Feb. 14 may be Valentineâ€™s Day, but in this election year, it also brings one more milestone along the road to the June 5 Primary.
Today marks the opening of the official filing period for Declaration of Candidacy papers, the next step in a political hopeful guaranteeing his or herself a spot on the June ballot.
The opening of the candidacy period may also signal the start of races for seats on the Inyo County Board of Education and both the Democratic and Republican central committees.
For the past several weeks, local residents â€“ almost a dozen as of Monday morning â€“ have been coming forward to take out what are known as Petitions for Signatures in Lieu of Filing Fees in anticipation of running for available seats on the Inyo County Board of Supervisors. These petitions are due Feb. 23.
According to Inyo Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters Kammi Foote, completing the Petitions for Signatures in Lieu of Filing Fees phase is not a guarantee of candidacy. Political hopefuls must also file official Declaration of Candidacy papers between Feb. 14 and March 9 in order to appear on the June 5 ballot.
Until a hopeful actually files these papers, he or she is, for all intents and purposes, considered a prospective candidate. And, of course, a prospective candidate might still drop out of a race at any time.
It should also be noted that a candidate may simply choose to pay the filing fee, and bypass the petition phase, which could mean the appearance of additional political hopefuls after Feb. 23 and before March 9.
Foote explained that candidates for the Board of Education and local central committees are not required to pay filing fees and thus have no need to participate in the Petitions in Lieu of Filing Fees phase.
Among these seats up for election on June 5 are Board of Education Trustee Areas 2 and 4, held by incumbents Lynn Cooper and Mary Kemp, respectively.
Area 2 covers the same geographical area as Supervisorial District 2: basically, the City of Bishop.
Area 4 similarly covers the corresponding supervisorial district: north of Lone Pine to south of Bishop.
The District 4 Supervisor seat is one of three positions on the county Board of Supervisors coming up for election in the Primary. So far, it has also received the most interest from prospective candidates.
As of Monday, four residents were in the process of collecting signatures to get on the ballot for the District 4 race: incumbent Marty Fortney, a resident of Aberdeen and owner of Aberdeen Resort; Nina Weisman, Implementation Teams.
In September 2010, the board authorized the county to join the Quadstate Local Government Authority and directed Cash and Planning Director Josh Hart to participate in the Authorityâ€™s proceedings.
On Dec. 21, 2010, the board authorized staff to participate in a number of groups working on issues in the region, including the desert tortoise management oversight group, which coordinates planning and management for the Bureau of Land Managementâ€™s Desert Tortoise Rangewide Plan.
Since that time, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a revised Recovery Plan for the Mojave population of the tortoise and invited the county to participate in the formation of Recovery Implementation Teams.
The county has been invited to participate in two such groups.
Todayâ€™s meeting is open to the public and time will be set aside at the beginning and close of the meeting for residents to make comments to the board.