Supervisor Dan Miller and the challenger for his District 3 seat, Hilary Hodge, got the opportunity Thursday night to explain to voters why they’re the person for the job.
The occasion was one of four forums being held this month by the League of Women Voters to acquaint voters with the candidates for the major offices on the ballot in June.
I don’t live in District 3 so I can’t vote for either one of them, but if the LWV event was all I had to go on, I wouldn’t know who to vote for. The format just doesn’t work for me.
For starters, the questions asked by the media were guaranteed not to offend, covered the predictable subjects, and didn’t put anybody on the spot. They were mixed in with questions from the audience that were basically softballs to the candidates: One asked the candidates if experience was important to be a supervisor. I wonder which Miller supporter wrote that one.
Miller emphasized his 27 years of experience in various elected and appointed positions, suggesting this was the key to steady leadership residents expect. Hodge described herself as an unabashed progressive with a vision for a better future.
Both of them generally avoided putting themselves in controversial situations, although Hodge stated her support for Placer County taking over the animal control operation from Sammie’s Friends, an outfit that has a lot of support in the community.
Miller was more than willing to pass off the responsibility to provide more low-cost housing to the south county (“Grass Valley has enough”), especially now that the county is going to finance a waste water hookup from the LOP treatment plant to the new Higgins Market Place development.
I’m sure I’ve heard Supervisor Ed Scofield describe the hookup as a means of boosting the economy in the Higgins Corner area. I’ll have to ask him at next week’s community get together what he thinks of putting low-cost housing in the area.
Whether you like it or not, Hodge has a vision for what our future should look like, and she expresses it with passion. For somebody who has been doing this for 27 years, Miller was surprisingly inarticulate, stumbling over his answers to questions. He shows no evidence that anything creative has ever occurred to him.
One exchange illustrated the differences for me. I don’t recall the subject, but Miller said there simply wasn’t money in the budget. Hodge responded that budgets reflect priorities and values.
This race is generating a lot of interest because it is commonly believed that a Hodge victory will flip the Board of Supervisors to a 3-2 liberal majority. I’m not so sure about that because Supervisor Richard Anderson is reluctant to take a firm position on anything, and he would be the swing vote.
We’ll see what the voters of District 3 want.