I begin this post-election reflection with a heartfelt thank you. Thanks to all who supported the Elliott for Supervisor campaign financially or by volunteering, attending a fundraiser, or helping put signs up all over the district. I will always treasure the time spent working together and in thoughtful conversation, visualizing what might have been had we won this election.
There is something intrinsically patriotic about running for office. We need good candidates versed in the issues that have sensible ideas for making a difference. That style of politics resonates with me and with the many who believed in my candidacy, and with more than 1,500 voters we all agreed: together we can share in a bright future for Tulare County and that unique place we call Kaweah Country.
I said from the outset of the race six long months ago, for me campaigning was a win-win. It was a wonderful opportunity to engage the people of this great county but also for our area to make it known that Three Rivers is long overdue for some improvements.
It’s no mystery why there has not been a county supervisor from Three Rivers since James Barton last served on the Board in the late 19th century. The district is configured in such a way that most all of the votes are in East Visalia and the valley flatlands.
In the most recent past, District 1 has been represented by Bill Sanders of Lindsay, 1992-2004, and currently Allen Ishida of Strathmore, 2004-2016. It appears that Ishida’s handpicked heir, Kuyler Crocker, who like Allen hails from a Strathmore family of citrus growers, is on track to succeed Ishida if he can win the most votes in November.
And though I was, and still am, deeply disappointed by the results, all is not lost for me or Three Rivers. Crocker and I have begun what we both hope will be a fruitful friendship, and as your District 1 planning commissioner, Three Rivers will continue to have the ear of the supervisor and hopefully have a say in how we use a share of our own growing tourist revenue.
While on the campaign trail, local voters voiced loud and clear some things they would like to see for Three Rivers:
—A rest stop where tourists can picnic, use a clean restroom, and consider what they might do while visiting this gateway community.
—Blighted areas along Highway 198, that are clearly in violation of zoning regulations, be given a reasonable time to clean up their act or else.
—Emergency response times be improved, especially when a sheriff’s deputy is called and the local resident deputy is out of service.
—A countywide recreation plan be developed that includes more facilities in the valley communities so that during the sweltering days of summer, Three Rivers property owners are not overrun by trespassers trying to take a dip in the river.
—Designate some water-use public places like Lake Kaweah, North Fork, Sequoia National Park, and Three Rivers so that these multiple-use sites can be accessed by locals, tourists, and valley residents alike. Develop signage at a kiosk/parking area as a point of contact where users can be directed to facilities that are appropriate to their needs.
To do any or all of the above will take vision, planning, and community effort. The benefits for Three Rivers and Tulare County will be well worth the effort. But it will take determined leadership in the county seat from those who want to keep our corner of California among the planet’s last best places.