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Rosemarie Smallcombe, Mariposa District 1 Supervisor  

I am seeking reelection for a third term as Mariposa County District 1 Supervisor

As Mariposa County District 1 Supervisor representing the people living and working in the county, it’s been my honor to advocate for your needs through a number of difficult years.

I hope to continue serving you for another four years, so I am seeking reelection during this cycle.

Press Release  Here is the press release announcing my intent to seek a third term.

Accomplishments This link will take you to a brief list of my accomplishments as District 1 Supervisor.

Letters to the Editor I am getting some very nice support letters. Please check out my Letters to the Editor page.

How did the County fund the removal of dead trees along our road and around public infrastructure?

 










I worked with our local Office of Emergency Services to get disaster relief funding from CalOES, and the Governor’s office to get the required matching funds. See the whole story here. Hint: It was not easy and required CalOES to change their policy as to what is a disaster.  The picture above on the left was taken on Jerseydale Road during Tree Mortality Disaster in 2016, and the one on the right shows that same stretch or road today after the work mentioned above was completed by Blue Ridge Services.

AAUW Candidates' Forum  The American Association of University Women held a forum for the four candidates for County Supervisor on April 13th, as described in the Recent Events page, below. The AAUW has posted two videos of the forum on Facebook: before the break and after the break.

Recent Events  What does a County Supervisor do?  Check out my new Recent Events page where I report significant recent events that I have attended starting with the WAPPOA meeting in Wawona on April 9th, my Opening Keynote Address to the Association of Environmental Planners on April 11th, the AAUW Candidates’ Forum on the 13th, and a presiding over a panel I organized on National Park Reservation Systems on the 14th. And there was a very long Board of Supervisors Meeting on the 12th followed by a drive to El Portal for an evening El Portal Planning Advisory Committee.  On Wednesday evening, the 13th, I would normally have been with another great bunch of people at the Midpines Planning Advisory Committee if it was not for the AAUW Candidates’ Forum!

Housing  I recently added a new page about the housing issue in Mariposa County.

The Muir Lodge attractive nuisance and fire danger situation and recent progress
Click here for the details, and a bit of history about my involvement with this situation. 

Tree Mortality and Fire Insurance Here are some more details about some of my efforts to combat the Tree Mortality Crisis at the state and local levels as well as affordable home insurance in our fire-prone communities.

Proposed Fire Insurance Regulations  As explained in the link in the paragraph above, I have been working on wildfire insurance issues and am pleased to announce that the Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has just proposed regulations to require insurance companies to consider wildfire risk mitigation factors done by homeowners in establishing their rating plans. I have been working on this issue for several years now and it is gratifying to see it moving forward. Please see the Letter to the Editor  in the Gazette on fire insurance from Amy Bach, Co-Founder of United Policy Holders, a National Consumer Insurance Advocate .

A Bag of Bark Beetles from Jerseydale on the Governor’s Desk  I have just added a new story about how a bag of bark beetles from Jerseydale ended up on the Governor’s desk. Did it make a difference in convincing the Governor to declare a state of emergency?

Public Presentations on Tree Mortality and Forest Health   As a result of my work on tree mortality, forest health and biomass utilization, I have been asked to speak on these subjects by several statewide and nationwide organizations. See some of my presentations here including a video I did for the annual meeting of the 1300 member Society of American Foresters discussing fuel reduction efforts that protected the communities of Mariposa Pines, Lush Meadows and Ponderosa Basin from the Ferguson Fire.

Invited by Governor’s Office to Tour on Beneficial Uses of Forest Product   As can be seen on several pages on my website, a major focus of my time as County Supervisor has been on improving the safety of the citizens of Mariposa County with respect to wildfires. This page describes a trip I took at the request of the Governor’s office to Northern California and Oregon to visit universities and facilities developing economically viable uses for waste forest biomass that would otherwise be burned leading to air pollution. On that same page I also discuss the current state of sustainably harvested forest biomass-to-electricity projects in the state.

Community Meetings to Keep People Informed   As mentioned in my press release above, we have been through a lot as a community in the last 8 years with fires, fire insurance cancellations, Park and business closures, road closures from mudslides and rockslides, and a delayed project to restore highway 140 in the river canyon after the Ferguson slide. If you scroll down on my website home page, or my Facebook page, you will see many of the things I have done to inform and help our communities adjust during to these events. On this page are some of the meetings I have held to keep everyone up to speed.

Trip to Washington DC in Support of the Great Ourdoors Act to Fund Maintenance in Yosemite  Read here about my trip to Washington DC to support funding, now referred to as the Great American Outdoors Act, for deferred maintenance in Yosemite National Park.

Committees and Commissions on Which I Serve As the District 1 Supervisor for Mariposa County, I’ve been honored to serve on a number of boards, commissions and committees. Here is a list of those agencies and committees on which I serve.



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The material below is older and I have moved some of the less timely or relevant earlier sections of this home page to an Archive page.


Mariposa County Budget

Dallin Kimble, Mariposa County’s CAO, gave a presentation at the Board of Supervisors’ Meeting on April 7, 2020 to outline a framework for developing a budget that accounts for the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.  That presentation is available here as a web-based presentation or can be downloaded as a pdf document (13 Mbytes) by clicking here

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Slideshow on the Ferguson Slide Project

Allen Lao, Project Engineer at Caltrans for the Ferguson Project, developed the presentation pictured below for the YARTS’ Board of Directors.

One of the key takeaways is that construction will begin in late summer 2020, but those minor operations will not have significant impacts on traffic.   The contractor will NOT be removing talus from the slide area until sometime in 2021.  The presentation can be downloaded as a pdf document (4.6 MB) or viewed as an online slideshow without the need to download.

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Board of Supervisors Salary Adjustment

Here is a detailed response to some of the misinformation being used to oppose this action.  In my response, I address:

Per Capita Income – The “raise” is not larger than the per capita income for the County.

The Compensation Analysis – Supervisor salaries must be competitive with other jobs in the region to attract qualified candidates other than retirees.

Compensation Studies, Apples and Oranges – there is no other Mariposa County.

The Fiscal Impact of the Salary Adjust – Yes, it makes dollars and sense.

The Timing Issue – This issue could have and should have been made public a year ago.

Which Way to Go – who should be a County Supervisor?

I also identify the need for a code of conduct and job description for Mariposa County Supervisors.  For the sake of full disclosure, I was in Sacramento all day yesterday in my leadership role on the Wood Utilization Working Group and in a Board of Supervisors meeting today, so I asked my husband Steve to pull this together and put it on my website.  Thanks for caring about our County and for being part of the conversation!

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Ferguson Slide Project

Here is a link to the video on the Ferguson Project that was part of the Caltrans presentation at the Open House in El Portal Tuesday night. The animation shows the sections of the rockshed being moved into place by powerful jacks so that workers will not be in danger of possible falling rock. 

In addition, Caltrans staff responded to a number of questions and have a few more they’re researching. The key takeaways are that the first phase of the Project is debris removal, about 84 cubic tons of it, or about 3 times what they removed last time! Removal from the slide area will involve the use of remotely controlled machinery so that workers will not be in danger if new slides occur. The material will be trucked to the Mariposa landfill beginning in July 2020. So, traffic going between the slide area and the landfill may be slower than usual. 

The actual construction of the rockshed is expected to start sometime in the spring or summer of 2021 and to take three to five years.

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Briceburg Fire Video

 

Click here for information on the Briceburg Fire including a YouTube video from the Briceburg Fire meeting on Tuesday Oct. 8th at the Midpines Community Center.

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Highway 140 Open Thursday AM

As can be seen in the announcement from Caltrans below, Highway 140 is open again as of 6:30 AM Thursday January 17th, 2019, after being closed for 11 hours. While this closure was made for the sake of public safety during the winter storm, it is worth noting that during the closure, Caltrans removed over 50 yards of rock and other debris from the roadway!

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Highway 140 Full Road Closure

As discussed below, major storm events in the Ferguson Burn scare area may lead to preemptive road closures to protect public safety. Above is an announcement of just such a closure starting Wednesday January 17th at 7 PM.  The reopening will obviously depend on the extent of the damage, if any from the storm.

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Ferguson Fire Related Potential Road Closures

Experts agree that in the aftermath of the Ferguson Fire road closures caused by mudslides and rockslides are inevitable. A team of experts is working to protect public safety while minimizing inconvenience to residents and visitors when these events happen.

To keep the affected communities informed of these efforts, I asked people from these organizations to talk about their efforts at two community meetings, the first in El Portal occured on October 18th at the Community Hall; the second is scheduled in Midpines on the 24th in the Bodie Room at the Yosemite Bug at 5:30 PM.

Details from the El Portal meeting including an audio recording are available here.  I recently added the ability view Greg Stock's and Kellen Takanaka's slides with audio. 


Mariposa County Financial Circumstances

Please read and share — the County has scheduled evening meetings this week to discuss our financial circumstances in light of the many recent disasters as well as ongoing maintenance and development needs. There’s one tonight at the Midpines Community Center, one in Ponderosa Basin tomorrow night and one next Monday at the Board Chambers. This link provides more details. Please attend if you can!


2018 Election 

The deadline for candidates to file for 2018 election cycle was Friday, March 9th at 5 PM. As of 5 o'clock on Friday, the Elections Office confirmed I'm the only candidate running for Supervisor in District 1. This means that rather than spending time campaigning between now and June, or potentially November, I can concentrate my efforts on the important matters facing our District, Mariposa County and the State. I appreciate everyone's support and look forward to continuing our work together. As always, please do contact me with any questions or concerns either on Facebook or via e-mail:

For campaign related matters: rms@rosemariesmallcombe.com

To contact me as a County Supervisor: rsmallcombe@mariposacounty.org

Here is the press release from when I declared my intention to run for re-election in 2018.


Sierra National Forest Fire Restrictions

The Sierra National Forest has imposed fire restrictions at elevations below 4,000 feet in Mariposa County. Caltrans and the Forest Service are coordinating to place various signs on the way to and within the River Canyon to alert visitors of the fire dangers.  Click here the Forest Order.


Detwiler Fire

Mariposa County Environmental Health is making a lot of very good information available to residents impacted by the Fire. That includes information on removal of household hazardous waste (HHW) and health hazards associated with exposure to ash on burn sites. The County has developed the Right of Entry form necessary for the agencies to remove the HHW.

County Environmental Health has also developed a brochure to help residents evaluate their wells after the Fire and ensure their water is safe to drink.

 

Above is a way we can all have some fun and help those who lost their homes in the fire. The event is on Saturday 7/29 at 7 PM and is sponsored by the Yosemite/Mariposa Tourism Bureau.

Here is the AM report from CAL FIRE for 7/29 AM with 80% containment.

Here is the report from CAL FIRE for 7/26 AM with 65% containment.

Here is the report from CAL FIRE for 7/25 PM with 65% containment.

There is a new update on 7/25 from PG&E available here.

Here is the report from CAL FIRE for 7/24 PM with 60% containment.

The 7/24 morning report (here) shows 50% containment and the number of our friends and neighbor’s homes destroyed has risen to 63. Total personnel on the fire: 5128!

Returning Home After a Wildfire is document from CAL FIRE and PG&E that gives good advice on how to check out your house and property.

Here is the news that the folks in Midpines, and many others, have been waiting for - the noon update on 7/23.

Here is an update from CAL FIRE on 7/23 that now reports 40% containment!

There is a new update late on 7/22 from PG&E available here.

Mariposa County Human Services and Public Works are offering additional services to help people recover from the Fire.   Specifically, Public Works has set up food waste disposal behind the Chamber of Commerce and the Solid Waste Facility will be open Monday through Saturday.  Download the details here. They’re also offering disposal services in other areas of the County as described here.  Human Services will hold a Local Assistance Center at the High School on Tuesday. Details here.

Click here for information on insurance issues I received from a personal property consumer advocacy group – United Policyholders – that I’ve worked with on insurance issues in the Tree Mortality Task Force. 

Also, for those with respiratory and other health issues, here are some things you might want to consider.

This is a very useful map that uses color to show the progression of the fire. Click here to download a higher resolution version.

The next CAL FIRE community meeting will be at the high school in Mariposa at 7 PM.

Here is a quick update from CAL FIRE on 7/22 that now reports 30% containment!

CAL FIRE and the Sheriff's office took the County Supervisors on a tour today, July 21st, of some of the areas affected by the Detwiler Fire. After dropping off the other Supervisors, CAL FIRE and the Sheriff's office took me to the top of Telegraph hill to see the conditions and fuel breaks there. Pictures are available here.

Here is the latest press release from the American Red Cross about the resources they are making available in this area. Note that the 559-343-2549 phone number can also be used to help in locating family members or friends.

You can read the CAL FIRE Incident Update Sheet as of 7 PM on the July 19th here, the 20th at 7 AM here, 7 PM on the 20th here, and 7 AM on the 21st here, and 7 PM on the 21st here.

The Detwiler Fire that started on July 16th, 2017 is currently threatening a number of communities in Mariposa County. I’m in contact with a number of officials, including CAL FIRE and PG&E regarding this dangerous situation. I’ve created a Detwiler Fire page to pass information along. There clearly are other sources of information including fire related Facebook pages and those pages often contain useful information, maps, etc. However they also can contain incorrect or out of date information because things change so fast. The Detwiler Fire is especially dynamic. The Sheriff’s Department evacuates people at CAL FIRE’s request, so if any emergency personnel tell you to leave, do so as soon as possible. CAL FIRE’s goal is that everyone who is evacuated will return to find their home is also safe. It is far better to have our firefighters saving homes, than dealing with last minute evacuees.

CAL FIRE held a community meeting at the Mountain Christian Center in Oakhurst on July 19th at 7 PM. Here is an audio recording of that meeting. A video recording can be found here thanks to CAL FIRE and the Sierra Sun Times. The ABC30 video of the meeting is also available here. A video of the CAL FIRE meeting in Merced on Thursday the 20th is here, again thanks to the Sierra Sun Times.

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency and issued an Executive order to aid in the recovery from the Detwiler Fire.

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Tree Mortality

As can be seen below, working with Don Florence from the Mariposa County Office of Emergency Services, I started the Mariposa County Tree Mortality Committee in July of 2015 to focus efforts within the County on mitigating the effects of Tree Mortality on our community. Since then I have been asked to join the Governor’s Tree Mortality Task Force, which meets in Sacramento, as well as subcommittees on Biomass Utilization and Regulations where we work with various state and federal agencies to address the tree mortality disaster.

In March, I was invited to testify before the State Senate Committee on Insurance on how the current tree mortality disaster affects the ability of homeowners in the County to obtain fire insurance. You can read my testimony here. Fortunately I was able to meet twice with the State Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, the week before the testimony and give him a “heads up” on how this disaster is affecting rural communities.

One of the things I addressed in my testimony before the Senate Committee, is fire insurance through the FAIR plan, a state-sponsored insurance organization designed to be the insurer of “last resort” for those who can not obtain insurance otherwise. As you can read in my testimony, however, the FAIR plan is becoming far too often the only viable option for fire insurance for many homeowners in the Sierra. The FAIR plan is not ideal however as the coverage is not as broad as normal homeowners’ insurance and homeowners then typically have to obtain additional coverage, e.g. liability insurance, through some other insurance provider. At this time it is also not clear whether it is necessary to remove excess vegetation around the home to obtain insurance under the FAIR plan.

It is the job of the Governor’s Task Force and related committees to understand and eliminate issues keeping our state agencies from quickly and effectively dealing with the tree mortality disaster that places our mountain and foothill communities in danger. I am pleased to be able to contribute to this effort.

The tree mortality problem is truly a disaster for the Central and Southern Sierra so I’ve posted a somewhat lengthy description of what I am doing on the Mariposa County Issues page. I have also posted about this on my Facebook page and would welcome your input there.


Mining in Mariposa County and the Conditional Use Permit II 

Tuesday afternoon, November 17th, the Mariposa Board of Supervisors held a public hearing and voted to adopt proposed changes to our General Plan and zoning code related to mining operations on privately owned property (as opposed to such operations on publicly owned lands (e.g., Forest Service and BLM lands)). The second and final reading of the proposed changes is scheduled for the Board meeting on December 15, 2015.

From a practical standpoint, the changes approved by the Board are

(1) Mining operations that fall below the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) thresholds (less than 1 acre and 1,000 cubic yards of material) will be subject to an Administrative Use Permit;

(2) Mining operations on parcels in the Agriculture Working Landscape classification that are 160 acres or more will be subject to a Conditional Use Permit; and

(3) Existing legally permitted mining operations will be grandfathered.

Read more on this subject here.

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Great News! On October 30th, the Governor declared a State of Emergency relative to Tree Mortality in the Sierra and asked Secretary Vilsack for federal funds to help with mitigation and recovery efforts.  Read the details here.


Contact Rosemarie: for campaign related matters - rms@rosemariesmallcombe.com

To contact me as a County Supervisor - rsmallcombe@mariposacounty.org

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