by Ellen MacDonald
A debate with candidates for Nevada County Supervisor District 1 sponsored by First Tuesday
Democrats Educational Forum was held on February 4, 2020 at Gold Miners Inn. Participants
included incumbent and chair of BOS Heidi Hall and challengers Michael Taylor and Deborah
Wilder. Mr. Taylor is a licensed general building contractor as well as a CalFire private
contactor in fighting forest fires. Ms. Wilder is a labor and employment attorney representing
management and is the former mayor of Foster City. She is also former chair of the Nevada
County Republicans, and currently is the vice-chair of Northern California region of California
Republicans. The moderator at this meeting was Pascale Fusshoeller, editor of Yubanet News
Fire safety, and climate change generally, came up for discussion right away in this meeting and
issues included county wide evacuation plans, vegetation management, and working with the
Fire Safe Council.
An example question was (more or less), Should the County increase plans to combat climate
Ms. Hall responded yes, emphasizing prioritizing resiliency in fire protection. Mr. Taylor said
no, that there were already to many restrictions and Ms. Wilder said she would like a more
phased approach to resiliency.
Another question concerned PG&E’s vegetation management plan and whether the county
should work with this plan. Ms. Hall preferred to push back on PG&E, wanting more proactive
actions by the company before adding more responsibility on County, which already has some
substantial plans. Both Ms. Wilder and Mr. Taylor believe the County needs to relax the
regulations and cited the complicated regulations on installing generators on residential
properties as an example. Ms. Hall responded to the generator issue by pointing out that most
of the regulations on generator installation come from the State of California and the county
has little control over them.
Regarding the homelessness, all three candidates agree it needs attention but had varying
approaches to resolving it.
Generally, and throughout the debate, the two challengers wanted fewer regulations and more
streamlined methods for getting service, especially from the Building Department which is
consistent as both challengers are connected to the building trades and/or developers.
Towards the end of the debate, Ms. Hall brought up a recent mailer distributed by one of her
opponents, Ms. Wilder, which, Ms. Hall said, contained untruths about her record. The mailer
implied that she was not a strong advocate of broadband nor was she in strong favor of
relieving the homeless problem. Ms. Hall stated that on the contrary, those issues were very
much a part of her campaign in 2016 and, further, the attention that both issues currently
receive on BOS is largely the result of her advocating for them from the beginning of her term.
(I remember having conversations with her about the homeless problem at beginning of her
2016 campaign and being impressed with her understanding of the problem. As far as access to
broadband, Ms. Hall was a strong advocate for this issue back in 2014 when she was running for
Congress and she continues to be.)
This report does not cover all the issues at stake here, and readers are urged to go online to
websites of each candidate – Heidi Hall: reelectheidihallsupervisor.org – Michael Taylor:
mtaylor4district1.com – Deborah Wilder: wilderforsupervisor.com – to find out more about
their thoughts and advocacies about these issues and more.
Nevada County Democrats thank all three candidates for coming to this Educational Forum and
for their participation. And a special shout-out to Pascale Fusshoeller for her good humor and
professionalism in moderating the debate.