Bergeron will run
Not satisfied with the county’s decisions in the
Klamath agreement, Bergeron files for supervisor seat
By Andy Martin, Siskiyou Daily News 3/12/08
MONTAGUE - When Leo Bergeron learned Siskiyou County
has signed onto an agreement calling for the removal of
Klamath River dams as part of a water agreement between
farmers and environmental groups, he filed for the
District 1 seat on the Siskiyou County Board of
Bergeron, of Montague, will face incumbent Jim Cook in the June election.
’The main issue right now is this Klamath Basin restoration agreement,’ Bergeron said. ’This should have been blown out of the water two and half years ago. When the Board of Supervisors started to participate in these meetings and it became apparent the sole purpose was to remove the dams, the county should have done something. The dams have nothing to do with the restoration agreement. The county should have stepped out of the agreement.’
During the negotiations, Siskiyou County was one of
the parties that agreed to dam removal as a condition of
continued negotiations. Bergeron calls the agreement by
the county’s representatives a ’gross error in
’It appears the two people that were representing the county took (the confidentiality agreement) so seriously they did not inform the Board of Supervisors what was happening at the meetings. We didn’t know the contents of the agreement until we read it Jan. 15. These were direct appointed representatives of the Board of Supervisors. Other agencies said they were briefed. Why wasn’t the Board of Supervisors. It was a gross error in judgment.’
The county says it has been on the record for three years opposing dam removal. It says it had to agree on the dam removal provision as a condition of continued negotiations.
A cattle rancher, insurance broker and officer with
the state Grange association, Bergeron says the Board of
Supervisors needs to stand up to state and federal
agencies instead of being passive.
’County government by law has the right and the ability to protect and enhance the county, its people, its industries, its customs and culture,’ Bergeron said. ’County government needs to be resourceful and to have the will and the determination to take the necessary actions to protect and enhance the people and the resources of Siskiyou County. This requires that the Board of Supervisors be made up of individuals with a strong will and an even stronger determination to do the job and do it right.’
A resident of Siskiyou County for nearly 20 years, Bergeron says he has closely followed county politics and been active in the community. He was the master of the California State Grange after serving as master of the Greenhorn Grange. With the Grange, he traveled to Washington, D.C. to fight for farmers and ranchers. While master of the state Grange, he requested the Grange help fight for waters for farmers.
’I arranged to have the national Grange participate
in the bucket brigade and to make a direct appeal to the
secretary of the interior, Gale Norton, to employ real
science in the basin,’ Bergeron said. ’The secretary
contracted the National Science Academy to do a study of
the basin and it concluded that the cutoff of water was
not justified and the water was turned back on.’
Bergeron, who continues to raise cattle and operates an insurance agency with his wife, points to his track record of success in business and community service. ’I’ve been a self-employed businessman for over 40 years,’ Bergeron says. ’I started with nothing and built it. I’ve been very successful in business. It’s awfully easy to spend someone else’s money. The county is a business and it needs to be run like one.’
Bergeron said the major issues facing the county include loss of funding for schools and roads, loss of a property tax credit for agriculture, erosion of the timber industry, fire hazards because of poor forest management, fire protection in rural areas, a 12-percent unemployment rate and the loss of railroad link to Southern Oregon.
’This is just a sampling of the issues facing the county today,’ he said. ’We can no longer sit and wait for the problems to come to use. The county government must be proactive. It needs to find a way to fix it before it is a problem.’