Clockwise, from top left: Cliff Thompson, Supervisor Ray Watson [Thompson took 67% of the Mountain Community votes in the June 2008 election. Watson says he has decided mountain names should not be on the ballot for a Mountain Communities Municipal Advisory Council (MAC). He said he will appoint the mountain’s representatives himself, “until they can show they can work together in a positive way.” Below: Steve Newman (one of Watson's appointees) and Fred Rose who worked on efforts to create an elected MAC.
‘The Decider’ District Four Supervisor Ray Watson says he will decide who represents the Mountain Communities
What: A public meeting on the merits of a Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) will be hosted by Supervisor Ray Watson
When: at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29
Where: in the Frazier Mountain Park Community Center
The public is invited to join in a dialogue about plans for a Mountain Communities Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) on Thursday, Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m. at the Frazier Mountain Park Community Center. Another Kern County area, Rosamond, has a MAC, which works with Supervisor Don Maben to represent issues of concern to their area. Their bylaws say they are to be elected by their community. The issue of appointed or elected representatives is likely to be a center of focus at the public meeting October 29.
Supervisor Ray Watson was asked if he would support elected, rather than appointed, council members for the Mountain Communities.
Watson replied, “I want to see whether this community is ready to get together, put their heads down and get the hard work done. If you’re not willing to do that, I’m not going to spend the money or the time on an election.”
We asked him what an election would cost. “About $30,000,” he said. The county board of elections said a “special” election could run to $24,000, but to hold elections along with the general election cycle would probably not cost more than $3-4,000. So far, Rosamond has paid less than $800 to the election board.
In the June 2008 election, Cliff Thompson (city councilman from Taft) took 67 percent of the Mountain Community votes in his run to win Watson’s District Four seat on the Kern County Board of Supervisors. Watson took only 33 percent of the mountain’s votes, but won in urban Bakersfield.
Fred Rose of Lebec has organized since 2006 to get a MAC launched. He used Rosamond’s experience as his guide. Their bylaws call for elected representatives. When Supervisor Watson submitted his own proposed bylaws this month, all mention of elected representation was deleted. So was the $10,000 clerical budget utilized by Supervisor Maben’s constituents for record keeping and community coordination.
Linda MacKay of Lebec, former president of the Town Council and founder of the Mountain Communities Boys & Girls Club, who was one of Watson’s nominees to the MAC: “I am afraid it is not going to be an independent voice. If we had elected representatives, people could kick us out if we are not being effective.”
Steve Newman of Cuddy Valley is the former school board president who presided over the hiring of former superintendent John Wight, who left in disgrace under allegations of gasoline theft. Newman lost his last bid for elective office in 2006 when he ran for school board again. Now Watson has appointed him to the MAC. Newman says going without elections and having appointed representatives is what Watson wants to do and "it is his decision."
Tom Cadd of Frazier Park was a big booster of the need for a Mountain Communities Municipal Advisory Council. Today, he says, it is “A waste of time… Just a group of people that have their own agenda.” Remember that Tejon wanted to be left out of the MAC. Why would he [Supervisor Ray Watson] put one on the group? They will be good at getting money for their projects but not for what Frazier Park needs. The goal was to point out our concerns—to get the people of Frazier Park to back the concerns and then bring it to the county…and yes we need to have elections. Let me know when the people in Frazier Park really want to set our own goals. I will be glad to join back in.”
This is part of the October 23, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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