Elections 2020 Guide – Inyo County Second District supervisor candidates

Kristina Blüm Justice
Staff Writer

Jeff Griffiths

Jeff Griffiths, who is currently serving as the Inyo County Second District supervisor, is seeking another term of service to the people of Inyo County.
“I’m running again because I love this community,” Griffiths said. “I love Bishop and Inyo County. It’s been so good to me and to my family. I’m passionate about keeping it a great place to live.”
Griffiths has served on the Inyo County Board of Supervisors as the Second District supervisor for seven years. Prior to joining the county board, he served on the Bishop City Council.
One of the projects Griffiths is most proud of is finishing the Bishop Airport and getting it ready for commercial air service, which is scheduled to begin in October, 2020.
“I’m also very proud of the work we continue to do for troubled youth,” Griffiths said. “We’re working to expand the services for foster kids and kids in the probation system.”
Griffiths served as a foster parent for many years prior to joining the board and, after becoming a supervisor, has worked with various agencies and departments to bolster the services offered to foster children and troubled youth.
“I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the kids that are falling through the cracks, and been focussed on bringing services to make sure those kids are getting from their community what they might not be getting at home,” he said. “I’m very proud of being able to offer everything from counseling to art and music classes, gardening and getting these kids out in nature.”
Looking to the future, should Griffiths be re-elected, he said he plans to focus on housing.
“It’s reached the point of being a critical problem for the entire region,” he said. “We’re looking forward to finishing the Silver Peaks project, which will provide 72 units of workforce housing and we will be working hard to get the veterans housing project off the ground.”
The goal for a new veterans services facility would be to construct 15 units of veterans housing, a veterans services building and a new VFW facility in Bishop, Griffiths said.
“We continue to be challenged, finding available land and working with LADWP,” Griffiths said. “I’m hopeful that relationship will improve and LADWP will follow
through on their promise of divesting land and selling it to business owners.”
Griffiths also is working to establish a partnership between the county, Cerro Coso, the Sierra Business Council and other agencies to establish a small business development center in Bishop. This office or storefront facility will be designed to provide technical assistance and resources to help both existing small businesses and to help people start new ones, Griffiths said. It will provide classes, education, mentorship and support for businesses developing new business plans as well as helping them find financing.
Sustainable recreation is something Griffiths also is passionate about and something he intends to continue to focus on.
“We’ve done a good job of attracting tourists to our area, but there are some places that are being loved to death,” he said. “I hope to work with the community to find ways to attract visitors as well as keep the Eastern Sierra the way we know and love it now, while also protecting the environment.”
Griffiths, who is part of the Eastern Sierra Foundation, said he is particularly proud of the work the foundation has done, providing scholarships to hundreds of Cerro Coso Community College students, including the EMT class that is full with a waiting list this spring. Many of the EMT students will become part of local volunteer fire departments.
Griffiths grew up on a dairy farm in Ohio before obtaining a degree with honors in forestry from Ohio State University. He served in Panama with the Peace Corps. He is a member of the Bishop Sunrise Rotary Club and volunteers for countless events and charities. He has served on various boards, including the CASA advisory board, the Eastern Sierra Foundation, IMACA, and the Inyo Council for the Arts, among others.
“I appreciate the love and support that I have received from my community,” Griffiths said. “I’m hopeful to be able to give back for another four years.”
For more information or for questions, email Griffiths at panajeff@hotmail.com.

Heather Lind

Heather Lind said she was inspired to enter the race as a challenger for second district supervisor out of a deep love for the Bishop community and a desire to take action on her passion for service.
“I believe in public service,” Lind said. “I see a lot of locals suffering from burn out; the same people are always the ones who volunteer to do things. It’s important to be involved, especially if you have a different opinion or a great idea, or don’t feel like you’re being represented. You have to get involved; you can’t sit on the sidelines. I strongly believe in giving back to the community I love and giving this community a choice and a voice.”
The second district, Lind noted, is unique from the other districts in the county due to the fact that it is the only district that encompasses an incorporated city.
“Should I be elected, I will support the city council on the revitalization of downtown, especially helping to keep our mom-and-pop businesses alive and
thriving,” she said. “There has been talk of a vacant building tax, which I would support in order to incentivize property owners to fill their business spaces and maintain their properties. I’d like to see that county-wide. Bishop really suffers the most from it, but we all suffer from it.”
Lind, who was born and raised in Ridgecrest, moved to Bishop in 2005. She worked as an Inyo County probation officer for 13 years. Now, she works as a substitute teacher for the Inyo County Office of Education, primarily at the Round Valley Joint Elementary School and Jill Kinmont Boothe School. She also is currently serving on the city of Bishop planning commission, a seat which she has held since 2017. She also is president of the board of directors for Grace Lutheran Preschool and is a lifetime member of the VFW Auxiliary.
While living in Ridgecrest, Lind obtained two associates degrees from Cerro Coso Community College prior to attending Cal State Bakersfield for a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Knowing firsthand how valuable community college is, Lind said she would love to work with the Inyo County Office of Education and Cerro Coso. One vision she hopes to make possible is to create an apprenticeship-type program through the college.
“There’s no reason why kids can’t stay in the area and get their degrees through Cerro Coso,” she said. “It’s difficult to recruit and retain skilled employees and we have a high turnover rate. It’s important to work with the labor sources we already have and fill that need. We need to make sure the labor force of the future has the training they need.”
Lind, who married into a family of Eastern Sierra packers, said she believes strongly in finding a balance between public land use and preservation.
“We have a lot of public lands in Inyo County, and while preservation of the public lands is vital, the access to those public lands is important,” she said. “You can’t build yourself up as a Mecca for tourism and not allow those tourists to visit ‘monuments.’”
During her time as a county employee working in the probation department, Lind was an active member of the Inyo County Probation Peace Officers Association for more than 10 years, serving as the president and treasurer.
“I have a lot of experience with employee labor negotiation and look forward to hopefully mending some of the relationships at the county level,” she said. “There’s a lot of expectations of our county employees, and they often spend a lot of time away from their families. They should be given the support and tools they need to be successful.”
Lind said she’s not looking to become a career politician, but rather to serve her community.
“It really is about public service,” she said. “My heart’s desire is to serve the public and the community where I’ve raised my family and that I love so dearly. I have the time and opportunity, and I want to serve.”
“It has been an incredible experience, knocking on doors and talking within the community over the last couple of weeks,” Lind said. “I’ve learned so much about what the locals’ wants and needs are, as well as the desires of the more transient population of people coming for tourist activities. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I’m excited and encouraged by the comments and look forward to hopefully being their choice and giving them a voice.”
A meet and greet for challenger Heather Lind will be held from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, February 1 at the Patio Building at the Tri-County Fairgrounds and Events Center.
For more information, visit HeatherFLind.com, or email heatherlind4district2@gmail.com.