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Meet the Dist. 5 candidates

April 17, 2012

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors meets every Tuesday in Independence (the county seat), with some exceptions. In addition to District 5, the seats for Districts 4 and 2 are also up for election. Candidates’ statements from District 2 hopefuls were published April 14 and those from the District 4 candidates will appear in the April 19 edition. File photo

The Inyo Register’s election coverage moves to Southern Inyo and the race for District 5 Inyo County Supervisor.
Richard Cervantes, Jim Gentry and Matt Kingsley have each provided a candidate’s statement which appears below.
With the 2012 Presidential Primary rapidly approaching, the Register recently invited all candidates for local and state office to share with readers a bit about themselves, their platforms and positions.
Through the remainder of April, the Register will be publishing candidate statements from those political hopefuls who responded to our invitation. Then, in May, the Register will begin printing the candidates’ answers to a series of questions specific to the office for which they are running.
For the first part of our series, candidates were asked to submit a statement – no more than 800 words – in which they essentially introduce themselves to voters, summarize their reasons for seeking office and what they hope to accomplish if elected.
The candidates’ responses appear verbatim, and in random order (their names were literally drawn out of a hat).

Matt Kingsley

I’m an actively involved, 34-year Lone Pine resident, running for 5th District Supervisor. I have raised a family, worked, and been enthusiastically engaged in both public and private enterprises in the 5th District. My leadership experience as Fire Chief of the Federal Wildland Fire agencies provided me with the skills to manage a ten million dollar annual budget and oversee 130 employees. I retired five years ago and am currently employed as the office manager for U.S. Borax in Lone Pine.
Approachability and collaborative problem solving has allowed me to be effective on the Lone Pine School Board, where I currently serve as president. I have also served on the Lone Pine Fire Safe Council as the chairman, where I collaborated with local ranchers, LADWP, Inyo County Water Department, CAL Fire, the Paiute Shoshone Indian Tribe, and federal agencies. I was instrumental in acquiring a grant used to reduce the risk of wildland fire to the community of Lone Pine.
Among my other accomplishments: 20 years of coaching basketball at Lone Pine High School, 18 years as a Lone Pine Fire Commissioner, and leadership roles in both the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce and the Lone Pine Lions Club.
My long standing as a resident and public servant gives me a deep appreciation of the needs and concerns of residents and businesses and the role governmental agencies should play in support of our citizens. I will provide fresh and innovative leadership approaches by building strong relationships with constituents, stakeholders and peers to enable the Board of Supervisors to work productively.
The many small communities of the 5th District need leaders that do more than simply vote. Leaders must also develop and implement common sense policies that create a setting where the county government supports and encourages citizens and businesses in their endeavors.
Inyo County government should provide a responsive and lean structure that protects its citizens, businesses and the environment in the least restrictive manner possible. I will look for creative solutions that lead to more equitable spending of your tax dollars for the 5th District, which is rich in natural resources and attractions, successful enterprises, and independent and innovative citizens.
I am lucky to have the friendships and opportunities this area has afforded my family and me. Southern Inyo County faces many challenges in the upcoming years, including small communities struggling to stay vital, providing employment, development planning and budget issues and dust mitigation, to name a few.
The 5th District needs a leader who has the experience, knowledge and common sense to engage the issues in a confident and transparent approach. My leadership skills, extensive experience, and connection with the 5th District will allow me to effectively serve as your representative to the Board of Supervisors.

Jim Gentry

Dear Voter, I am Jim Gentry and want to represent you as Supervisor in the 5th District here in Inyo County. My personal history in Lone Pine goes back almost 60 years when my father, Willie (or Bill) Gentry worked as both Lab and X-ray technician for Southern Inyo Hospital 35+ years. My work history includes:
• Southern Inyo Hospital as maintenance technician.
• Field manager for a research group on the Owens Lake in the early 1980s.
• Licensed electrician and plumber.
• Owned and operated my own business in Lone Pine for many years.
• Currently, I work for the Department of Water & Power (24 years) as a rank and file worker. Retiring at the end of 2012.
In 1970, I enlisted in the Marine Corps to serve my country and the freedom it stands for.
I have served my community as both a volunteer EMT for Southern Sierra Ambulance (this was after Inyo County stopped subsidizing ambulance services) and as an elected official as both Lone Pine Fire Commissioner and Lone Pine Unified School District Board of Trusties for 18 years. As both President and School Board Member, I was instrumental in developing sound financial policies and moving our school into a new technology era for the 21st century. The accomplishments of the Board during my term included:
• Establishing good fiscal policies which included saving funds and developing a budget reserve so we wouldn’t be forced to lay off teachers during hard economic times.
• Fighting the State for funds that belonged to our District.
• Updating the technical systems in our schools to prepare our students for their future as citizens.
• Remodeled both the elementary and high school facilities.
• Added two new libraries to the District.
• Hired new teachers for our students including a fulltime music teacher.
• Served two terms on California School Board Delegate Assembly representing Inyo and Mono School Districts at the state level. In these times of critical fiscal uncertainty, Inyo County needs experienced conservative leadership. My track record speaks for itself!
The government has a reputation for stealing from the poor (counties & city) and giving to the rich unaccountable State general fund. Inyo County needs leadership that is willing to fight for your rights and services in Southern Inyo County.
Jim Gentry,
Candidate for 5th District Supervisor – Inyo County

Richard Cervantes

Personal biography:
Serving the people of Inyo County for the last eight years has been a exciting and rewarding experience for me. Being of service is something that I love to do. I am proud to say that today I stand for reelection on my many accomplishments. Through my efforts with the Board of Supervisors, we have effectively used your tax dollars to provide the County with a balanced budget, a prudent reserve, and a workforce dedicated to serving the residents and visitors of Inyo County. Not many counties in California can say the same.
My wife Kathie and I have been residents and tax payers in Lone Pine since 1985. In 1991 we bought property in the Alabama Hills and built our dream home. We have been married 54 years, have four children and eleven grand children.
My education includes: Catholic school, business studies at Fullerton College, and engineering at Mt. San Antonio College. In 1963 I co-founded ACS Inc. which quickly grew from two to sixty employees, handling some of the largest HVAC projects in the State. As project manager I was responsible for contracts, budgets, on time delivery, and labor relations.
In 1982 the company was awarded a contract to design and build a ground support
Unit for the Space Shuttle, this highly successful design resulted in national recognition. My company was awarded the Administrator’s Award for Excellence by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In addition to my duties as your County Supervisor, I am very active in community service. I currently serve as: Friends of Scouting Chairman for the Boy Scouts, Member of the Lone Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Southern Inyo Hospital Guild, Member Lone Pine Airport Advisory, and Santa Rosa Catholic Church.
Past service includes: Membership on the Inyo County Grand Jury, Past Chairman of the Inyo County Board of Supervisors and Past President of The Lone Pine Lions Club.
I also contribute my time and support to a variety of community projects including the Film Festival, Film Museum, Alabama Hills Group, FFA, Wild West Marathon, and the Fish Derby.
Current projects and accomplishments:
These are very exciting times for Inyo County and the 5th District in particular, finished projects include some of the following: Lone Pine Park, playground, basketball court, toilets, Diaz Lake, new fishing dock, LORP recreation plan for the river from Black Rock to the Pump Back Station (ongoing).
Owens Lake Master Plan: I am on the planning committee working to provide jobs, access, recreation, and economic benefits to Lone Pine.
I sit on Great Basins Governing Board. I voted to fund the CAP program providing 5.6 million dollars to our local communities. Owens Lake dust has been
reduced by 90%, and we are working to reduce dust and blowing sand at Keeler.
Platform and job qualifications:
I feel that I am in a unique position to serve the people of the 5th District because I have no conflicts of interest of any kind. I have no financial or economic ties with DWP, the Forest Service, BLM or Cal Trans, nor do I have any relatives that work for the County or any of the above agencies. Add to this the fact that I do not accept campaign contributions. This allows me to be a strong and independent voice for the people.
I support traditional land use in Inyo County, Business, Tourism, Cattle Ranching, Mining, Farming, Film Making, Native American Rights, Fishing and Hunting.
Forty years of solid business and accounting experience has uniquely prepared me to make sure that your tax dollars are spent wisely and to keep the County from spending more than we can afford.
I believe that we in County Government have a responsibility to see that basic services are provided equally throughout all of our communities. My mission as Supervisor is to continue to provide the best possible service to the people.
Richard Cervantes
Inyo County 5th District Supervisor

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