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For the seven candidates in the three Mono County Board of Supervisors races, this week is ground zero âand it all comes down to who has the most âkick.â
Voters go to the polls Tuesday, June 5. By midnight Tuesday, Mono County citizens should know who will occupy the three open county supervisor seats, barring a run-off election in the hot District 4 race.
It will be the end of a long marathon that began in the winter. Now it is up to the runners to provide that last big kick before the finish line.
âItâs in the Election Godsâ hands right now,â said District 2 incumbent Duane âHapâ Hazard.
âIâm still going out and meeting folks, but basically, this campaign is winding down. Running a campaign is like a roller coaster. One day you are up and you are getting positive feedback; the next day, someone challenges you or an issue comes up and you drop back down.â
He said he was glad there was no large-scale negative campaigning but the roll of rumors in a small community is not to be underestimated.
âItâs just something you have to keep in mind,â he said. âItâs often coming from the community and itâs a constant effort to stay ahead of and it reminds me why I hate campaigning. I am ready to work.â
âI will be spending the last few days prior to the election attempting to contact folks that I have missed so far,â said his contender, Fred Stump, pointing toward a weekend filled with door-to-door stops.
âHaving never run for an elected position before, this process has had a learning curve,â Stump said. âFrom campaign filling and reporting requirements to material ordering and event organizing, I now have an appreciation for those that run for office.â
Nevertheless, Stump said, itâs an exhausting process. âI will be grateful when it is over.
âIt takes conscious effort to maintain a positive message and not sink into the negative. I have refused to go there even when encouraged or invited by some to do so.â
In District 4, candidate Tim Fesko makes it seem like this week is no big deal.Â
âI will not rest until it is over,â he said. âAnd probably not even after that. This is for all residents and visitors of Mono County. They deserve the best and I will give that to them.â
He said the âbig divideâ between North County residents and Mammoth has never been less evident.
âTalking with so many people, especially those in Mammoth, has taught me just how much we really do have in common. People from all communities are worried about their day-to-day lives, the future of their local government and of their futures. The fact that things must not continue the âsame old wayâ is at the top of their list,â he said.
One of his two opponents, Bob Peters, is just as positive.
âThis week has been just as busy as the last 12 weeks,â he said.Â âCalling supporters, knocking on doors, giving interviews and speeches. This has been a fun campaign for me, meeting lots of new people.â
District 3âs two candidates are both experienced county supervisors, and have, over the years, often supported similar policies.
But the race has exposed a difference between incumbent Vikki Bauer and challenger Tim Alpers, with Alpers clear that the county needs to take a much harder look at how it pays its at-will employees and its union employees.
Â How they deal with the last weekend may be another difference.
âThis last week, I have just been staying busy as usual,â said Bauer. âBetween county work, campaign events, route management and other meetings, I have chosen to continue my work with the county rather than campaign full time.
âJust because the campaign is in full gear doesnât mean that the county workload stops, and Iâm not sure people understand that. I learned this time around that a clean campaign is much easier on the psyche, but re-confirmed that all campaigns are like being on a roller coaster for several months and they wonât let you off.â
âI know every dog in Mammoth,â said her contender, Tim Alpers. âItâs like the last week before NCAAâs national signing day. When I was the assistant basketball coach at the University of Tulsa, it was an absolutely sleepless week.
âThereâs a frenzy of activity; my wife canât get near me; itâs like that and Iâm approaching it the same way, but this time, Iâm probably the most disciplined Iâve ever been in my life,â he said.
Alpers said a close brush with death (complications from a hip replacement procedure) several years ago has honed his intentions to a fine point.
âI know what I want,â he said, âWe have a beautiful jewel here in this area, and we need to keep polishing it, need people to get involved in our system of government, make it work. Itâs the best system there is.â
But if he wins, he said there are some serious challenges ahead.
âI knew things were bad out there, but I had no idea of the quiet desperation people are living in,â Alpers said.Â
âOur locals are a proud, self-reliant group, but this unrelenting poor economy is seriously affecting people andÂ the suffering in the District 3 communities, especially in June Lake, due to the lack of income, is very deep, which is why I am going to make improving the human and business environment in Mono County a priority when I am elected.â
And on Wednesday?
It all will be over, except for the winners, who then must walk the talk.