Local, state, federal candidates at ‘meet and greet’

Skye Kinkade
Supervisor candidates spoke at Saturday's Meet and Greet, held in Mount Shasta.

Candidates mingled and delivered short introductions during Saturday afternoon’s “Meet and Greet” hosted by the Republican Central Committee in Mount Shasta.

Candidates on the June 3 primary election ballot participating included Ken Palfini and incumbent Michael Kobseff, who are running for District 3 Supervisor, and Anne Marsh and Ray Haupt, who are vying for the District 5 supervisor seat.

District 1 Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa and one of his competitors, Democrat Heidi Hall, attended, as did Dunsmuir City Council candidates Dick Kelby and Linda Gnesa. State Assemblyman Brian Dahle was also there.

Organizer Dan Dorsey said an effort was made to keep the event non-partisan, and the event was designed to get people involved in the election process.

Several area offices on the June 3 ballot are uncontested, including Sheriff, District Attorney, Superintendent of Schools, Assessor-Recorder, Auditor-Controller, County Clerk, and Treasurer-Tax Collector.

Several of the candidates who are running uncontested introduced themselves during Saturday’s Meet and Greet, explaining who they are and what their jobs are in the county.

District 3 Supervisor

Incumbent Michael Kobseff said he has lived in Siskiyou County for 44 years and enjoys serving the community. He is just completing his second term in office.

Kobseff said there is still much to be accomplished and pointed to his connections in Sacramento and Washington DC to bring recognition to Siskiyou County’s issues.

He said he wants to see his children and grandchildren have opportunities in Siskiyou County and believes welcoming manufacturing and other businesses that can provide jobs is imperative to make that happen.

Challenger Ken Palfini, a current member of the Weed City Council, said he wants to “build conversations” that unite the county.

“What is our future going to look like and how are we going to get there?” he asked.

Palfini said the county needs to adopt policies that don’t promote alienation and conflict with other agencies, while building tourism and recreational opportunities.

A Mount Shasta High School graduate and UC Berkeley grad, Palfini said he has spent 35 years in business in Siskiyou County and has worked in local lumber mills.

He pointed to his work as a Weed City Council member, including the Main Street Project as part of Weed Pride, completing six years of financial audits, and introducing a sales tax initiative to help fund the city’s library, programs for senior citizens and other community projects.

District 5 Supervisor

Anne Marsh said she has a “deep understanding” of Siskiyou County’s governmental workings. A bookkeeper and tax preparer, Marsh said she is knowledgeable about legal work, budgeting and contract administration.

Marsh spent one year as an appointee on the county’s Behavioral Health board. She said she was asked to run for supervisor, and agreed to do so.

Ray Haupt is a retired forester who teaches forest science courses at College of the Siskiyous. He said he has experience protecting endangered species while growing local economies, and doing so is possible by looking at the science involved while throwing politics to the side.

Haupt pointed to his 33 years of managerial experience. He said he has managed budgets of $50 million – things that will help if elected to the Board of Supervisors.

District 5 incumbent Marcia Armstrong is not running for reelection.

District 1 Congress

United States Representative District 1 candidates Heidi Hall and incumbent Doug LaMalfa both made brief introductions.

Hall spoke of her commitment to education and her desire to “do more for vets.”

She has two sons; one is a community college student, the other is a veteran who is struggling to support his family with a minimum wage job, Hall said.

She said she’s tired of partisan bickering and advocates for rural districts and “American values.”

Hall believes Congress must work “across party lines and across districts” to benefit rural California. She promotes removing restrictive policies to help small businesses, thinning forests responsibly, and ensuring watersheds are cared for.

LaMalfa said he is pleased that in the 15 months he’s been in Congress, the budget is coming closer to balancing. He said this year’s expenditures are down by approximately $115 billion.

LaMalfa said he is working to “defund” the EPA and IRS so they will “stick to their mission.”

He said he is working to create opportunities in Siskiyou County, including those in agriculture, forestry and mining.

Two other candidates for District 1, Dan Levine and Gregory Cheadle, did not attend the event.

State Assembly District 1

Incumbent Assemblyman Brian Dahle, who is being challenged by College of the Siskiyous student Brigham Sawyer Smith, said he still operates a business.

In his first term in the state assembly, Dahle said he has supported one water bond, which provides no money to take out the Klamath Dams. He said he won’t support bonds that include money for dam removal.

Dahle also worked on a bill that increased ability of local landowners to harvest trees up to 24 inches in diameter to help with fire suppression and to “bring jobs” to Siskiyou County.

Smith did not attend the event.

Dunsmuir City Council

Linda Gnesa and Dick Kelby are candidates for a seat on the Dunsmuir City Council if the recall of council member Leslie Wilde is successful.

Also running for the seat is Lorenzo Castro, who didn’t attend the event. Though Bill McIntryre’s name will be listed as a candidate, he said he is not interested in the seat and hopes Wilde’s recall is unsuccessful.

Kelby said he is retired and “absolutely loves that little town.”

He said the town has “a few problems,” but nothing that can’t be overcome.

“If you care about Dunsmuir, that’s what I’m for,” Kelby said.

Gnesa said she prefers to be called “Scooby.” She said she is committed to bringing kid-oriented activities to Dunsmuir and understands where many are coming from, since she has 26 years in recovery.

Mount Shasta City Council

Ross Abasi, who plans to run for Mount Shasta City Council in November, said he is knowledgeable about business development and wants to work to bring businesses to the Mt. Shasta area. His goals include improving education, serving senior citizens, providing job opportunities, promoting business development while protecting the environment, preserving local history, and providing affordable and safe housing.

Incumbent Tim Stearns said he has served 15 years on the Mount Shasta City Council and currently serves as mayor. He said he is proud of the city’s work on a three-year strategic plan that is “designed to move Mount Shasta forward” and hopes to continue working with other south Siskiyou communities.

Uncontested elections

Auditor-Controller Jennie Ebejer said she has served in every job in the Auditor-Controller’s office. She assumed auditor-controller duties in 2010 and was elected into office in 2011.

Though Dunsmuir City Manager Brenda Bains’ name will be listed on the June 3 ballot in opposition to Ebejer, she has since dropped out of the race for personal reasons.

Ebejer was born and raised in Siskiyou County and explained her job as “making sure the finances in the county are managed properly.” She manages property taxes, handles county payroll and insurance, handles accounts receivable and payable, as well as special districts.

Sheriff Jon Lopey said being sheriff over the past four years has been “the toughest job I ever had.” He said during his time in office, 30 percent of his department’s resources have been lost, but he is still working to obtain grant money for a new jail.

Lopey pointed to the good work being done through the Community Corrections Partnership with alternative sentences for those who can be rehabilitated.

He said he’s proud that Kimberlie Kantonen’s 1989 murder has been solved. He said next on the list are three major Siskiyou County cold cases: the 1997 disappearances of Hannah Zaccaglini and Karin Mero in McCloud, and the disappearance of Angie Fullmer from the Lake Siskiyou area in 2002.

Lopey said he “won’t slow down” in the next four years.

Assessor-Recorder Mike Mallory said he focuses on providing services in an efficient, friendly manner. He was first elected to his post in 2002 and has made several changes to the department, including automating certain processes to make them easier for the public.

He’s also working to improve the county’s property characteristics appraisal system and wants to enhance data available on the online system back to the 1850s.

District Attorney Kirk Andrus said he has spent nine years as Siskiyou County’s District Attorney and criticized some aspects of Governor Jerry Brown’s realignment, which has overcrowded Siskiyou County’s jail.

Andrus praised the county for working to use a small amount of realignment funding to create an alternative sentencing program to help provide services, job opportunities and training for some residents who would otherwise be sentenced to jail. “The jail is not a factory for recidivism and violence,” he said.

Andrus praised the county for “never giving up” on solving Kimberlie Kantonen’s 1989 murder. Despite the fact they have no body and no physical evidence, Arnold Aggas Sr. “admitted guilt” earlier this month and will now serve time in prison for Kantonen’s death, Andrus said.

“Nobody deserves more to die in prison than he does,” Andrus said of Aggas.

Treasurer-Tax Collector Wayne Hammar said he has spent 19 years in office, nine in his current post.

“I love this county,” he said. “I’ve been here 22 years, so I’m still working on my native status,” he joked.

Hammar said Siskiyou County has delinquency rates that rival any county in the state, because the people of Siskiyou County are committed to paying for things we all need.