Editor’s note: Please join me in welcoming District 2 Supervisor candidate Allen Long as he answers ANC’s campaign questions.
A News Cafe submitted identical questions to all Shasta County Supervisor candidates. Incumbent District 4 candidate Patrick Jones, and District 3 candidates Corkey Harmon and Win Carpenter did not respond.
A News Cafe: Welcome, Mr. Long. Thank you for participating in A News Cafe’s campaign Q&A. Please tell a bit about yourself.
Allen Long: I am a 32-year resident of Shasta County, a retired Redding Police Lieutenant, and a current Trustee of Grant School District.
I received a Bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on finance from the University of California, Berkeley.
Right after college, I took a job with Bank of America, went through their management training program, and became a commercial loan analyst. I eventually decided on a police career, and eventually worked for the Redding Police Department (RPD) for almost 20 years. This experience has given me unique perspective on our community. I was a homicide detective, seeing that ugly end of life, and worked tirelessly to bring justice to victims. I served as the sergeant for our neighborhood police unit and worked with our underserved populations to help get them into services and treatments. I was subsequently promoted to management. I led budgeting, staffing, and policy, including the creation of the canine program and the policy regarding how RPD work with the homeless community.
When I retired from RPD as a lieutenant, I ran and was elected to the Grant School Board. My four children attended Grant School, and my two youngest children are currently enrolled there. I have served on the School Board for five years now and have served as the president of the Board. The Board has provided me with a whole new skill set which I believe has prepared me for service with the Shasta County Board of Supervisors. I have considerable experience with budgets, transparency, solvency and maintaining a happy and well-compensated workforce.
I care deeply about Shasta County. I raised my four children here and have enjoyed all the wonderful amenities this area has to offer. When I am not fishing or playing the piano, I am refining my knowledge of the unique needs facing our County and observing the actions taken by our current Board of Supervisors. It would be my honor and pleasure to represent District 2, and I am committed to working to bring back order to Shasta County.
A News Cafe: Why do you believe you’d be a good supervisor?
Allen Long: My educational background, my financial background, my board management background, along with my history of public service make me the ideal candidate for County Supervisor. In addition to my experience, I care deeply about this community and want to help bring back order. I have no personal agendas. I plan to listen and be available to my constituents. I will always look for the best solution and will treat everyone with the respect they deserve.
A News Cafe: What is your experience as an elected official or office holder?
Allen Long: Five years ago, I ran for and was elected as a Trustee for the Grant School District. I am currently serving my second term and have worked to help navigate our District through wildfires, PG&E blackouts, and COVID. One of the things I’m most proud of, is that we did not close the school. Instead, we carefully examined state mandates and risks, and came up with a plan to keep the children in the classroom so they did not fall behind, while coming up with a homeschool option for parents who made the personal choice to keep their children at home. The School Board also maintained professionalism and decorum during these complex and contentious meetings, which allowed us to keep the focus on the children.
I retired from the City of Redding Police Department as a lieutenant in charge of one of the four divisions in the Department. My responsibilities included overseeing budgets, equipment, and personnel management.? My experience was a good microcosm of what county government and management looks like.
A News Cafe: Have you accepted – or would you accept – contributions from the Water Users
Committee/Reverge Anselmo? If so, why? If not, why?
Allen Long: I have not taken or been offered any contributions from the Water Users Committee/Reverge Anselmo, and I will not. ?I do not like the outside influence of a mega-donor unduly influencing our local politics, especially one who has professed a desire to harm Shasta County, and therefore our citizens.
A News Cafe: What are your thoughts about the concept of Shasta County becoming a charter county?
Allen Long: The current proposed charter was rushed through, is flawed as written, and could create significant problems going forward. I understand that the current Board majority felt a need to rush it through while they still have a majority, but complex law should never be created on the fly. I do not support Measure D-Charter County.
A News Cafe: What are your thoughts about term limits?
Allen Long: I believe local control is very important, which includes giving citizens the right to make their own decision on who represents them. Creating term limits diminishes future voters’ election options. I believe if an elected official has lost their effectiveness in office, they should be voted out, not termed out. I do see both sides of this issue, and I am open to hearing the public’s thought. My biggest concern is how do we keep institutional knowledge when our leaders are forced to leave their positions. I am also concerned that our constant turn-over may lessen our ability to be effective on a state level.
A News Cafe: Which groups or notable individuals have endorsed you and your campaign?
Allen Long: I have been fortunate to have a wide-ranging list of individuals who have endorsed my campaign, and I am grateful to each of them. My endorsements include retired Sheriffs Jim Pope and Tom Bosenko along with individuals in education, including superintendent E.D. Schneider. I have also received the endorsement of SEIU Local 2015 and UPEC local 792. It is an honor to have this vote of confidence from the employees of the County who work tirelessly for our community. A complete list of my endorsements is on my website.
A News Cafe: Describe your district, its unique assets and challenges.
Allen Long: District 2 is both suburban and rural; full of the natural resources that we love and the fuel that wildfires love. That presents unique and difficult challenges that require our attention and action. We all want the beauty we live here for but in addition we want to protect our homes and property. We also cannot lose focus on: suffering through power outages; difficulty in obtaining insurance for our properties; issues with water and air quality; blight from the fires; and overuse and damage to our roads.
I am a long-term resident of District 2, and have, along with my neighbors, firsthand experience with wildfires. I want to work with residents, fire officials and others to bring the focus back to key priorities of this County, such as increasing resources for wildfire preparedness and emergency planning, and improving air and water quality. We must also advocate for our residents to ensure that they have affordable insurance, and resources when there are power outages.
A News Cafe: How long have you lived in your district?
Allen Long: I have lived in District 2 for 32 years.
A News Cafe: Your thoughts about the current supervisors’ decision to suspend impact fees?
Allen Long: I believe the Board made the decision to suspend impact fees without the proper information, and without contemplating the effect on the County budget. I would have voted to table the issue until a full study could be completed. Balancing development against the impact that development has on the County is a very complex issue and should not have been rushed into as a political tool to get votes in the upcoming election.
A News Cafe: Your thoughts about the current supervisors’ decision to cancel the Dominion voting system contract?
Allen Long: I am not in favor of the decision to cancel the Dominion contract. I do not support hand counting our votes, as that process is subject to more error, time and potential fraud than any vote tallying machine. Also, with the passage of AB 969 it is now against the law to hand count votes in jurisdictions with more than 1,000 voters. I do support the continued monitoring of the election process, always looking at ways to safeguard it. These machines have been working for a long time, and the current five-member board were all elected with these machines. I want a free and fair election as much as anybody does and will continue to look at the evidence.
A News Cafe: Your thoughts about the firing of former Health Officer Karen Ramstrom, and the hiring of Dr. James Mu?
Allen Long: I would not have voted to fire Dr. Ramstrom or to hire Dr. Mu. I have strong opinions about how the State of California handled COVID, but Dr. Ramstrom should not have been fired for following State law or using her best medical opinion. I also have concerns about hiring Dr. Mu to fill her place, as he lacks the qualifications and was rejected as a candidate by the professional panel that interviewed him. I want a health official that does what is right and legal, not one who does what the Board of Supervisors want them to do.
A News Cafe: Your thoughts about the board’s recent decision to offer generous severance packages to the new health officer, the CEO and the new county counsel?
Allen Long: I do not agree with the recent decisions of the Board to overcompensate these three positions and provide them with disproportionately high severance packages. These hand-picked applicants all came without the qualifications to support their wages, which begs the question as to why they are being treated differently than all other employees. This appears to be the very definition of a misappropriation of public funds and certainly nepotism as regards the County Counsel.
We are having a difficult time recruiting people. One of the main reasons is the current disfunction of the County Board of Supervisors which creates uncertainty for department heads and staff. Instead of throwing money at a lesser qualified few, the county would be better served by having the Board make educated and thoughtful decisions that take the entire County and its future into consideration. We also need to focus our attention on compensating our lower-paid and underpaid employees appropriately, so they remain with the County and continue to provide essential services.
A News Cafe: What issues, under the jurisdiction of the board of supervisors, do you feel most
passionate about, and what solutions would you propose to help those issues?
Allen Long: As a retired police lieutenant, I will always be looking at ways to reduce crime in the County. The solutions are multifaceted and will take a holistic approach.
My top three priorities as your supervisors are:
1. Enforcement/Public Safety
We must support strong Sheriff patrols throughout our entire County, a fully operational jail, and prosecutors equipped with the tools to be tough on crime. I will also work to prevent crime through a balanced approach ––ensuring Shasta County’s housing needs are met, improving mental health services, and leveraging every opportunity to strengthen our economy.
2. Fiscal Responsibility
I have a strong financial background, which I will use to advocate for sound financial management, while maintaining essential County services and staffing. We must build our economy, create jobs and prepare for any economic downturn.
3. Bringing Back Order
The Board of Supervisors must implement good governance in order to move the County forward. I will not lose sight of the importance of putting the needs of our citizens first, conducting myself with professionalism, and listening to you. I will provide the access, transparency, and integrity that our County residents deserve.
A News Cafe: What else would you like us to know?
Allen Long: I’ve been watching local politics closely for many years and I don’t like what’s happening in our County. I don’t like the outside individual who is unduly influencing our local politics. I don’t like the pet projects and personal gain being sought by the current board majority. And I am scared for the future our County workforce.
I am running for District 2 Supervisor to shift our local government back to sanity and common sense. I want to restore civility and calm. I believe that if we stabilize our local government, we can get on with sorely needed important work.