Inyo Board of Supervisors District 1 Candidates Discuss the Issues

 

 

Wednesday’s candidate forum held at Cerro Coso Community College featured District 1 Inyo Board of Superviors candidates Jeff Gabriel, Executive Director of the Eastern Sierra Interpretative Center, and small business owner Trina Orrill, currently a Bishop Unified School District board member.

The forum started with brief introductions and the answer to the question “why are you running?”
Gabriel has worked for non-profits throughout the country. He noted Inyo residents have similar desires and “we have to do it together.” He realizes there is a lot of work involved in the position of Supervisor and the key is to be vibrant, helpful and kind.

Orrill is running to be of “service to others.” She is nearly a lifelong resident of Bishop and wants to see a safer town. Her view of the Supervisorial job is representation and collaboration.

Question 1: What are the County’s three most pressing issues and how would you address them?
Orrill has spoken to residents whose primary concerns are infrastructure, specifically roads, wildfire preparedness and housing. Roads should be prioritizes and be included in Inyo’s Capital Improvement Plan. She suggested wood chipping could be a big business.

Gabriel’s agreed roads and sidewalks were a high priority. He added Broadband and the need to finish the mid- and final miles. In addition, he noted the Bishop Airport and its importance to the economy and the Small Business Resource Center with its partner the Job Spot. Working with state and federal agencies as well as local tribes was also part of the solution.

Question 2: How can all the agencies in Inyo work together?
Gabriel’s career has been working with public agencies and organizations. Referencing California’s Community Economic Resiliency Fund as a way to encourage jobs that pay a living wage.

Orrill talked about cross boundary collaboration and clear communication. She added that Inyo has to work with Mono County since the two counties area dependent on each other.

Question 3: How would you address the housing shortage?
Orrill said that addressing the housing shortage is necessary to be able to recruit and retain a workforce. She added that California’s SB9 and 10 would expand the available housing inventory. “If a large retailer wants to come in,” she said, “make them build houses.” On homelessness, she said we need to understand and address the reasons for homelessness

Gabriel felt homes for those who live here should be addressed first. He noted the requirement to release 100 acres noted in the Long Term Water Agreement between Inyo and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Other solutions included looking at zoning, set-backs and parking requirements as well as encouraging developers to look at the two large, empty retail parcels.

Question 4: How do we heal the divisions in the County?
Gabriel: with kindness; “we’re all human.” COVID eroded trust within the County, but we have to move forward and focus on problems we can solve. “Viable solutions from everybody will solve our problems.”

Orrill noted “we are all family and friends.” The answer was to find common ground and goals. “We can model that behavior.”

Submitted questions:

How can the Board of Supervisors facilitate conversations at its
meetings?
Orrill said the public can interact with the Board within boundaries. She added the three-minute limit is standard among public agencies. “We have to be accessible, through e-mail and phone,” she added. She would hold quarterly town hall meetings. She has committed to walking her district one day a week to interact with citizens.

Gabriel agreed that communication with constituents was important and was committed to being available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “It’s important to know the concerns and opportunities available to our constituents.”

Question 5 focused on CalTrans’ North Sierra Highway project and helping citizens with exorbitant permit fees.
Gabriel said the intent of the highway project was to slow traffic and create a more pedestrian and bike friendly section of U.S. Hwy. 395. The activity is all on CalTrans right-of-way. He would help store owners navigate through the project.

Orrill said the project was out of the control of the County and CalTrans wasn’t accountable to anybody. She has spoken to residents and store owners and wants to know what the State will do to compensate those impacted. She added the County has the discretion to waive permits and that property owners should be compensated if they lose land.

Question 6: What efforts would you make for Wounded Warrior accessible recreation?
Orrill looks forward to the project on the Owens River being completed. She noted the Bishop Chamber is working on destination development, but the Supervisors’ job is to look at the County as a whole.

Gabriel: COVID overloaded our area. He noted Mammoth’s Camp Like a Pro program that addressed some of those issues.

Question 7: How would you facilitate the County’s recreational needs?
Gabriel said recreation and tourism were critical to the County and had to be looked at from a fiscal standpoint.

Orrill noted the County’s fish plants and campgrounds and the need to work with the Bureau of Land Management and the Inyo National Forest.

Question 8 focused on managing County resources: land and water.
Orrill would facilitate responsible management

Gabriel said education was important as was responsible stewardship. He mentioned the ESIC took fourth graders to Rock Creek to build water sheds.

Question 9: How would you assure broadband county-wide?
Gabriel noted that private industry was responsible for the final mile in Inyo while Mono County took a more active role. That last mile is very important as everyone is dependent on the Internet and cell service.

Orrill agreed we’re all reliant on technology and handicapped without it, noting the issue in Chalfant. If private industry couldn’t do the final mile then the County has to.

Question 10: What can be done to get fire hydrants into rural areas?
Orrill agreed that resources needed to be expanded.

Gabriel said grants and other funding sources should be tapped into to fill those needs, noting that lots in Mustang Mesa can’t be subdivided because the community isn’t part of a fire district.

Question 11 focused on homelessness and the failed safe parking project
Gabriel: Homelessness is everybody’s responsibility and everybody should step up. He noted issues with IMACA and the fact the County stepped up to help with funding.

Orrill focused on understanding why people are homeless. Veterans needed special help; single parents, those with substance abuse issues, those coming out of foster care need a plan going forward. She understood the issue with the safe parking project but would have liked to see a better location.

Question 12 Should Bishop rezone downtown to accommodate housing?
Orrill suggested going to the residents who would be impacted to see if that’s what they wanted. If the majority wanted the rezoning, she’d support it.

Gabriel said landowners are the ones building and subdividing but they shouldn’t infringe on others. “We have a housing shortage and have to look at the options.”

Question: How would you deal with hiring and firing staff?
Gabriel admitted that managing people is the hardest thing to do. “It’s a process. You have to talk and provide a timeline.” He said the challenge was hiring people from outside the area. “When people call and ask if there are jobs available, I ask them if they have a place to live. If not, then call me when you do.”

Orrill said that when hiring, you have high expectations and staff has to be held accountable.

Question: What are your leadership skills and how does your experience fit with the history and needs of the Owens Valley?
Orrill said she is a team player. She isn’t confrontational but wouldn’t shy away from her responsibilities. “You have to value the people doing the work; listening is a valuable skill.”

Gabriel referred to his leadership positions in different sectors, both locally and state-wide. “I’ve seen things that worked elsewhere and can bring those here,” he added.

22 Comments
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Ask a Parent
Ask a Parent
3 months ago

In 2019 the income of Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association was $2,126,608.00. I couldn’t find Jeff Gabriel’s salary, but will keep looking. Maybe the association will just tell us. I did find a “climbing ranger” for $60000 to 80000. Lots of cash by eastern sierra standards. Does anyone know how much… Read more »

Hans
Hans
3 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

I too am terrified of leftists, regional environmental non-profits, and people getting paid enough to rent a studio apartment. Who will think of the children? Where is the justice? This isn’t the America I know.

Orrill?
Orrill?
3 months ago

How can anyone vote for Orrill? She was a lousy school board member just recently for our local school district. She didn’t add much of anything to the discussions and would opt out of hard votes. Weak leadership!!

Ask a Parent
Ask a Parent
3 months ago
Reply to  Orrill?

How could anyone vote for Jeff Gabriel, his kids cheat and lie in school to get other kids out of their way.

Orrill?
Orrill?
3 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

I can’t think of a worse candidate to represent the community than Orrill. I’ll take anyone over her. Her lackluster school board career was a joke. What else has she done that would make her a viable candidate?

Dean
Dean
3 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

It’s despicable to attack a candidate’s children. Your statements have no bearing on the race. This says more of your character than those you attack.

Orrill?
Orrill?
3 months ago

Not sure how anyone could vote for Orrill. She was a lousy school board member recently, don’t forget about that voters!

Last edited 3 months ago by Orrill?
Ask a Parent
Ask a Parent
3 months ago
Reply to  Orrill?

Not to put down Trina, but anyone who breathes air and can make a sentence is better than Gabriel. What do produce when you work for a non-profit? I hope no one reading this is uninformed enough to think that Jeff Gabriel or any other employee of a “non-profit” is… Read more »

Inyo resident
Inyo resident
2 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

Are you implying that people who work for non profits do not have skills or are an unworthy part of the workforce. Let me remind you that charitable organizations including churches are non profits. Many do good work and employees who work for them generally got paid lower and know… Read more »

Ask a Parent
Ask a Parent
3 months ago

I was wondering why what (I thought) was supposed to be a non-partisan candidate’s forum put on by Rotary (which I also thought was non-partisan). Was staffed by Friends of the Inyo and Inyo 350, both of which are well known leftist organizations. I was shocked when I walked in… Read more »

MC Hubbard
Admin
3 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

It is the understanding of Sierra Wave Media that because one of the candidates is a member of the Sunrise Rotary it was decided not to host the District 1 Supervisor’s Candidate Forum.

Ask a Parent
Ask a Parent
3 months ago
Reply to  MC Hubbard

Which candidate is a member of Sunrise Rotary? Is this supposed to be a secret? Give it up! This person is running for Public office, that shouldn’t be a cause for secrecy. The newspaper announced these forums, and made it seem as if they were all hosted by same. Inyo… Read more »

Ali Bin There
Ali Bin There
3 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

In reply to Ask a Parent- the simple answer is that this is retrograde Inyo County; objectively and non-partisanship are big words and thoughts beyond its comprehension.

Dean
Dean
3 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

I was shocked by the number of right-winged supporters, many of whom I saw during the Trump flag-waving weekends on Main St, who snickered and made snide comments during the forum. Guess it all depends on the glasses you wear.

David Dennison
David Dennison
3 months ago
Reply to  Dean

Dean Just remember,and especially since the 2020 Presidential election,just because the Democrats didn’t put on Biden underwear in the morning, then their Biden shirt,draped over with a Biden towel covering their bodies,except for the Biden baseball cap on their head and Biden flag waving above them,and then quitting their jobs… Read more »

Ask a Parent
Ask a Parent
3 months ago
Reply to  Dean

I must have left before that happened. Too bad, I would have enjoyed it.

David Dennison
David Dennison
3 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

Ask a Parent.. Yep,it REALLY did happen… trump flags a waving,screaming and yelling,and at times,thinking they were intimidating.. Thing is,it left a lot of people laughing And more people,while they were laughing,shouting expletives and waving the middle finger at them…including myself… instead of honking their horns or giving them a… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by David Dennison
Kay Kramer
Kay Kramer
3 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

You thought wrong and shouldn’t have been shocked. There is a very simple explanation: it was very clearly stated, at least in an article previously published on Sierra Wave’s website, that this candidates’ forum was being sponsored by Friends of the Inyo and Inyo350.
https://sierrawave.net/local-groups-host-district-1-supervisors-race-candidate-forum-on-wednesday-october-12/

Ask a Parent
Ask a Parent
3 months ago
Reply to  Kay Kramer

As I said, got my info from the newspaper. Don’t worry, I will attempt to stay as far away as possible from those Covid=loving mask wearers.

This Guy Is A Joke
This Guy Is A Joke
2 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

Troll.

Sami
Sami
2 months ago
Reply to  Ask a Parent

It’s fairly simple. Right-wing orgs don’t want an informed electorate and so don’t tend to organize this sort of event.

David Dennison
David Dennison
2 months ago
Reply to  Sami

Sami What was their statement from the repub’s head-honcho back in 2016 when he was running for President ? After just now looking it up,it was at one of those silly Nevada rallies he had….and I quote ….”I love the poorly educated “… Being the “face and leader” of the… Read more »