County uncertain how it will be affected by election
Local government leaders and business owners are uncertain how the outcomes of the national and state elections will affect Glenn County and its two cities, but most agree economic impacts could be felt.
A so-called "super majority" of Democrats in the Legislature could cut back on gridlock there, but it still will not stop the state's money grab from local governments.
That is the opinion of Orland City Councilman Bruce Roundy, who is an officer on committees of the League of California Cities, an advocacy organization for municipalities across the state.
He said the League's goal for 2013 is to continue safeguarding local control over city money which is an ongoing effort.
It lobbies for retention of local tax dollars for needed services and has succeeded in putting through legislation to protect some funding.
However, federal money is now less plentiful as the Glenn County Resource Conservation District is finding, Roundy said. He also sits on that agency's board.
"There is (federal) money to be had but you have to be on the look out for it," Roundy said.
On the federal level, there is a lot of chest pounding and rhetoric, he said.
"The jury is still out on whether the parties will go beyond dogma and do what's best for us all," the councilman said.
He added Democrats and Republicans need to come "into the middle" like they did in years past to get things done for the country.
And while Proposition 30 passed to protect educational spending in California, Roundy said he hopes legislators don't view it as a signal to spend other tax dollars in these hard economic times.
City Manager Pete Carr said he does not think it makes much difference to the local economy whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House.
However, the so-called "fiscal cliff" crisis could have an impact on Orland, he said, because the national election did not change the gridlock between Congress and the president.
The city could lose home loan funding for first-time buyers, other community development block grant funds and a COPs grant that funds police officers, Carr said.
However, Proposition 30 may protect the COPs funds, he added, even though most of that money goes to schools.
Road projects and funding for park improvements have been reduced too, Carr said, which impacts Orland as it relies on grants to improve facilities.
Also, the sales tax hike from Prop. 30 while not benefit the cities as that revenue will not come to them, he said.
Still, Carr said he does not think the sales tax increase will make people defer purchases or change their spending habits.
Willows City Manager Steve Holsinger said he believes the national election will have minimal impact on local government here since the feds don't pay too much attention to it.
As a result, it will be more of the same in Washington, D.C., he said.
But he does hope the national trending of the economy continues to improve, Holsinger said, although he expects to see another two years of struggle before it really gets better.
On the state level, moves to steal funding from local government continue although the League of California Cities has stopped some of them, he said.
He is happy to see Proposition 30 passed, and even happier that Willows voters approved Measure Q to increase the city's transient occupancy tax from 10 to 12 percent, Holsinger said.
Yet a sales tax increase here probably would not have passed, he said, since Glenn County voters rejected Prop. 30.
Supervisor John Viegas said Prop. 30's passage protects realignment funding for law enforcement needs and will keep it stable for Glenn County.
That is a big help because without it, the county would have a hard time handling additional inmates, parolees and offenders, officials said.
Viegas added the impacts of the Affordable Care Act on mental health and other county administered health programs are unknown at this point.
"We don't know how that will come down," he said, "but we want to preserve some local control and flexibility in health spending."
He too, wishes the political parties would settle their differences and compromise for the good of the state and nation, Viegas said.
Business people also remain unsure how things will turn out but expressed hope a fragile economic recovery may continue.
"From a chamber perspective, we are looking forward to improvement in the economy in California," said Helen Duree, president of the Orland Chamber of Commerce.
Members also hope for compromise, she said, between the U.S. Congress and the executive branch so there is resolution to the "financial cliff" reported by the news media.
If a compromise is made, Duree believes "we will continue to see the slow growth we are seeing'' and things could move forward, she said.
Orland car dealer Gary Campbell said he would really like to see the state government get "its spending problem under control" as the people and businesses are taxed enough.
He also is scared of Obamacare, Campbell said, because nobody can explain how it will work.
Campbell's R&R Sales Company sells used autos and does automotive repairs on a lot of aging vehicles, he said.
Yet Campbell suggested "If you work hard, you can get through any economy,'' which is what his business is attempting to do.
He also thinks Glenn County's economy was hit harder by this recession than Los Angeles and the Bay area, he said, since it is based on agriculture and does not have the population base of metropolitan areas.
Nonetheless, Campbell expects residents to survive the recession.
"I don't care who is in power," Campbell said. "The American people are strong and persevere."
Lisa Hill with the Willows Chamber of Commerce said, in her opinion, it does not matter whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge because they will do what they want until people let their voices be heard.
Hill said that happened locally with the change in the Willows City Council that will have three new members, who were elected because "people were tired of not being heard."
And it can happen in the future if citizens speak out, she added, as politicians at all levels pay attention to those who shout the loudest.