Steve Wilensky has announced his candidacy for the District 2 supervisorÂ´s seat, which covers West Point, Mountain Ranch and Mokelumne Hill areas and is currently held by Paul Stein.
If elected, Wilensky said he would vote to rescind the ordinance passed this spring that gives the supervisors and other elected officials post-retirement benefits of $400 a month for up to 10 years, plus $4,200 annually while in office, ostensibly as reimbursement for official travel costs.
The supervisors voted unanimously in April to approve the controversial ordinance.
The vote to rescind the ordinance would be “the first order of business in restoring faith with the people of this county,” Wilensky said. “Local citizens deserve a supervisor who will put their interests first.”
Wilensky, 52, has resided in Glencoe for 19 years and runs Humbug Creek Farm, which produces organic fruit and cider.
He and his wife Patricia Noll, a registered nurse, have two daughters, 13 and 23. Wilensky was an organizer, staff director and chief negotiator for the Service Employees International Union before retiring.
Wilensky is the director of the Blue Mountain Community Renewal Council and a member of Calaveras Grown. He was a volunteer firefighter for the Glencoe-Railroad Flat Fire Department, a youth soccer and basketball coach, and a sponsor of the West Point Elementary Youth Farm Project.
Wilensky also hosts the Community Revive and Re-leaf Harvest Festival each fall.
“We live in a great place: towns with character, communities with spirit, extraordinary scenic beauty, rich natural resources and exceptional recreation opportunities,” he said in a prepared statement. “No wonder outside forces have taken a keen interest in setting the direction for our growth and development.
“But I believe we should be masters of our own fate. Huge development corporations and clear-cutting operations already have enough influence in government. IÂ´d like to represent the rest of the people.”
Wilensky said heÂ´s spent two months meeting with residents of District 2. “IÂ´m concerned that our supervisors are sometimes out of touch with the everyday problems of Calaveras residents,” he said.
The tax funds that the supervisors gave to themselves could be better spent “staffing the Blue Mountain fire lookout tower or funding other vital services, cut due to budget constraints,” he said.
SteinÂ´s current term ends January 2005. He is the chairman of the Board of Supervisors this year. He was elected in 1996 and won re-election in 2000.
“IÂ´m going to run for something,” Stein said. “I have not made up my mind about a third term for supervisor.
“I donÂ´t believe Mr. WilenskyÂ´s liberal viewpoint can prevail against me or whomever may run in my place, should I decide against a third term.
“IÂ´ve made no secret of my desire to run for an open seat in the state Legislature. However this requires either Assemblyman Dave Cogdill or Sen. Rico Oller to vacate their positions.”
“Whatever decision I finally make, I will vigorously campaign to keep this seat from falling into the hands of socialists and look forward to the coming debate.”
The primary election will be held next March. If any supervisorial candidate receives a majority of the primary vote, he or she will be able to avoid the November 2004 election entirely. Otherwise, the two top finishers in each race will face each other in the general election.
Also up for re-election are Supervisors Merita Callaway, representing District 3, and Tom Tryon, from District 4. So far, no other candidates have announced a bid for their seats.
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