Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm not promising the moon, I'm promising a large spherical lunar object

No incumbent, and no platforms from the challengers yet.

With Tom McGowan announcing Tuesday he won’t stand for re-election, an ex-police chief and a businessman will be vying to fill his seat, from a doughnut-shaped district around Orland.

“These are difficult times,” Mr. McGowan told the board of supervisors. “It’s no time for someone with a narrow agenda.”

For now, Mr. McGowan can rest assured: neither candidate has formulated enough of an agenda to be considered narrow.

Former Orland police chief John Viegas, a registered Democrat, says he’s still getting his paperwork together. Though he first took out papers a month and a half ago, his platform is still one of generalities: “time for change,” “innovative ways to generate new revenue sources,” “a new tax base in this community,” “maintaining growth in the future.”

Former Hay Wagon manager Bill Payer, who took out papers last Tueday, is more of a fresh face. Turning 39 in April, he’s younger than all current supervisors.

A businessman, Mr. Payer is a registered Republican and currently involved with Northern California Septic and Transport.

Mr. Payer has a wife, Anita, grown daughter Aeraseana and stepson Dylan; his stepdaughter Hannah attends Hamilton High.

Mr. Payer cites fiscal responsibility as his biggest issue, saying “you can’t spend more than you can make,” and that both agriculture and “planned growth” were important. As for a platform, Mr. Payer said that he couldn’t be more specific than that.

Neither Mr. Payer nor Mr. Viegas attended today’s board of supervisors meeting. Both said they had work obligations.

Asked whether they would be seeking Mr. McGowan’s endorsement, Mr. Payer replied that though he didn’t know Mr. McGowan well, he “would be looking forward to talking to Tom in the near future.”

Mr. Viegas laughed when asked whether he was still “friends with Tom McGowan and his family,” as he asserted in a Jan. 15 interview. When similarly asked about a McGowan endorsement, he had a simple reply.

“No comment — on or off the record,” he said.

Nomination papers for Mr. McGowan’s seat must be filed with the county elections office by March 12. Election day is June 3.

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