Open letter to Tom Wheeler
Congratulations Tom on your win, but you know it was not easy and in the end, very nearly half the community did not support you. I hope you will do better to serve the community. We need you to step up. Important issues remain. Next year’s budget process has to include a major investment in our fire department. Immediately every county fire station capable of housing crews needs to be staffed with four people 24/7/365. A five-year expansion plan that includes staff, facilities and equipment needs to be done this year. Portable housing should be considered.
We are still killing people on Highway 41. The hot spots need attention. Get Caltrans to come to a special community meeting to hear the community. Formulate a plan to make the road safer. No more accepting no.
I know there is never going to be enough money for roads but you have to be smarter about it. The roundabout was simply a dumb idea. Ask the community where they want their money to be spent. This would be a great subject for a town hall meeting.
I heard a lot of complaints about building fees not being fair or excessive and what was really disturbing was, they were negotiable. The construction industry fuels our local economy. When you constrict it we all lose big.
Representing the community has to go farther than showing up for events. Expand your steering committee to include those that may oppose you. No big idea gets to the agenda before the community has a chance to weigh in. As chairman this year you can set an example by increasing transparency. Start by increasing agenda notice to 10 days. Include more pertinent information in the agenda. Stop burying important items in the backup information.
The three-minute comment rule at Board meetings is oppressive. The whole intent of the public meeting is to allow the public to be heard. As chairman you can change this. You can be more informative and answer question when asked. Find a way to be polite even if you disagree with the person.
Medical services in the mountains is on life support; 2,100 people live in Mariposa and 2,800 live in Oakhurst so why does Mariposa have a small hospital and we have nothing? This issue needs your attention.
Once again the community has been fleeced by big business. It’s about trash again. This time nearly $3 million. Madera County has to find a way to monitor the program and compliance with contracts. You have the job of oversight, so do it.
I have seen your new newsletter but it is empty of real information. You need to do a better job of communicating with the community. Have issue-based town hall meetings. Write articles for the paper and online news.
I wish you well, Tom, you have four more years to make a real difference.