Local Elections, Part 2 – Sierra and Nevada Counties

By Duncan A. Kennedy

CALPINE – In our April 28th edition, The Mountain Messenger detailed what is taking place in the current Plumas County electoral scene. This week, we are exploring the state of the races in Sierra and Nevada counties as the June 7th general primary draws closer.

Sierra County

Nine public offices are up for election this year, but only one is contested. The races are listed below, with incumbents depicted by an asterisk(*):

Assessor: Laura Marshall*

Auditor/Treasurer-Tax Collector: Van Maddox*

Clerk-Recorder: Heather Foster*

County Supervisor, District Two: Lila Heuer v. Sandy Sanders

County Supervisor, District Five: Sharon Dryden*

District Attorney: Sandra Groven*

Sheriff-Coroner: Mike Fisher*

Superior Court Justice: Charles Ervin*

Superintendent of Schools: James Berardi*

In the one contested race, with no incumbent due to the retirement of Sierra County stalwart Peter Huebner (Supervisor for District Two since 1999), two candidates have emerged to replace him.

Lila Heuer, age 75, is a long-time resident of Sierra City and the proprietor of a motel, My Sister’s Cottage, there. She also drives the Golden Rays Senior Citizens bus from Downieville to as far as Reno and Sacramento for her fellow seniors. She spoke at the Gold Nugget Republican Women’s April 20th candidate luncheon, an event The Mountain Messenger covered, and she has also expressed interest in speaking at future Sierra County Democrats events.

Heuer’s opponent is Gerald “Sandy” Sanders, a native of Georgia whose parents met in Sierra County and spent time in Sierra County every year during his youth; in 2021 he was able to fulfill a long-time dream by escaping here from the Bay Area. The Messenger interviewed him recently and will publish his story soon.

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Assembly Candidate Belle Starr Sandwith Shares Her Thoughts

By Duncan A. Kennedy

On April 29th, as part of a countywide tour held by the Sierra County Democrats in conjunction with Dr. Kermit Jones’s congressional campaign, your correspondent was able to interview Belle Starr Sandwith, Democratic challenger for Assembly District 1. The following is a synopsis of the answers given to questions posed to the candidate:

Tell us a bit about yourself – what’s your life story?

Sandwith was born in Kansas but moved to California early in life when her father found employment in Napa County. Soon afterward, her mother began working for CalTrans in Nevada County, so she grew up in the Donner Pass area. Sandwith attended College of the Redwoods as a basketball player, then transferred to the University of Nevada, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Administration. After that, she worked as a traveling chef for NASCAR racers before returning to her Lost Sierra roots and moving to Sierra Brooks.

What inspired you to run for Assembly?

After the events of January 6th, 2021, Sandwith was “horrified”; this, coupled with a pandemic response that she found underwhelming and two bad wildfire seasons that left her “tired of being burned out of the Sierras,” left her yearning for change. Eventually, congressional candidate Max Steiner (challenging Doug LaMalfa in CA-01) recruited her as a potential candidate.

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FRC’s Ball Teams Play in Northern California Regional Championships

By Carl J. Butz

Oddly enough, this past weekend both the Feather River College’s Golden Eagles baseball and softball teams played a best two-out-of-three series against the Consumnes River College (CRC) Hawks during the first round of the California Community College Athletics Association’s (CCCAA) Northern California Regional Championship tournament. FRC hosted the baseball games and CRC hosted the softball games.

On Friday afternoon in Quincy, FRC’s baseball team took an early lead by scoring five runs in the first two innings. Behind strong pitching by their starter, Dylan Cabral, the Golden Eagles held their 5-0 lead for seven innings. However, in the top of the eighth, the Hawks rallied and scored four runs to chase Cabral and reliever Dakota Todd off the mound before Jason Christianson came in to end the inning two strikeouts In the bottom of the inning, the Golden Eagles responded well by putting two more runs on the scoreboard. In the top of the ninth Christianson struck out the side, earning a save in the home team’s 7-4 victory.

On Saturday morning, with the host team batting first, the Golden Eagles again took an early lead by scoring six runs in the top of the second inning. This time, though, the Hawks countered quickly, hitting two home runs and scoring five runs. But then, for the next five and a half innings, the pitchers for the fielders for both teams played excellently and the score remained at 6-5 in favor of the Golden Eagles going into the bottom of the eighth. Unfortunately for FRC, in the bottom of the inning, the Hawks took advantage of errors and questioned walks to score three unearned runs. In the top of the ninth, the Hawks’ stopper, Nate Thompson, who struck out 11 during his six and two-thirds innings on the mound, had no problem closing out an 8-6 victory for CRC.

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Soaring Soon – Condors to be Reintroduced to Northern California

By Juliet Grable, Redwoods (Spring-Summer 2020)

(HOOPA) – Condors once commanded the skies from British Columbia to Baja California until the 19th and 20th centuries, when the giant vultures fell victims to shooting, egg collecting, habitat degradation, and the intentional lacing of carcasses with poison to reduce predator numbers. Poisoning from ingestion of lead ammunition in carcasses was also a major contributor to the decline. The federally endangered bird had dwindled to just 22 individuals in 1982. Since 1992, when the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) began reintroducing captive-bred condors to the wild, the agency and its partners have grown the population to more than 518 birds, with 337 of them flying free.

Before too long, visitors to Redwood National and State Parks may spy the condors, which have been missing from the area for more than 100 years.

Overlapping portions of the park is the ancestral territory of the Yurok Tribe, which is leading the effort to reintroduce the California condor to the Pacific Northwest. The National Park Service and USFWS are partners in the project. The condor figures prominently in the Yurok Tribe’s World Renewal ceremonies, where Yuroks pray and fast to balance the world.

“It’s our understanding of the world that if any component is missing, the system is unbalanced; it’s unable to right itself,” said Tiana Williams-Claussen, Director of the Yurok Tribe Wildlife Department. “That’s actually why we’re here as Yurok people, to help manage the landscape in a balanced way.”

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Sierra County Visited by California’s Natural Resources Agency Secretary, Wade Crowfoot

By Duncan A. Kennedy

SIERRA CITY – Saturday, April 30th, saw Sacramento big-shot Wade Crowfoot, Director of California’s Natural Resource Agency, traveling to Sierra City for a special meet-and-greet hosted by Sierra Pines Resort. The event was set-up and moderated by District Two Supervisor candidate Sandy Sanders, a longtime friend of Crowfoot.

Crowfoot is a native of northern Michigan who moved to California in the mid-1990s. His formal education consists of a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1996) and a Master of Public Policy (London School of Economics, 2004). Crowfoot has previously worked as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and as a senior environmental advisor for Gavin Newsom during his tenure as Mayor of San Francisco. Wade met Sanders on a men’s soccer team around two decades ago; according to Sanders, “Crowfoot and [Rob] Bonta [currently California’s Attorney General] were our two best players.”

Crowfoot began with of primer on the history of fire in the West and how putting all fires out by “10 AM the next day” rule was the wrong approach, both from an ecological and fire safety standpoint. According to Crowfoot, “we now know the notion of healthy forests as untouched to be absolutely wrong,” a stance defying modern conservationist dogma but backed heavily by scientific research in fire ecology and Native American oral histories on land and fire use.

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