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Modesto Irrigation District Candidates – Division 3

Your Vote Counts 2013

Council Dist. 2 | Council Dist. 4 | Council Dist. 5 | MID Div. 2 | MID Div. 3 | MID Div. 4
School Board 4 yr. | School Board 2 yr.

Modesto Irrigation District Candidates – Division 3

Paul Campbell
50 years old. Modesto Resident for 13 years. Business owner.
Les Johnson
80 years old. Modesto resident for 15 years. Retired banker.

Click on the circle/plus icon to the left of each question to read each candidates answer.

In your own words, describe the role and responsibility of the office you seek?

Paul Campbell: As an elected Director of the Modesto Irrigation District (MID), it would be my responsibility to set policy for the MID in conjunction with my fellow directors to ensure that our policies are in accordance with the stated mission and vision of the district. In addition, we need to ensure that the actions of the district implement the mission, vision and policies set by the Board of Directors. We also need to review and assess whether the staff members hired by the Board and those hired by the General Manager, are implementing these effectively. Obviously, it is assumed that the Board will provide oversight and questioning of the matters before it to aid in the proper functioning of the district. As a Director gains experience, I also believe he or she is in a position to champion key improvements in the operations or strategic planning of the District..

Les Johnson: As a director for the Modesto Irrigation District, I would do the upmost to work with the other directors and provide decisions necessary to enhance the continued operation of the district.

Is the organization for which you seek office operating with a balanced budget? If not, what are your plans to make the organization more financially sustainable?

Paul Campbell: I believe this is subjective of how they view operating costs and revenues on an annual basis. One of my first tasks, if I am fortunate enough to be elected, would be to fully understand the current financial position of the district and how the budget is balanced. This would then let me make an assessment as to whether the MID is in a financially sustainable position, whether the District is relying on ever-increasing rates and the effect on ratepayers. I will work with my fellow Board members to plan for the District’s future through this review of its financial position in relation to all of the District’s obligations presented in a transparent manner to ratepayers and the public. I trust that the Board will establish financial policies that preserve or enhance the District’s mission and vision as we seek fiscal stability.

Les Johnson: According to information available, it would appear the district is working within their budget. However, all avenues of economy should be explored.

What will be your top priority as an MID Director? Describe the measures you will take to address this priority.

Paul Campbell: Since our historic water rights are currently under attack, my top priority will be to protect our historic water rights, especially in the Don Pedro re-licensing process. This is critical to the future of all aspects of our local economy. My second top priority will be to explore all avenues to keep electric rates low. We cannot simply pass on ever-increasing rates to our families and businesses.

Les Johnson: Provide leadership to the Board of Directors. I am available as a full-time director.

Describe the ways in which you as an elected official would encourage a collaborative and cooperative relationship with other units of local government and community leadership.

Paul Campbell: I would talk with all key stakeholders as I am a bit surprised at the deteriorated relationship between the District and other key local governments and community leadership. Firstly and of greatest value would be to establish our mutual goals and objectives. For example, the MID and the City have a significant overlap in our customers, and as such it’s in our best interest to work together in serving towards satisfactory outcomes. It is the same with community leadership such as the Chamber, the Manufacturers’ Council, the Farm Bureau and many others. We need to talk and plan together to ensure we are moving in the same direction and see to it that our efforts are complimentary as much as possible. Mutual respect and goodwill go a long way in establishing good working relationships and we can make very positive impacts on our local economy if we are smart and purposeful in our work.

Les Johnson: Become acquainted with all local government and community representatives and provide any assistance the district may offer.

Do you believe the utility rates currently charged by MID are appropriately priced? Why or why not?

Paul Campbell: I am not sure if they are appropriate or not as I was not part of the decision-making made over the past several years to get to where we are today. However, I believe that we must be able to justify the rates as being consistent with the mission and vision of the district and will be asking questions to determine if the district has been mindful of this obligation in the decisions made getting us where we are today. As I noted [previously], my second top priority is low electrical rates.

Les Johnson: Consideration should be given to the present rate structure. Irrigation rates and charges need to be explored; power rates need to be examined for possible reduction.

What are your plans for facilitating the creation of new, living wage jobs in our area?

Paul Campbell: The best way for anyone to create jobs is to invite industry to move to our area and we must know that what attracts business is a reputation for being the easiest place in California to do business. We need to encourage the City and County to make Modesto and Stanislaus County the best place to do business by creating incentives that attract business. Streamlined and inexpensive planning and permitting for example, advertise it in business publications and seek opportunity to talk about it with Forbes and other business outlets who rank us. Get the schools involved and let the kids know what we are doing and how they can help us by staying in school and graduating, talk about it quarterly during their rallies and get them invested in the goal. We can ask our teachers and mentors to identify exceptional students who are budding entrepreneurs and get our local successful businesses involved in providing outlets for them to pursue the next big thing.

Les Johnson: Wages have historically been low in this valley. There is no quick fix, we will have to do all possible to provide employers benefits to moving to this area.


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