Commission candidates answer the question, “Why should we vote for you?
Oct 31, 2012 | 609 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GAIL JOHNSON

There have been rumors about splitting the vote because of three candidates running. No candidate has more right to run than another candidate. No candidate is more responsible for splitting the vote than another candidate. Just as no voter has more right to vote than another voter. This county is made up of diverse groups of people in race, religion, customs, and backgrounds. This county is made up of good people. I believe this “scare tactic” is meant to distract voters from what has been happening in the county.

You, the voters, should consider voting for me if you are concerned about:

*the spending down of the county’s cash reserves

*access to our public lands

*lack of disclosure & accountability in our county government

Cash Reserves

Over the past eight years, the county has spent more money than it has brought in. For example, according to the San Juan Record, the general capital fund has gone from $7.2 million (2005) to $2.1 million (2012). This is not for road expenditures, as road materials are paid out of the B road fund. The B road fund is in good shape. Yet the county’s total taxable value has increased 113%. Your taxes have gone up because of these increased taxable values. Since the county has held to a high tax rate, it has, in essence, been raising more revenue and spending down the cash reserves at the same time.

Because of inflation, the buying power of the dollar is down. Thus, the county needs adequate cash reserves to maintain buying power and county services. With property values rising, now is the time to stabilize cash reserves to offset inflation or future decreases in property values. This is not the time to spend down the reserves.

Stabilizing the cash reserves is something I would like to achieve.

Public Lands

In an effort to keep county roads open and to maintain access to our public lands, San Juan County spent ten thousand dollars in the mid 1990-s documenting 7,000 miles of county roads, as well as evidence of human activity on public lands, using GPS technology. They also included with this data, U.S. Geological Survey information showing all the oil, gas, and mineral formations in the county. Current and future uses of these lands increase the county’s tax base. Yet, in 2010, our current commissioner supported a plan to “compromise” with some environmental groups to voluntarily nominate areas of our county for wilderness, totally ignoring the valuable land data the county had gathered. These environmental groups were giving up nothing in this “compromise”.

He also supports trading out the scattered state lands which have economic potential and public land access for the state and county. Again, totally ignoring the county data, as well as the fact that the county was granted rights-of-way on the roads on these scattered state lands in the 1990’s.

“Rural counties are dependent upon natural resources for their livelihoods. This is true whether those resources are being used consumptively or non-consumptively. Non-consumptive uses include recreation and tourism.” (Howell & Redd)

I would work to ensure that San Juan County stands strong against any efforts to limit access to or responsible use of our public lands.

Disclosure and Accountability

Over the past nine months, I have searched public records to find information about issues brought to my attention by concerned people in the county. It has been extremely troubling to find too much county business has transpired outside open meetings with little or no documentation, especially when large expenditures were made.

I want the public to be able to trust county officials and not wonder what they are “up to”.

The Democratic candidate lacks experience in county issues and county government. The current commissioner’s track record shows he has not lived up to the expectations of his conservative constituents.

People should vote for me because:

*I am familiar with county government (county clerk/auditor 1983-1991).

*I want to maintain county services AND stop spending down the cash reserves.

*I want to achieve teamwork with other government entities, other commissioners, and county departments. I have no intentions of terminating any county employees.

*I want good communication with the public and welcome public input.

*I want to stand strong for public access to our public lands.

*I want openness and integrity in our county government.

*I am a small business owner, along with my husband, and understand land values, paying taxes, and where money comes from.

Your support in this election is appreciated.

Gail Johnson
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