VACAVILLE — Supporting Solano County’s farm industry, protecting the county’s water resources, promoting job creation and protecting businesses were all things the four men running to be the next Fourth District Solano County Supervisor could agree on Wednesday.
It was the details they differed on.
Gerald Clift stressed reining in what he called fiscal mismanagement that has seen the county lay off employees, excessive spending on pet projects such as redeveloping the Solano County fairgrounds, and high supervisor salaries. He preferred putting resources into bringing jobs to the county, improving its roads and cutting fees on small businesses and farmers.
Eugene Ray hammered promoting job creation to deal with unemployment in increasing incomes, protecting farmers from overregulation and taxation, and proactively “kicking the legs out from under crime” by creating programs to keep people from going back to prison.
Incumbent John Vasquez pointed to his experience of serving three terms as a supervisor promoting and protecting agriculture, turning in balanced budgets, improving the Nut Tree Airport, moving forward redevelopment of the county fairgrounds and encouraging economic development through studies of the county’s options.
Thom Bogue said he wants to change what he called a frustrating county cycle of spending, creating new programs, cutting those programs and then raising fees and taxes to fund other new programs to replace the ones that were cut.
The only attacks came during the closing when Clift pointed out Vasquez, saying the incumbent voted to lay off county employees, but was not willing to sacrifice any of his own salary or benefits for the county’s greater good.
Vasquez is running to keep his Fourth District seat on the Solano County Board of Supervisors while farmer Clift, businessman Ray and Dixon City Councilman Bogue are trying to replace him. The Fourth District covers Dixon and much of Vacaville.
The forum at Travis Credit Union was sponsored by the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce and the Solano County Farm Bureau. The two groups also collaborated on a set of questions put to the candidates.
When asked what they would do to create more jobs, Bogue and Clift said it was time to make it easier for employers to locate in the county by no longer nickeling and diming them with fees and restrictive regulations. Vasquez pointed out his record of working with businesses such as Campbell Soup, and promoted working more closely with the cities because he said that was where most businesses located. Ray promoted a three-phase process of asking existing businesses what they need, looking for opportunities to being in new businesses and putting pressure on the state to make California more business-friendly.
One question concerned the regional air quality board.
Ray and Bogue said they would do whatever they could to ensure farmers would get a better deal from it. Vasquez, who sits on the board, said he would work to try to lessen the board’s regulatory burden on farmers. Clift said overzealous regulation is the problem, but suggested turning the fairground into a large community garden and plugging for Google to use self-driving cars in the county.
None of the four could come up with a solution to the long-standing battle over who gets to use the region’s water. None supported any proposals that would send the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s water to Southern California. Each vowed to protect the county’s water supplies as much as possible. Ray went as far as to suggest getting aggressive to build more reservoirs in the region. He said they should have been built years ago to store more water.
The primary election is June 3.