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Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
Condado

Condado de NevadaCandidato para Supervisor, Distrito 1

Photo de Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor

General Contractor, Private Firefighter, Farmer
2,422 votos (23.51%)
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Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • I'm a strong advocate for personal and property rights. I do not support the County proactively seeking out code violations. As Supervisor, I'll work hard to ensure that the Code Compliance Division respects you and your property rights!
  • I will work hard to create housing solutions that will increase homeownership and rental opportunities in Nevada County. I'll also work hard to reduce local taxes and building fees.
  • I'd like to see one notification system for our county in the event of a fire or natural disaster: CODE RED. As a private firefighter with logging experience, I have real-world insight into the fire safety management strategies Nevada County needs.

Experiencia

Experiencia

Profesión:General Contractor, Private Firefighter, Farmer
Owner, M.J.T. Builders L.L.C. (1996–current)

Biografía

I’m a Nevada County native with a longstanding family history in the area that dates back to the 1930s.

I’ve owned M.J.T. Builders since 1996 and work with many local contractors on both commercial and residential projects. I have experience dealing with county permitting and planning. I’ll bring real construction expertise to the Board of Supervisors and will work to reduce building costs as well as fees associated with the development of new projects. I also plan to advocate for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and tiny homes to support increasing our local housing inventory.

I’m also a private firefighter who runs dozers and excavators as well as a certified crane operator who completes hazardous tree removal projects. When it comes to addressing fire safety management, I have the real-world insight Nevada County needs.

My wife, my daughter and I own a home in rural Nevada City. As a family, we raise chickens, keep bees and maintain a community vegetable garden. We actively care for our neighborhood, grading a one mile stretch of road regularly and overseeing fire safety clearings within our community that protect nearly 100 acres year-round.

¿Quién apoya a este candidato?

Featured Endorsements

  • Pauli Halstead, Homeless Advocate, former Vice President of Sierra Roots, Co-Chair of LWV Program PlaPlanning Committee
  • John Lenz, former Banker, Adjunct Professor
  • Patricia Smith, Regional Chair of Americans for Safe Access, Retired

Funcionarios electos (1)

  • Santiago Santino Castillo, Former Parliamentarian & Minister of Government in Belize, Co-Owner of the Santiago Castillo

Individuos (1)

  • Otto Bevis, Former Director of Buying for the Unicomer Group

Creencias poliza

Filosofía política

I'm not a career politician. I'm a concerned citizen getting involved politically because the current economic and housing trajectory of Nevada County is not sustainable.

I care about Nevada County. I'll advocate for the working person. I want to hear about the issues that matter to you. Please reach out to me by email at mtaylor4district1@gmail.com.

Documentos sobre determinadas posturas

Why We’re Failing to Solve Our Local Housing Crisis

Summary

Please read this article to learn about Michael Taylor's plan to increase our local housing inventory. 

Since 2009, the County hasn’t come close to meeting its own housing development goals. As per the 2009-2014 Housing Element Update, 2,988 housing units needed to be built; sadly, only 443 were (http://bit.ly/14-19HElement).

The Board of Supervisors and the Community Development Agency, which consists of the Building and Planning Departments as well as Code Enforcement – to name a few, exacerbate the problem, despite being managed by experienced professionals. Currently, it’s impossible to build affordable housing here. Not all the factors are under the County’s control, but they can make things easier.

I’m running for Supervisor in District 1 for an array of reasons, a few of which are that I’m frustrated by how long it takes to get projects through, how much it costs, and the no-growth mentality of the Board of Supervisors. As Supervisor, I’ll reform how the County deals with housing development. I will streamline permitting processes, make them faster and waive or reduce fees so that it’s affordable to build, add-to and renovate homes. I will focus on smaller homes and high-density projects.

Are you a homeowner looking to make renovations? Are you considering building an in-law unit (ADU) to generate passive income? Would you like to get your existing ‘as-built’ structure up to code? Whether you’re looking to build, buy, or rent a home, these issues matter to you.

Can affordable housing actually be built in Nevada County? I’ve been asking around, and most contractors, realtors and longtime industry experts agree – it’s not. In 2019, the average cost to build was $250-$300 per square foot. New state building codes focused on energy efficiency (sprinklers, EC fixtures, solar, etc.) took effect this January and will affect these numbers. I’m guessing the cost to build is going to increase 10%-20%.

How can we create affordable housing solutions amidst this madness?

SOLUTION #1: Increase the housing inventory by building the right type of housing.

If there’s no supply and lots of demand, it’s a landlord’s market and renters suffer. There is affordable housing that exists. The trouble is, none of it’s available. With no available inventory, you’ll never have affordable housing. By building more homes, we create more options, create price competition and incentivize landlords to improve their offerings.

The easiest, fastest and cheapest way to increase our housing inventory is for the County to partner with local municipalities and encourage high density development within their spheres of influence. When high-density building, costs will be shared by an increased number of units. This division of costs suddenly makes housing significantly more affordable.

I also want Nevada County to loosen its requirements so that efficiency dwellings (aka tiny homes) and ADUs can be built on land that supports these structures. Developing these small, secondary units while we wait on the construction of more high-density developments will provide much needed, immediate housing for healthcare, construction, agricultural and food services workers in our community.

SOLUTION #2: Bring building and renovation costs down while reining in the County’s skyrocketing costs and fees.

We both know that if you can, you will AVOID the Building Department. Those that don’t often regret it. Whether you’re a home buyer, homeowner, contractor, REALTOR® or commercial property owner, believe me, you DON’T want to deal with the County. Not only will the County deter you from developing your land, but it will also make it so untimely and costly for you to do so that you’ll never complete your project.

Simple projects like adding an accessory generator aren’t even “over-the-counter” permits. Even with a licensed, bonded and insured electrician to do the job, it’s a challenge. However, in early December, Placer County dropped all fees associated with the installation of a backup generator. They’d rather know where the generators are and help people understand the potential fire risks before they start fires. This is a great idea and Nevada County should follow suit.

Fees and code compliance violation costs are outrageous, and they’re preventing us from doing what makes sense.

SOLUTION #3: Streamline processes and allow for a more flexible interpretation of building codes.

The Building Department, Code Compliance Department and state/local environmental agencies are further disincentivizing people from developing their properties. It’s no secret there are hundreds of unpermitted structures in the County. I want to create streamlined and affordable ways to bring these units up to code. Instead, the County is avoiding liability issues completely by keeping the rules as black and white, and as strict as possible. There is no leniency and no room for interpretation.

Getting projects approved takes too much time. Too much time = too much money! We need a solution that relaxes building codes across the board! Title 25 is a good start, but not extensive enough. California’s out of control residential building codes are crippling our state, and rural counties suffer the most.

SOLUTION #4: Sell pre-approved, turnkey building plans over the counter and combine field inspections to decrease the number of total inspections necessary and ensure projects get done.

To promote growth, I suggest the County design ten generic efficiency dwelling and Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) plans that are fully approved and available for purchase over the counter. Let’s make it simple. You come into the office, pay a flat rate fee, sign an indemnity agreement and get fully approved, ready to build plans. Of course, you’ll still need to consider site-specific engineering (percentage grade, etc.) and utility hookups, but if those precluding projects go through, your building plans will be guaranteed to go through.

Let’s simplify things by lumping together inspections, thereby decreasing the total number of field inspections needed to complete your project. The County should trust that the licensed, bonded, insured contractors we’re hiring are building to code and that inspectors are ensuring projects get done correctly.

SOLUTION #5: Create a fair and just way to resolve code compliance violations and protect property rights.

Since permitting is such a painful, costly and time-consuming process, I believe that many homeowners in Nevada County are choosing to build and renovate without permits. If you’re one of them, who could blame you?

When the County inspects one code violation on your property, they’ll actively look for others. They might even document your ‘as-built’ or ‘unpermitted’ structures as having increased your property value and raise your property taxes while they’re at it. When they do, what can you do? There’s no fighting back. The County will use your tax dollars against you to bleed you dry, financially and emotionally.

I want to create a healthy platform that will: (1) allow a third-party mediator to help county residents resolve issues with the Community Development Agency, (2) instill a quick, fair and just process for property owners to bring ‘as-built’ or ‘unpermitted’ structures up to code and (3) create financially feasible payment plans. As members of this community, we should not fear doing the right thing.

SOLUTION #6: Acknowledge that we can’t make everyone happy and do what’s best for the greater community.

What about those in our community who don’t want to develop Nevada County? They’re a small group that’s controlling a large conversation. “Not in My Back Yarders” (NIMBYs) should not be able to stop crucial progress that Nevada County’s sustainable future depends on. Yes, we should allot all individuals their right to freedom of speech, but the Board of Supervisors should also be able to make decisions for the greater good.

As a licensed general building contractor in Nevada County with 40 years of experience, I understand these issues and want to get us back on track. I’ve worked with many local contractors on both commercial and residential projects. I have professional and personal experience dealing with county permitting and planning.

I’m running for District 1 Supervisor because affordable, attainable housing in Nevada County should be possible. I’ve never been affiliated with any government agencies or political parties and am willing to expose problems at the County level. I want reform. I want to stop government overreach. As Supervisor, I will bring oversight to Nevada County.

If you feel strongly about issues related to affordable housing or have had difficulties building or developing your property, please reach out to me by email at mtaylor4district1@gmail.com. I’m working to build a coalition of concerned citizens. Together, we’ll ensure our voices get heard in Nevada County.

Left, Right, Center

Summary

Please read this article to learn how Michael Taylor differs from the other candidates running for District 1 Supervisor. 

Last Thursday’s League of Women Voters Candidate Forum – for District 1 Supervisor – was interesting, to say the least. It’s clear that I’m not a politician, but I will work hard to rise to the occasion.

It seemed that Supervisor Hall was running on the successes of the Board of Supervisors rather than talking about her own personal successes. She also mentioned that one of the ways the County has succeeded in addressing issues of homelessness is through its assistance with housing vouchers. I, and most local experts in this realm, know that the County’s housing voucher program is no victory. Due to our housing inventory shortage and the required home inspection by the County prior to accepting these vouchers, most landlords in Nevada County are unwilling to accept them. Section 8 vouchers don’t cover the high cost to rent here. Why would a landlord accept these vouchers when they can make top dollar renting to those who can/will pay for it?

While Deborah Wilder and I share similar beliefs about the overly complex and cumbersome building department processes and the need to increase the local housing inventory, I have a lifetime of construction knowledge and will bring real construction expertise to the Board of Supervisors to effectively establish housing solutions and bring about smart growth.

While Deborah and I also share similar beliefs about the importance of fire safety, I not only understand fire safety preparedness, I, as a private firefighter, have a first-hand, boots on the ground understanding of fire suppression too. Successful fire safety preparedness and fire suppression depends on the work of a TEAM of professionals, consisting of qualified local and State government agencies and private contractors. I’m familiar with and have worked alongside many of these professionals in the greater Nevada County area.

Deborah and I differ in a number of other ways as well:

    1. I’m a strong advocate of personal and property rights. When presented the idea of the usage of drones for code compliance surveillance, I was adamantly opposed.

    2. Deborah is opposed to a “tent city.” I am a strong advocate for the incorporation of a SAFE SANCTUARY PROJECT in Nevada County. This project will provide a clean, drug free, well-managed and safe transitioning point for 20-30 individuals from our community who are experiencing homelessness. This project will also allow social service providers a better opportunity to find and assist those in need. I do not agree with Deborah regarding it being “unacceptable” for someone to sleep in their car, if needed. I’d prefer people experiencing homelessness be allotted the right to a safe space, with suitable sanitation offerings, rather than not providing this and forcing them further into the shadows.

    3. While I do support the consolidation of our local County fire districts, I’m hesitant to agree to incorporating a blanket 1% tax until fully understanding the cost to benefit ratio. Consolidating overhead of the multiple districts will create a surplus in the consolidation of budgets, which we should review first before talking about implementing additional taxes.

    4. While Deborah says she “won’t have any problems” with cannabis farmers who are operating “under the rules of the law,” her hesitation to openly support cannabis shines through. Cannabis issues with the code compliance division are civil, not criminal. To use the term “illegal” as she did on Thursday further highlights her lack of support for this industry. She’s right that the local cannabis industry isn’t “going away anytime soon.” We need a Board that fully supports this lucrative industry. When elected as Supervisor, I’ll be a trusted partner who will help streamline permitting processes and establish a successful taxing system, which will generate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars for our community in the years to come.

If we’d created reasonable policies years ago for licensing and taxing cannabis, and had healthy growth in our community of 2.5% each year since the last recession, the general fund would have the financial means to build a senior center and more homeless shelters. If not for multiple poor decisions with Cascade Shores wastewater treatment plant and County liability issues at the jail (to mention a few), we would have saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in attorney fees and legal settlements. I’m tired of the County wasting our hard-earned tax dollars and limiting smart growth.

As a Nevada County native, I’m strongly committed to our community. I will put an end to the current non-growth, CDA policies situation we’ve been living with for almost ten years. I love Nevada County and, while not a polished politician, I have the construction expertise the Board needs to help solve our local housing crisis. I’ve never been affiliated with any government agencies nor political parties and am committed to exposing as well as fixing problems at the County level. I believe the other candidates fall to the left and right, while I hold steady in the center. When elected as Supervisor, I will work for and with my constituents. I’m willing to call a spade a spade and will represent you well.

Read more about Thursday evening’s events in The Union:
http://bit.ly/LWVcandidateForumD1

Cannabis Cultivation in Nevada County

Summary

Please read this article to learn how Michael Taylor plans to help diffuse the reverberation of distrust that our community has with the Community Development Agency. 

As much I respect the work of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, I feel they don’t represent the majority of the 3,000+ farms the Nevada County CDA Program Manager has stated exist in our county. Through my background with cannabis and what I’ve learned while talking to many members of our local cannabis community while campaigning for Supervisor, it’s clear many farmers don’t feel like they’re being represented. I would like to offer you my perspective, which greatly falls in line with these underrepresented farmers who are growing for personal use and/or medical and are not interested in cumbersome commercial 2,500, 5,000 or 10,000 sq. f. grows.

I’ll get to the point; I’m running on personal and property rights. I’m making multiple recommendations for restoring trust between the community and the CDA. One of the strongest points I’m running on is that the Nevada County Director of Building’s responsibilities should be BUILDING only. His job should solely consist of reviewing residential applications, overseeing front counter activities, personally reviewing all submitted commercial applications, doing all commercial site inspections and training staff for front counter as well as field inspections. That is a full-time job. I further feel that working the front counter on Wednesdays for over-the-counter permits and Thursday mornings at NCCA is not a good use of the Director of Building’s valuable time. I feel that his time can be better used for developing creative housing solutions that will meet our County’s housing element goals.

I also strongly feel it’s counterproductive for the Director of Building to be overseeing the Code Compliance Division and Cannabis Permitting. In my opinion, Building Code Complaints and Cannabis Complaints should be dealt with directly under the Agency Director and Program Manager. There is a serious breach of trust reverberating through the community because the Director of Building is tasked with overseeing the responsibilities of the Building Department, the Code Compliance Division, cannabis permitting and cannabis compliance.

Furthermore, if the County is serious about the success of their permitted Cannabis Program, the process should be shifted underneath the responsibility of the friendly staff at the Agricultural Department. Cannabis is an agricultural product and the permitting process should be dealt with by persons familiar with agricultural crops, fungicides, pesticides and the organic production of this crop. These topics are all already the arms of the Agricultural Department. Moving the oversight of cannabis over to the Agricultural Department is a viewpoint that’s supported by many members of our community and the Cannabis Alliance.

Additionally, to encourage more cannabis farmers to enter into the program, the County should create a deferment period or a temporary permitting period that waives the excessive code compliance requirements for a year if the applicant pays a nonrefundable permitting deposit of $500 to the Agricultural Department, which will be applied to their permit application if received before September 1st, 2020. The Agricultural Department should then have the authority to inspect the properties at any point and make sure gardens are following size constraints and using proper farming practices. At that point, if any serious code violations pertaining specifically to the cultivation site are deemed immediate threats to public health and safety, they can be turned over to code compliance.

I have a lot of input for non-remuneration cultivation as well. In short, this program is for medical use and should be tax-free with no commercial sales. It should also have a deferment period or temporary permitting period similar to that of the commercial program, a $500 fee and be overseen by the Agricultural Department.

I also believe we need to look at how to create a personal use program that will allow 1-5 members who live in zones prohibited from growing cannabis outdoors to grow their 6 plants cooperatively on a properly zoned ag property. I propose that the cooperative be able to register their farm annually with the Agricultural Department for a flat fee of $500. I propose it can only be outdoors in flowering state, with no lights, a maximum of 2000 sq. ft. and be allowed only on ag zoned property of five acres or more just like commercial or non-remuneration.

I know a lot of these ideas will be considered out of the box solutions, but I believe we need to be more creative in how we approach this to really begin encouraging our cannabis cultivators to transition into tax-paying businesses that will benefit our community. The commercial cannabis ordinance in Nevada County should not be more strict than California Law and should not have any additional oversight or property requirements.

When elected as Supervisor, I will work hard to be part of a sustainable and financially viable solution for cannabis cultivation in our community. If you feel strongly about issues related to cannabis in Nevada County, please contact me at mtaylor4district1@gmail.com. I’m working to build a coalition of concerned citizens. Together, we’ll ensure our voices get heard in Nevada County.

Videos (2)

I'm a concerned citizen who cares about my community. — February 29, 2020 Michael Taylor for District 1 Supervisor in 2020

I'm not a career politician. I’ve never been affiliated with any government agencies nor political party and am willing to expose problems at the County level. I’m a general building contractor, private firefighter and CONCERNED CITIZEN who cares about his community. With Election Day just around the corner, please visit mtaylor4district1.com to learn more about me and my stance on key issues so you can make an informed decision about who you'll be voting for!

When elected, I'll take a smart, measured approach towards managing growth in Nevada County. — February 29, 2020 Michael Taylor for District 1 Supervisor in 2020

If you haven't made up your mind about who you support for District 1 Supervisor, please consider voting for me. When elected, I plan to take a smart, measured approach towards managing growth in our community. I will work hard to incorporate solutions that will increase homeownership and rental opportunities in Nevada County. Please read my recent blog post to learn more about me and how I plan to help solve our local housing crisis: http://bit.ly/HousingSolutionsNC

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