In separate interviews last week, Weed City Council incumbent candidates Dave Pearce and Jerry Broomfield both compared doing the city’s business to doing a family’s business.
Pearce and Broomfield are two of the five candidates vying for three council seats that will be up for grabs in the Nov. 2 general election.
The other candidates are incumbent Leo Sartor and challengers Ken Palfini and Brendan Butler.
Pearce and Broomfield are both seeking a second four-year term on the council.
They both praised the community volunteers who are working on the downtown street improvement project and both praised the city staff for its work.
Both agree the challenges facing the city, as is the case for most cities and counties now, are considerable and will involve some belt tightening. Both agree that keeping the library open is a priority.
Dave Pearce worked in the mills nearly his entire working life. He was a heavy equipment operator at International Paper for 15 years, until it closed. During that time he was also an AFL-CIO shop steward and served on the union board at IP. After the IP mill closed, he worked as a heavy equipment operator at McCloud P&M. He is now retired.
Pearce is this year’s Mayor, elected by his fellow council members. He said he attends city staff meetings every week, which helps him better understand the issues the city is facing.
Pearce said he sees serving on the council as a way to give back to the city.
“I?came here from Kentucky at 16. I?love this city,”?he said.
Pearce started Neighborhood Watch in the area where he lives in Weed, and the Watch has now extends from Liberty to Shasta.
He praises Weed community members for wanting to improve the city, and though he initially was concerned about how all of the downtown businesses felt about the street improvement project, he’s now satisfied that they’re all on board with it.
“I think it’s going to be great for our community,”?Pearce said. “It’s going to be a great draw card.”
With all the revenue-shortage issues the city is facing, including funding libraries, infrastructure maintenance and the coming need to revise water, sewer and garbage rates, Pearce said, “We’re doing the best we can without raising taxes; we’re holding off as long as possible.”
He’s proud of the city for staying out of the red and cites efforts being made to be efficient and cut costs in as many small ways as possible. He praises city employees who agreed to go without raises to help make the budget work.
Pearce said he has been researching the city’s water rights and its agreement with Roseburg, an agreement that dates back to the late 1800s when the property was owned by Weed Lumber Company.
The current agreement is going to expire in 2016, and Pearce believes, “the people should have the rights to the water before anyone else.” He anticipates that it could go to court. “I?think we’d prevail,”?Pearce said, “but it depends on how the court sees it.”
He said the city has been successful in getting grants to help with infrastructure issues, but that ultimately depends on help from the state and federal government.
“It’s just like your home,”?he said. “You have to keep your home up... We’re trying to keep our heads above quicksand... How can we get the money without raising taxes?
Jerry Broomfield is a 51 year resident of Weed, pastor of the Wayside Church of God in Christ, and has behind a number of Weed businesses, both profit and nonprofit, including the New Life Thrift Store, I.B. & Sons Trucking Co., Siskiyou Foods and B&W Barbecue. He also has Broomfield Ministry, Inc.
He was instrumental in the founding of the first food pantry for the needy and later the food bank.
Broomfield is now the district superintendent of the Church of God in Christ from Oroville to Klamath Falls and a member of Rotary.
Like a family, Broomfield said the city has to make decisions about what it has to have and what it can do without. “You have to make a budget and stick to it,”?he said. “I?like to pray for things and get the wisdom of God on making decisions.”
He said the city is making progress in building up the South Weed area and is working to get new fire and police stations built there.
He praises the administration for working with people to bring projects into the South Weed area and praises public works director Craig Sharp for the work he’s going in South Weed.
Broomfield said it’s important to him that the city and its employees work together to come to agreements during difficult economic times. “We’re trying to keep afloat,”?he said. “As long as you can keep the city up and functioning; that’s the main thing – and everybody keeps their job.”
He said there’s no stopping increases in garbage, water and sewer rates, but his goal is to see it happen “at a slow rate... In our financial situation, we’re going to have to do something in the near future. You have to take care of your creditors. Nobody will work for free.”
He praises city administrator Earl Wilson for finding ways to save money by cutting back on “stuff you normally buy.”
Broomfield calls the water source agreement with Roseburg that is expiring in 2016 “a touchy issue... We want to work with them.”
He said he believes the city’s support for Roseburg in its attempts to get its biomass plant started “will be a benefit to us. I?see where it’s going to be a blessing for the city... It won’t be a walk in the park with that water agreement. It’s something we’re going to have to work at.”
“I’m for the library,”?Broomfield said. “If it wasn’t for the library I wouldn’t be where I?am today.”
He suggests raising funds as a community, if necessary, to keep the library open at least 2 or 3 days each week. “If 10 churches each give $200 to $300 per year, that could help,” he said.
Among the accomplishments during the past four years, Broomfield praises the city of Weed for rejecting marijuana dispensaries.
“I’ve been all over the world,”?he said, and there’s no better place than this. Our resources, scenery, fresh air and fresh water. I?want to help keep it that way.”