Coarsegold resident Paul Cliby, who is running against Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, made his first public speaking appearance as a candidate Aug. 20 at the monthly meeting of the Oakhurst/Coarsegold Tea Party.
Cliby has lived in Yosemite Lakes Park for 27 years and has been a firefighter for 34 years. Currently he is a firefighter specialist for the City of Fresno and a volunteer firefighter at Yosemite Lakes Park Station 10. He's a state certified fire instructor and has been a member of the county's search & rescue team.
Cliby has also volunteered the past three years with the Eastern Madera County Food Bank, has been vice chair of the City of Fresno Fire and Police Retirement Board since 2002.
He's been on the City of Fresno Retirement Board for 11 years, five years as chairman and four as vice chairman and says he has a lot of experience in budgeting and has a strong background in finance.
Cliby said he's been thinking of running for supervisor for eight years, but at that time YLP was located in District 1. When the county re-drew district lines in 2011, YLP became part of District 5.
"I've been around here for a long time and I'm passionate about the area," Cliby said. "I will work for the community as a whole, not for special interest groups."
Cliby is against YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System), calling it part of a plan to eliminate cars from Yosemite Valley.
"We are dependant on tourism and if YARTS starts in our area it would be devastating to Coarsegold and Oakhurst," Cliby said. "The majority of people who ride YARTS in other areas are park employees."
He called the Fire Fees on property owners of rural California "bogus' and said the funds raised from the collected fees will "do absolutely nothing to protect you from fire."
He added state politicians decided to take money from Cal Fire and then replace it with the new fee.
He credited Wheeler, who was in the audience, for helping get new fire stations for North Fork and Oakhurst, although he feels the Oakhurst station should have been smaller and more efficient.
"I hope between now and next June I will gather your trust and you will vote for me," Cliby said.
Defend Rural America
The meeting also featured speakers Madeline Wise and Carolyn Funkner, representatives of the Fresno chapter of Defend Rural America.
The Defend Rural America web states the organization is a national movement to "bring focus and resources to bear on the onslaught that will, if successful, diminish our nation's prosperity, sovereignty, and security."
Wise said the sole purpose of the organization is to educate and protect the constitutional rights of people in rural America.
Wise and Funkner spoke of the devastation that would occur to rural economies of California if the recent proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate 1.83 million acres in the Sierra Nevada as 'critical habitat' to protect frogs and toads were put in place.
They compared the proposal to the economic damage that was done when the spotted owl was determined to be an endangered species, causing the closure of timber mills, unemployment, loss of tax revenues and slashed county budgets in forested areas of the state.
According to Wise, if passed, the proposal would eliminate fishing, hunting, horseback riding, mining, logging, road closures and billions of dollars to the tourism industry.
The organization was founded by Kirk MacKenzie. Born in Idaho, MacKenzie has degrees in electrical engineering and business administration, and spent most of his career in high tech. He is also the founder of Silent No More Publications; author of Money: Defending Your Prosperity, a book on our monetary system; producer of the YouTube videos How To Take Our Country Back and Why We Are In So Much Debt.
"I will work for the community as a whole, not for special interest groups."