Wednesday, July 30, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Knight seeks 2nd term

By
From page A1 | April 06, 2012 |

Shortly after El Dorado Hills’ voters elected John Knight to his District 1 seat on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors in 2008 this reporter predicted his vehicle, a tired 1984 Mercedes that looked every bit of its 335,000 odometer reading, wouldn’t survive his first term.

The suspension and upholstery had sagged to the point that Knight’s wife Georgi couldn’t see over the steering wheel.

She requested its retirement but he hesitated, explaining that the old diesel made a statement: “No one who drives a car like this would ever be frivolous with taxpayer money.”

That first term is now winding down and Knight has proven us wrong. The repainted and overhauled Mercedes still lumbers up and down the hills between El Dorado Hills and the government center in Placerville most days, a rolling symbol of Knight’s frugality.

He’s put another 40,000 miles on it since. None of those miles ever made it onto an expense report. He’s never filed one, and also takes no medical benefits from the county, he said.

Knight, 64, called his first term “challenging and stimulating.” On top of the routine budget, land-use and departmental matters that dominate most board agendas, his board faced a mixed bag of complex and often divisive issues — redistricting, a courthouse relocation, an expensive animal shelter and a bitterly factious historical rail right of way.

They’ve also undertaken a multifaceted and long-overdue zoning ordinance update that prior boards kicked down the road.

Knight took the lead in what ultimately became the board’s highest profile story — the seemingly innocuous replacement of 36 headstones in the Mormon Island Relocation cemetery. Because they contained a certain racial epitaph, the story got legs, eventually landing on the pages of the New York Times.

Through it all, Knight said his board maintained a healthy working relationship. He cited mutual respect, hard work and a shared sense of mission as the group’s defining characteristics, and the key to its success.

Shrinking tax revenues forced the board to cut services, slash budgets and reduce the county workforce by a third over the last four years, he said.

The board also reined in employee benefits, which will save the millions of dollars long-term, he said.

“We delivered balanced budgets each year without reducing critical county services to the vast majority of residents who need them,” Knight said. “And we have no debt.”

A job and a half
For most of his career Knight mixed either banking or commercial real estate with public service. That changed in 2008; the demands of his board seat, plus 15 time-consuming boards and commissions, commanded his full attention and then some, he said.

He estimates his average work week at 60 hours, which includes about one hour of preparation for every hour in a board or commission meeting.

His assistant, Loretta Featherston, manages a calendar filled with meetings of the Sacramento Area Council of Government , Capitol Southwest Connector Joint Powers Authority, El Dorado Water and Power Authority, El Dorado County Transportation Commission and the Sacramento Commerce and Trade Organization, among many others.

Supervisors earn $76,862 annually but Knight fought for, and finally won, the right to reduce his own salary. He promptly dinged himself 5 percent.

“I had to ask people to hold the line, or in some cases take a cut,” he said. “I had to set an example.”

Conservative cred
Knight describes himself as a strict fiscal conservative with strong beliefs in the free market and property rights.

He’s a past president of both the El Dorado Hills Rotary and Chamber of Commerce, and said networking with local business people and members of other agencies is not only enjoyable, but helps him stay in touch with his constituency.

It’s also essential in building the trust to broker public-private partnerships that help keep government at the local level, which he considers a core value.

El Dorado Hills is growing. Residential and commercial projects are planned south of Highway 50, with several projects proposed on the Green Valley corridor. The challenge, he said, is making his constituents understand that the General Plan calls for growth in designated areas, including District 1.

“We put our interchanges, sewer, water, reclaimed water, shopping, schools, fire protection and roads here,” Knight said. “To spend hundreds of millions on infrastructure and not have your density here is a waste of public dollars.”

Gesturing to the ridge southeast of Town Center, he continued “The same General Plan protects those green hills because they’re too steep.”

But many of the flat spots, especially those in prime locations, will eventually be developed. “People have heard rumors about a project on the golf course,” he said. “But what better place to put a residential project, where you could walk to Raley’s, Walgreens and Town Center?”

The General Plan update currently in the approval process contains provisions to stem the flow of retail sales over the county line, the phenomenon called “sales tax leakage.”

“It’s going to take more than just putting big boxes in El Dorado Hills,” he said.

Knight supports current proposals for retail projects near Diamond Springs and Placerville.

The General Plan update also includes provisions that reduce barriers to jobs creation. The county’s steep traffic fees are often cited as a huge obstacle for any business considering relocating here. His board recently reduced those fees 15 percent.

Knight gets personally involved in higher profile business openings, including Pottery World and solar energy entrepreneurs Bloo Solar, which recently set up shop in the El Dorado Hills Business Park.

“I had to promise them a building permit within five days, and that’s exactly what happened,” he said. “They’re talking about 500 to 700 employees here eventually.”

To win his seat Knight defeated El Dorado Hills icons Bob Dorr and Harry Norris in a contentious 2008 campaign.

Knight’s campaign strategy is simple. “I’m running on my record.”

Campaign filings indicate that Knight has outstanding debt from the 2008 race, owing $10,000 to himself, $25,000 to a family trust and $30,000 to Helen Baumann’s aborted 2008 state Assembly campaign.

Notable 2011 individual campaign contributions include: Serrano Associates: $2,500, Thomas Winn: $1,000, EDH Investors/Town Center East: $500, Mike McDougal: $500 and Kevin Nagle: $1,000.

Contributions in 2012 include: Doug Veerkamp: $500, Thomas Winn: $1,000, Serranno Associates: $1,000 and  CEMO Commercial: $500.

Knight said he loves where he lives. “The neat thing about El Dorado Hills is that everyone came from somewhere else,” he said. “We’re all here trying to build a community with its own identity. I’m proud to be part of it.”

Comments

comments

.

News

District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

 
Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3

Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3

 
Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3

.

Opinion

My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

 
Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
.

Sports

Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

 
Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8

.

Prospecting

Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

 
Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

 
Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

 
Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

 
Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5

.

Essentials

Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

.

Women’s Health

Love the skin you’re in

By Noel Stack | From Page: WH4

Dump stress and improve your health, productivity

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: WH7Comments are off for this post

Women’s Health Expo

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH8

Find the confidence you need to fight back

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH12

Our choices directly affect our health

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH14

They’re NOT your mother’s hearing devices!

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH17