthwhile projects in the Almanor watershed rather than being restricted to an advisory role.

At their most recent meeting the group received good news from Scott McReynolds, Northern Region, Department of Water Resources (DWR).  McReynolds informed the group that DWR will be taking over responsibility for water quality testing at Lake Almanor.  Over past few years this testing program has been funded through the generous support of Lake Almanor residents.  LAWG is very fortunate to have the attendance and participation of Scott McReynolds in their work and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with him.

McReynolds took the opportunity to provide the group with a briefing on the DWR Drought Management Team’s “Talking Points” (PDF Uploaded Link), including their activities in response to the current California drought. The paper covers DWR’s evaluation of current conditions, listings of the latest announcements by DWR and State Water Resources Control Board along with excellent links to numerous sites dealing with various aspects of drought response, data and maps, NOAAs Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service Precipitation Analysis and much more.

Keep in mind California is subject to cycles, with this a moment in time – Water, Water, Water ~ 2.

HOW DOES ALL THIS RELATE to PLUMAS COUNTY and OUR SPECIAL DISTRICTS?

It is important to note that Plumas LAFCO is an independent, presumed neutral agency.  By statute it is a separate public agency from the County and the city of Portola who provide funding and appoint members from their agencies and the public to serve on the Commission. At present, the Commission is comprised five members and alternates:  two members from the Plumas County Board of Supervisors and one alternate appointed by the Board of Supervisors; Two Portola City Council members and one alternate from the City of Portola (if more than one city existed in Plumas County the Mayors from each city would elect the two members and alternate from the ranks of all City Council members); and one Public Member and alternate appointed by the other Commission members. Special District representation would increase the five member Commission to seven (plus an alternate).  So far our Special Districts have chosen not to participate in the governance of LAFCO.  And, therefore do not help fund LAFCO. THE PROBLEM:  There is a move afoot in the Portola area to change the way the LAFCO budget is allocated between the County and City.   At present the cost is split 50/50.  A group of folks in Portola think this is unfair and want the County to pay 90 to 95% of the cost.  However, the makeup of the LAFCO Board would remain the same.  I do not support this change!  I think time would be better spent working with the Special Districts to encourage their membership.  The increased cost to Plumas County would be about $40,000 based on the current budget.  I am being flooded by emails, some from out of Plumas County, to support the change. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

LAFCO, SPECIAL DISTRICTS & PLUMAS COUNTY

LAFCO – 1

Many residents have never heard of LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) and have no idea the level of control and power this organization has over local government.  Plumas County Board of Supervisors and Portola City Council will be presented with an argument to change the way Plumas LAFCO has been funded potentially shifting a larger share of the cost to the County and away from the City of Portola.  Before those discussions and decisions take place seems like a good time to explain a little of who and what LAFCO is.

WHAT IS LAFCO?  LAFCO is an intra-local agency that was created by state legislation to ensure that changes in governmental organization occur in a manner that provides efficient and quality services and preserves open space land resources.

LAFCO was created as a legislative response to actions of local jurisdictions in the 1940’s and 50’s.  At the time local governments incorporated/annexed large, irregular portion of land that resulted in irrational urban boundaries with isolated populations and without efficient services or no services at all.  In 1963 the Legislature established a LAFCO in each county and gave them regulatory authority over local agency boundary changes. 

Over a period of years the Legislature has added to and refined the authority of the LAFCOs.  1985 saw the Cortese-Knox Local Government Reorganization Act which consolidated all statutes relative to local government changes of organization under Government Code 56000, et.seq.  The Legislature formed a Commission on Local Governance in the 21st Century which came up recommendations which were based on the following presumptions: (1) The future will be marked by continued phenomenal growth, (2) California lacks a plan to accommodate growth, (3) local government is plagued by fiscal insecurity, and (4) the public is not engaged.

With the passage of the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000, effective in 2001, LAFCO powers were consolidated.  They now have specific authority to review, approve or disapprove:

Annexations to or detachments from cities or special districts

Formation or dissolution of special districts

Incorporation or Disincorporation of cities

Consolidation, merger or reorganizations of cities or special districts

Development of, amendments to Spheres of Influence

Extensions of service beyond an agency’s (district’s) jurisdiction

Provision of new or different services by special districts

Conduct Municipal Service Reviews of services, update Spheres of Influence and Sphere Horizons at least once every five years.

As you can see LAFCO has tremendous authority as well as direct and profound impact on land use, provision of services and the overall quality of life in Plumas County.  In my next blog I will discuss Plumas LAFCO in more detail and talk about some of the issues that will be in the news very soon regarding LAFCO and its funding base.

 

BOARD of SUPERVISORS MEETINGS LIVESTREAMED

At the Board of Supervisors meeting last Tuesday Plumas County took a step into the future. For the past few months we have been working on setting up a system to enable live streaming of Board meetings. Tuesday was a trial run to see if the system was working properly and enable our Information Technology (IT) folks to work out any glitches in the system. The meeting was recorded and is available on line at http://plumascoca.suiteonemedia.com/web/site.aspx. Please consider this a “dress rehearsal”.

This was our first attempt and, as you will see at the start, staff had some problems getting set up. The link should bring up the agenda on the right side of the screen and the video of the meeting on the upper left. Below the video are links to each of the agenda items. By clicking on that item of interest to you, you will be able to view that particular discussion. You can view the entire meeting if you wish.

Starting with the Board meeting on Tuesday (11 Feb) we will begin live streaming the meetings. Go to the Plumas County web site www.countyofplumas.com to view the meeting as it is taking place. IT tells me that they will have a button/link on the County website homepage that will take you directly to the meeting. The software we are using does not work with iPad, or some Smartphone applications but works well with most “windows” based software. We will continue to make improvements to the system to allow broader use as we become more adept in this “future” world.

With Supervisorial District 3 some 50 miles from Quincy, it is difficult for our residents to attend meetings. At last, we are now bringing the meetings home to you. It is my hope that the ability to view our meetings real time will allow you to view your County Government at work. Please contact me at Send email with any concerns, comments or suggestions.

THE CANDIDATE

As most of you know, I am seeking reelection for a third term as Plumas County Supervisor representing District 3.  I am a fiscal conservative and as such feel it important to carefully manage County resources and the budget.  My past two terms have been through very trying times in terms of the budget.  We have consistently made the cuts necessary to maintain a balanced budget and live within our means.  Some of these cuts have been difficult and painful for all involved.  However, they were necessary and as a result have positioned Plumas County to survive where other local governments have resorted to draconian measures.  I do not believe the times of dwindling revenue and higher costs are over. 

One of the cuts we made eliminated our County Administrative Officer/Budget Officer.  With this change Supervisors became the budget officers and worked closely with County Departments in formulating their operating budgets thus gaining in depth knowledge of County finance.  I feel it is critically important that Plumas County Supervisors continue in a conservative path as we move into the next few years.  I want to be part of that team.

There are many issues facing Plumas County and the Almanor Basin that, at this point, are a work in progress.  The FERC re-licensing 2105 project has been in process since 2002 and appears about to enter a final phase.  Water is one of our greatest commodities and with the drought declaration by Gov. Brown there will be a battle protecting our Area of Origin rights.  U.S. Forest Service continues work on their travel management plan.  We will need to be vigilant in protecting our rights to use and enjoy our public lands in the forest.  I could fill pages with the list of issues facing us in the next few years; suffice to say they are many and varied.

I have long searched for a way to make information available to my constituents as things develop.  I have used an email system in the past however it has many drawbacks.  I cannot send to more than 99 email addresses per hour without being blocked as a spammer.  Email addresses change and notices bounce.  Rather than continuing to use my email list I am establishing this web site as a means of posting current, real time, information as well as background regarding current issues Plumas County is engaged in and more in-depth research and opinion from contributors.

I intend to maintain this web site through my next term and beyond.  It is my hope you will check in often.  Use the web site as a tool to become informed and involved.  Use the “Contact” form to contact me with your concerns and questions. 

I take very seriously my responsibility to represent you and thank you for allowing me to be your representative these past years.

WHY “THE ALMANOR POST” ?

Life in a “Frontier” community presents many challenges.  As a Plumas County Supervisor of seven years, with 15 years of devoted community service, I have been constantly frustrated by the difficulty encountered in communicating timely, in-depth information on subjects critical to my constituents throughout the Almanor Basin.  I see The Almanor Post as a vehicle enabling me to make that information available to a wide audience, while receiving valuable input on the issues that confront us in our daily lives. It is this input that frames my decisions on your behalf.

It is not my intent to duplicate our local newspaper, the Chamber of Commerce or any other organizations’ work, but rather, to focus on a more in-depth perspective related to policy issues. In doing so, I urge you to take time to become more familiar with the issues confronting us and to question me where and when necessary.  If I don’t have the answers, I will make every effort to find the information for you.

I will be using this venue to post the news that is “The News”, in the hope that it will provide all of you with the most up to date information available to me, at the time of posting.

This project will be a work in progress, indefinitely; revisit often!