I believe it’s very important for those in public office to understand the perspectives and priorities of the people they represent.  With that in mind, one of my top priorities these days is gathering information that will help me better serve the people that I hope to someday represent in office.

Last month I launched an (informal) online survey to help me understand how people in the area felt about key issues.  To date, the anonymous survey garnered 60 responses.  While an informal survey (and small sampling) like this can only give us a glimpse into what’s on people’s minds… it is a very interesting glimpse.

The survey first asked participants to indicate how well the County’s efforts (in designated areas) met their expectations.  The second part of the survey asked participants to rank areas of interest from most important to least important.  Both parts of the survey generated interesting results.

Here is what the priorities look like as of this writing

It is interesting to see how each item ranked and how close the rankings were.  While there are clearly some items that stand out above others (Forest Management & Cannabis -Related Issues), results indicate that respondents (collectively) feel that all items on the survey are important.

I found more dramatic differences in survey results focused on satisfaction with County efforts.  The vast majority of those responding to this survey are not satisfied with efforts made on their behalf. Here is a quick look at the results:

Area of Interest Below Expectations Meets Expectations Above Expectations
Residential Property Rights 68% 30% 2%
Economic Development 95% 5%
Services Provided by the County 72% 28%
Planning by the County 91% 9%
Engagement of Residents & Business Owners 81% 17% 2%
Communication Effectiveness 82% 18%
Transparency Regarding Decision Making 86% 14%

I understand that results like these could be very discouraging to members of the County staff. In my view, we need to offer them encouragement and support because they are the ones showing up and doing the best they can in difficult circumstances.  It is difficult to maintain focus, productivity, and optimism in the face of uncertainty; changes in direction and priorities; and vacancies in both front-line and leadership positions.

My message to County staff – thank you for showing up… and for investing your time and talents on our behalf.

While it is not great news to hear that so many are unhappy with where we are now, it is encouraging to see that what drew me into this election (R.E.S.P.E.C.T. -Driven Leadership) resonates with others in the County.  I believe there is much we can do to improve in these areas.

I continue my efforts to gain understanding in the form of one-on-one discussions, small group gatherings, and town hall meetings.  Here are some examples:

  • I recently met with 40 or so people who attended a meeting in Lewiston. It was great to have the opportunity to hear directly from people in this part of District 1.
  • I spent the better part of last Sunday in the North Lake area… visiting with residents and getting a very informative tour of the area.
  • I just scheduled another community event – this one at the Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 9th from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM.

I have also attended or scheduled meetings with:

  • Trinity PUD Board
  • Lewiston Community Services District Board
  • Weaverville Rotary
  • County Administrative Officer
  • County Department Heads (and/or interim leaders)
  • TCAA Representatives
  • District 1 Planning Commissioner
  • Trinity County Sheriff
  • District Manager – Trinity County Resource Conservation District

Please let me know if you are aware of other opportunities to meet with people who are interested in our County’s future.

“If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

– Stephen R. Covey