Weed’s mayor Sue Tavalero wants to continue work on council

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Herald

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of profiles about the five candidates for two seats on the Weed City Council. Other candidates include incumbent Bob Hall, as well as Mark Mazzoni, Ron Stock and Brian Palmer.

Weed's mayor Sue Tavalero wants to be reelected to a second term on the city council to continue work on pressing issues.

Weed’s mayor Sue Tavalero  said she loves her community and wants to be reelected to a second term so she can continue working on pressing issues.

“I feel like 4 years is not enough time to get things done,” said Tavalero, 60, who was first elected to the Weed City Council in 2016. “We have our water issue, our housing issues, our downtown business issues, and our south Weed business district that I feel need attention.”

Tavalero, who has lived in Weed since 1993 and was one of many who lost her home in the 2014 Boles Fire, said she wants to be reelected because she’d like to continue working with the new city manger she helped select and hire in March.

Before being elected to the council Tavalero spent eight years on the Siskiyou Union High School District board. She is a member of the Weed Rotary Club and is involved in local projects.

She said her main qualification to serve on the council is her commitment to the City of Weed.

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“I am concerned for our elderly folks that are feeling lonely. Our young people that are just looking for the right thing to do. I just really care about our community as a whole and love to see people doing what is best,” Tavalero said.

“The people here are kind and generous and look out for one another. That was something I learned from the Boles Fire: how much people cared about their neighbors and friends,” Tavalero said.

“I would like to ask that people vote for me in November because I always try to do what is right for the whole community. I try to leave my own agenda out of decisions and think of the big picture,” Tavalero added. “I am honest and will not make a decision before hearing all sides to a story.”

Tavalero’s husband of nearly 30 years, Scott, works for CAL FIRE. She has a daughter and a son-in-law and two granddaughters who live in Medford, Ore. Her son, Andrew, is also a homeowner in Weed.

Tavalero worked as a cosmetologist in Redding for 23 years and retired in 2000 when Scott went to work for CAL FIRE. Since then, she’s done a little bit of everything from working at Subway, Roseburg, Ellie’s and College of the Siskiyous.

Q&A with the candidate

Tavalero answered a set of interview questions via email. Her answers are below.

Q: What are your main goals if elected?

A: My main goal if reelected is to be sure our community is a clean and safe place to live. It has a vibrant downtown area. And to secure our water supply. I want our city employees to be happy. They chose to take furlough days at the beginning of the Covid crisis to help with the city’s economic problems inherited by our new city manager. We had a couple of layoffs at the time, also. Slowly, we are making headway to a positive budget.

Q: Do you have any ideas to increase economic development in the City of Weed?

A: Increasing economic development is something I believe we all want. Everyone that lives here. How could we not? Sure, I have ideas, more commerce at South Weed, buildings on Main Street fixed and rented, but this is something the whole community needs to come together for. We have landlords that don’t feel how we do and it makes thing very, very difficult. But as a city council member, I will keep pushing buttons to try to make things move forward. Increasing our economic development will also help our tax base which can help for road improvements, and safety concerns.

Q: In what ways could the city council support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: To ask how the city council can support businesses is a tough question. On a personnel basis, I only buy gas in Weed when I can. I try to eat at the local restaurants. I try to shop locally, but our city is also loosing dollars from sales tax and TOT tax. We have let the businesses know about the Siskiyou Economic Development Grant available. It just really means a lot, especially right now, to buy local, from food to fuel.

Q: Do you support the .25 cent sales tax proposed in Measure M to help Weed shore its budget, or do you have other ideas to do so?

A: The .25% tax is so little of an amount in the big picture. We already have a quarter percent tax so it would just raise it to 7.75%. In California, 7.25% goes to the state. At this time, when you shop in Yreka at Walmart or Dunsmuir you are paying 7.75%. The sales tax is paid most often by consumers out of the city limits or even county. On every $100 we would only pay 25 cents more. This can add up for the city to help the fire department, the police department, the parks and the cemeteries. I would love to see our Fire Department be able to have the money to get rid of the dry brush surrounding our community. Retail cannabis taxes go into effect starting in January, so that will add a little more to the city funding also. As a councilperson, I have been concerned at the rate money was being spent in my last three years. In this last six months, our new manager has put a stop to unnecessary spending, has applied for grants to assist with necessary improvements, and has tried to get the city to a positive budget.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue that is currently facing the City of Weed?

I really feel that the most pressing issue with the city right now would be the same issues with other cities and that would be the closing of businesses because of Covid. Sure, we have outside dining, but that will only last so long. We are losing our tax base by businesses not being able to work at full capacity. Another issue that troubles me is the money our city has spent on attorneys for our water problems. When I was elected in 2016 it was a massive amount and I hope that issue will soon be solved. Well over $500,000 has been spent and that troubles me. But I believe that will end soon. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about living in Weed?

A: I am not sure I can choose a favorite thing about living in Weed. I have met so many great people since I moved here. So I could say, “the people.” I love the weather, nothing is better than a fall day when you best have a sweatshirt when the sun goes down! I love our view! I have been to so many places throughout the world and I always think, “this is beautiful, but so is my backyard!” So I guess I can say my favorite thing about living in Weed is living in Weed!