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Meet the candidates

April 16, 2012

With the 2012 Presidential Primary rapidly approaching, voters are being encouraged to study up on the issues and the candidates in order to make informed decisions on June 5.
In the interest of helping voters in their decision-making, The Inyo Register recently invited all candidates for local and state office to share with readers a bit about themselves, their platforms and their positions.
Beginning with this weekend’s edition, the Register will be publishing candidate statements throughout the remainder of April from those political hopefuls who responded to our invitation. Then, in May, the Register will begin printing the candidates’ answers to a series of questions specific to the office for which they are running.
For the first part of our series, candidates were asked to submit a statement – no more than 800 words – in which they essentially introduce themselves to voters, summarize their reasons for seeking office and what they hope to accomplish if elected.
The first statements appear courtesy of District 2 Supervisor candidates Russ Aldridge, Susan Cash and Jeff Griffiths, and Inyo County Board of Education Trustee Area 2 candidates Lynn Cooper and Kenny Lloyd.
Their responses appear verbatim, and in random order (their names were literally drawn out of a hat).

District 2 Supervisor

Jeff Griffiths

Thank you to The Inyo Register for giving me the opportunity to present my experience, background, and views to the citizens of Inyo County. An informed citizenry is essential when choosing our elected leaders.
I was raised on a dairy farm outside of Wooster, Ohio. In 1995, I married Taema and graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors from the Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in forestry. To put Taema through medical school, I worked as a tree trimmer and for the State of Ohio assisting wood products manufacturers. From 1997 to 2000, I served in the United States Peace Corps in Panama. My greatest accomplishment was constructing a water and sanitation system that gave the people drinkable water and ended a dysentery epidemic. Upon my return, we moved to Bishop, Harvey and Owen were born, and Taema started work at Toiyabe.
Bishop holds a special place in myheart and I try to repay my community through volunteer service. Just a few of the areas that I donate my time include: 4H, school, and children’s activities, Wild Iris board, Eastern Sierra Foundation President, and Sunrise Rotary Club Past-president. Taema and I are active foster parents. Over the past decade, we have cared for more than 50 foster children, and I am active with the Inyo County Foster Care Commission and foster parent recruitment. My first taste of public service was as chair of the Inyo County First 5 Commission. I discovered that I had a talent for and enjoyed the public process, and decided to run for Bishop City Council. Thanks to your support, I was elected in 2007, served as Bishop Mayor in 2010-2011, and was reelected to the city council in 2011. I have served in many appointed positions including ESTA, IMAAA-AC, ESCOG, and others.
I take my elected responsibility to the public very seriously, and work hard in my position. My time in public service has reinforced some core values about local government. First, government should actively encourage public participation, represent all segments of our society, and treat everyone with respect. We have worked hard in Bishop to make our meetings accessible and to encourage the public to bring forward questions and ideas. We outreach to the public when there are issues that will affect them through letters, meetings, and press releases. All of the information in council packets is online for public view. We encourage youth participation through scholarships, and recently held a council meeting at Bishop High. Second, government should be fiscally conservative and only provide those services that cannot be provided by the private sector. The City of Bishop has reduced the number of employees, and administrative expenses by $400,000 during my tenure. Through hard work, creativity, and better organization, Bishop offers more services with less staff. Third, local government should look to collaborate with community groups, other government agencies, businesses and individuals whenever possible. Through these partnerships, we can reduce duplication of effort, create economies of scale, offer expanded services, and reduce administrative costs. Since obtaining control of the city park from LADWP a few years ago, the city has worked with community groups and volunteers to develop many new features, such as the community garden, ball fields, the dog park, and more, all at little or no cost to the taxpayers.
It is exciting to think of what we, as a community, can accomplish by applying these core values on the Inyo County level. The first step is to inform and include the public in the decision making process. When important issues arise, for example, the possibility of building a consolidated county office building in Bishop, the public should be included at the beginning of the process. This not only builds trust, but also results in a better decision at the end. The Board of Supervisors should hold one meeting a month in Bishop. As Supervisor, I will hold regular office hours and give updates to the Bishop City Council. Our county parks and recreation programs could benefit from collaboration. Bishop has developed athletic, artistic, and children’s programming 52 weeks out of the year. Cooperation between the county and the city could increase opportunities while reducing expenses to the taxpayer. With the loss of state funding to the Tri-county fairgrounds, a partnership could be a win-win-win for everyone. We must protect vital, lifeline services to our senior population. Home delivered and senior center meals and recreation opportunities are the only social contacts for many of our seniors. These programs are costly to administer, and Inyo should partner with Mono to share the burden. Economic development efforts should be coordinated on a regional level. The new Digital 395 infrastructure should be used to expand our economy beyond tourism.
Thank you for considering me for the next Inyo County Supervisor.

Susan Cash

I am a 20-year resident of District 2, and hold a degree in Business. I moved to Inyo County in 1992 after marrying my husband Chris, and together we have two incredible children, Joshua (16) and Joslyn (13).
The majority of my career has been in public service. I worked for the County of Inyo for over 7 years, first in the Sheriff’s Department as one of the first female Correctional Officers and then in Health and Human Services as an Account Technician. Through these experiences, I gained valuable knowledge of governmental policies and procedures, including budgeting, grant administration, and employer/employee relations.
After leaving County employment, I worked for a local corporation as the Accounting Administrator, gaining insight about how local government issues and decisions affect private businesses in Inyo County.

I was then recruited to become the Fiscal Director of Wild Iris. This non-profit agency is mainly funded through County and State grants, and I was responsible for grant compliance, accounting, and payroll.
Over the years, I’ve volunteered for many community organizations and events such as Mule Days, the California High School Rodeo Association Finals, Boy Scouts, school events, Search and Rescue, Wild Iris, and others. Like many of you, I’ve done as much as possible for our community while always working full-time to help support my family.
I am proud to say that Inyo County is one of the most economically stable counties in California. Out of 58 counties, Inyo is ranked #2 in Net Assets per Capita. Inyo County is one of the few counties free of structured debt. We have reduced staff through strategic reorganization of duties in response to lower revenues, while continuing to provide the same quality services to our communities. This is directly attributable to our employees’ dedication to the public and the fiscally conservative oversight of the Board of Supervisors. We have our reserves intact, balance the budget every year, and we are moving forward on several issues:
Adventure Trails – I worked extensively with local stakeholders and state elected and appointed leaders on the passage of AB628 which will allow the County to dual-designate appropriate existing county roads for safe OHV travel. The goal is to increase tourism opportunities, while reducing incursion into inappropriate areas.
Digital 395 – This broadband backbone, which I promoted at state and federal levels, will allow uninterrupted internet and telecommunications to bring the Eastern Sierra into the 21st Century. This $101M grant project is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the Eastern Sierra, both temporary and permanent.
Local Contractor Preference – I supported the creation of an ordinance that gives local contractors, veterans, and small businesses a preference within the parameters of state law when bidding on County projects. The ordinance balances the need to stimulate the local economy and keep dollars local, as well as the imperative that we protect taxpayer money.
Inyo Senior Services – I have been very clear in my commitment to our seniors. As we transition the governance structure of the regional senior services program, I will continue to advocate for our most vulnerable population.
Land Tenure – I have led the charge on the concept that LADWP properties that are not needed for watershed operations should be sold into private ownership. Through these conversations, LADWP is now offering leaseholders of certain downtown corridor properties the opportunity to purchase the property they have built their businesses on and to own their own destiny. One business in District 2 has already converted to private ownership and the owner has made many capital improvements.
As your District 2 Supervisor, I also represent Inyo County at the California State Association of Counties. There, I was elected to represent the 27 rural counties of California at the Executive Board, and served as the Treasurer in 2010. I am one of two Supervisors statewide appointed to the State Controller’s Advisory Committee on County Accounting Procedures. These other opportunities were earned through recognition of my leadership abilities among county supervisors.
In closing, I would like to thank the residents of District 2 for allowing me the opportunity to serve you as your Supervisor. You are the reason why I do this job. I’ve respected the trust you placed in me to complete two four-year terms. I will continue to do my best to keep your confidence and represent you at all levels to ensure that Inyo County works for you. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together – the citizens, the County employees, and the Board. I hope you are also proud, and respectfully ask for your vote so that we may continue the forward progress that we have initiated together. Please contact me at or (760) 937-3387 to share your ideas or ask questions.
I am the candidate with a track record of success. The record is – Inyo County works!

Russ Aldridge

In the last few years we have all seen a huge impact in our economy. We can point the blame at our leaders in this country but that does not help us now. We need strong leadership in our government to get us out of this mess. Government from Washington, D.C. down to our local government needs to change the way they do business.
If you will elect me as your next Supervisor for District 2 I will be your voice of reason. I have been a small business owner for most of my adult life; I know what it takes to keep a business successful. If you will vote for me I will bring my 26 years of business success to this county.
I want to see our local business and contractors benefit. Small business is our country’s back bone. Government is killing small business, we need to stop it! We need to elect more leaders who have owned and operated businesses of their own; they understand what works and what fails. We need to stop the bleeding and stop bad spending habits. We need to focus on how to get people back to work, and we need to fix the mess the government has created.
Let’s face it we have to protect ourselves and our communities. We live in an area where people want to come and vacation, we need better ways to promote this beautiful area. We have problems in our infrastructure; we need roads repaired in the worst way. We also need to make vital repairs to our Airports runways. The Airport needs to be brought up to FAA and Homeland Security standards so we can offer another form of travel to people who want to visit our area. The FAA is offering grants to replace runways and other things to get airports up to Homeland Security standards. Our county needs to take advantage of this while the money is available.
If you will elect me as your Supervisor, I will do my best to help our community grow and prosper. If our community prospers our county government will prosper. As an Inyo County resident I want to leave behind a place where my children and my grandchildren will be proud of, a place that we all will be proud of.
Thank you for
your support,
Russ Aldridge

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at:
Or call me at: (760) 920-0640


Board of Ed. Trustee Area 2

Kenny Lloyd

My kindergarten teacher was Ruthie James and my high school senior class advisor was Bob Campbell. I remember a Friday morning with Mrs. James filling drinking glasses full of water. She placed a black line at the water’s level of each vessel and then placed all of them on the sunny window seal of the classroom. We returned to school the following Monday and by some act of magic she showed us that water had mysteriously left each and every glass and all in the same quantities and rate. Thus evaporation was taught to a group of five year old children and the kindling of my interest in the wonders of science and nature. That class lesson was taught where currently City Hall and the Bishop Public Works office are located on West Line Street.
As a former member of the Bishop Union High School Board of Education, I learned that those board members with children enrolled or recently graduated seemed to have more awareness of some of the issues in the schools than those board members who relied solely on staff and community for insight and information.
Our youngest child graduated from Bishop High this past June, and with many of my daughter and son’s friends still attending school, and the challenges facing education today, I decided to run for a seat on the Inyo County Board of Education.
I believe the national movement to Common Core State Standards is a basic foundation for educating our students. However, the current emphasis on standardization teaching and testing has handcuffed much of the teaching profession. Our children are anything but “standardized.” Each and every one of our students is unique and has their strengths and weaknesses. When the curriculum becomes so restricted and designed for solely achieving high standardized test scores instead of educating our children, the children loose. The best teachers educate with charisma, passion for the subject matter and the love of teaching. Much is lost in truly educating the individual student when the sole focus of instruction is geared to a standardized curriculum and standardized test scores for the school, the district and the state.
As a nation and as a state we have failed the current student population. We can hardly find the funds to bus our kids to and from school; we have to make choices between worn and tattered books or no books at all. It takes years for a good teacher to become a fantastic educator, but at that the same time we will give poor teachers tenure in two or three years of service and then have no way to remove them from the class unless they commit an atrocious act.
We have to do better for our kids. And the only way I see how is to step up and be involved in the process.
Thank You,
Kenny Lloyd

Lynn Cooper

I was born in California and moved to Bishop in 1972. I graduated from BUHS in 1975, and continued to live and work in the Eastern Sierra until 1984 when my job as a bookkeeper for a masonry/concrete contractor took me to north San Diego County. While in San Diego, I attended Miracosta and Palomar colleges with a focus on accounting.
During this time I also became involved in dog obedience training and through that hobby, became involved with a group of San Diego guide dog puppy raisers. After volunteering with the group as a puppy raiser and trainer, I was thrilled to accept a position as Director of Canine Development for Guide Dogs for the Blind in Palm Springs, Ca.
In 1998 when my lifelong best friend, Leslie Chapman, told me she was forming a new CPA firm and offered me a staff accountant position in Bishop, I jumped at the chance to return “home.” After moving back, I embraced becoming involved in my community as a guide dog puppy leader, a member of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Inyo Council for the Arts. When the Executive Director position at ICA was advertised in 2001, I was the successful candidate for the position and have now been there for 10-plus years. Our main event, the Millpond Music Festival, annually draws over 2,000 locals and visitors. Our business and cultural community is a big winner through this annual September musical event.
Through my job at Inyo Council for the Arts, I’ve had the opportunity to build a relationship with all six school districts in Inyo County and provide countless programs and assemblies for 100 percent of our students. As an example, Millpond performers annually entertain and instruct our school youth in a variety of history and cultural music from around the world.
In 2006, I worked with a small group of educators and community members to form Friends of the Jill Kinmont Boothe School. This experience elevated my passion for working to improve students’ lives, so in 2008, when asked by former County Superintendent, George Lozito, to apply for a vacated District 2 position, I knew that this was a another potential opportunity to positively impact Inyo County students.
In September 2008, I was sworn in and have served as an Inyo County School Board member. I have developed an even greater respect for the hard work and challenges our school administrators, teachers and all related personnel face every day. It has been my honor to work with ICSOS staff and fellow board members in accomplishing the following:
Raised student test scores over 20 percent as we’ve placed renewed emphasis on focusing our resources, during fiscally tight times, into our classrooms.
We’ve started mini-grants for teacher, to encourage new innovative educational practices.
Revamped our vocational education (ROP), in cooperation with the business community to insure that students have the necessary skills for workplace success. These changes also included providing adult courses so that all residents can expand their skill base.
I was actively involved in the consolidation of Bishop Elementary and Bishop High School Districts and proud to cast an “aye” vote as a member of the Inyo County Committee on School District Organization. This merger helped create over $900,000 dollars annually to the new unified district.
As a co-sponsor of the Community Reads program, we have helped expand the community’s involvement in reading at all age levels. This winter-time activity has also created many opportunities for local residents to understand and appreciate their fellow Eastern Sierra residents who travel in all walks of life.
At a time when Californians are hearing about the devastating impact of state budget cuts in the schools, we’ve been able to add new programs, retain our employees and actually reduce administrative overhead!
This has been accomplished by seeking innovative ventures to provide new monies for our schools including providing business services and administrative support to 12 charter schools in southern California. This partnership brings over $1 million annually to Inyo County Schools.
The current staff and board are truly a team, and I would appreciate your vote so that we can continue with a very simple agenda    improve our schools while ensuring your tax dollars reach our classrooms.


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