October 2011 home page

A Fairer Board?
Bud Emerson | Klish Way


David Lizerbram   Fred Schenk   David Watson


September brought the swearing in of five new Fair Board members appointed by Governor Brown. Four more appointees are likely by January. The Sandpiper attempted to interview all five, got responses from three, David Watson, David Lizerbram, and Fred Schenk.

All three lawyers stated they had no “marching orders” to repair relationships with local jurisdictions but are expected “to come up with solutions...which should have a positive effect on relationships.”

Watson and Lizerbram evidenced an open minded attitude cautioning that they “have a lot to learn” but they want to “find elements of agreement” first, then “find solutions on differences that will make the most people happy.” However Schenk who was on the Board previously was more skeptical saying “there will continue to be issues with local communities that cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, but will serve the greater community.” He did agree with the others that they should “dedicate ourselves to being good neighbors.”

When asked if they would be interested in reading the numerous responses to the Master Plan EIR from local entities, Watson and Lizerbram readily agreed that learning from those responses would be instructive. Schenk resisted, wondering if we were trying to “unring the bell” on a plan that was already adopted by the prior board. Watson on the other hand said elements of the Master Plan “may or may not be built.”

Lizerbram who grew up in the area said he thinks the “balance of new and former appointments was calculated to bring new ideas and energy to be combined with those who could maintain what has worked in the past...we are not your usual suspects who just show up and sign off.”

All three were very open to direct interaction with the public and other jurisdictions, not filtered by the fairgrounds staff. They are pleased that we will provide contact info for our readers. They say they want to be easy to reach. They all reacted favorably to the idea of an open workshop with local jurisdictions and the public to exchange information and ideas.

Naturally, at this early stage there was little to be said about specific issues and challenges, but the theme of being a “good neighbor” was strong in each interview. Even from Schenk who complained “I have yet to hear anything but criticism from locals, never any words of support.” Lizerbram was the most emphatic about working with locals saying “pushing against the tide of the community is not healthy--it is just not good business.” He added, “when I leave this post, I want to know that relationships are much better than when I started.”


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