Two seek Madera County supervisor's open seat

The Fresno BeeOctober 11, 2012 

Two longtime businessmen are vying for the open District 3 seat in the Madera County Board of Supervisors race on Nov. 6.

The winner will succeed incumbent Ronn Dominici, who chose not to seek re-election after 12 years on the board.

In the June primary, Gary Svanda had 38.4% of the vote, ahead of Rick Farinelli (28.6%) in the four-person race but well below the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

Farinelli, 61, who owns Fiber Packaging Systems Inc., a Madera corrugated-box marketing company, said his priorities would be public safety, fiscal responsibility, a leaner government and privatization of some services.

He said he has already started his public-safety efforts by working with local officials and community groups on an outreach program to offer youths a chance to leave gangs.

Farinelli also would advocate for evening board meetings at least once a month, instead of during the day when most people work, so more can attend.

"It would enable taxpaying citizens to have a voice and speak directly to the board," he said.

He said he would also establish a performance-review committee for county departments to examine how they can become more efficient, and form a team of business people and city officials to lure businesses and jobs and help struggling companies so existing jobs are not lost.

Farinelli said his nearly 40 years of business experience would serve the county well.

Svanda, 65, who also said he has about four decades of business experience, said his work as a financial adviser for the past 13 years and as a Madera City Council member for the past 10 years would be assets to the county during tight economic times.

One of his top priorities would be stretching limited resources while balancing the county's budget. He said he would seek to have the county supervisors meet with other elected officials and their managers and employees to discuss their challenges in keeping services at a high level.

Svanda also would push for volunteer opportunities, such as neighborhood cleanups or graffiti removal, the latter of which has worked well for the city of Madera.

"That's part of the strategy to stretch our dollars," he said.

He said county supervisors should be more proactive in improving air and water quality, and remind state and federal officials that their advocacy is crucial to improving the Valley's quality of life.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386 or ejimenez@fresnobee.com.

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