These aren’t fun times for San Joaquin County.
Foreclosures, high unemployment, and diminished tax receipts weigh heavily on many people’s minds but not on Rhodesia Ransom.
“We can keep crying about it or do something about it,” Ransom said.
Ransom is one of three hopefuls seeking the District 5 seat on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors representing Manteca south of Yosemite Avenue, Tracy, and Mountain House in the June 5 primary. The others are Bob Elliott and Tom Benigno. All three are Tracy residents.
Ransom is emphasizing her desire - and ability - to problem solve as the backbone of her strategy for help in governing the county. She believes her background running a non-profit has helped her search for innovative ways to “do more with less” while her training and volunteer effort as a family mediator with the San Joaquin County Mediation Center will enable her to bring opposing sides together to find workable solutions for the county’s challenges.
“This is not the time to point fingers,” Ransom said. “Now is the time to work together. . . We need to do more with less.”
Ransom does not favor the Peripheral Canal or a bypass tunnel noting that diverting Sacramento River water from the Delta and directly to the California Aqueduct would severely increase salinity in the Delta. That, she noted, would have serious consequences for agriculture which still supplies the largest chunk of jobs in San Joaquin County.
Benigno supports the peripheral canal because it would create 10,000 new jobs with $10 billion worth of work during the construction of a conveyance facility. Ransom said that while she respects Benigno’s position she believes it is extremely short-sighted.
“We should not trade temporary jobs for our agricultural heritage,” she said.
She wants to collaborate closer with the schools, vocational schools and higher education institutions to improve the skill and educational level of the San Joaquin County workforce as part of a bid to demonstrate to potential employers that San Joaquin County is a solid place to do business.
One of Ransom’s goals is to work toward the establishment of a four-year public college in San Joaquin County and expand vocational schools.
“We raise thousands upon thousands of dollars in our communities for scholarships and then when our young people get educated they can’t afford to come back here,” Ransom said in reference to the tight job market.
Ransom believes high speed rail – especially the segment involving the Altamont Commuter Express line from Stockton to San Jose - can serve as a way to raise prosperity in San Joaquin County. She noted that BART over the years had been effective at moving large number of employees to job-rich San Francisco where better paying jobs enable families to enjoy a higher standard of living.
Her take on high speed rail dovetails into what she says are the three basic goals she embraces to improve the quality of life in the county. That includes having adequate public safety protection, economic development, and preserving what we have in terms of the economy and amenities.
Ransom believes it is important not to let “national news define us” in reference to broadcasts harping on the high foreclosure rate in the county and Stockton’s municipal financial rolls. She notes that what happens in Stockton can impact the rest of the county in terms of its image and the ability to attract jobs.
She indicates the county should do what it can to work with Stockton.
Even so, she believes the time has come to strike a stronger voice for the growing South County anchored by Tracy and Manteca.
In her campaign for supervisor Ransom has note that “a lot of people don’t know what they’re paying for” when it comes to the county.
Ransom noted that the county provides a long grange of services such as sheriff’s protection, the jail, the courts, the district attorney’s office, the general hospital, welfare, and other programs.
Ransom said not only is there a need to keep making such operations more efficient, but by education people and working to secure jobs so that long-range costs for county services can keep dropping.
Ransom is currently the vice chairman for the Tracy Planning Commission, is a member of the Tracy Unified School District Anti-Bullying Committee, an ambassador for the League of Women Voters, and chair of Delta Academy youth mentoring programs.
She is a former member and vice forewoman of the county’s Civil Grand Jury.. During her stint on the grand jury she helped expose hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasteful spending and improve government transparency and responsiveness.
For more information go to www.RansomForSupervisor.org