Plan within our limits is the main slogan of Shiva Frentzen, who is another candidate for the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, District 2.
Running for the second time to serve on the Board of Supervisors, Frentzen said she has lived in the county for 22 years and has had her own business for 15.
Currently a board member of the Cameron Park Community Services District, Frentzen believes the county needs to put its limited resources into promoting economic development and jobs versus rooftops, noting that it’s not healthy when 70 percent of the workforce is going down the hill to work.
More jobs can be created by offering incentives for businesses to relocate here, she said, adding that now that the county has an economic development director, it’s up to the Board of Supervisors to set achievable economic development goals.
“I was the first commissioner on the economic development advisory commission back in 2007,” she said. “They keep talking but the goals haven’t been set properly to achieve something measurable.”
Frentzen said that rather than considering more housing developments, the county should look at how to incentivize businesses to move here.
Frentzen said such incentives might include tax and fee breaks for a limited time period with the incentives varying depending on what the company needs. Asked how existing businesses would react, Frentzen said that if the new businesses brought in more customers and jobs, everyone would benefit and there would be less traffic and tax leakage.
Frentzen said there is also a need to improve the infrastructure in the county as it’s an important consideration for businesses thinking of moving here as well as those who work from their homes.
“But our biggest challenge is addressing the 70 percent who are commuting down the hill,” said Frentzen.
Another challenge is the percentage of seniors in the county, she said, adding that in Cameron Park the percentage of seniors has increased by at least 7 percent in the last five years with the same happening to the county as a whole. “We can’t have our children going elsewhere for jobs and leaving behind nothing but senior citizens,” she said. “All these issues have to be addressed, although it might take 15 to 20 years before the results show up.”
Frentzen went on to discuss lowering the TIM fees (traffic impact mitigation), adding that it now costs around $100,000 in different fees to build a home in El Dorado Hills. That’s why all these big housing developments are being proposed, she said. “It’s because building on a large-scale is the only way these developers can make any money, given the fees they have to pay.”
Regarding the proposed hotel in Tilden Park, Frentzen said she supports the hotel but not rezoning the property for other uses. “I’m not in favor of rezoning other than to protect agriculture or promote economic development,” she said, adding that Red Hawk Casino already has plans for a hotel.
“I want to be a responsible growth county, not a no-growth county,” she added.
As for more economic development in the south county, Frentzen noted that agriculture and ag tourism are important parts of the local economy. But she said her priority is fire protection, public safety and ensuring those areas have the water they need to sustain agriculture. “I’m the only candidate endorsed by Cal Fire and Pioneer Firefighters and have always put fire safety at the top of the list, she said, although I don’t support the fire tax.”
Regarding the different initiatives that have been circulated this year, Frentzen said she is a strong supporter of Measure M, noting that she worked very hard with the group that drafted it. However, she does not support the “yellow” initiative the Board of Supervisors approved for a 30-day review, saying it would tie their hands.
Criticizing the current board as not making much progress while missing out on certain opportunities, she said, “Too many issues become personal in this county.”
As for many of the big spending issues ending up on the consent calendar, Frentzen said she doesn’t like “hiding stuff there. As a board member of the CPCSD, I always pull the financials off the consent calendar,” she said, adding that she believes in transparency and accountability.
Frentzen also had some concerns about discussions by the El Dorado County Charter Review Committee to turn some elected officials into appointed ones. Those positions are critical in order for the county to be accountable to the public, she noted, not five members of the Board of Supervisors or the chief administrative officer.
Wrapping up her comments as to why she believes she is the most qualified candidate in the race, Frentzen said her experience as a board member of the CPCSD has given her experience with the Brown Act, understanding financial reports, listening to constituents and holding staff accountable. “Those things don’t come instantly,” she added. “It takes time to learn how to be a good elected official. I can easily transition to the Board of Supervisors because the fundamentals are the same.
“As a business owner I am always looking for new ways to improve things and I would bring the same approach to the job of supervisor. I’ve been involved in all aspects of the county in protecting its resources and I have a track record.”