Supervisor Jaron Brandon - Past Work & Ongoing Projects
Housing, Jobs, and Transparency are my priority issues and they remain my pillar issues. I’m also proud of the progress being made in addressing these often decades-old issues across multiple areas There’s a lot more work to do, but these are some of the major efforts our Board has been able to accomplish over the past two years.
- Fighting for Housing | I’m an unapologetic evangelist for our rural California workforce and affordable housing. Co-founding the grasstops Tuolumne County Housing Collaborative. Overhauling planning ordinances to make building easier, more flexible, and affordable. Standing up to the Board of Forestry building restrictions. Approving a new 72-unit affordable housing complex on Greenley and hundreds of other new units. Soliciting new development opportunities. Advocating for fire insurance reform and state housing talks.
- Supporting Good Jobs | Co-leading $2 million UC grant for futuristic green wood biomass construction materials research site to bring new industry and opportunity for locals. Supporting biomass, green hydrogen production, and wood product pellet plants. Supporting new resort and tourism investments bringing in millions of dollars to re-invest in the county. Supporting a new 4-year baccalaureate program at Columbia College in land stewardship. Advocating for regional economic development with the Central Sierra Economic Development District (CSEDD) and CERF funding.
- Transparency & Collaboration | Rebuilding stronger relationships with utility districts, the City, and tribal partners so we’re all working together. Always remaining accountable and accessible to my constituents in a variety of formats and supporting local events. Speaking to high school students and young people about civics, government, and citizenship. Allocating $500,000 to micro-grants for local nonprofits. Back-to-back county awards for budget excellence as well as digital transformation through digital community development permits, workflows (for faster review/approvals), and re-engaging the public on social media.
- Improving Fire & Emergency Service | Bringing County CAL FIRE and Columbia Fire together to create a Schedule A station in Columbia, the first major progress since the plan was passed in 1974! Advocating for vulnerable communities without egress. Supporting millions in grants for fuel reduction, private land clearing, and fire hardening. Signing hundreds up for Everbridge Reverse 9-1-1 system. Tripling staffing in the Office of Emergency Services (including a full-time OES coordinator). Allocating $50,000 to FireWise communities. Supporting tens of millions through OES and YSS for fuel reduction on public and private lands.
- Competitive Public Safety Pay | Back-to-back historic increases in Deputy and Probation salaries taking them from the lowest in the region (2021) to competitive salaries that’s finally rebuilding the force. Supporting Probation leadership to stabilize funding for the Juvenile Justice Center. Purchased body cams to protect officers and approved online crime reporting software. A future goal is re-establishing our narcotics task force.
- Rebuilding County Infrastructure | Added nearly $6 million in road projects in two years. Two active transportation safe sidewalk projects in Jamestown. Redoing the Rawhide Bridge intersection and a safer Pedro Wye in Columbia. Repaving Jamestown Road. Applying grant support to Jamestown Sanitary District plant capacity for more homes and businesses. Supporting the Gold Rush Trail master plan for a multi-modal bike and pedestrian path between Jamestown, Sonora, and Columbia. Advocating for new TUD facilities and getting back our county’s water rights. A long-term road revenue strategy will continue to be a goal of mine as we face this massive deferred maintenance challenge from the last 20 years.
- Cleaning Up The County | Helped grow the #1PileAtATime cleanup group and remove several thousand yards of waste including Lowe’s, Mill Villa, Mt. Provost, Big Hill, and more. Tripled code compliance, increased dumping fines ten-fold, and removed abandoned homeless encampments in and around Jamestown. Helped reclaim areas like the Italian Bar recreation area. Signed a new contract with Waste Management that has 1,000 yards of free service to local cleanup groups.
- Broadband Advocacy | Fighting for rural internet funding in DC and to the FCC. Rewriting wireless tower ordinances. Hiring a broadband coordinator, challenging flawed industry data, and establishing network design and programmatic environmental documents to make for a speedy, cost-effective rollout. Tuolumne is a model county for broadband leading the Central Sierra and beyond.
- Homelessness & Behavioral Health | Decreased behavioral health clinician vacancy by 20% through targeted salary adjustments. Recruited new BH leadership to work on addiction and mental health. New mobile crisis response unit. One of seven first counties to take on CARE court making the highest needs severely mentally ill populations enter services. Established the first citizen homelessness committee (TCCOH) to weigh in on this issue. Hired social workers for homelessness that have secured nearly 100 successful housing placements. Point In Time (PIT) counts of homeless populations have gone down for the first time in several years. Removed several illegal, dangerous encampments (including Camp Hope) while offering all residents recovery services. Equally, successfully advocated against bad projects that would have become county and community liabilities.
- Cybersecurity | Not the loudest issue, but incredibly important in a modern world that loves cyber-attacks and hijacking local governments. We went from extremely vulnerable to now having advanced threat detection, catastrophic recovery software, cloud data backup, new hardware and servers, and a fantastic IT team. Tuolumne County is doing it right.
- Smaller Projects | Advocating for Columbia Ice Rink, Jamestown Elementary School Field upgrades, Jamestown Farmer’s Market. Addressing some parking issues on Shell Road. Establishing Jamestown Area Advisory Committee. Standing with Mill Villa residents against price-gouging seniors. Re-establishing a legislative platform to fight for our interests.