Saturday, January 28, 2012

Your Community: Les Baugh

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Fantom Penguin begins a new ongoing series today, introducing the community to people in important leadership positions.  This publication, as a matter of policy, does not endorse any candidate, but rather offers them an opportunity to share their stories in their own words.  This week:  Les Baugh, Shasta County Supervisor District 5.

“District 5 covers a small slice of Redding, goes down through Churn Creek Bottom, includes that entire area, all of the City of Anderson (not the zip code), all of Cottonwood.  It also includes, as we’re going to the east, Millville, Shingletown, Manton and Viola.”

“I had moved into Anderson.  I was a teenager.  I was managing a store for a man who had just bought an asset in the City of Anderson.  He wanted me to enlarge the building by about 25%.  So I had hired an architect on his behalf, an engineer, had all the plans developed, presented them to the City of Anderson and much like the stories people tell me when they come to the County of Shasta, I felt a very similar thing.  That I felt like . . .  Honestly, I felt like I was going to have to pay somebody to get the approval I wanted.   And this is back in the early 80’s, so you have to kind of put it in perspective.  Pretty soon . . . and I became a little bit more aggressive with that thought process, as I was sharing it very publicly with the community, that I wasn’t happy at all.  It seemed like it was dragging on forever and we were never going to get anywhere with the City of Anderson.  This man came up to me; his name was Jerry Voorhees and I believe he was mayor of the City of Anderson at the time and I remember him saying, he said, ‘Baugh, you have a really big mouth.’  And I said, ‘Yes, sir, I do.’  So, you have to picture Les Baugh in his twenties not in his fifties as I am today.  And I said, ‘So, your point is?’  And he says, ‘Well,’ he says, ‘you have been talking about the City of Anderson and our Building Department and you’ve been saying some fairly negative things.’  And I said, ‘Yes, sir.  I believe them with all my heart.’  And he says, ‘Well, how would you like to, instead of just complaining about the city, how would you like to change that and participate in it and have the opportunity to make a difference?’  And I said, ‘Well, what do you have in mind?’  And he told me that he had a Planning Commission appointment available and he asked if I would accept appointment to the Anderson Planning Commission.  He told me a little bit more about it and I said, ‘Absolutely.’  And over the period of the time from that appointment I was able to, I would say, effect some change from the inside.  It started there.  I think it led to a real passion, a discovery that I had an ability to communicate, to be able to represent other people, to make some positive changes.  Today Anderson is known as one of the friendliest entities for doing business, where I remember as when I was mayor of Anderson, we would embrace and say, ‘Come on in and we’ll help you discover how you can do business well here in the City of Anderson.’  I’d like to think I had a little part of that that started as a kid invited to sit on a planning commission.”

“Well soon after that, one of the men stepped down from the Anderson City Council, so there was a vacancy and I had worked fairly effectively on the Planning Commission, admittedly for a very short time.  They made a temporary appointment and placed me on -- I accepted the appointment to the Anderson City Council then.  And then I had the opportunity to run for office to confirm that position.  So my first public election was in 1982.”

The Fantom Penguin asked the Supervisor how the impending retirement of Congressman Wally Herger would affect Northstate politics.

“It doesn’t affect my position at all.  But certainly, Congressman Herger announced his retirement and as planned in advance, he endorsed Doug LaMalfa.  Doug LaMalfa intends, has already declared his public intent to run for Congress to replace Congressman Herger.  On the basis that a lot of people believe that he will be successful (and I’m not telling you that’s my personal opinion; I’m just telling you that is the common thought), then there are those that are already making advance decisions to run for the senate seat that he would vacate.  Now Senator LaMalfa is currently senator for Shasta County and we’re sitting in the middle of Shasta County.  But redistricting has created a new District 1 that includes Shasta County and Siskiyou County and it goes from Modoc County all along the eastern border of California down to Alpine County.  So you take all of the counties in between; you’ve got a dozen counties that are the new District 1.  That’s the senate seat I’m running for.  Now the overlap is I’m not running against Senator LaMalfa.”

The Fantom Penguin then asked him about his opponent in this race.

“Well, I’ll tell you my standard line is:  I try never to mention another person’s name than my own.  And I’ll tell you that I really, honestly from a personal perspective, have never run against anyone.  I run for the job.  I run for the people that I’ll represent.  It’s a different perspective.  It comes from my heart of representing people not in a competitive race for a job.”

The Fantom Penguin has extended an invitation to Baugh’s opponent to appear in this publication.

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