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In two weeks, residents of the First District of Inyo County will head to the polls to select a new supervisor for the first time in 24 years.
With six-time incumbent Linda Arcularius deciding not to run for re-election, three newcomers threw their hats in the ring for the open seat â€“ one of five on the Inyo County Board of Supervisors and one of two seats up for election in the June 3 Primary.
Third District Supervisor Rick Pucci ended up running for a second term unopposed.
Challengers Bill Stoll, Dan Totheroh and David Tanksley, meanwhile, are in a heated race to replace Arcularius â€“ with campaigns in full swing and political signs posted on lawns and in business windows in all five districts of the county.
Stoll, owner of Bill Stoll Construction, is married with two children. He is a member of the Inyo County Planning Commission â€“ the only member, incidentally, to not vote to send the unpopular, draft Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment to the Board of Supervisors for approval at the heated Feb. 26 commission meeting.
Tanksley, also married with two children, is a general engineering contractor and co-owner of McMurtrie-Tanksley, Inc. He currently serves as president of the Aspendell Water Company.
Totheroh is retired from the U.S. Forest Service, where he worked as an engineer in the recreation sector for 30 years. Also a family man, Totheroh devotes a lot of his time to volunteer work.
Voters will soon have a chance to hear where each candidate stands on the issues affecting their district and Inyo County as a whole.
The Inyo Register is sponsoring a candidatesâ€™ forum for the District 1 hopefuls at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 27 at the Bishop Senior Center. Inyo County Clerk-Recorder Kammi Foote and members of the Independence Civic Club are lending their expertise.
On June 3, one of the trio must receive at least 50 percent of the vote plus 1 in order to be declared the winner. Otherwise, the election goes to a runoff in November between the top two vote-getters.
Another question facing voters in November might be whether the local transaction and use tax should be raised a half percent to help make up for dwindling revenue and reserves at the county and city levels.
The City of Bishop is working with the county on a possible joint ballot measure that, if approved by the electorate, would increase the local TUT to a full 1 percent.
City Administrator Keith Caldwell presented the cityâ€™s case to the county on May 6. The city, as it does now, would receive a third of the proceeds: equivalent to about $1.2 million at 1 percent. Caldwell said the city primarily uses TUT funds on fire and law enforcement. The county could expect to see about $2.2 million, which it would spend on its cash-strapped Solid Waste Program. The supervisors asked staff to look into TUT rates of other nearby counties and return with more information in the near future.
Time is of the essence if the city and county are going to get a measure on the November ballot.
According to the county Elections Department, an announcement of any measure appearing on the November ballot, including a synopsis of that measure, must be published prior to placing the measure on the ballot.
Arguments for or against the measure, as well as analyses by attorneys and auditors, if requested, are due no later than Aug. 14. Another 10-day public review period follows, with rebuttals due no later than Aug. 21. A third 10-day public review follows. Copies of all materials will be available at the Elections Department.
Regardless of whether the measure makes it to the November ballot, voters in the City of Bishop will be heading to the polls. The city is set to participate in its third consolidated election with Inyo County, a move made by the city in 2012 to hold municipal elections at the same time as General Elections to cut costs. On the ballot will be two seats for City Council â€“ those currently occupied by Mayor Jim Ellis and Councilman Keith Glidewell. Ellis was elected in March 2011 when he, a newcomer, and Jeff Griffiths, an incumbent, won election against incumbent Bruce Dishion.
Griffiths gave up his seat on the council after winning election to the office of District 2 Inyo County Supervisor in 2012 over incumbent Susan Cash. He took office in 2013, leaving a vacancy on the council that the city chose to fill by appointing Glidewell to finish out Griffithsâ€™ term until the next election. Glidewell had essentially been the runner-up in the November 2012 municipal election for three other seats on the council, won by incumbents Laura Smith and David Stottlemyre and challenger Patricia Gardner.
Declarations of Candidacy for the two seats held by Ellis and Glidewell will be accepted July 14 through Aug. 8. Both terms expire November 2018.
For more information, call the county Elections Department at (760) 878-0224 or City Hall at (760) 873-5863.