Billeci, Nicoletti agree in Yuba County supervisor debate
A couple of dozen Yuba County voters got a partial sense of supervisor candidates on the June 5 ballot, but a Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce forum on Wednesday evening in Marysville had more no-shows than participants.
Neither candidate in District 4 was available for the question-and-answer session, while in District 3, only incumbent Supervisor Mary Jane Griego attended.
The only back and forth among candidates was for District 2, where Christina Billeci and Supervisor John Nicoletti gave answers on boosting the county's economy, flood protection and what qualified them for the job.
"I want to come to the point where I don't see Yuba County in the bottom 10 counties of the state," said Billeci, a Marysville city councilwoman who suggested county leadership wasn't doing enough. "The question you have to ask is, 'who's going to speak for the people?'"
By contrast, Nicoletti said he sees a county emerging from tough times with a bright future, but one with critical components, such as relicensing Bullards Bar Dam, to manage.
"That's a Super Bowl moment for this area's history. When it comes down to a Super Bowl event, you want your best players on the field," he said.
The two candidates in District 2 — a third, Richard Dias, was absent — didn't sound dramatically different on most issues. On the proposed Enterprise Rancheria Indian casino, Billeci said she strongly supported it and questioned whether Nicoletti did, while the incumbent said because the matter is in the governor's hands, it's not a county issue at the moment.
And on a topic that has arisen in recent weeks, Nicoletti said there are some upsides in economic development from Marysville potentially annexing areas in Linda.
However, though the county's Local Agency Formation Commission is examining the city's sphere of influence to include part of Linda, actual annexation would be up to a vote of the people, said Billeci, a LAFCO board member.
Neither candidate was specific on where expected cuts to the county budget should fall, and both gave general praise to boosting Beale Air Force Base, protecting seniors and working with local not-for-profit groups.
Griego, running for a fourth term on the board, also answered questions at the forum. While improving flood control was her initial reason for running, she said, she has now focused on jobs that should follow.
Griego said she expects that before the end of the year, a major chain business will make public plans to build at McGowan Parkway, and the casino receiving approval will serve as another shot in the arm.
"I think it's the loyalty of the people," she said, when asked why a business should open in Yuba County. "There are people who don't leave Yuba County for business, and it's not because they can't, it's because they don't want to."
Chamber officials said Griego's opponent, Veronica Ramos, was out of the area. District 4 Supervisor Roger Abe was attending a meeting in Wheatland on the proposed Recology trash train, while his opponent, Ron Dougherty Jr., was at the forum's beginning but later left, telling officials he didn't feel well.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.